Girls addicted to drugs in Punjab

A friend sent a link to a video that shows 2 girls smoking smack and cigarettes in what looks like a hostel room. Neither this is something totally new nor as a man, I have any right to say that girls shouldn’t do this. When boys are doing all this why not girls ? But something visual like this does make an impact and makes you think like where we are heading ?

The reason why I think it marks a new low in our society is something else. Alcohol and drugs related issues are not very new to Punjab. It was there since our grandfathers’ generation or even before. But even in those times women were the members of the family who saved the homes and families even in the cases where men of the house were drunkards or drug addicts. They worked hard to save whatever little they could. They would work in the fields, do small house hold jobs and what not. Aim was to keep the house running. But now when women have taken to drugs like this, it makes me really really sad about what our future holds for us.

Not sure how much one can do as an individual but most certainly all these things aren’t good signs.

May God save us from this disaster.

janam din mubarak Maan saab

I stared my first job in 2004 in Mohali and we used in live in phase 5 and then 3B2. There was a music shop in Phase 5 market (Opposite Khalsa Dhaba. I cant recall the name. Probable Some Audio Hut. It is not there any more. The owner guy closed it down and move abroad I think.). As I was a regular customer there Smile with tongue out so that guy was well known to me. Well before release of any of the new Gurdas Maan albums people started waiting for the audio CDs. Problem was that on release day companies would release only a limited number of copies and shops would run out of stock on the first day itself. In few hours in fact. Because that guy was known to me so he would keep my copy safe and when we went to him after office in the evening he will call me inside and silently hand over the CD wrapped in a paper. Such was this man’s magic. MP3 days had already started but people would make an exception in Gurdas Maan’s case and buy the original CD.

Been some time to all these things and last few years of his career haven’t been that great in my personal opinion but that doesn’t harm the respect, position he enjoys for being the biggest entertainer of Punjabi music in the modern times. There is no-one like him and it is not easy being GM. The kind of space he has enjoyed in the hearts of people of Punjab, not every one gets that. That is why aunties say “eh mar jaana aheja da aheja e pia”.

Je Gurdas nu tu mar jaana kehndi na,

Mar jaane di bhora keemat paindi na

 

janam din mubarak Maan saab…jeeyo !

ni nanaane beimaane – Ranjit Kaur

This song used to play a lot on radio during my school days. Yesterday from somewhere this line “aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de” was running in my mind. Then i searched for this song and stumbled upon this live version by Ranjit Kaur. I was not able to find the album version. The YouTube description of the video says that it was in Canada in 1982. That makes this song almost three decades old. So not sure even the album version exists somewhere or not.  It is written by Babu Singh Maan (I am not 100% sure but that is what it looks like from the last stanza and the fact the most of the songs sung by Mohd Sadiq & Ranjit Kaur were penned by him). The reason i am posting this song here with lyrics is to highlight how beautiful our music used to be before this “noise pollution” hit the industry.

I am posting the complete lyrics also. See the simplicity and beauty of words. It draws a complete picture of the rural life. Then see the simplicity of music; just harmonium and dholak. Ranjit Kaur’s amazing voice and the grace. It is a pure gem. Enjoy the beauty. You may post in the comments if you aren’t able to understand the meaning of any stanza. I will try to explain.

 

ni nanaane beimaane
akhan fer gi rakaane
tain hi veer nu kasooti looti lai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

tu hi khich dhooh ke mainu  teeyan wich lai ke gai
awein sangdi sangaundi ne main peengh jhooth lai
peengh chad gai hulaare siron chunni lath gai
pind sauhrian de mach gi duhai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

ghar aa ke kise ditti daar khamban di bana
kise chandre ne ditta loon sewiyan ch pa
khaure hasde hasaunde nu ki sapp sunghia
uhne ik meri suni na sunaai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

tu e bhain o bhara main begaanian di dhee
ni nanaane hunda sarian da ikko jiha jee
hor khaure us chandre de dil wich kee
aje firda e mathe watt pai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

mainu pata’i kahton ‘Maan’ mere kol na khaloye
uhde laajwar la la kahton sass leede dhoye
poore panj din aj saanu russian nu hoye
saadi kise ne v sula’h na karai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

