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Why It’s Important To Contain The Honey Singh Epidemic Before It’s Too Late

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By Sayantan Ghosh:

Last week a 19-year-old girl was stabbed to death in New Delhi in the Anand Parbat area by two men. The Class 11 student had filed several complaints with the Delhi police against Jai Prakash and his brother since they started harassing her in 2013, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. After days and months of being followed, stalked, subjected to lewd comments and mental torture, she landed up losing her life.

honey singhThis incident has no direct correlation with celebrity rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh. Except that I won’t be very surprised if I found a song or two by him in the phone playlist of the two accused in the above case. It may seem like an irrational premise, sure. But if we think it through, there may be a deeper social context here.

Catchy tunes and amusing lyrics, the portmanteau of his songs make them popular across economic and social boundaries, from inside auto-rickshaws in Patparganj to discos and pubs in Hauz Khas village. For the economically backward it is a sign of empowerment, songs that treat them purely on the basis of their manhood and not their education, upbringing or the lack of it. For the nouveau riche, they only help brush their bumbling egos better.

I must admit that I am not against any form of art. Censorship often curtails independent voices in our country that is already grappling with countless confines of blind beliefs and customs. But freedom of expression alone cannot justify propagating misogynistic lyrics that Honey Singh’s listeners are subjected to, and very frighteningly which also makes him so popular. Many of his songs are about dealing with break-ups, which is an easily identifiable issue for the youth. Which is why lines that predict the girl who dumped him will end up marrying a loser and her future will only involve washing his undergarments and doing dishes, sound dangerously evocative.

Nobody is blaming him for rapes or sexual assaults (has been done already). But his defense that he only writes about things he observes is also warped. As an artist, and more importantly a public figure, if he regularly encounters men who treat women like sex objects and are always prepared to teach them a “lesson”, shouldn’t he be writing songs defaming such behavior?

What are the ramifications of lines like, “Ek do nahin mere paas poore–Ek sau tareeke teri jaisi ko Badshah ke peeche lagaane ke–Ghar le jaane ke, jannat dikhaane ke”, in the psyche of a “ditched” man waiting with a bottle of acid in the corner of a street or with a hammer in his hand outside a girl’s classroom?

Recently when I visited Calcutta, I met my 15-year-old cousin who is a self-declared fan of the superstar. When I asked him to sing one of his songs for me, he unhesitatingly began to hum a few lines from an infamous super hit number called “Main Hoon Balatkari”*. On being queried if he knew the meaning of the lines he was singing, he seemed oblivious. And this, I’m sure is the case with many kids who claim to be his ardent fans.

I’m offering no free cookies for guessing what this particular song is about. Apart from being profane, it’s also a shameless celebration of a heinous crime that our past and present governments have been constantly struggling to tackle, despite making every attempt to strengthen protocols and safety measures. Needless to say, Raat ko nikali naari–hui gadi pe savaari–par voh raat usko pad gayi bhari, is not a song any brother would like to hear from his younger one.

The idea of this is not to put a ban on Honey Singh, the “youth icon”. He, I am sure, has gone through his fair share of struggle to reach where he is today. Instead the idea is that if we try together, tweet, share, spread this thought, maybe it will reach him too and perhaps we will be able to stop him from becoming the unofficial messiah of every misanthropist in this country.

If only he steps down from his luxury motorcar and takes a walk down an empty midnight city street someday, he’ll perhaps feel the same discomfort his songs bring to people, especially women, for who it is a part of their daily routine.

*Editor’s note: The artist has denied that he sang this particular song.

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  1. Voice of reason

    Okay now this is heights of absurdity, first of all please get your facts right, Balatkari was not composed by Honey Singh, but by engineering students, just as songs like “thak chuka hu mai”, “G*nd mei danda” and many more, please stop linking every absurd song to Honey Singh. Personally, I am not a fan of either Honey Singh or most rappers ( east or west) or what is easily sold these days as pop music, but asking him to change his lyrics or having a movement for the same is preposterous. The incidents of sexual violence in India or the world is not influenced by Honey Singh at all, these incidents have been happening since times immemorial. Further if we come down to a level where in we ban every song as their lyrics might be offensive, then why not ban such movies as well. Look at Bollywood, most of these movies are so regressive that they are a bane for feminism,the women folk are typically shown as some one waiting for prince charming and so on and so forth. Further look at our own epic Mahabharata, Draupadi gets married to 5 dudes – at the same time, I mean whats going on, I have never heard anyone opposing to the teachings of Mahabrata, further she is molested during a dice match, why do people not protest that. The same happens in Ramanaya with Sita and so on. My point is you cannot say Honey Singh absolutely anything, he sings what he feels is right or likes, you don’t like them, don’t listen, as simple as that. This type of thinking is very dangerous for a free society as tomorrow you will say ban all gangster movies, however i can vouch for the fact that Scarface, The Godfather, Gangs of Wasseypur are much better then most movies I have seen. See please understand you need to let people do what they want only then we will grow as a society..

  2. puneet

    1. ‘Ek do nahi mere pass ek sau..’ is sung by bbadshah.
    2. Me hu balatkari is not sung by honey singh which has been proved in court.
    3. Congratulations! Because many people will read your article just because you have mentioned *HONEY SINGH* in the heading itself

  3. Rubal Walia

    If I may counter, there have been cases where people committed murders learning from watching the crime series on Discovery channel. Several criminals have confessed to have been motivated by watching bollywood films/songs. But saying that these crimes wouldn’t have been committed hadn’t there been these films/series is baseless.

