Did you know that the legendary artist Apache Indian once caused a storm of controversy for lyrics that referred to Punjab as Khalistan?
Apache Indian famous for his fusion of Bhangra and Reggae, is a household name for us all. But, what many people don’t know is that through his music, Apache Indian was a fierce advocate for social justice, fighting against notions of caste discrimination and more.
Apache Indian, also known as Steven Kapur was born to Hindu Punjabi parents and married to a Sikh woman. But, what many are unaware of is that he caused a stir in India during the early 1990’s for lyrics that referred to Punjab as Khalistan on 2 separate tracks off his hit album, No Reservations.
On his track “Move over India” Apache Indian rhymes:
Me there in a the country like a big movie star
Jump pon a taxi them a call a riksha
Pass Bombay and a Kalistan ya
And again, on Chok There, when he again states:
And me take fe me style down a Amritsar
Chok there – them a ball from Kalistan ya
Chok there – everyone from Shirilanka
So how did India react? Well, in a 1993 while the Indian authorities were conducting large scale disappearances and killings in effort to crush the populist Khalistan movement, an article by the Green Left Weekly, reported that:
Indian authorities recoiled when they heard him rap on Khalistan, the name Sikh separatists use to describe an independent Punjab. It was censored from cassettes produced in India before his visit.
When asked about the lyrics Apache Indian stated:
“Sometimes the truth hurts…I mentioned once that the Sikhs are fighting for Khalistan — which is the truth. I always talk about things that are happening around me and that people are talking about”.
So, did/does Apache Indian support Khalistan? Well, we’re not sure. But, he definitely deserves props for showcasing that while being born into a Hindu-Punjabi family, Khalistan wasn’t as scary as some may have liked us to believe – it was as natural of a struggle as any other.