Recently, a leading weekly national magazine had sought my 14-year-old son’s quote about what he thought about rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh’s music. Apparently, the response that my son gave was that he hated the lyrics of his songs but loved his music beats.
Whether the answer came as a reaction to the gruesome rape incident in Delhi or as a genuine assessment, I don’t know, but the fact of the matter is that a 14-year-old had been exposed to such atrocious lyrics under the name of music. Not only exposed, he, like many other teenagers, had seen his parents, his uncle and aunties and the whole community dance to Yo Yo Honey Singh’s music and even gulp vodka shots on his song Enni sukki vodka na maareya karo, thoda bahut limca vi paa leya karo.
“Exactly,” says Jalandhar-based blogger and freelance writer Ravneet Sangha. “It would be hypocritical to say that we are not responsible for promoting this culture of vulgarity which has become a phenomenon,” she quips.
“We have all enjoyed part of his music at some time, and Yo Yo Honey Singh can’t be blamed entirely,” adds Ravneet.
Absolutely true! After all Yo Yo is the guy whose music made parties rock and movies turn into blockbusters. And yes some even called it revolutionary, for he single-handedly managed pulling out the entire Punjabi community out of its ‘gori’ fetish back to the brown girl with his song, Kudiye ni tere brown rang
ne, munde patt te ni saare mere town de.
It’s awesome how one rapper managed to save a full culture. And, the brown women, I can promise you, love the attention. As if it was for the first time that they were brought under the preview of lyrics and melody in the recent past.
However, it is not such songs of Honey Singh that have raised the hackles of the society and women in particular. His undoing has been the ‘Main Hun Ek Balatkari’ number, which he is conveniently blaming the lyricist for. But what makes you really throw up is his song C***t Vol 1. And mind you, I am no push over when it comes to innovative usage of vulgar language, almost at par with Honey Singh and Punjab’s legislators.
So what is the path forward with Honey Singh’s genre of music? I am glad that at least there has been an outcry and a discussion has been initiated on what constitutes music. Though, sadly, it is only in the wake of the Delhi rape incident that the lyrics of this rapper have been questioned. In other words, if gone unchecked Honey Singh’s music would have become a benchmark of our toleration and acceptance of vulgarity. So if Lucky Singh or Bhinda Singh were to come out with their albums, obviously they will have to be one step ahead. ‘Oh teri, BC, MC’.
This brings me back to my son’s response. I am in a way happy that the constant badgering, we as parents have been doing, in terms of stuffing a value system based on decency and respecting the other human, especially girls, has not gone waste. Simply put, the household must not stop itself from drilling into the child’s mind the importance of being decent. This is the single best gift one can give as a parent, even much more valuable than taking him or her to a gurdwara, temple, mosque or a church.
What scares me, however, is the constant intrusion of Yo Yo kind of music in our children’s lives. We cannot remain on guard 24x7 and we are surrounded by such music. No, I’m not worried if my son and his friends use expletives in some part of their conversations. My problem is when profanity starts becoming a part of the generation’s psyche, when vulgarity is considered de rigueur.
Songs and movies I understand are meant to showcase the ethos and culture of the prevailing times, but then they also go a long way in determining what is the flavour of the generation. Making vulgarity look cool under the garb of entertainment is not acceptable.
Yes, this kind of nonsense has to be stopped, as we cannot have a generation grow up inspired on vulgarity. Honey Singh and his ilk will have to Yo Yo to other tunes or be ready to face the music.
Some Facebook responses to my status – “Yo Yo Honey Singh da ki kita javey.”
1) Adarsh Gill Brar — Yo Yo parey ho Singh
2) Nagina Bains — He is best at what he does. Forgive him from growing up blues.
3) Navin Sidhu — Music needs to be censored. It’s a nuisance to hear crap playing all around you.
Punjabi by nature is a fortnightly column.The columnist is a Punjab-based author and journalist.
the author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org