A social reformer can change the scenario
Scientific studies and research have proved that advertisement and promotion of a product or service is likely to attract the attention of adolescents. The state government has banned songs glorifying gun culture but that is not sufficient. In the recent past gun culture in the state has increased many folds. A survey says after every 1,000 persons there are 13 arms licence holder. This figure does not include the number of unlicenced arms in the state. Earlier, laws were made to eradicate social evils like child marriage and sati pratha, but no positive response came from the society until social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy started a social reform movement. So only a social reformist can change the scenario. Otherwise gun violence in the state will continue.
Ban on songs glorifying guns right step
Banning songs glorifying guns and public display of fire arms is a right step of the Punjab Government. A serious review of arms licences is also a prudent step, as many persons will be found owning multiple weapons. Furthermore, bus travel is said to be enjoyed the most in silence, but many a time passengers are forced to listen to vulgar songs and watch violent videos in buses. A signal has been sent to all with this move of the government. Under the new law, three persons were arrested for promoting gun culture in Pathankot. Gun culture cannot be substantiated under the guise of Punjabi culture. The richness of our culture has suffered because of vulgar and violent songs. No one listens to our traditional folk songs let alone read works of Waris Shah and Bulleh Shah. TV channels and private FM radio should show a sense of responsibility in this regard. If action is taken against violators, this trend can be stopped because.
PROF MOHAN SINGH
Singers promote gun culture to get fame
Promoting gun culture is characteristic of Punjabi songs. Singers promote gun culture to get fame. The youth follow singers and try to imitate them which results in glorification of gun culture. Weapon culture leads to violence in society. After seeing weapons in songs people want to posses weapons. They want to get weapons by hook or by crook. The AAP government took strict action to stop gun culture so that violent incidents could be controlled in the state. The state government has banned the purchase of new weapons. If a person displays a weapon at a religious or marriage function, he should be booked under the new law.
After the ban the Punjab Police is showing some strictness. The police have registered a case against a person who fired in the air during a marriage. In another case, the police registered a case against five persons for promoting gun culture on social media. Arms licences of around 900 persons have also been cancelled. It seems that the Punjab Police will be able to control the glorification of guns and violence in the state.
Should have been imposed much earlier
APP led Punjab Government has banned glorification of guns because it has been facing allegations over deteriorating law and order in the state. Dropping a ban on gun-culture is a positive step. But the ban on public display of weapons, glorifying of gun culture should have been imposed much earlier. Incidents of lawlessness are bound to take a toll in the border state of Punjab that has a troubled past. During the dark days of militancy, thousands of people and several political leaders were gunned down. Punjab continues to pay the price of militancy. The industry has been compelled to move to find safe havens in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. But the state government faces this question that, how will it enforce the ban in the age of social media? However, it is hoped that this ban is not a superficial response. The task of bringing law and order under control is not going to be easy unless ban on gun-culture is strictly imposed.
Set quota for issuing licences
The Punjab Government’s move to ban songs glorifying guns, public display of fire arms and review of arms licences would help a lot in reining gun violence in the state. Earlier, Punjabi songs focused mainly on guns and firearms that impacted the psyche of Punjabis. After watching Violent songs youngsters get influenced and resort to violence. But, now the scenario would change as ban has been implemented. Gun violence will reduce in the state. The government can set quota for issuing arms licences.
Wait and watch for results
Glorification of weapon wielding legends has been part of the folklore of the region. Earlier weapons were possessed for self-defence, but over a period of time their display in public has become a character of powerful people and anti-social elements. Singers know that youngsters are fond of bravado songs with heroism infused in them. Filing occasional FIRs will not serve any purpose. It was in the mid-sixties when people for the first time came across a scandal of arms licences in Tarn Taran sub-division. Similar scandal also emerged in Ferozepore district in the early 2000’s. Earlier District Magistrates used to conduct inspections at gun houses, but now such inspections have been abandoned. The government is taking up the task of checking all the arms licences in the state. Such a massive exercise was taken up in year 1981-82 but without any positive outcome. Let us see, if any positive result comes out of it.
Channelise the energy of youth
The efforts of the Punjab Government should be appreciated. The ban on songs promoting violence builds a wrong mindset. However, this ban is not sufficient. More important and immediate actions are needed. The government must ensure that the supply of illegal weapons from the other states and countries is stopped. The government doing a good work by eliminating gangster culture, but it needs to intensify its efforts. The youth should be provided with good alternatives where they can channelise their energy. “Kheda Watan Punjab Dia” was a good effort to this side. More public and private employment should be generated. Songs promoting work culture should be encouraged. The government must also focus on censoring the songs promoting drugs like opium, which is promoted in almost every song these days. Many may argue that weapons have been promoted since the beginning of the Punjabi music industry. But its impact became apparent since noticeable display of arms in music videos started.