(laajwar – neel (Blue), this Robin Blue or Amar Ulaja thing used on White clothes after washing them)

 

aj da Punjab

Called home and was talking to father saab. He told about a recent incident in our village. A husband & wife worked in the High School there. Husband retired sometime ago and he got few lakhs as his full & final amount. Their son who is a drug addict was demanding that money from his father. He said no to any money as he needed to get the two girls married off with that money. One day his son beat him up and hit him on the head. Probably due to that he lost his mental balance and one day committed suicide by jumping in front of the train. Villagers called the boy and first he denied to come and then came well dressed wearing black goggles. While giving the statement to Police he said “I am feeling stressed now, will record my statement after 2-3 days”.

This is the reality of Punjab today.

Demystifying Punjabi stereotypes – 2

Read Part 1 – Punjab is a very rich state !

 

 Punjabi music is all about beats !

Thankfully it is not. What you get to see is Bollywood’s use (use as exploiting something; i say use because Bollywood includes Punjabi songs in a movie to make the album hit not to promote Punjabi music) of Punjabi music. Far away from that adulterated stuff you get to hear there exists some beautiful Punjabi music of so many different genres including dance numbers, sad songs, spiritual poetry and so on.

Break the stereotype, go explore FolkPunjab.org and enjoy some beautiful music. A whole new world awaits you.

Demystifying Punjabi stereotypes – 1

Most of the stuff that non Punjabi’s know about us Punjabis is typical stereotyped stuff shown in Bollywood movies and Punjabi songs. Most of it is some non-sense wrapped around “balle balle” as if dancing is what Punjabi’s do all the time. So thought about doing some posts telling the reality instead of what is being shown on small or big screen. How it actually started was that once I drafted a post explaining that how in Punjab there live people of all religions, not only Sikhs as a lot of non-Punjabi’s seem to think. But this post remained in the draft for months. Then last week a colleague in office was talking about something similar. From there an idea struck me to write about multiple topics related to Punjabi stereotypes. In each post I will try to talk about one topic (or more if they are very closely related). The posts are not going to be very very detailed but would briefly talk about the subject. You can add your criticism/views/corrections of any facts in the comments section. Some of the posts might be ridiculously short but length isn’t really the important thing here. Important is to make the point about some issue that we are seeing around us.

So here we go with the very first post in this series. In this the issue I am going to talk about is:

 

Punjab is a very rich state

 

That is what a lot of people outside Punjab think courtesy Punjab’s rich past and what is being shown in movies, songs etc. But the reality is that it used to be rich but it is not anymore. These days economy is in shambles. State is under a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore. There is no money to pay salaries to the Govt. employees and to make both ends meet Govt. properties, lands are being sold. There are hardly any new Govt. jobs. Not much is happening in the name of industrial growth so there are not many jobs in private sector too. Menace of drugs is posing the most serious danger the state has ever seen. According to some reports almost 60-70% or more of the youth is addicted to some kind of drug or alcohol. There are villages where each family has lost one of more of the family members to some kind of drug addiction.

Agriculture has failed. Landlords might be doing fine but farmers with few acres of land can hardly make both ends meet. Many of the small farmers have taken loans to the tune of lakhs from banks and because of poor agricultural growth are not able to pay it back. Not being able to support their families they are taking the suicide route to end their lives. There are many families where the only earning members have committed suicides and the debt ridden families are left to struggle with their lives.

 

With all this going on one can pretty much understand how rich Punjab these days is !

 

Read part 2 – Punjabi music is all about beats !

