The New Face Of Online Hindutva: Dubstep, Poetry, and PUBG
If the song Ram Lalla Hum Ayenge, Mandir Wahin Banayenge is increasingly making its way into your generic party playlists, don’t be alarmed, for you are witnessing the dawn of Hindutva pop.
Songs like Ram Lalla Hum Ayenge, Har Ghar Bhagva Chhayga, and Pakistan Hila Denge have reached millions of views on YouTube this year, and their creators — like the effervescent Laxmi Dubey and the mildly terrifying Sanjay Faizabadi — are being hailed as self-made social media stars.
The Hindutva Interweb — populated with pukaars (calls) for shaking Pakistan, erasing Babur, and bringing saffron rule — has evolved into a complex and creative space.
To understand its social media presence, I had to plunge headlong into a strikingly bhagwa world, powered by the holy trinity of Ram, Hanuman, and gau mata, and united by anti-Islamic sentiment.
Here’s what I found.
How to Play Hindutva PUBG While Chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’
If I was Hindutva army’s online warrior, where would I be and how would I communicate? I would need a point of convergence, a way of appeal... and what better way than the mighty hashtag?
If you search the hashtag #JaiShriRam (or some version of it) on Twitter and Instagram, you come across something like this:
You also come across something like this:
Both these posts are by an Instagram account called ‘Hindu Swarajya’ which (at the time of writing this) has more than 50k followers. The posts, which appear quite simple at first, are works of carefully crafted genius.
Just look beyond what’s at the centre of the picture and you’ll see a saffron-painted map of India with mythological names of regions in the first picture, and the Babri Masjid ready to be destroyed by PUBG Karsevaks in the second.
‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’ and Hindutva Insta Poets
On Saturday, 24 November, the UP government under Yogi Adityanath reportedly announced the finalising of the details for a 221-metre tall statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. When the news broke out, the hashtag #MandirWahinBanayenge immediately started trending on Twitter.
Other reasons for the trending hashtag were two separate events, including a Dharam Sabha, organised by Shiv Sena and VHP in Ayodhya. Simultaneously, PM Modi also made a reference to the ‘Ayodhya case’ while addressing a rally in Alwar, Rajasthan.
The events, which were a part of the state elections, got the creative juices flowing in the online Hindutva sphere and the result was... well, poetry!
These verses could put our most beloved Insta Poets to shame.
The verses may be inspired by political events, but serve to politicise and saffronise social media. Online and offline Hindutva are not distanced, but in a symbiotic relationship.
Eminem Meets Hindutva Dubstep in a ‘Deadly’ Combination
The Hindutva poetic verses also tie up nicely with Hindutva pop songs, which add dub-step music to the lyrics for added effect.
Sample this badly dubstep-ed Eminem version of Mandir Wahi Banayenge:
Why I term this combination ‘deadly’ is because beside the title of the song, the lyrics too have subtle hints of violence.
Talking of ‘deadly’... If you’re looking for some badly edited green-screen videos, but unedited desh-prem, check out Sanjay Faizabadi’s song Lehrayenge Tiranga Lahore Main.
Note how Faizabadi is dressed in army attire with visuals of fighter planes, bombing, and gun-violence in the background. Unlike the Eminem version of Mandir Wahin Banayenge, violence here is more obviously hinted at.
These ‘catchy’ songs make their way to parties, attracting the young, while the Instagram and Twitter posts also make their way into our parents’ and grandparents’ WhatsApp inboxes.
And if you have any doubts about the political bent of these visuals and songs, just think: the pages churning out this content are named using a permutation and combination of ‘Hindu’, ‘Hind’, ‘Swarajya’, ‘Sena’, ‘Ram’, ‘Raj’, and ‘Saamrajya’.