Sikh women prefer Sikh men with kesh and dastaar. That is the message
of the latest Punjabi music video by artist, Taranampreet.
Donned in keskis and armed with guitars, Taranampreet and her group, the Spice Girls of Punjab, sing the song ‘Teri Meri Bas’
while perched high on an ornate platform. Below is a courtyard filled
with Sikh women dressed in white. Their warning to Sikh men: “Don’t come
around without unshorn hair and turban.”
Born in Butala, Taranampreet was a college graduate with two older
sisters and three younger brothers when she got her lucky break about
seven years ago. She auditioned for music mogul, Inderjit Singh Bains.
Both had the same ideas of creating positive music for Sikhi.
With Inderjit Singh as the songwriter and Zakir Husain as the music
arranger, Taranampreet released three albums: Heer Saleti, Sahiban Jati and Nagni. Her music videos are produced in Punjab, but have also aired
on Indian and Punjabi channels in Canada and the United States.
Inderjit Singh has launched many bhangra stars such as Jazzy B of
Surrey, Madan Maddi of India, Bhinda Jatt of California and Sukhshinder
Shinda of England.
“I introduced fresh new artists, made them stars and let them go,” he said by phone from Surrey, Canada.
But after 20 years in the business, he said he had had enough of
artists that only cared about making money. And he had enough of the
bhangra industry, which has gone by way of the rap industry, he said.“They send negative messages and promote drinking, drugs and fighting.”
“(Our) Gurus have done a lot for us,” he said. “It’s our duty to do
something for the community.” Sikhs, especially the youth, look at
these stars and begin to think that if they don’t wear a dastaar and
they don’t keep their kesh, that is okay, he said. He found his calling
to make inspiring videos in Taranampreet.
Six of Taranampreet’s music videos are on YouTube.
Two of them have inspirational messages and others tackle social ills.‘Naa Dole Khalsa’ impresses upon Sikhs to honor the sacrifices of the
Gurus and martyrs by staying true to Sikhi. ‘Dheeaan’ asks Punjabis to
stop killing unborn baby girls. And ‘Jalandar Lahor’ is a love story
that shows the destructiveness of honor killings.
‘Teri Meri Bas’ has received the most views and the most
comments. In one of the many approving posts, ‘sangajaspreet’
commented in Punjabi, “…looks like boys will have to live alone if they
don’t have beard and kesh.” But in some other posts viewers had
concerns, suggestions and criticism.
‘Pinkpeppypepper’ asked the artist to “please also write Kaur or Singh
with your name.” ‘Meer86singh’ said “the biggest mistake in the video
was that ordinary Sikh girls might think this message is only for those
who have taken Amrit or wear keski.” And ‘Junta450’ said, “Sikhi has
been lost to Sikhs, in the struggle for numbers – of dollars and
Making music videos has become a struggle for Inderjit Singh. He is
spending his own money and making little in return. The ‘Teri Meri Bas’video cost Rs. 4 lakhs.
Inspirational songs should be distributed free, he said. But he also
needs money to continue his work. It is difficult to make money in this
“dying” industry where music and videos are regularly pirated and
distributed without royalty to its artists or producers.
This only added to his frustration with the industry. So, seven years
ago he gave it up as a full-time occupation and bought a telephone
company with a partner. Music became his hobby. His greatest hope now
is that Sikhs take a greater interest in the message of the music
instead of the flaws of the artist.
“An artist is an artist,” he said. “She is doing something effective.”