Gurdas Maan–Roti–music review and more

I am writing a music review of an album after really really long time. The last one I wrote was on Mar 3, 2009 for Collaborations 2. I am not really the one who was eagerly waiting for this album but actually this post is a mix of two posts; ie music review of this album and some in general stuff that I have been thinking about Gurdas Maan’s performance in the last few years. I am sorry if this post sounds like a too critical one. So lets get going with the music review first.

Overall this album is a disappointment especially in terms of music. If we exaggerate it a little disaster won’t really be an overstatement. I don’t understand the reason why he left Jaidev Kumar. The kind of stuff that Gurdas Maan sings Jaidev Kumar is the only music director who can compose music for his songs. Earlier it was Charanjit Ahuja and Amar Haldipur who did some brilliant stuff for few of his albums. But this time he switched to Jatinder Shah and that seems to have resulted in almost a disaster. Lets talk about the album song by song:

1) Roti : Very nice lyrics. The live performance has been really good in most of his shows. But in this album it sounds like a blunder. Bad music and the almost stupid video makes it a bad one. There is nothing, really nothing in the video except that it has been filmed on Gurdas Maan. With such beautiful lyrics they could have made an amazing video showing daily lives of people and passing on a beautiful message.

2) Pind di hawa : Before the album came out I was expecting this one to be one of the best songs. I watched few of the videos from his live performances of this song. It has that original GM touch to it. Reminds me of mudja ve mudja beeba The album version also sounds ok. Music is just fine here if not brilliant.

3) Sajna tainu tak nahi rajna : Again a good one. Music again is also fine for this one.

4) Raati chann naal gallan karke : I could never understand what this song is all about. Sounded like a filler to me. It is so long that never seems to end. I played it almost 4-5 times and it never caught my attention.

5) Je laayi si tan nibhauni : Again a nice track but stupid kind of music. Nice beat but too much use of computerized music.

6) Akh mere yaar di : Again nothing much special here. Lyrics are ok types but a loose type composition.

7) Ja chup karke turja : I was expecting it to be a really really good song but it probably turned out to be the biggest disappointment out of all 8 songs. Such amazing lyrics and the live version was equally amazing. GM himself messed it up. We don’t even need to talk about music here. His pronunciation of words is like he is chewing them. I can’t believe such a composition can be spoiled to this extent. DISASTER !

8) Farmaan : So once again a religious song. Fine lyrics. But I think not as brilliant as sarbans daaniya ve. A friend just confirmed what I have been thinking. It looks like an attempt to silence the voices from Sikh circles who are too critical of him.

So overall this album is a serious disappointment especially in the field of music and one video that we have seen. I don’t think people are gonna play it again after an year or so. It would turn out to be just another album. BTW a question for Jatinder Shah : what was the need to edit his voice in many of the songs ? Even a novice won’t do that.

Now lets get down to talk about what has gone wrong about Gurdas Maan. There are few thing that I think are responsible for his (kind of) downfall in last few years:

1) He needs to slow down. Really he needs to slow down. Age is catching up now and he keeps traveling for whole of month. It seems he is running out of content because he has no time to think. He needs to cut down on his tours, give some time to himself and come with some quality content.

2) For music he should get back to Jaidev Kumar. No one can do it better than Jaidev for him.

3) He needs to find a new video director. After Manoj Punj left this world that void hasn’t been filled. Frankly speaking Manjit Maan isn’t a video director. Most of the videos that she has directed are copies of the work that Manoj Punj did. Roti video in itself is a perfect example of lack of creativity.

4) He needs to take his dera connection down to personal level. He has been visiting that place since ever but it was in his personal capacity. He didn’t do a kind of promotion. But since last few years he has been promoting it like anything. Given the damage that deras have done to Punjab he should be careful while doing so. In his personal capacity he can go wherever he wants but promoting this isn’t really expected from him. Being the biggest ambassador of Punjabiat he has some responsibility on his shoulders which he should be careful about. But it seems that that is not going to happen. As one of my friend and old GM fan puts it that it is a win-win situation for both the parties. Dera gets a lot of GM followers as visitors and a lot of dera visitors have become GM fans. These days half of what he says is somehow linked to what happens in dera and what sain ji said. I find that irritating to say the least and I am sure a lot of old, genuine fans do the same.

