Homosexuality in Punjabi Media : A Long Way to Go

Homosexuality no longer stands as a crime anymore in India. The Indian law stands for the rights of the queer community today. It has been a long and powerful legal battle. But a point undeniable is the social battle in the backdrop. Even after the victory of Section 377, we still lag behind and one of the key reasons for this is the social displeasure associated with homosexuality and associated sexual identities.

In a country like India, the major factor promoting this displeasure is the media. Media is an important influencer across the globe. But the influence it carries on people’s mind in India is known to all. With Bollywood as a major world industry, Indian music reaches all corners of the world. Being a nation with one of the world’s most internet and social media users, media is an integral part of Indian social fabric today. And thus it becomes important  to make sensible and harmonious content on media.

Coming from Punjab, I can say that the media consumed here is mostly music videos and content on web among others. Homosexuality is still abhorred and change, even though in process, is very slow. A major culprit for this slow transformation in people’s thought process regarding homosexuality can be attributed to the media in Punjab today.

There are so many unfortunate examples to note. For instance, singer Pav Dharia’s “Mustang Wala Munda” video song at the end portrays a homosexual man as nothing but a desperate animal craving only for sex. In the web series “Ishq De Bulle“, a character uses a derogatory term for homosexuals and it’s taken in such a light and normal manner. The completely offensive and irrational lyrics of the song “Mucha Toh Bagair Banda Gay Lagda” speaks volumes about how the LGBT+ community is being disrespected just for the sake of fame. The popular comedian Kapil Sharma too played a gay character on MH1 and all that the act did was asserting the unwanted and baseless stereotypes against gays. The list goes on and on.

Pav Dharia’s “Mustang Wala Munda” video song

The need of the hour is portraying homosexuality as just a normal variant of human sexuality, which it actually is. There need to be movies and songs which if not support, at least project homosexuality as normal. The ide being driven into people’s mind is that the long held fake notions about the queer community are actually true and although we need to mordernise and change our values regarding women, violence, religion and other areas of life, there is absolutely no need to provide the queer community with respect and inclusivity.

There have been some appreciative attempts too from the Punjabi Media. These people are paving the way in a small but effective manner for a better, prosperous and inclusive Punjab. 

Thus, it’s high time the Punjabi artists understand that they need to portray the queer community in a positive and acceptable manner. Also, there is a need for them to understand that Punjabi media is no longer limited to Punjab and is being consumed humongously across the globe. So remaining mute about the topic and avoiding it will also be unjust. Their help and contribution may work wonders. This would bring Punjabi media more consumers and respect too across the globe.

Brian Gill