Attempting to depict the present socio-political milieu of Punjab, famous singer Gurdas Mann has stirred a hornet’s nest. Igniting a hot debate, some are criticising the lyrics of a fresh controversial song and some are praising the same.
The song talks about the pangs of pain through which Punjab is passing; a rose flower is now reduced to shards. The people of Punjab, the song says, are all addicts…, milk from mother’s breast has dried due to smoking, and alcohol is rule of the day and the night…, there are references to the sacrifices made by martyr Bhagat Singh and youth of the same ilk. In totality, the song evokes grief, dejection, despair and bemoans the loss of good old days when all was hunky-dory.
There has been a forceful condemnation of the song from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which sees it as a deep-rooted conspiracy to defame youth of Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has come out in support of the song but with the objection that it had been released after the polling day. The Congress has declared the song to be artistic vindication of what its vice president Rahul Gandhi had been alleging that 70 per cent of Punjab’s youth were drug addicts.
In the din of political fuss, the rendition of the song in the best possible accompanying music has been lost somewhere. Gurdas Mann who is known to be writing his own lyrics has apparently made a strong socio-political statement, which however may not be entirely truthful. In 1979, he sang another song which eulogised bountiful homeland; Punjab and … ‘ghar di sharab…’ Now the dictum has changed to grieving about the once bountiful Punjab which now is a quagmire of intoxicants (chitta).
Gurdas Mann is doing no service for the homeland as he is harping on a colossal falsity out to defame, discourage and disrobe Punjabis and the spirit of Punjabiat. Nowhere is it documented scientifically that Punjab is the place where people are sunk neck deep into ‘chitta.’ It is all a commercial hyperbole which is being wrongly fixed on the face of Punjab. The politicians and singers are busy hurriedly encashing on the mass-mania set rolling by vested interests.
Mann seems to have lowered down his art to such a level where he walks in the company of detractors of Punjab and Punjabiat. Let there be a headcount of the addicts. It will come out to be just one per cent or even less. Much more ‘chitta’ users will be found in other states but not in Punjab. The Punjabis are for the last 6-7 years busy sending their children abroad on student visas as in India the job market had reached the saturation point. Moving to Western countries on marriage basis is now being replaced by the flow-out of students.
Gurdas Mann should have done better if he had consulted some social scientists who could have given him the true story of a state which thrived on hardwork and patriotism. The popular singer seems to have done a great dis-service to his mother-land and his own reputation of a much liked singer.