This Karnataka Professor Is Campaigning Against Punjabi Songs Promoting Drugs, Gun Violence
After finishing work at the Government College at Chandigarh, Assistant Professor Pandit Rao Dharennavar can be seen raising awareness about the rampant glorification of drugs, vulgarity and criminal activities in Punjabi songs outside a city bus stand almost every day.
Hailing from Salotagi village in Bijapur district in Karnataka, Rao migrated to Punjab in 2003 after he got a job there. He learnt Punjabi as his students could not understand English. After reading a few Punjabi poets and Sikh religious scriptures, Rao got hooked to Punjabi culture.
"People in Punjab lack passion for their mother tongue," Rao told The Logical Indian expressing deep concern over the matter. "I had no idea that the Punjabi language is so soulful till the time I started learning it basically to communicate with my students. But some singers are polluting it through violent songs."
Rao had noticed that Punjabi youth were unaware of their history and background and are more inclined towards the new songs that promote gun violence. "Turning point in my life came in 2016 after a three months pregnant dancer was killed in a celebratory firing with Punjabi song in the background during a marriage ceremony in Bathinda in 2016. The incident shook me." Rao said.
Since then Rao has been crusading against the promotion of violence, drugs, and weapons in foot-tapping Punjabi songs as they can lure the youth into hooliganism and violence. He informs police whenever he gets to know about a live show or stage performance by singers who are known for singing violence-laced songs. As part of his campaign to promote Punjabi language, he displays billboards of Punjabi alphabets.
To seek a ban on 'anti-social' songs, Rao had earlier filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Punjab and Haryana High Court against songs promoting guns, liquor and vulgar dance after 10 pm by DJs.
Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Director-General of Police in Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh in July 2019 to ensure no songs glorifying liquor, wine, drugs and violence are played.
"I also meet family members of Punjabi singers and request them to ask their sons or daughters to refrain from singing songs which promote violence and vulgarity," said Rao.
In a unique gesture following a string of incidences where celebratory firing led to death at weddings in Punjab, he goes to wedding venues with a placard asking Punjabis not to dance on the songs promoting guns, liquor, and vulgarity.
Holding the placard over his head, Rao stands outside the marriage venue for up to four hours to spread the message.
Two famous Punjabi singers -- Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, aka Sidhu Moose Wala, and Mankirat Aulakh were booked by the state police, earlier this month for allegedly promoting violence and gun culture in a song uploaded on social media.
Moose Wala's song -- "Pakhia pakhia pakhia, gun wich panj golia..." -- evidentially promotes violence and gun culture. Rao is now seeking amendment in the Cinematograph Act 1952 to ban vulgarity and violence in songs, web series, films. A special sitting of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha has been called on February 20 to discuss challenges and opportunities in the promotion of Punjabi language.