The phenomenon of Islamophobic behavior in India seems to be heading in a worrying direction. It has spread to the realm of art and entertainment in India.
Anti-Muslim hate songs are starting to gain popularity in the country, marked by the rise of music genres such as Hindutva Pop.’ Hindutva’ is a Hindi word that refers to the Hindu supremacist movement.
According to Al Jazeera, Hindutva Pop is an Indian Hindu nationalist music genre that uses anti-Muslim lyrics. “India is for Hindus, Muslims go to Pakistan” is one of the Islamophobic lyrics in this new genre of music sung by Upendra Rana, a singer from Noida City in Uttar Pradesh who has more than 370,000 Youtube subscribers.
Upendra found his music had been shared and enjoyed by the Indian Hindu right-wing, who were often recorded playing loud anti-Muslim songs in Muslim areas.
In a statement, Upendra said Muslims should correct their ways and should not tempt Hindus. He added that most of the Muslims who occupied state lands came from Bangladesh and were Rohingya. According to him, they are the ones who are responsible for the increasing violence in India, and that is why the state should recover it.
Brahma Prakash, a New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University professor, told Al Jazeera that it spreads very fast. However, this kind of music is not yet a piece of mainstream music. In a short time, it could become one of the mainstream genres. Experts believe that this music is increasingly being accepted and normalized by many people.
Prakash further said that these songs called for blood and violence. Songs that are usually used as a medium for the central idea of unity are now used as a tool to “othering” other communities, which also carried out a genocidal approach to them. These songs come at a time of increasing tension over the treatment of Muslims in India. Anti-Muslim sentiment often leads to violence.
On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in the city of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh state, where a mob of Hindus was seen brandishing swords while chanting songs calling for violence against Muslims. Hindu and Muslim groups were involved in rioting in this incident, and many mosques were damaged and burned, and dozens of shops and houses of Muslims were also looted and burned.
Laxmi Dubey is another singer who has gained popularity by singing songs full of hateful lyrics against Muslims. One of Dubey’s popular songs says, “Agar Hindustan mein rehna hoga, To Vande Mataram kehna hoga” (If you [Muslim] have to stay in India, learn to say Vande Mataram [praise to India]. Learn to say Vande Mataram and stay within your limits).
There is also a song of ‘bhajan (devotional song), which Singer Prem Krishnavanshi posted on Youtube three years ago and has been listened to thousands of times since. The song contains the lyrics “Insaan Nahi ho saalo, ho tum kasaayi; Bahut ho chuka Hindu-Muslim Bhai Bhai” (You are not human, you are butchers; it’s enough of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood).