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‘Gal sunoh’: Gurdas Maan bares his heart

‘Gal sunoh’: Gurdas Maan

Gurdas Maan is no doubt a legendary Indian playback singer, songwriter and actor mainly associated with Punjabi and Hindi language music and films. He gained national attention in 1980 with the song “Dil Da Mamla Hai”. Since then, he had gone on to record over 34 albums and had written over 305 songs. In 2015 he performed on the song “Ki Banu Dunia Da” with Diljit Dosanjh in MTV Coke studio India that was aired in season 4 episode 5 (16 August 2015) on MTV India. Gurdas Maan ‘Gal sunoh’:

recently Gurdas Maan released his new song, ‘Gal Sunoh, Punjabi Dosto’, to a response that was as varied as it was unsurprising. That aside, the song – ‘Listen Up, Punjabi’ – is important for being an unapologetic defence of his sense of self. In it, he has responded to protests over his 2019 comment that Hindi could be a “link language”, thereby supporting the ‘one nation, one language’ push of the Narendra Modi regime. Such was the anger against him – loudest from young men high on a perceived pride – that last year he was not allowed to speak at the legendary protests against the central farm laws.

‘Gal sunoh’: Gurdas Maan bares his heart

Oh gal suno Punjabi dosto

Kuchh lainde soch bichar

Bin soche samjhe kadd laayi

Oh lafzaan di tez kataar 

Years after he was publicly humiliated and driven away from the Singhu stage, legendary singer Gurdas Maan has responded to his Punjabi brethren through the song, Gal Sunoh Punjabi Dosto — a deeply political, visually stunning and emotional song, laced with hurt, pathos, and redemption.

On one hand, the song justifies his controversial ‘one language- one nation’ stand, and on the other expresses his ‘shikwa’ (unresolved complaint) against fellow Punjabis for letting him down by staging ‘abusive and crass’ protests against him. He also reminds his audience about his yeoman service to the Punjabi language through some of his seminal songs.

‘Gal sunoh’: Gurdas Maan bares his heart

The tone of the song is that of pain and recrimination, of one deeply hurt by violent condemnation by his fellow Punjabis, and of one unable to fathom how he fell off the pedestal erected by the same people, who are hounding him today.

Maan has ruled the Punjabi music industry for nearly 30 years ever since he burst onto the Punjabi stage with the song Dil Da Mamla Hai in the early ’80s. Punjabi music before him was largely seen as the preserve of uneducated villagers. It was he who first made Punjabi music popular among youngsters, and the educated in urban areas, taking it from its mofussil origins to a global audience. Maan was to Punjabi music what Amitabh Bachchan is to the Hindi film industry. However, as it is said, ‘all good things must come to an end.’ Over the years, society and politics have changed as have the public’s tastes and icons.

‘Gal sunoh’: Gurdas Maan bares his heart

In his new song, Gurdas Mann thanks people who had supported him during his turbulent phase. He also tries to come clean on the notion that he was against Punjabi language. In the song, he cites the example of France and Germany having their own languages and asks what is wrong if India too has one language. ‘If we lay so much emphasis on mother (tongue), then we should also love maasi (Hindi)’, the song argues. Maan may have expressed his anguish, but it’s too early to say if the song will help bury the language controversy or only rake it up again.

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