Ghar mein chhupe gaddaron ki khaal kheench li jaayegi/
Jo na kahe jai Ram lalla ki, jeebh kaat li jayegi/
Aasteeno ke saanp ko maro, koi paap toh nahin…
Kisi jihadi mulle ke aukat nahin…
Ayodhya Ram lalla ki bhumi hai, tere baap ki nahin.
(The traitors hiding at home will be skinned/One who doesn’t hail Ram lalla/ the tongue will be slashed/ Killing a traitor is no sin/ No jihadi Muslim is worth anything/ Ayodhya is Ram lalla’s land and not your ancestors.’)
Heavily tuned vocals paired with tinny orchestration on synths and octopads open Mumbai-based singer Aakash Dubey’s “Ram bhajan”, as he calls it. Released last year, it has over a million views on YouTube, and the 27-year-old takes credit for the song’s conceptualisation, lyrics, composition and vocals.
Dubey says he wrote the song as he found the situation in Ayodhya “troubling”. “Ayodhya is Ram lalla’s home and the temple was there first. Babar came and built a mosque over it. I can’t approve the Lord’s house going in any Muslim’s interest. What was there earlier needs to return,” he says.
In 2015, Dubey’s song Phoonk do Pakistan ko had landed him in jail. “I have had many threats” he shrugs, rattling off a list of his new songs, including Phoonk do Pakistan Ko 2, Jisko Hindustan mein rehna hoga, Vande Matram kehna hoga, and “Ayodhya geet”. He also recorded two romantic songs with T-Series recently.
Dubey’s song isn’t the only composition floating around on YouTube amidst reports of attacks on people for not saying Jai Shri Ram. The Supreme Court hearing on the Ayodhya matter is also turning up temperature on the issue.
Lawyer and political analyst Tehseen Poonawala recently tweeted about Bhojpuri singer Varun Bahar Upadhyay’s viral number, Jo na bole Jai Shri Ram, bhejo usko qabristan (Send those who do not chant Jai Shri Ram to the graveyard), urging the Delhi Police to file a complaint against it. The song, on Janata Channel’s YouTube video, has crossed two lakh views. After Poonawala, others registered complaints.
On July 26, Upadhyay was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police along with the lyricist of the song, Santosh Yadav, co-writer of the song Mukesh Pandey, and owner of the YouTube channel Janta Musical and Pictures Rajesh Kumar Verma.
Just before the arrest, Upadhyay, known for his innuendo-laden songs in Bhojpuri films, put out a video asking for help from “Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and our Hindu Yuva Vahini”, claiming he had been receiving threats. “We haven’t said anything to any particular caste or community. It’s the media and Ram-virodhi elements who want us incarcerated and hanged. If we are hanged, there is no problem; we will keep chanting Jai Shri Ram,” said Santosh Yadav, in the second video.
Other songs on social media include Prabhakar Maurya’s Hindu chadhkar rakt piyega un kutton ki chhati par/ Mandir nirman karenge hum Ayodhya ki dharti par (A Hindu will climb on those dogs and drink blood off their chests/ We will build the temple in the land of Ayodhya), and Dur hato Allah walon, kyun janm bhumi ko ghere ho (Get away Allah’s people, why are you surrounding the birthplace?), as well as Sandeep Chaturvedi’s 2016 number Topiwala bhi sar jhuka ke Jai Shri Ram bolega.
Alok Pandey, Chaturvedi’s manager, says that “the fact that people are associating the word ‘topiwala’ with Muslims (in the song), is their perspective”. “Topiwala is anyone who wears a cap. We have not mentioned any community. The song’s heat is still alive.”
Ved Vyas, BJP district vice-president in Bikaner, has also come out with similar songs, written and sung by him. One goes, Main Hindu jagaane aaya hoon, including the lines, ‘Jo taang adaaye Mandir mein, usko sabak sikhayenge; Pukarti Ma Bharti, khoon se tilak karo goliyon se aarti (We will teach a lesson to those who obstruct the Mandir; Ma Bharti is calling, honour her with blood and bullets)”.
Talking of his association with the Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal, and the ABVP, Vyas says, “Babar was an outsider who attacked India. So the Mandir needs to be built. We aren’t saying anything against Jama Masjid.”
He claims to have also written songs as a tribute to kar sevaks who were part of the Babri Masjid demolition.
Calling these songs disturbing, Patna-based social and cultural activist Nirala Bidesia says the trend began a decade ago, and the lyrics have grown bolder and more menacing. “There is one song, Saugandh hum Ram ki khaate hain, Mandir vahin banayenge (We take a pledge in the name of Ram, we will build temple there). They play it regularly during festivals and rallies.”
Bokaro-based singer Chandan Tiwari, a prominent folk and playback singer who won this year’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar from the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and has sung pieces such as Resul ka Ram and Moosa ka Ram in the past, says no one person is responsible for these songs. “Singers, composers, writers, they are all responsible… These new hate songs aren’t folk songs. They are trying to pass them off as bhajans. They aren’t. These are songs of frenzy,” she says.