“O lagdi Lahore di aa
Jis hisab naal hassdi aa
O lagdi Punjab di aa
Jis hisab naal takdi aa”
“Tere Lakk Toh Lagda Karachi Di
Fan Marjaniye Bugati Di”
A layman, hearing or reading these lyrics for the first time would intuitively guess that the lyricist or singer is of Pakistani origin. Albeit, that is not the case. As is widely known, these super-famous songs by Guru Randhawa and Hardy Sandhu have been etched in the minds of Indians and Pakistanis alike, who take to grooving to the same almost instantaneously. A minuscule portion of the listeners, however, will take the time to reflect upon the profound lyrics, and try to deduce why Indian singers are using Pakistani references in their songs.
The reasons really are not more than two. First, within Indian Punjab, there continues to remain a longing for Western Punjab which was gifted away to Pakistan illegally, despite it, much like all of Pakistan’s present-day provinces, voting for amalgamation with India in the provincial elections of 1946. The pro-India front had won 85 seats, while the Muslim League had alone garnered 75 of them. Punjabis, wherever they are around the world, hope to see Punjab getting unified once again, helping it resuscitate its historical glory.
In that sense, Punjabi singers tickle such sentiments within Punjabis around the world by using references of Pakistani cities, particularly Lahore. As a matter of fact, cycling from Lahore to Amritsar and vice versa prior to partition was quite a thing for Punjabis. When bringing in the name of the city, Punjabi singers play with the emotions of the listeners, while earning handsome bucks themselves.
But the partition of Punjab is hardly a factor as important in the production of such songs than the money which flows for singers and producers due to merely sliding in some Pakistani references. Punjabi singers, obviously, understand the Indian psyche, which is why they know that while songs with explicit Pakistani or Western Punjab references will be seamlessly successful within India, for them to make a run in Pakistan would require something which Pakistanis can attach a false sense of identity with.
It is common sense really to realise that songs bereft of any Pakistani references will not find as much traction within Pakistan, as opposed to those which have mentions of Pakistani cities or Allah, Maula, etc. Additionally, that Punjabis (mostly Sikhs) in countries like the U.S., UK, Canada and Europe harbour anti-India sentiments is known to all. For such an audience too, the subtle mention of West Punjab identifiers goes a long way in ensuring that the said song receives tremendous traction outside India and Pakistan as well.
Now, when the mere mention of Pakistani cities and other landmarks can help Indian singers earn extra bucket-loads of cash, a general sense of gratitude for their motherland or basic patriotism are easily tossed down the drain. Again, during the ongoing farmers’ protest, a Punjabi singer Ranjit Bawa, in his song titled ‘Punjab Bolda’ has not shied away from mentioning that those Punjabis which have been left in Lahore are the brothers of the state’s farmers who are agitating on the borders of Delhi. Naturally, the said song has also been receiving immense traction on YouTube.
Indians must realise the game which Punjabi singers are playing only to earn some extra cash. Their undue fascination of Pakistan must not become a means of ordinary Indians facilitating a generation of revenue for them. The message which must be sent across should be this: Punjabi singers must choose between their audiences. If they choose Pakistan and diaspora Khalistanis, Indians must step up their game and boycott such alleged artists. A pinch to their wallets will, rest assured, turn such singers into the most vociferous of Indian nationalists in no time.