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I reported this: 1 month, 3 #Punjabi pop #singers harassed by #Hindutva workers for condemning caste, religion. Punjab's Dalit population at 32% is 2x national average. Researching a film in 2016, I learnt of ongoing wave of Punjabi Dalit-pop @TheSwaddle…
These singers assert their caste by naming it in songs as pride-filled identity: subverting the abusive connotations dominant castes (DCs) had stuck on #Dalit caste names. Rajni Thakkarwal survived DC men’s attempt on her life while she was singing #ChamaarPop.
Rajni isn’t alone. “We were given a court notice for singing about Babasaheb [Ambedkar] and against Brahmanvaad, Manuvaad,” says Roop Lal Dhir, possibly first Punjabi #Ambedkarite #musician in 1986. @BawaRanjit ‘s recent song 'Mera Ki Kasoor' questioned caste and religion
His lyrics condemned #casteists telling cow urine pure but touch of a Dalit person impure. Its chorus, from a Dalit’s viewpoint, says ‘how’s it my fault if I was born in an inferior home?’ & refers to ‘the accident of birth’ that many, including Rohith Vemula spoke about.
Sung & written by a DC persons, Kasoor’s Dalit's self-address of ‘maada’ or inferior is unlike the pride-filled Punjabi Dalit pop. But threats and bans, including sexist abuse on Brawy Maan, a woman who sang in solidarity with Bawa has unsettled artists
Sociologist Ronki Ram says provocative lyrics were Punjab’s #anticaste culture in 19th century Ad-dharm movement too. Poets Mangu Ram Mugowalia, Chanan Lal Manak,Gurdas Ram Alam led Punjab’s Dalits outside #Hinduism to establish new socio-religious identity. Deras continue this..
Thousands of Punjab’s deras are caste-based socio-spiritual places. In 2016, I'd 1st seen then-rising Dalit pop sensation @MahiGinni perform at a dera in Jalandhar. Punjabi Dalit pop singers like Ginni, Rajni, Pamma Sunnar, SS Azad, also double up as spiritual singers at deras
It's Punjab's uniqueness of using newer religions to subvert caste hierarchies. Punjab’s dominant Jatt Sikhs moved from Hindusim's Shudra category to Sikhism. “It has been observed that the status of the Hindu Jats in Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur Districts was lower than Sikh #Jatts
…,” wrote sociologist Paramjit S Judge (1931 Census). Punjab’s Dalits are redoing hierarchies, hence severe backlash to identity assertion. Violent past: poet #Pash, Dalit singer Amar Singh Chamkila & Jatt partner-singer Amarjot Kaur were killed for radical lyrics in 1980s
A piercing part of the Dalit experience struck me in my privileged caste identity (some of which is offset by being a woman) for #feminist reporting of this piece: I couldn’t find any Dalit #womansociologist in #Punjab . I tried many ways & even delayed submission for it. None.
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