The brazen gun culture depicted in the Punjabi music scene today and the shooting of such songs to instant and huge popularity have led to discordant notes in society. The pitch and tone of the voices against the violence-ridden chartbusters have been rising. For, at stake are the young impressionable minds of the state, many of whom are already battling the twin menace of drugs and violence. That lack of proper work opportunities and jobs have led to an exodus of the youth to foreign shores compounds the situation. Concerned that the aggressive lyrics and visuals of gun-toting singers in some viral music videos that record crores of hits would corrupt the frustrated youth, activists have questioned the propriety of the songs that reek of raunchiness and guns. Moved by the need to combat this burgeoning social evil, the high court in July 2019 directed the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh authorities to check songs glorifying alcohol, drugs and violence.
Under pressure to contain the menace, the Punjab Government too has been toying with the idea of a cultural commission. Meanwhile, some offending artistes, off and on, find themselves on the wrong side of the law. But with their huge fan following forcing them to risk the run-ins with the cops, the battle against a crisis revolving around popular culture and violence is rendered more challenging.
However, an unrelated crisis has ensured that the songs of Punjab do not remain off-key. The farmers’ agitation that is going on at full blast against the Centre’s new agriculture laws has rung in a melodious chime. A churning of the art and culture scene is evident as protesters and their supporters from various walks of life, including writers, poets, musicians and artists, are dipping into the rich folklore of the battle-weary border state to belt out ballads of struggle and resistance. As families and children from near and far join the peasants staying put on the Delhi borders, the paintings, slogans and songs playing out there are motivating and aspiring. The land is still fertile for a culturally robust output. Hope for an enriched, rather than a hollow, tomorrow floats.