SONGS VS SOCIETY: Will ‘Desi Daru’ obsession wane after a high in Punjabi songs?
The spurious liquor tragedy in Punjab, which has taken a toll on the countryside, has once again brought attention to songs glorifying alcoholUpdated: Aug 04, 2020 23:03 IST
While songs in any culture celebrate a drink or more, Punjabi songs in the past few decades have overdone this glorification.
Music-makers of the region have endorsed alcohol, which is part of a Punjabi lifestyle, and extolled the tradition all the way from a swig of ‘Patiala Peg’ to a gulp of ‘Desi Daru’.
Such was the fervour of ‘Desi Daru’ songs in the past decades that even the otherwise sober and sentimental Gurdas Maan could not resist the joy of home-brewed liquor in ‘Apna Punjab hove, ghar di sharab hove’. In the video of this 2011 song, the singer can be seen drinking from an enamelled mug and riding high as ‘Jatt Nawab’ on a string cot.
Of course, this drinking obsession was exploited to the optimum by the controversial singer Yo Yo Honey Singh who sang out with joy ‘One bottle down’, ‘Char botal vodka’, and “Party all night’. When questioned, he said: “Whenever you party, alcohol is the biggest reason to do so. You cannot avoid it.”
Singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh, before he turned to a singing literary poet like Shiv Kumar Batalvi, took thrill in singing ‘Oh desi daru vargi te, mera mood bigad’da jaave’.
Well known Punjabi music director Atul Sharma says: “The trend is of eulogising ‘daru’ all the way. Young, educated and socially aware singers are not indulging in this culture. We have singers like Rabbi Shergill and Satinder Sartaj, who are winning young Punjabi hearts without playing the liquor card.”
Nevertheless, singer Sharry Maan’s ‘3 Bottle’ song continues to be the most popular with millions of viewers.
Song writer and former alcoholic, Baljinder Singh, says: “Liquor is a part of the Punjabi way of life. Even in covid times, the state government has allowed its home delivery. Desi Daru is all that a poor person can afford. I feel that alcoholism is a personal issue and songs cannot encourage or discourage it.”
Along with Punjabi beats, glorification of alcohol has also entered Bollywood. For instance, in Cocktail, a sensitive Malerkotla poet like Irshad Kamil wrote: ‘Chadhi mujhe yaari teri aisi jaise daru desi’. Popular song ‘Party abhi baaki hai’ also refers to ‘Desi Daru’; this was also the name of a song sung by Jasbir Jassi for the film Main Aur Mr Riight.
The issue, however, is if country-brew is legal or illicit and ‘Desi Daru’ is a poor Punjabi’s drink. So, the debate of whether songs influence society or it is the other way around continues.