Dalit Gabru rap takes over Punjabi beats
By Pratul Sharma | ENS | Published: 25th February 2013 07:50 AM |
Dalits of Punjab are grooving to a beat of their own. Doaba, the fertile region between the rivers Beas and Sutlej and the cradle of the Green Revolution, is now witnessing a new revolution—Dalit hip-hop.
A deluge of music albums that celebrate and aggressively portray Dalit distinctiveness by proudly flaunting the word ‘Chamar’ are flooding the market. Ankhi Putt Chamaran De (proud sons of Chamars), Cool Chamar, Kattar Chamar (Committed Chamars), Fighter Chamar, Lion Chamar Fearless and Kha Layi Kasam Chamaran ne (Chamars have pledged) are some of the titles being churned out, with sequels for some superhits. The use of the word ‘Chamar’ is banned and attracts punishment under the SC/ST Act.
Popular singer S S Azad of the hit album Ankhi Putt Chamaran de told Express he launched his first collection five years ago. “Till then Chamar was seen as an abuse by my community. People were happier to be called Harijans than Chamars. I felt that when this word has been proudly used by our Guru Ravidas, why can’t we use it? My songs aren’t against anyone; they aim to promote Dalit literature, telling the community we too have icons.”
Incidentally, Jalandhar is also the hub of the multi-crore Punjabi music industry. In the heart of Doaba, where Dalits form 35 per cent of the population, the music market is massive. Several albums will be launched Monday, Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary.