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Parmish Verma shooting: Time to end the badass gun pride in the world of Punjabi music

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The shooting of Parmish Verma is a rude wake up call to all other Punjabi singers who promote violence in their music.

The shocking news of the shooting of Punjabi singer Parmish Verma in Mohali comes with a sobering realisation about the gun culture and casual machismo that pervades the Punjabi music industry.

Sadly, this is what Punjabi singers, including Verma, have been promoting all these years.

But where is the outcry against guns in India like last month’s #NeverAgain campaign in the United States? In the Punjabi music universe, it is ‘cool’ to own a gun and fire at your enemies or your girlfriend’s former partners. And if you don’t have either, then you just shoot in the air.

Take a look at famous singer Dilpreet Dhillon’s song ‘Gunday No. 1’, where he croons “mere vicho bole billo batti bor da (I speak the language of 0.32 bore gun)”. At the end of this video, in an emotional climax, the hero dies because someone shoots him. His girlfriend then picks up two guns and shoots his enemies. This song came to be hugely popular among Punjabi youth.

A recent casual conversation with friends in my hometown Jalandhar served as a window to how deep this spirit runs: An acquaintance had been jailed, and my friends were saying he had become “quite famous and respected” since he came out on bail. They said with pride that this kind of “heroism” is in the “blood of Jatts” – an upper caste, upper class community in Punjab seen as the dominant cultural influencers.

Singer Diljit Dosanjh, too, has contributed a lot through his songs to this gun-is-cool culture and alcoholism in Punjab. The youth just lap it all up. A popular Diljit-Honey Singh song features him (Diljit) holding two guns and singing of brazen ‘bro-chismo’ – “Mittran noon shaunk goliyaan chalaun da (Buddies love firing shots)”. And then Yo Yo Honey Singh shouts, “Yes, reload it”. Diljit’s list of songs promoting alcohol is long. His famous song “Jatt fire karda (Jatt fires)” features him with the ferocious pitbulls. He says, “Jithe hundi hai pabandi hathiyaar di ni othe Jatt fire karda (Wherever shooting is prohibited, the Jatt will shoot)”.

The ‘badass Jatt’ trope in the songs is culturally overwhelming. I recall a 10-year-old kid in my hometown would brag that he was a Jatt (though he was a Brahmin) and say he would shoot his enemy down one day because “that’s what Jatts do”. If you condemn it, you are not cool. Kids won’t hang out with you, and will consider you a coward.

The story of songs promoting violence doesn’t end here. A song about getting Chandigarh sealed for a Jatt man’s appearance at the high court became popular sometime ago. Zora Randhawa’s song “High court peshi Jatt di, seal ho gaya Chandigarh sara (Jatt’s appearance in the high court makes the authorities seal Chandigarh)”. The singer displays pride at being able to scare away police, judges, and lawyers because of his influence.

Ironically, even Parmish Verma’s songs have dealt with gun violence.

Take a look at his song “Meri Mout (My Death)”, which features him as a college bully (he has appeared as a bully in other songs too). The lyrics say, “End maare ne bandook te mashook te, putt kinnian maawaan de sivea ch phoonk te (Giving up guns and girlfriends after putting several sons of some mothers to graves)”. In the end, he and his friends are shot by their enemies. That song had over 8 million views on YouTube and comments full of praise.

Verma’s shooting prompted Speed Records to tweet that the incident was also an attack at the Punjabi entertainment industry.

If it has hurt the industry too much, then I hope all the recording studios in Punjab (or in Canada, Australia, UK and elsewhere) will work towards ending the promotion of violence in their songs.

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  1. Content writer himself biggest stupid. You people deserve to get abusing from celebrities. Because you people write fake news. How do you know he shooted for his songs.

  2. To the writer:
    As I assume you are a punjabi yourself, what remedies do you suggest to end this gun bragging and alcohol drinking culture?
    You talk as if these things only happen in Punjab, no other country or state has such issues? These are synonymous with a larger culture of being masochistic and sadistic boys being adults and has nothing to do with the state of Punjab or the community at large.
    Your article is just condemning the artists and suggesting no ways or means to an end to this sort of culture, which by the way they are free to choose, isn’t that what democracy is about?
    Prohibition isn’t going to solve any problem nor is any dictator or authoritarian approach by the state.
    Please elaborate with means and ways to end this sort of “wrong” culture and write a thoroughly researched article again!
    Thank You

  3. You’re an idiot. The gun culture was there long before these songs promoting it came out. The guy got shot, the issue here isn’t music it’s the people who shot the gun. Get your head out of your ass.

  4. Nice article.
    Next time write about hindi songs.
    And If you still have time then there are thousands of languages in the world.

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