Anti-Muslim songs filled with hateful lyrics and a suggestive message are rising in India. Fueled by the increasingly bold Hindutva organizations, these songs are becoming a centerpiece of nationalist rallies and meetings.
Earlier this year, a Hindu priest paraded near a mosque in Uttar Pradesh. He was calling for the assault of Muslim women while blasting anti-Muslim songs from a speaker.
In April, in Khargone city, Hindu parades celebrating the birth of Lord Ram, a prominent Indian deity, went through Muslim communities playing anti-Muslim songs. Within the same day, groups of Muslims and Hindus began clashing violently in the streets.
“Our lives were destroyed in just one day,” said Hidayatullah Mansuri, a mosque official. “These songs make open calls for our murder, and nobody is making them stop,” Mansuri complained.
The increasingly popular anti-Muslim songs in India are now represented by their name: Saffron Pop. These songs have been around for some time but are recently used by Hindutva groups.
In January 2021, Qantara, a news agency run by Deutsche Welle (DW) and supported by the German Foreign Office, ran a story about one popular Saffron Pop song. According to Qantara, the song had ten million views then. The song was uploaded to Youtube in 2018.
When the Atheist Republic News Team viewed the song, it racked up 68.4 million views, more than six times in just a year.
In an interview with Aljazeera, Brahma Prakash, an author and an academic, said these songs are “not yet a mainstream kind of Music.” “But, it is spreading very fast,” Prakash warned.
Prem Krishnavanshi, a singer, interviewed by Aljazeera, has songs that call for the end of the Muslim-Hindu brotherhood. In one of his songs, he accused Muslims of being anti-nationals and should move to Pakistan.
“I don’t think my music is Islamophobic,” Krishnavanshi defended himself. “My music signifies truth, and if someone thinks it’s Islamophobic, I can’t stop them from feeling that way,” he added.