A song for a song
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Finally, we conclude the song with the reminder that rape is not death. That even the idea of rape being the effective end of the life of the victim is deeply problematic. This understanding of rape reduces the entire existence and individuality of women to "jism ke dhaai inchon mein (two-and-a-half inches of the body)", and is precisely the logic that perpetrators function on when they choose to rape women to "teach them a lesson" or "show them their place". This notion is the cornerstone of any patriarchal understanding of women and is so widespread in our society that it is reflected in popular culture again and again, the most recently controversial of which has been Punjabi singer Honey Singh's grossly offensive music, such as the song "C***t".
Ours is a world where art is in thrall to the logic of markets. Any sensational, shock-value laden "product" that trades in existing stereotypes will be successful. This is a perverse culture that renders the role of the artist in a society obsolete by turning the artist into a vendor. Art must never be empty, instant entertainment. Because art, by looking beyond the obvious, can channel collective angst into a more constructive expression that can create a positive change.This is why the artist has a responsibility to oppose regressive works parading as popular culture. And thus, in the context of a land where violence against women is endemic, art that celebrates sexism and misogyny and glorifies masculinity in its most brutal form is regressive and ought to be questioned.
For every "C***t", we must create songs that celebrate and remember that "she" fought. That she was one and they were six but afraid she was not ("Vekh maayi nee main lad ke aayi, kalli o chhey par na darr ke aayi"). We must continue to fight, to challenge, to protest. Because only then will we be able to move from a perverse misogynist culture to one that empowers, both in art and in life.
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