Dalits of Punjab are grooving to a beat of their own.
Doaba, the fertile region between the two 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 (their community name, the use of which is considered derogatory) 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 by the day, with some superhits even launching sequels. The use of the word Chamar is banned and attracts stringent punishment under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act.
Singer S S Azad of the hit album Ankhi Putt Chamaran de told Express that he launched his first collection around five years ago. “Till then Chamar was seen as an abuse by my community,” he said.