So guys that is what I thought after listening to this album. Do leave your comments !

Survival of a language

This topic has been in my mind since long but never got to write about it. And it is not only about Punjabi language. It applies to any of the regional languages. And here we are talking about the people who live away from their native regions.

I have lived in Delhi for six years. There is a sizable Punjabi population in Delhi and Punjabi has got the second language status. But one thing that is very much noticeable is that generally the people you see speaking Punjabi are all above 40 years of age. No one from the newer generation speaks Punjabi. In fact the reality is that can’t really speak even if they want to. Leave few broken sentences that they might be able to construct and speak.

This is about speaking. If we talk about reading and writing the situation is even worse. No one from the new generation would be able to do that because they were not taught Punjabi in schools and at home their parents didn’t communicate with them in Punjabi .

Question here is that in such a scenario how does a language survive ? When you can’t read, write or speak a language how you can identify yourself by that ? Isn’t it the slow death of our regional languages ?

Sufi Sartaaj ?

I am not a professional writer so this article may keep on jumping around different points. Apologies if you find it boring and not so continuous types ;). Also this article was meant to undergo some more revisions but lack of time & plenty of laziness didn’t let that happen. So posting it as it is. Special thanks to Samrat Dhillon for reviewing it (in fact, going to the extent of being a co-author) and making it look much better than what I initially drafted.

In the recent times, if there is someone who has actually tasted the juice of (super) success he is Satinder Sartaaj. His albums have been selling like hot cakes, probably leaving the old and experienced singers behind too. But all is not so well. He has been criticized for few things as well. In the opinion of his hard core fans, this criticism is not justified. On the other hand, in the view of the other group, his success is fake, hyped, spoiler and not so permanent.

This article is an attempt to discuss what is so good or bad about his success, career etc. First I will talk about his (kind of) instant success. Before he released his first album, he was quite popular on youtube and people knew about him. So his first album was a huge huge hit and it sold a record number of copies; something that matters a lot in these days of mp3-dominated-market. Now what makes him so hit? There are 2 reasons in my opinion. I will talk about them one by one:

The first reason according to me is the scope of the market. Punjabi music industry, at a broad level can be divided into two categories. One category of this market is really cheap stuff that is being released on the daily basis. Some parts of it become hit and others go unnoticed. Second part of this market is “the” really good stuff from legendary artists like Nusrat, Abida and others. And of course there is an occasional good release from Maans, Hans’s and other good artists. So there is a large vacuum between these two categories. That is where Sartaj comes in. People are fed up of the crap being served to them and it is not everyone’s cup of tea to listen to the legends we talked about. In such a scenario, Sartaj’s so called good lyrics, some decent presentation and everything comes as a pleasant change.

Second reason for his popularity is the attire he has chosen. It is immediately noticeable and looks like the dress worn by Sufis. It is an eye-catcher thing gimmick and people relate it with spirituality and divine lyrics, although his lyrics are far from such qualities.

These two are the reasons in my opinion that make him such a huge hit.

All looks well, so where is the problem?

Well, there are few things that are doing the damage. First thing is he is being called the Waris Shah of 21st century. This comparison is totally, absolutely absurd and idiotic, to say the least. It started from when he played the role of Waris Shah in the serial made by Zee Punjabi. Also, that is from where he has got his dress. He wore similar kind of dress in the serial and retained it when he started performing as a singer. From this whole story, coupled with that he writes his own lyrics people labeled him as the new Waris Shah. The unfortunate thing is that there is large section of his fans that believes in this comparison too. Waris Shah spent his whole life in writing one saga Heer and that was what made him “Waris Shah”. And this comparison, I don’t understand if it makes any sense at all.

