Maybe I am too late with this piece. That is because when I first came across the Honey Singh scandal, I looked up his songs, looked at what he had to say, looked at what the opposition had to say, and I concluded that his songs, though misogynistic, do not condone rape. There is a fine line between misogyny and rape, and Yo Yo had managed to stick on the former’s side for me.
That was until today. Hence, this article.
I don’t know if Honey Singh sang Main Hoon Balatkari. I cannot find that song anywhere on youtube now. But he definitely sang Choot, a song I rediscovered today. I know this as he keeps shouting “Yo yo Honey Singh” throughout the song.
“Tere sir se chudney ka bhoot utaroon. Choodney key baad tujhe jutey maroon. Tere mooh main apna lora dey key mooth maroon. Yeah…Kar doon teri fuddi kharab.”
And this is what really scared me: “Gora badaan teri patli kamar. Solaan, satraan saal ke umar.” The girl that he and his buddy, Badshaah, are talking about raping is underage. Randomly through the song you hear someone mimicking a girl’s screams.
I agree that objectification in Bollywood needs to be monitored as well. But when it comes to item songs like Munni and Fevicol, the people saying that they condone rape as well, are a little off the mark. The problem with these songs is that they are aimed more at a heterosexual male audience. But that is the only problem.
The women in these songs consent to sex. They are sexual beings and prostitutes who acknowledge their sexual attraction to the men in question. We need songs and movies where women are shown as being equally capable of enjoying sex. And yes, we need more item songs with men as the item of entertainment.
Because, the problem is not with sex but with sex against one’s consent. India needs to be more accepting of sex and less of rape. There’s a difference. Sunny Leone is not telling you that it’s okay to rape women. She is telling you it’s okay to have sex.
I think that a lot of people are confused with Singh’s arrest because they only remember his songs like Brown Rang but not the ones like Choot.
Having lived in India, I know very few girls who have never been sexually harassed. When you consider the number of women who have been sexually abused, it is not very difficult to imagine the number of men who might be abusers.
I know men, who turned out to be sexual offenders, whom my father had completely trusted. I know people who have been abused by cousins and uncles. I had once been molested by a guy I had considered a dear friend, and who continues to be a dear friend of many of my friends.
These are the men among us, whom we completely trust, who listen to these songs with us, who are reaffirmed in their belief that rape, or sexual abuse, is a natural male trait. Nobody has to say it out loud, but when Mega-rap-stars sing these lyrics and when you sing along, it makes rape okay. It desensitizes people to rape, and normalizes it.
Rape also becomes an identifier of masculinity: “Fudi teri aj ley kay jaoon. Jey nai liti tey main jatt na kwahoon.”
I think Honey Singh has become even more popular after these allegations, as they have pushed him further into the limelight. I definitely don’t think that his arrest will curb rapes. But from a legal standpoint, under The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, the call for his and some other rappers’ arrest is justified. Also, it reminds others among us that celebration of rape culture is not okay. When you are singing about it, you are celebrating it.
As a person who loves writing and has very unconventional opinions, I understand the importance of protecting the freedom of expression very well. But like a lot of things, freedom of expression can be both a beautiful and an awful thing depending on how it is used. We must know for ourselves where to draw the line. Singing about brutally raping an underage girl is where I draw the line.