Something I’ve noticed in the past year, since I graduated really, is that I’ve really begun to gravitate towards the social sciences. While my education and work is healthcare related, on the internet I tend to almost exclusively spend time on websites that seem to focus on social , particularly women’s issues.
As a direct result of my online experiences, I’ve begun to re-evaluate myself and the world around me through the filter of what can be termed as a sort of feminism.
This post is a consequence of that.
So- for the uninitiated- who is Honey Singh? (Or as he prefers to call himself- Yo Yo Honey Singh)- He’s a really popular Punjabi rap artist/pop singer. No doubt you’ve heard(or will shortly hear thanks to the omnipresence of Bollywood ) his scintillating track-Angreji Beat- from the movie Cocktail.
So what, you say?
Well the reason I decided to ‘tackle’ this guy as a subject , is that when I say ‘he’s really popular’, I mean he’s HUGE. If you were to be a teen or twenty something in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi / NCR and Chandigarh, chances are that you’d consider this guy your god. If you’re planning to get married in the Northern states, it is his music your DJ will invariably play.
Only one little teensy weensy problem though- Honey Singh’s lyrics are full of women-hating.
And imma prove it to you.
First up, what else, but Angreji Beat–
Most of the song is the usual blah blah about a hot chick and her moves. However these lines got my goat:
“O Kahton Ehni Desperate
Sanu Sade Ke A Rate”
(Why are you so desperate/ Tell me your rate)
Riiight. So every decent looking chick has a ‘rate’, eh? And the youth of the nation are going to hear this on the radio, on tv, and at the next party/sangeet. Doesn’t help that its so catchy and features DP to boot.
Next up- Yaar Bathere– this one was my ‘favourite’ back in the day- till I asked my bf to translate (he’s Punjabi, not me, and I’m happy to report that he hates Honey paaji heartily)
Anyway, I died I little when I realised what the lyrics meant. Also it was the official end of my ever so slight crush on Honey (to be fair, he’s lookswise he’s not too bad).
In this song- the refrain/chorus , if you can believe it, goes-
My mother won’t get her son back/ But you can always have more lovers/bfs. ( “Saadi maa nu putt ni labne/Tenu yaar bathere”). Yaar bathere literally means lovers galore.
Sound positively oedipal. He seems to be implying that he’s breaking up with her; and its better that way because why should his mother ‘lose’ her son, when the girl can find another guy?
The video of this song also features a burning car that’s also kicked and jumped on- its alluded to that it belongs to the girl-as well as a throwaway line-“Tenu laggu ji karaari”(You’re gonna get a whack)- the violence in the mood and words of this song is simply inescapable.
In another song, Brown Rang, he refers to the girl as his ‘purja’ (slang for a kept woman) – this, in a slow and almost romantic number!
The one that takes the cake , however , is Dope Shope. In which he advises men to bang whosoever is available , because they aren’t any virgins left.
If you thought my translation sounds crude – he uses ‘chakko’ for bang . And ‘fresh’ and ‘first-hand’ for virginity as in “Chakko chakko chakko kujh fresh nayo milna /Chakko chakko chakko first hand nayo milna”
I’m not even going to get into the sheer douchebaggery of the lyrics mostly because that would need a separate post!
Now, I know that he’s not the only singing sexist lyrics, and due to lack of exposure/ staying away from the Punjabi pop milieu, it’s possible that there’s someone else out there who is writing even more degrading shit. But the fact remains that he currently is the most popular artist in Punjabi music,(proof- even I’ve heard of him despite staying the hell away from that genre, being a south indian hudugi ) and with his recent foray into B-town, I have a sinking feeling we’ll be hearing more of him.
Hence this post.
Also, found validation for this post in the form of an old article. Score one for see-I’m-not-a-frothing-femnazi.
Take home message: try very hard not to like Angreji Beat. (Must warn you, it will be tough. Or maybe tough just for me. I have ‘dhinchak’ taste, apparently)
UPDATE: Apparently there a was a protest against his lyrics by a Students Association as well.