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18-year-old Gurkanwal Bharti, aka Ginni Mahi, from in Jalandhar, Punjab, has thousands of fans on YouTube and Facebook.
They do not follow her because she is young and sings hip-hop.
But are genuine fans of Gurkanwal’s Punjabi folk musical performances.
“God bless you” to “Jai Bhim,” writes an admirer.
Her songs describe the virtues of Dr Bababsaheb Ambedkar and Sant Ravidass.
WATCH VIDEO: “FAN BABA SAHIB DI”
Both, Ravidass and Ambedkar, are powerful Dalit icons for Indians.
Ginni’s family, parents Rakesh Chandra Mahi and Paramjeet Kaur Mahi, belong to the Ravidassia faith and her songs are shabads written in praise of the Guru.
Sample Ginni’s most popular songs “Fan Baba Sahib ki”:
Here, Ginni refers to herself as “Main thi Babasaheb di, jine likheya si samvidhaan (I am a daughter of Babasaheb, who wrote our [India’s] Constitution).”
Ginni, a young Dalit teenager has used Punjabi folk to powerfully assert her voice and identity.
WATCH: “GURU KI DEEWANI”
Ginni realised at a very early age that she wanted to be a singer.
She has been performing religious songs at live shows in Punjab.
Ginni’s family and music team are focused exclusively on songs with Dalit pride messages.
In her song “Danger 2,” Ginni presents her message about the association with her caste name – Chamar – that is often used as an insult!
WATCH: “DANGER 2”
As you can note, Ginni turns it into something empowering for her identity.
She considers her songs to be extremely important in reminding her Dalit community to remember their Guru.
“Unhone apni taraf se sirf Dalit samaj ke liye nahin, par pure world ke liye kaha tha ki mein aisa raj chahta hoon ki jahan par kissi tarah ka bhi bhed-bhav na ho. Equality sabhi ko mile (From his side he [Guru Ravidass] did not just talk for the Dalit community, he said it for the whole world that I want a dispensation without caste discrimination, where everyone is equal),” she told Firstpost.
Ginni knows that the support she has received from her community and fans for her songs are a way of promoting her “Dalit samaj.”
WATCH VIDEO: “HAQ”