Punjab is planning to form a panel to monitor obscenity and the glorification of drug abuse and violence in Punjabi songs, Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Saturday. The panel may even file cases against offenders under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, but as the “last resort”, Sidhu said, according to The Times of India.
The chief minister of the state will head the Punjab Sabhyachaar Commission, while Sidhu will be the vice chairman, the Hindustan Times reported. Sidhu claimed that Punjab will be the first state in India to have such a panel.
The panel can make recommendations for action to be taken against singers or artistes “polluting the cultural scene of the state”. It can issue show-cause notices to artistes, counsel them or book them.
“[Filing a first information report] will be the last resort,” Sidhu said. “The commission will first urge the writers and singers not to promote songs that are harmful to the psyche of society and our coming generations.”
The government has asked poet and Punjab Arts Council Chairperson Surjit Patar to prepare a blueprint on the membership structure and norms within two weeks, Sidhu said.
Patar said the panel will be a “totally apolitical group of intellectuals”. Justifying the panel, he said the situation has “become such that you cannot watch songs at your house with your children or parents”.
“How Punjabi songs impact our society is for all to see,” Patar said. “Despite wide-ranging criticism of singers and writers who are promoting such songs, the trend has not diminished. We have to stop it somewhere, if we want to save our culture.”
Sidhu said obscene songs incited sexual harassment of women and glorification of violence or drugs encouraged people to commit crimes and become addicts.