Coming Up Tue 5:00 PM  AEDT
Coming Up Live in 
Live
Hindi radio

Meet India's 'Burqa Rapper' Sofia Ashraf

Sofia Ashraf Source: Sofia Ashraf - Youtube

Sofia has been labelled many things over the years - protest rapper, burqa rapper, raptivist, feminist, fundamentalist, and narcissist.

You might know her best for her protest-cover of Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' which went viral on social media.

Born into a traditional South Indian family, Sofia Ashraf – or Sofie –tells SBS Hindi that she “grew up with a spark of rebellion in her eye.”

Sofia has been labelled many things over the years – protest rapper, burqa rapper (or burkha rapper), raptivist, feminist, fundamentalist, and narcissist.

Around a decade ago she started rapping clad in a burqa about prejudices against Islam in a post-9/11 world.

WATCH VIDEO: Justice Rocks - 02

Today, she has become well-known internationally for her firebrand rap songs on issues like Kodaikanal’s pollution, Bhopal gas tragedy, objectification of women in Indian films, and political protest against AIADMK laeder Sasikala.

For her first hit protest song, Ashraf reworked Niki Minaj’s "Anaconda" and gave a fantastic “Kodaikanal Won’t”.

The factory at Kodaikanal, which was owned by Hindustan Unilever, closed in 2001.

It is alleged that more than 1,000 former workers have been affected by mercury poisoning.

WATCH VIDEO: Kodaikanal Won't

Ashraf says that “this video takes an undisguised jab at Unilever for its failure to clean up mercury contamination or compensate workers affected by its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal.”

Soon, Ashraf came up with a video that, she says, turns the Bollywood’s ‘item song’ upside down and Southside up.

“This song – “Tam Brahm Boy” – is a love song objectifying a typical Tamil Boy.

This song uses hilarious southern stereotypes and focuses on how women in the country are denied their sexual urges,” adds Ashraf.

WATCH VIDEO: Swaggertam Sista!

Ashraf says that this “song is an unapologetic expression of primal desires.”

“I hope that over time it becomes acceptable for Indian women to speak out about their passions and their sexuality stops being demonised,” she adds.

Recently, Sofia was seen in a protest video against Sasikala.

She can be seen protesting to resist the ascendance of Sasikala Natarajan as the chief of AIADMK and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The video – “Democracy is Dead” – went viral.

WATCH VIDEO: Democracy is Dead

When asked if she is the future of protest song in India?

Sofia says that “we can’t just all protest . .  .India needs doctors, engineers, teachers, entrepreneurs and many other trades people.”

Sofia definitely belongs to the brand – Angry Young Woman, who is vocal and angry about the things that are wrong.

With special permission from acclaimed Indian artist AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali, Sofia created Sadda Haq’s female version and promoted it using #IWillGoOut.

WATCH VIDEO: Sadda Haq Female Version

In 2010, Sofia gave up the burqa and renounced Islam.

“I began looking at religion in a whole new light and lost my faith,” she says.

Sofia Ashraf
Sofia Ashraf
Sofia Ashraf - Facebook

The burqa is gone but Sofia can be seen rapping with equal ease in a traditional Indian sari and a t-shirt.

Sofia was recently in Melbourne to participate in the Jaipur Literary Festival 2017.

To know more about Sofia Ashraf, listen to her exclusive conversation with Amit Sarwal.

Coming up next

# TITLE RELEASED TIME MORE
Meet India's 'Burqa Rapper' Sofia Ashraf 16/02/2017 10:51 ...
आईएएस हीरा लाल ने बुझाई भारत में ग्रामीणों की प्यास 19/10/2021 07:53 ...
Passion to purpose - ‘Ausmumpreneur’ who initiated drive-through vaccination clinic in Queensland 18/10/2021 10:00 ...
सीमाएं खुलने के बाद भी हवाई यात्रा करना हो सकता है मुश्किल 18/10/2021 07:10 ...
SBS HINDI News 18 October 2021: Fully vaccinated Australians to enjoy quarantine-free travel to Queensland in December 18/10/2021 11:51 ...
"Amazed to discover rich aromatic flavour of dried mango powder": says MasterChef Australia 2014 debutant 18/10/2021 08:39 ...
भारत के समाचार हिन्दी में 18/10/2021 00:52 ...
SBS HINDI News 17 October 2021: Travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand to resume this week 17/10/2021 10:48 ...
SBS Hindi News 16 October 2021: A teenage girl one of seven new fatalities from Victoria's COVID-19 outbreak 16/10/2021 09:10 ...
India report in Hindi: India gears up to reach 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine milestone 15/10/2021 07:36 ...
View More