Residents, too, must cooperate with govt
Undisputedly, lawlessness and terror hamper the growth of any state. Taking note of the sudden rise in the crime graph, the Punjab Government has banned public display of firearms, release of songs promoting gun culture on social media, besides dispensing with new arm licences for next three months. Also, a major reshuffle in the Police administration has been ordered to improve the state of affairs. Being sensitive to images projected in the media, the adolescent minds crazily follow the stage performers inciting violent vibes in songs. A few of them align with gangsters under temptation of earning quick bucks or cheap popularity. Several youngsters, disillusioned of the employment opportunities, get trapped in ugly pursuits which afford instant relief. Such vicious and violent indulgences have crossed all civilised boundaries in the recent past, vitiating law and order. Glorifying lethal or deadly weapons, even licensed ones is indeed ignoble. It induces negativity in our socio-cultural framework. But the ban on songs extolling gun culture may not be a logical or total solution to the issue. The measures currently taken by the administration will only be effective if all sections of society join hands to curb violence and vulgarity in words and action during social events and cultural celebrations.
Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath
Gun culture in state a security threat
If enforced in a stringent and systematic manner, the recent order will definitely help rein in gun violence in the state. The police also need to realize their responsibility in maintenance of law and order in the state. They must exercise their professional power in such a way, that the hitherto defaulters dread from flouting any rule, and the masses feel relieved and secure. The government’s social media watchdogs should be cautious of any social media post encouraging gun culture. Account holders of such posts must be traced quickly and made to face the law. The SHOs should also act immediately in case of any firing incident being reported in their respective localities. A close watch should be kept on the activities of all entities involved in the channel of distribution of firearms. Any suspicious unlawful act must invite raids on the premises of the suspected hub of illegal practices. Whistleblowers can be lured with attractive rewards. The public, especially the youth, consider the celebrities in the songs and movies as their role models and follow the gun-oriented concepts propagated by them blindly, resulting in serious offences! The increasing gun violence is becoming an internal security threat in the border state! Any laxity can give an opportunity to the anti-social elements to implement their destructive plans. Action is the need of the hour!
Smuggling of Illegal firearms a concern
In the wake of sudden spurt in gun violence during the past few months and fast deteriorating law and order, the Punjab Government’s decision to declare celebratory firing in marriages, religious functions and other events a cognizable offence is quite appreciable. Equally commendable is the move to review arms licences issued within the next three months and completely ban the issuance of new ones. Since celebratory firing poses a serious threat to life and vitiates the peaceful environment of the state, the government has done well to also ban Punjabi songs promoting gun culture and violence. The crackdown on liberal issuances of arms licences was long overdue. Though the previous government slowed down the process, it ruled out a blanket ban on issuing arms licences, saying it was a violation of people’s fundamental right and that a small percentage of licensed weapons were used to commit heinous crimes. The present government should adopt zero-tolerance policy to gun culture and ensure that its orders are properly implemented. It should also check the smuggling of illicit arms into Punjab from UP and other states. Those involved in this nefarious lucrative business should be strictly punished. The police force should work honestly and efficiently to tackle the menace. This will enable the people of the state to lead a safe and secure life without any sense of fear and intimidation.
Cancel arms licences obtained illegally
The rising graph of violence in the state has raised a serious concern among residents. Consequently, the AAP-led dispensation has banned the celebratory firing in weddings and religious functions, songs glorifying gun culture, violence and brandishing of firearms at public places and social media platforms. After review, the arms licences found issued flouting the norms or to wrong persons should be straightaway cancelled. Earlier also, after the intervention of the High Court, the Congress government had banned songs and movies promoting gangsters, gun violence, drugs and liquor, but it did not have the desired results. The current authorities should show strong political will and ensure that their fresh instructions are carried out in letter and spirit. They should also spread awareness among the people, particularly the youth, so that they wilfully reject all such singers. Politicians and political parties should refrain from vitiating political discourse. The government should also check smuggling of illicit arms and ammunition from outside the state. This will certainly help rein in gun violence, improve the law and order situation and save our society from its adverse impact.
Tajpreet S Kang
Shun singers glorifying gun, drugs
It’s a first-of-its-kind bold and brave move exercised by the state government. It will act as a deterrent and definitely help rein in gun culture. Previous governments brushed the issue under the carpet. If the law is implemented in letter and spirit, the glorification of weapons, drugs and liquor will stop. The brandishing of weapons in songs has left a negative impact on the vulnerable sections of the society, with youth digressing and entering the world of crime. Resultantly, the crime rate is on the upward swing. The children, too, imitate their stars and learn abusive lyrics, which is all the more detrimental for the moral and social fabric of our nation. Time is ripe to show the guilty singers door or send them behind bars for fomenting disharmony in the society. We, the residents, should instrospect and ask ourselves ‘why do we give importance to incendiary audios and videos’. Let us make our environment healthy and hygienic. In the hindsight, if the government’s directions fall on deaf ears and goes to the dogs, it will make itself a butt of jokes. The government should mobilise all available resources to curb this menace from its roots.
Simranjeet Singh Saini
In a bid to promote the Punjabi culture, CM Bhagwant Mann recently called for a mass movement for displaying all signboards across the state in Punjabi. Do you think the move would help promote Punjabi in the state?
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