NOORPREET KAUR aka Noor (5), Punjab’s very own ‘youngest’ TikTok star, is a happy child these days. Her father no longer needs to work at the brick kiln for a meagre Rs 300 a day, and her new four-room ‘pucca’ house is under construction at her village Bhinder Kalan in Moga.
She even shot a video spreading awareness about Covid-19 with Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. But it’s not the fame that she is most happy about — its her three shiny new bicycles and a battery-operated motorcycle on which she rides around the village.
On Tuesday, as news of Chinese app ‘TikTok’ — which made Noor a household name and changed her life — being banned by the government reached Noor’s village, television channels again made a beeline to get her family’s reaction on the decision. Since April, when her videos, in which she is seen dressed as a little sardar boy wearing patka, rolling her eyes and delivering hilarious, witty one-liners, went viral, Noor’s life took a major turn amid the lockdown. Initially, people even mistook her for a boy because of her videos.
Noor’s father Satnam Singh and mother Jagvir Kaur say that they support the government’s decision to ban TikTok, but the app had helped their daughter’s talent reach millions and make them realize that daughters are no less than sons. In the videos, Noor appears with her elder sister Jashanpreet Kaur (9). They have a younger brother Gurvir (1). Admitting that they weren’t really very happy when Noorpreet was born, Satnam Singh said, “As the usual mentality goes, we were not that happy. Everyone was saying that since we already had Jashanpreet, the second one should have been a son.Noor’s mother was also upset because we are very poor, I hardly earned Rs 300 a day and it wasn’t easy to raise and marry off a daughter. We started raising Noor like a son and dressing her like one. But today she has made us proud, she has made us realize that daughters are no less than a son. Kudi hoke puttan wala kamm kitta hai Noor ne…”
Satnam further said that it is only because of Noor’s popularity on TikTok that their family’s fate took a turn. “We had a 2-room kutcha house. Noor used to get upset seeing that other children had better homes, at least with a pucca roof. Now a religious NGO is getting a house constructed for us. Noor also had an opportunity to shoot a video with the CM and is the coronavirus awareness ambassador for Moga police. Government also sent us financial aid of Rs 5 lakh, of which Rs 2.5 lakh has been kept aside for Noor’s education. We plan to admit her in a private school now. On a daily basis, her fans keep on thronging our home and give her toys which I could have never imagined affording for her. An NRI from England has sent her a battery operated motorcycle and now there are three more bicycles. Earlier, she used to crave for just one bicycle and I could not give that to her. Recently, one of her fans offered to get her a doll, but she refused. She said she now wants a bullet motorbike. She doesn’t behave like a girl at all,” said Satnam, laughing. He had a simple button phone earlier and one of Noor’s fans even gifted them a smartphone.
“We had never even imagined in our dreams that CM will know the daughter of a brick kiln labourer,” he said.
On the government’s decision to ban TikTok, Noor’s parents said, “We completely support this decision. What is more important is our country and to avenge the sacrifice given by our soldiers. What China did to our soldiers is completely unacceptable. There can be several replacements and alternatives to an app. What is more important is respect for our soldiers, not TikTok.”
Sandeep Toor, a grocery store owner in the village and Varan, a mason who used to shoot and conceptualize Noor’s videos and upload them on their TikTok accounts, said that app had put them and their village on the social media map. “No doubt we became famous and people from across Punjab and even abroad started following us, but we aren’t any superstars or celebrities. I still run my grocery store and Varan is still a mason. People gave us abundant love and Noor became a little star but we are still common people and the interest of the country is above everything for us,” said Toor.
“More than us, it has been a dream run for Noor and her sister Jashanpreet. They came from an extremely poor family and we are happy that because of our TikTok videos, life has changed for her family. Moga SSP said that they will also try to get a job for her father. But now we completely support the government’s decision to ban TikTok,” said Varan, a mason, who along with Sandeep, Noor, Jashanpreet and other village kids became TikTok stars during lockdown.
Toor’s TikTok account has 2.6 million followers and 71.9 million likes — up from around 8 lakh followers in April. Similarly, Varan’s TikTok account has 1.8 million followers and 41.7 million likes.
As for Noor, the fun goes on, with or without TikTok. On Tuesday, a day after TikTok ban, her new video was up on Facebook and Instagram, with her chattering away as usual. “TikTok ban ho gai hai, hun saanu Instagram tey follow, like karo.. Jehde mainu pyar karde hai, meri video dekhde hai, follow karo Noor nu Instagram tey……@noor_tiktok_star.”
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