The Punjab government is considering setting up a mechanism to check the increased trend of vulgar songs being sung by some popular singers. There has been a public outrage against such misogynist and sexist songs. Several women’s groups and social organisations came together at Jalandhar early this week to protest against the trend. The protest meeting concluded with a call to demand arrest of singers Honey Singh, Jazzy B and Diljit Dosanjh under Indecent Representation of Women Act 1986 for their songs alleged to be “vulgar and demeaning to women”.

Another group of Punjabi singers too has come out openly speaking against the trend. Protests have also been held in different towns and cities in Punjab and even in other countries with sizeable Punjabi population. The public outcry has already had the state government sit up and take notice. No headway could be made, however, on the proposal to set up a state authority because of practical difficulties in the screening of online content. The state government’s efforts have now taken urgency after the public outrage over the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi and subsequent protests against some popular Punjabi singers.

Noted poet Surjit Patar, who attended the meeting called by the state government to discuss the cultural policy, said concern was raised over the “vulgar songs”. Art should sublimate and help one in becoming a better person, he said, lamenting that such music is not playing any such role.

Amandeep Kaur Deol, general secretary of Istri Jagriti Manch, a Punjab based organisation running a campaign against this trend of popular Punjabi songs glorifying violence and sexism for long, lamented that at the time when there was a national outrage against rapes and kidnappings and the crimes against women in the state are on the rise, these singers were singing songs provoking the youth to indulge in such crimes.

Some of the songs that have invited this opprobrium include Main Hun Balatkari (I am a rapist) by Honey Singh, Oye aaja tainu kidnap karan sohniye (Come, let me kidnap you O girl) sung by Diljit Dosanjh and Jazzy B’s Munni nu Manga lao ji, Addhe paise paa lao ji, Kunde Jinde laa lao ji (Call Munni, let’s chip in with half the amount each, bolt and lock the doors).

An online petition signed by many forced Honey Singh to cancel a New Year’s Eve concert in a hotel in Gurgaon. A criminal complaint too has been filed by a Lucknow-based senior police official, Amitabh Thakur, demanding he be tried in court for his “obscene” lyrics.

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