Meet the 17-yr-old girl from Punjab who highlights Dalit issues through her music

Ginni comes from the scheduled castes and is not shy to say that she is a 'chamar'.

By: IANS | Updated: October 10, 2016 6:18 pm
Ginni Mahi is a 17-year-old YouTube sensation who highlights caste issues through music/ YouTube Ginni Mahi is a 17-year-old YouTube sensation who highlights caste issues through music/ YouTube

She took to singing when she was just seven and has, just a decade later, turned into a star of sorts within her community as she dared to wear her caste on her sleeve.

Meet Ginni Mahi, a 17-year-old from Punjab’s Jalandhar town, who has no qualms about being from the lower stream of the caste divide in the country.

WATCH VIDEO: Ginni Mahi Exclusive Interview: I Stand For Universal Empowerment

Through her music video ‘Danger Chamar’, which she released last year (2015) and has notched up thousands of likes on YouTube, Ginni says that she has tried to break the shackles of the caste system that has been prevalent in the country’s society for centuries.

Ginni comes from the scheduled castes and is not shy to say that she is a ‘chamar’, a low caste that used to be looked down upon by the caste-divided society till the constitution put a ban on doing so.

Watch video:

The ‘Danger Chamar’ title for the song, according to Ginni, came after one of her friends in college here asked about her caste.

“The thought of creating a song (on the caste divide) came when I was asked about my caste in college. When I said that I was a chamar, the girl said that chamars are quite dangerous,” said Ginni, a devotee of 15th century saint Ravidas.

Ginni says that through her song, she has tried to point out that the chamars, a word considered derogatory under the law, are “dangerous to the extent that they can sacrifice anything to fight injustice”.

She belongs to the Ravidassia community, which has a large following in Punjab’s Doaba region (the extremely fertile belt between the Sutlej and Beas rivers). The community is a part of the scheduled castes. Sant Ravidas is revered in Punjab as a Dalit icon.

Watch video:

The video portrays her as a modern singing sensation — backed with muscled youth, jeeps and the singer herself in jeans and sporting a leather jacket.

A keen follower of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the chairman of the committee that drafted independent India’s constitution, Ginni has sung another song “Fan Baba Sahib Di” that highlights Ambedkar’s contribution to bridging the caste divide in the country. Ambedkar is popularly known as “Baba Sahib”.

Ginni’s popularity through her songs has grown within Punjab’s Dalit community and her bold endeavour has helped in its empowerment.

At 32 per cent of its nearly 28 million population, Punjab has the highest percentage of Dalits among all states. A majority of the community is based in the Doaba belt.

The teenaged singer hit the social media platforms through her first album, “Guruan di Diwani” that came out in 2015. Her popularity can be gauged from the Rs 30,000-per performance she attracts in the market.

But Ginni does not want to sing community-based songs alone. Her ambition is to hit it big as a playback singer in Bollywood’s music industry “so that I can reach out to a bigger audience”. Her love is for devotional and Sufi songs.

Her parents, Rakesh and Paramjeet Kaur Mahi, are solidly behind Ginni in her pursuit of singing excellence.

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  1. A
    Jul 28, 2016 at 6:09 am
    Good Job Ginni...Keep it up ..You have a lot of courage and talent ,you will definitely and surely excel in your life .. To address oneself as a chamar in this society needs lot of guts and you have it .I feel that this is the beginning you have to go very far in this battle . One suggestion which i feel will definitely help all of us , just glorify the chamar word to such extent that every body wants to name themselves as chamar .. older time i would have not said so but the time is changing and we should take advantage of it it is time of media and glamour.So dear best of luck and keep it up..never loose hope never felt DANGER CHAMAR ...
    1. B
      BS Chauhan
      Jul 29, 2016 at 3:52 am
      Doosri Pooja is;br/gt;Very sweet and melodious Voice.
      1. K
        Khem Bahadur
        Jul 28, 2016 at 4:36 am
        I was not aware of this fact that there is a division of caste division in Punjabi communities. We salute Ginni Mahi on behalf of Dalit community from Nepal. We can only overcome this problem by uniting for the common cause. There are many national level singer in Nepal from Dalit community like Yash Kumar, Shiva Pariyar, Raju Pariyar who have immensely contributed for the cause of dalit community in Nepal. We look forward to a get together with dalit community from Punjab and other parts of India and the world.