Second thing is he has been labeled as (even believed by some) a Sufi singer. This again comes from his dress and his style of singing. There is an argument that he denies being a Sufi singer. He might do but few things related to him don’t support this. He doesn’t say NO when he is labeled as one. His twitter id (assuming it is an official one) is http://twitter.com/#!/SufiSartaaj and Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/sufisartaaj , which clearly don’t go with the argument that he says no to the Sufi label. In fact, he enjoys this association as it gives him a big advantage and a selling mantra. Now people ask what the problem is if he is being called a Sufi singer. No wonder there are few who actually think that what he sings is indeed Sufi genre. This is indeed a hilarious situation. Adhi kick te start yamah, Billo ji, neendar neeni-badi kameeni; I don’t understand what kind of Sufism is this. In my opinion there is hardly anything that he has sung that matches with what Sufism is all about. This thing actually is doing a lot of damage. His ardent fans are not ready to accept that his genre is no where close to sufi, or his lyrics have nothing to do with sufi “Kalams”. This is only going to create confusion for the coming generations as to what sufi music is all about. They will confuse sufi music with something which is not even folk. The coming generation will be confused as to what is sufi music, is it Abida’s Kaafi or is it Sartaj’s pop.

He has been accused of stealing, modifying and singing the poetry of other writes without giving proper credit to them. Plagiarization in any form should be criticized and credit should be given where it is due. Moreover being a lyricist himself he should value the writings of other poets.

So these are few of the things going against and in his favour.

I would like to see him shed this dress and change his image, making it clear that he is not a Sufi singer. He has to improve the quality of his lyrics, shed fake attire to gain appreciation from audiences who currently doubt his credentials as a good singer.

Khund Charcha – 4

mundio bhala ki raula jangeer di kudi da…

chacha oh rishta jihda hoya c uhde ch kuch kharabi hogi…

naale aahde c munda bahar a bai…

haan chacha hai te bahar e c…par kudi ne haje jana c…ehna ton paise lai le 4 lakh rupeeya bahar lai k jaan da…

hun mudke mere sale da thou pata ni koi…

te wichola ni wich paya ehna ne…

oh taya oh te aap aahde mooh lukonda firda hun…wichli gal uhnu b pata honi…hun talda firda oh…

na hoya ki bhala ? bahar lai k kyon ni janda hun…

oh bai kehnde munda vyahia hoya c pehla e…awein kanjar ethe paise luttan a gia…naale jawakdi di zindagi rol ti…

na uhna da hai ni bhala koi picha…

koi chache taye rehnde a pind…par kehnde uhna naal b anban a…baahli gal baat hai ni…

oh bai asi b kamle hoye paye an…bas 4 paisian khatar jawakan nu faahe tangan nu tyar an…te aj kal di mandeer b gal ni sundi…sab nu bahar di agg laggi…uthe jive mere sale de darakhtan nu lagde a…

bai jaagrookta bahut jaroori a…bahar munde kudi da vyah karan ton pehlan pata karna chahida changi taran…sab agge piche de risshtedaar…

aj kal mere sale di sari dunia chor bazari te uttaraai…koi bharosa ni kise da…

wichole b 2 shaapan khatar kuch da kuch dasde a…

ah laabh da munda aya ehnu pata hou…

oh bhala ki bania bai ?

bai pata karke aaye a aj pind ja ke…bahar da number pata lagia…hun uthe fone karke bhawein pata lagge kuch…

tere taye nu kahin je sadi kite lod hove tan dassio…kise thaane kacheri jana hove…thanedaar apna wakaf a…banda e bande de kam aaunda bai…

changa mundio…thand uttardi aaundi…main gurudware matha tek ke ghar nu jaawan…

changa chacha….

chal yaar main b niklan aj paani di waari a…adha ghanta pehla waddna…ruldu aala lia main…roti kha k maar k aawan geda…

changa bai…saag hove tan 4 gandalan tod liaai…