Let’s not forget: even Chamkila had Amarjot by his side always and the two complimented each other. Was society more progressive at that time than we have today which wanted to see Chamkila with Amarjot and the two achieved greater popularity together?
After systematically ostracizing Miss Pooja from popular Punjabi music scene by the groups of people which included everyone the discussion we won’t resort to, there have not been many young female singers who have come out and sung and achieved massive popularity. Let’s not talk about few singers, unknown and struggling and hidden here and there – we need phenomenon like Surinder Kaur or Noor Jahan or even massively popular names like Amarjot or Miss Pooja.
Visiting last few pages of Punjabi music pops out so many names of male singers of today’s music that one has to dive deep to find one female singer and she also does not turn out to be popular and is not promoted. It’s not that Punjabi females do not have any talent today – but the stereotypes against them have become so fixed that they can not achieve popularity if they do not sing either of the two categories – either songs appealing to men, or religious and patriotic songs.
The respect for existence of femininity has been lost today and it is quite evident even if people here take a dislike for this particular article. It’s been ages since we heard a woman waiting for her lover or husband, or teasing her angry husband/lover, or doing innocent things like cooking to make her angry man happy or waiting for her brother to visit her amidst adversity. It’s not a fact that such things are not done in our homes today : everywhere around people still have wives and sisters and mothers who keep a balance in the family and whose love and care is needed by men of the family.
It is a very disturbing trend that now young females have also taken a liking to misogynist songs sung by males which only serve the purpose of objectifying women and create stereotypes like every girl betrays the boys; every girl has many boyfriends; every girl out there loves drugs and alcohol; every woman goes to nightclubs.
That women audience have today surrendered to the songs ridiculing their own womanhood can be explained only by either of the two phenomena – it is either learned helplessness which conveys to the women the songs and music bantering your existence is the popular trend and will always be and you have to accept it helplessly and be with us; or being a part of mob mentality by the women too that whatever mob is saying or is following might be right. Becoming a part of the mob does not always mean that we are following the right path.
Let’s not target any one singer in particular. This is being done by every popular Punjabi singer today and most of our songs today revolve around one mythical ‘kudi’ and her insult in whatever way it can be – emotional, betrayal, physical, cultural while men take pride all the time in conveying through their music how they are most faithful lovers and true sons of Punjab even though much atrocities on Punjabi culture today are being done by young boys and men and not women.
It’s never a good sign for any community or culture when the entertainment industry does not have equal participation by women. It is a sign of blatant mental and societal regression.
Coming from the land where the most dominant singer pre-partition was Noor Jahan who remains a sacred pillar of origins of Punjabi music amidst her colorful personality the anecdotes of which are a chapter in mysterious and spicy life of superstars, and the place which worships Surinder Kaur when she was an equal part of duets, songs sung waiting for lover, songs inviting lover to cross the banks of Chenab and come meet her, Amarjot without which Chamkila was incomplete, today’s times are the worst for Punjabi female music.
It’s not appropriate to respect females singing only patriotic, or religious or sufi songs. Women should be able to celebrate their emotions and feelings about romanticism without the fear of judgement by the men.
It is not appropriate to teach our sons that girls and women who sing or write about their emotions inherent to their womanhood are wrong or have gone astray. The men need to learn that they are not the most faithful lovers and not the only ones who wait or cry for their separated partners, and that they can not ridicule women every now and then when alcohol, weapons, sex, and other vices are gift of men to the society and not women.
As I struggle to find popular female singers singing about women in our ‘progressive’ Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to see many young females of every strata a part of popular music industry in our neighbor Pakistani Punjab where they sing innocent songs about their own being. It is being promoted heavily due to political reasons and we know that.
The ban imposed by Lahore High Court on Naseebo Lal in 2009 who was popular in that mujra phase, even though she was a strong voice, has sprung up countless better female voices there. If I have to listen to any soft or husky or delicate female voice, I have to search on you tube and that is the only region which is distributing it. Today Naseebo Lal can not find her place back in presence of so many decent and very soothing female voices which have populated music scene in Pakistani Punjab. This means that some singers are really popular for supporting only indecency and if a temporary ban can make things better, it can be and should always be an option. Also, after she was banned, her supporters of that time became suddenly impotent and even today they are not ready to support her since popular opinion has built up in favor of today’s women of educated and cultured families. No doubt dancers dance there today, but now they take support of Indian item songs. Naseebo Lal was also a soft target at that time but her suppression revived their original music.
No doubt we resort to Shreya Ghoshal or Sunidhi Chauhan who can not pronounce many Punjabi words in their true gist when it comes to finding playback singers for our films. We never created or let the softer female voices find their roots in our popular music scene.
Resting tonight with this soft voice of this innocent face. No patriotism, no sufism, no effort to make men laugh or dance – just an innocent Punjabi song.
There are readers who think Pakistani Punjab and Indian Punjab are same – let’s learn from them.
There are readers who hate the other side of border due to long standing history of hostility – come on, compete with them. They have their own share of problems and their own share of better things.