‘Dalit Pop’: How 18-year-old Ginni Mahi is storming the national stage
She is at the centre of what’s called ‘Dalit Pop’ and even ‘Chamar pop’. Only 18 years of age, Punjabi singer Ginni Mahi aka Gurkanwal Bharti’s songs on Youtube have over a lakh views! At a time when we’ve have seen massive Dalit protests in Gujarat, with the community standing up for their rights,Ginni Mahi takes pride in and sings about dalits being from the community herself, taking on slurs and casteism. In fact, Mahi’s father credits “the surge in Dalit music to community self-empowerment in the ‘past decade or so’, as the Hindustan Times reports.
The 18 year old also sings religious songs, and is clearly a singer to watch out for. Here’s what you need to know about the young girl from Jalandhar:
- Mahi lives a little away from Jalandhar’s main area, in the small neighbourhood of Abadpura and belongs to the Ravidassia community.
- She started singing at the age of seven.
- Her musical career began with singing hymns devoted to Guru Ravidas, a dalit icon and a spiritual leader.
- Guru Ravidas’ teachings attracted Mahi’s attention. He used to talk a lot on the matters related to caste. He used to say that the social divide through is the worst thing that humanity suffers from.
- Mahi has a strong following, especially from the Chamar community of Punjab who adore her songs. The most popular ones are Chamar pop and Ambedkar folk.
- Her first solo album was released last year named ‘Guraan di diwani’. She followed this up in February this year with ‘Gurupurab hai Kanshi Wale Da’.
- Her most famous song ‘danger chamar’ came about in a fit of anger. Once she had a nasty conversation with her classmate who asked her caste and on knowing that she belongs to the chamar community she exclaimed that she must be careful as chamars are dangerous. This prompted Mahi to come back and write this song. (Video)
- Mahi has found her fame in the chamar community of Punjab who adore her songs. The most popular ones are Chamar pop and Ambedkar folk.
- Her music is not limited to traditional Punjabi folk music genre, but it surpasses boundaries with having a bit of EDM and trap music also in her songs.
- Mahi also sings about issues like female foeticide and drug abuse, two major concerns of Punjab.
- Apart from making albums, Mahi attracts crowd even in her live performances. She performs in jagrans, deras and concerts all over Punjab and Haryana where thousands come to watch her spectacle.
- While many may mistake her to be aggressive as she flexes her muscles in her album, she is a regular teenager in real life who, apart from music, likes to paint and listens to the likes of Justin Beiber and Micheal Jackson.
- She’s not anywhere near done yet — Ginni Mahi wants to be a playback singer
Feature Image Credit: Velbr