Pali Kaur: How Babbu Maan Became The Music Of The Farmers' Protest

Babbu Maan consistently showed up with bold confidence even when Modi’s propaganda machine seemed to have the upper hand

Pali Kaur
November 25, 2021 | 2 min. read | Opinion

Over the past year, the Farmers’ Protest worked like a sieve.  By creating a situation where people had to either support it or ignore it, the movement weeded out the true heroes from the fake ones.  It helped us separate those who genuinely represent Punjabi and Sikh interests from those who are just using the identity to make money.  

There is no surprise that one of the heroes is definitely Babbu Maan.

While the confidence of our elders remained steadfast leading up to the repeal of the farm laws, some younger supporters struggled to maintain the same honsla.  During the ups and downs of the past year, Babbu Maan created a bridge between these two demographics.  He modeled the attitude and actions we all needed to emulate in order to defeat Modi.  

Babbu Maan consistently showed up with bold confidence even when Modi’s propaganda machine seemed to have the upper hand.  

When the Indian government tried its best to malign the protest by using violence at the January 26 tractor march, the farmer protest’s entire vibe took a negative turn. 

Many Punjabi celebrities backed off of openly supporting the movement for fear of being labeled “anti-national.”   But Babbu Maan did the opposite.  Instead of disappearing, he encouraged farmers to join him as he headed to the Delhi protest on a tractor.

Throughout the protest, Babbu Maan partnered with film producer Amitoj Maan to encourage Punjabi entertainers to be more vocal in their support of farmers.  They held press conferences and hosted meetings where they created the internet buzz needed to sustain general interest in the movement.  

During winter and spring 2020, many artists abandoned any mention of the Farmers’ Protest hashtag in their social media accounts, but Babbu Maan kept at it.  

During the protest’s darkest days, he did not pretend everything was fine.  On the contrary, Babbu Maan knew exactly what to say in order to keep the fight alive. 

A great example is this tweet after Haryana Police brutally attacked farmers.  With his words, Babbu Maan undermines the police force’s ego and helps reinvigorate protestors. 

The most impressive thing is that Babbu Maan did this while continuously releasing new pop music for his fans.  This mooted the excuse other celebrities used of being too busy to speak out about the cause.  

It is true that a big part of Babbu Maan’s brand is built upon speaking up for Punjabi and Sikh issues.  This is nothing new.  A look back at his films and music shows that fighting corruption and issues of Sikh sovereignty is never far from his mind.  Nonetheless, he deserves all the praise and fandom he receives.  

In a world full of people who chose comfort and their career over championing community issues, Babbu Maan proved you can do both.

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Pali Kaur is a blogger and educator based out of California. She works with immigrant communities, focusing on Spanish and Punjabi speakers. You can find her on Twitter at @wittypunjaban


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