  4. robin

    Comment *its absolutely wrong to say that all is happening in the world because of honey singh

  5. yo!yo!

    Sabse pehli baat toh mai hoon balatakari honey bhai ne nahi gaya hai unki voice ka sample bhi le liya hai aur match bhi nahi hota hai,bhai ne kitni baar interview mai yeh clear kar diya hai.dusri baat ki kitne gaane log internet mai unke naam se dalte hai.mai bas itna kehna chahta hooh ki aise kitne aur gane hai jo double meaning hote hai ya phir ladies ko target mai rakh ke hote hai, mai kissi singer ka naam nahi loonga lekin aap sab jante hai ki kaun aisa gaate hai,bollywood mai bhi aisi kitni film aati hai joh a certificate wali hoti hai,agar aapko ban karna hai toh sab hi galat cheez go band karo na sirf ek bhai ke hi kyo piche pade ho.mujhe bhai ki ek baat bahut sahi lagti hai ki woh bolte hai ki aap unhe like kar sakte hai ya unlike par unhe ignore nahi kar sakte, aur reason mai batataah hooh ki log unse jealous kyu hai, honey singh ek brand ban gaya hai aur kuch bhi desh mai ulta seedha hota hai honey bhai ka zaroor naam gasheta jata hai usme.mai toh yehi manta hooh ki bhai bahut tallented insaan hai woh kya nahi hai singer,music composer,lyricist,dancer,actor,rapper.mai toh yeh tak kahoonga ki woh abhi tak ke one of the most tallented person hai joh india ne produce kiya hai.log unse jealous hote hai unki daulat shauhrat se unko yeh hazam nahi ho paa raha hai ki honey bhai ek gaane ka ₹70 lakh kaise charge kar sakte hai jabki aur singer unse 7-8 times kam charge karte hai.matlab producer/director bewakoof hai film ke joh itna paisa unhe de rahe hai.ek singer tabh hi hit ho sakta hai jab uske gaane logo ko pasand aate hai,aur uski fan following zyada ho.maine unka interview pada tha aur usme unhone bola tha ki mere family ko mujh mai bahut bharosa hai ki mai koi galat kaam nahi kar sakta aur mai bhi yehi manta hooh aur pura desh manta hai, sirf kuch logo ko neglect kar ke.mai toh unke gaane soun ta hooh lekin ladkiyo ko kabhi na galat kehta hooh na hi unhe parershan karta hooh,baat woh nahi hai ki tum kisi se influence hote ho ya nahi par baat yaha hai niyat ki, aur bahut se uneducated log bhi ladies ki bahut izzad karte hai par kabhi educated bhi ladkiyo ki bezati kar te hai,mai toh girls or women ki bahut respect karta hooh,mujhe koi kahega ki le alcohol le le par mujhe itni toh samajh hai ki alcohol mai ek bar piyoonga par usse mai addicted ho sakta hooh toh mai use looh hi kyo aur mujhe koi force toh nahi kar sakta,aur unke alcohol wale gaane ko bahut log critism karte hai,par pinne ke layak toh bano jaise unka recent gana aaya hai one bottle down n i love it n da rapping part is very beautiful kuch bann ke toh dikhao phir sochna pinne ke baare mai .unke acche gane ke baare mai koi nahi bolta jaise bhagat singh ka.joh bewakoof ladke ladlkiyo ke liye apni jaan tak dete hai bina koi soche samjhe ki unki papa mummy ka kya hoga ya family ka, unke liye bhai ne haye mera dil jaise gaane bana rakhe hai ki bhai ladkiyo ke itne zyada piche mat pado.mai bas itna hi kehna chahta hooh ki woh apne bhai hai aar agar hum apne bhai ko support nahi karenge toh kaun karenga pls support yo yo honey singh humare apne.

    1. Gagandeep Singh

      Well, Sayantan clearly fans of Honey Singh outnumber the dissident voices against him. I echo your feelings but these fans have all the right logic (as per them). For them every singer is a brother or they know him personally. And they will defend him at any cost. At the end of the day, it is personal choice and personally, I feel his lyrics are mostly absurd and in current Indian music scene, garbage is currently good enough to attract fans.

  6. Mihir gulat

    Dude!! Get your facts right before posting such articles. I know him personally and he didn’t compose/sing Balatkaari. Please research.

  7. Udit Anand

    The depths to which people will go (read: use celeb names and their picture) to get views. This article is an abomination in the name of journalistic integrity and research.

  8. Bhavneet

    Well clearly after reading this article, the image of YOUTH KI AWAAZ has lowered in my eyes. Clearly either they do not read their own articles or do not care about what they publish. (or was this article posted under satire genre, if yes then i’m sorry).

  9. Avinesh Saini

    What 15 year old kid doesn’t know the word balatkari? Your cousin hoodwinked you.

  10. Maha

    Say what you want but I believe people in arts and entertainment especially those who are popular have a duty to be sensible and sensitive towards the society. They simply can’t churn up humongous heaps of trash to us when all we want is some good music with some good lyrics to make our lives better. So many sleazy Bollywood songs and album songs needs to be censored but even the person who does it must know what’s gonna be real entertainment and what’s gonna be perceived as entertainment. Most songs these days are better to be ignored due to repeated tunes and senseless lyrics. Gone are those days when lyricists and music directors competed with each other to produce quality products and pleasured our auditory senses. Music was largely used for evoking patriotic fervor in Independence movement era. Every music has the capability to evoke some emotion in us. Realizing this and delivering them would be good for art and it’s sustenance.

  11. shivpoojan

    Yoyo jai hind sir id ka chand mat hona 55 din rhna hai ok

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