JALANDHAR: From facing hate propaganda for around a decade and half, which started soon after Partition and made people disown their mother tongue during census of 1951 and 1961, Punjabi has now emerged as the language of resistance during the current farmers’ movement.
In December 2020, when scores of Indians were scrambling to understand the language after Punjabi singer and Bollywood actor Diljit Dosanjh called out his Bollywood colleague Kangana Ranaut in Punjabi, it was in complete contrast to the situation in Punjab in 1957, when hate filled slogans like Langri bhasha nahin parenge(won’t study a crippled language that is Punjabi), Gandi(dirty) bhasha nahin parenge, Jabri bhasha nahin parenge were raised during tge “Save Hindi Agitation” launched by Hindi Samiti in Punjab. It was none other than Pandit Mohan Lal, who remained home and finance minister of Punjab, who recorded these slogans in his book “Disintegration of Punjab” while noting the trail of bitterness left by Hindi agitation in Punjab.
If Dosanjh piqued Punjabi curiosity, songs about the farmers movement launched in the last few weeks have furthered the Punjabi craze and are being played even at marriage parties. Dominating theme of these songs is resistance, while using symbols from Punjab and Sikh history. Almost every Punjabi singer worth his her salt has participated in this movement — in-person and through music.
This protest has acquainted more Punjabi singers and their songs with non-Punjabis, as their names and pictures are featuring in news programmes on national TV channels and social media platforms.
Punjabi singers have been participating in this movement when the agitation was still in Punjab. Their presence played a significant role in getting popular support for the agitation. When farmers of Punjab and Haryana removed barricades on national highways to reach Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur on Delhi borders, they were joined by Punjabi singers there. If singers like Kanwar Grewal, Jas Bajwa and Ranjit Bawa were at the front line from the very beginning of the movement, Jazzy B flew twice from Canada to join the protest and has been staying at Singhu border.