A “SHOCKING” Punjabi song about an honour killing has been pulled from the BBC Asian Network’s playlist after campaigners slammed the “appalling” video showing a woman and her lover being killed.
Sucha Soorma by Kulwinder Billa featuring Bunty Bains, reached number 17 in the station’s Official Asian Download Chart, but the track has now been banned from the airwaves.
The contentious record is based on a Punjabi folk tale where a woman, Balbiro Bhabi, and her lover Ghukar are shot dead by her brother-in-law Sucha, who is also Ghukar’s friend.
In the video which is just over four minutes long, Balbiro is seen pleading with her relative as he loads a double-barrel shot gun, pulls the trigger and walks away.
Sucha then shoots his friend and sister-in-law’s lover in the head to restore his family’s honour. Shaista Gohir, chair of Muslim Women’s Network UK, told Eastern Eye that the graphic music video glorified the callous killer as a hero.
“I was quite appalled by the video. If it was a mainstream video, there would have been an outcry. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it all, I was quite disgusted.
“The video portrays the woman as a temptress – women are blamed for domestic violence and rape. It is putting all the blame on the woman. We should be challenging the folk tale. I’m shocked that someone thought they could get away with glorifying it in this day and age,” she said.
Gohir added the depiction of an honour killing undermined the work of women’s groups that tackle issues surrounding violence against females.
A BBC spokesperson said: “BBC Asian Network has never selected the Punjabi folk record Sucha Soorma for inclusion on the core station playlist. It received two plays last week – once because it charted in The Official Asian Download Chart, based on digital download sales, and again in the context of our specialist Punjabi programme.
“On reflection, BBC Asian Network considers the record to be inappropriate and has taken the decision not to play the record in this week’s chart or at any point in the future.”
Lyricist Bains penned the record, and was the brains behind the video working with director Stalinveer. The song was produced by Punjab based Gagz S2dio.
So far, the contentious video has clocked up 852,207 views on YouTube and has generated 363 comments, with some questioning why the couple were killed.
Gohir added: “By re-telling the folk tale, they are just glorifying it. They are not challenging it in any way.”
Aneeta Prem, founder of the Freedom charity which campaigns against forced marriage and honour-based violence, told EE that glamorising violence of any kind had to be wrong.
“People know these things are wrong and not acceptable. However, we need to give them credit to say we know it’s a video. If you look at many rap videos, there is far worse than what’s on this. It highlights the issue of domestic hate and it gives us an opportunity to talk about it and say how wrong it is. In that respect, it provokes discussion which is a positive [thing].”
Nisha Sahdev, who represents the artist in the UK said: “It’s not something we have been creating. It’s a true story, it’s just now there’s a video on it.”