Khalistan movement’s deep impact on Punjabi music industry explained; how it led to rise and fall of Shubh

As the Khalistan movement has put a strain on India-Canada relations, it has also exposed a deep influence of the separatist ideology on the blingy Punjabi music industry.

While India and Canada continue to face off over the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Nijjar on Canadian soil, another person feeling a deep impact of the geopolitical row is popular Punjabi singer Shubh, caught in the crossfire between the two countries.

After Shubh shared certain posts on social media hinting at his alleged Khalistani ideology, along with a distorted map of India, prominent Indian celebrities unfollowed the singer on Instagram, brands withdrew their sponsorships, and his shows in India were cancelled.

Apart from being accused of glorifying gang culture and weapons, the Punjabi music industry has now been accused of being pro-Khalistan and anti-India, which has eventually led to the current downfall of Shubh.

The influence of the Khalistani movement on the Punjabi music industry was first felt in 1988, when popular singer Amar Singh Chamkila was assassinated by separatist leaders as they felt that his songs went against their ideology.

The rise of the Davinder Bambiha gang and the Lawrence Bishnoi gang saw a direct influence on Punjabi musicians, most of whom echoed the ideologies and words of the gangster Davinder Bambiha, a man affiliated with the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF).

Punjab gang wars amid Khalistani movement

Lawrence Bishnoi recently took responsibility for the murder of a Khalistani leader in Canada. Bishnoi was also behind the murder of singer Sidhu Moosewala, a controversial figure who was allegedly associated with the pro-Khalistani Bambiha gang.

Bishnoi has been vehemently against the Khalistan movement, and has been targeting Khalistani supporters associated with the Bambiha gang. The killing of Sidhu Moosewala exposed the gang culture in Punjab, and also raises suspicion over his alleged Khalistani links.

Artists in the middle of Khalistan controversy

Sidhu Moosewala, through his songs, has been accused of glorifying Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Sikh terrorist killed by the Indian government during Operation Blue Star. It was also speculated that the famous song ‘Daku’ by Inderpal Mogga and Channi Nattan is based on the life of Bhindranwale.

Sidhu Moosewala’s song ‘Punjab (Motherland)’ also opened with a scene with showed Bhindranwale walking with his followers in an old footage, showing the influence of the Khalistan movement on the music industry, trying to rectify past injustices against their community by inciting insurgency.

Apart from Shub, artists such as AP Dhillon, Parmish Verma, Karan Aujla and others have been involved in the crossfire of the Khalistan movement, as showing support for the ‘Elevated’ singer has brought them in the middle of the controversy.

While many believe that the reason for the influence of Khalistani leaders on Punjabi singers is foreign funding, power and foreign citizenships, no direct link between them or a prominent separatist leader has been established.

READ | Nijjar killing: ‘Shared intelligence among Five Eyes’ led to Trudeau’s claim, says US diplomat

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