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Sidhu Moosewala’s 'Syl': Provocative song that addresses longstanding issues in Punjab

Addressing a number of concerns with catchy music, the politically engaged song focuses on the water crisis in the state.

Our Correspondent

Sidhu Moosewala’s first music video to be released posthumously, 'Syl' is a provocative song that engages with issues plaguing the state of Punjab.

With lyrics and composition by Moosewala, the song has been produced by MXRCI while the artwork and video are by Navkaran Brar.

Harking back to the issue of water rights and river water sharing, the title ‘Syl’, refers to the Sutlej Yamuna link canal, a proposal to share the waters of the Sutlej between Punjab and Haryana. Taking this longstanding sticking point as a peg, the lyrics reference a range of topics pertinent to the land.

The video accesses archival footage to access the history of Punjab, right from the division of the state under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, when Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were carved out. He then makes a call for sovereignty, saying that till such time, forget about sharing river waters, we will not give a drop.

Addressing a number of concerns with catchy music, the politically engaged song mentions Sikh prisoners who are languishing in jails, against many of whom there is no evidence to prove their alleged crimes. He also makes a reference to Balwinder Singh Jattana, a man considered a militant associated with the pro-Khalistan movement. In a simulated graphic, one sees the disturbing image of the SYL canal being bombed as well.

Moosewala's songs have courted controversy in the past, mainly for their use and glorification of violence.

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Towards the end, in what seems to be a veiled warning of sorts, is the speech by Meghalaya Governor Satyapal Malik, who, during the farmers’ protests in New Delhi, criticized the Narendra Modi government for not revoking the controversial laws. He speaks about the tenacity of the Sikh community in not forgetting or forgiving those who wrong the community.

Rebellious and confrontational in tone, the video also features the hoisting of the Sikh flag on the Red Fort on Republic Day in 2021, which had created a huge uproar. Ending with a plea for people to stand united to prevent the desertification of Punjab, the song leaves us with the hashtags Save Punjab Waters and Free Sikh Prisoners.

While Moosewala is no more, his immense popularity remains undisputed. 'Syl' has garnered more than 19 million views within a day of release.

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