Popular rapper, lyricist and actor with legions of fans, Sidhu Moosewala was shot Sunday night near Jawaharke village of Mansa district. A look back at his journey, his career and the controversies that surrounded him.
Early years, family background
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, known as Sidhu Moosewala, was from a farming family in the Moosa village of Mansa. The 28-year-old was an electrical engineer who graduated in 2016 from Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College in Ludhiana, but went to Canada where his first song was released in early 2017.
Moosewala’s father, Balkaur Singh, is a retired government worker and a farmer, while mother Charan Kaur is a sarpanch from Moosa village. She won the polls in December 2018 by a margin of 600 votes.
Popular songs and movies
Moosewala moved to Canada after graduating and released her first song “G Wagon”. However, he gained popularity with his track “So High” in 2018. His debut album PBX1 was No. 66 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. Her single ’47’ made it to the UK Singles Chart. His song Bambiha Bole entered the top 5 of the YouTube World Music Chart. In 2021, he released Moosetape tracks which also gained worldwide popularity. He has performed live in India and many countries abroad. Later, Moosewala officially launched his record label, 5911 records. Most of his songs spotlighted the Jat Sikh community.
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Moosewala has also appeared in a few Punjabi movies including ‘Yes I’m a Student’, ‘Teri Meri Jodi’, ‘Gunah’. He played the lead role in the movie ‘Moosa Jatt’, which was released in October 2021, but did not achieve major commercial success. His film ‘Jattan da Mundan Gaun Lagya’ was released in March 2022.
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Moosewala has often courted controversy for promoting gun culture through his songs. In May 2020, two videos went viral featuring Moosewala. While one featured five cops and showed Moosewala training with an AK-47, in another he was seen showing off a personal pistol. Six cops were suspended on May 19 after that. The singer was also booked under the Weapons Act by Barnala Police as the incident happened in Barnala.
In July 2020, he was granted regular bail and later joined the investigations. He was even fined for using black tinted glasses in Nabha in June of the same year.
Moosewala then released a song “Sanju” in July 2020 in which he stated that the FIRs filed against him were the Badges of Honor.
In December 2020, he was again in controversy over his song “Panjab” in which he glorified Khalistan separatist Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.
During the first Covid wave of March 2020, Moosewala had released a song ‘Gwacheya Gurbaksh’ where he made fun of Gurbaksh Singh who came from Italy to Punjab and became Punjab’s first Covid death and also a ‘ great spreader”. He was criticized for taunting a Covid victim.
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After losing recent Mansa Assembly polls, he released a song “Scapegoat”, in which he called voters traitors. AAP then retaliated by accusing him of insulting voters.
In September 2019, he got into trouble for inappropriately referencing “Mai Bhago” (a legendary Sikh woman who led 40 Sikh soldiers in the fight against the Mughals) in his song. He later apologized on social media for the mistake and even appeared before Akal Takht about it in March 2020.
Role during farmer unrest, Covid
Sidhu Moosewala was the first Punjabi singer to come out in support of farmers during their agitation against three farm bills on September 25, 2020 when the call for Bharat Bandh was made by farmers. At that time, the major impact of the unrest was visible only in Punjab. He had even participated in the bandh of Mansa. He was unwavering in his support for the protest which was later supported by several Punjabi singers.
During the first wave lockdown, he had called on people to stay indoors.
Banners bearing his picture and a call for people to observe ‘self-lockdown’ were seen across Punjab. He then launched the “thikri pehras (night watch by the community)” in his own village of Moosa to enforce the lockdown. This was done in association with Dr. Narendra Bhargav, then SSP, and later these nakas could be seen all over the state. Moosewala was also among those leading the distribution of rations and other essentials during the lockdown from the front.
Moosewala in politics
Moosewala joined Congress in the run up to Punjab Assembly elections and fought unsuccessfully against Mansa. He lost by 63,323 votes to AAP’s Vijay Singla. His close aides say his family had also been supporters of Congress in the past. His mother won the election as sarpanch of Congress and paved the way for her son to join the same party. Lately, he criticized the AAP government, as well as Vijay Singla, sacked from his post of minister for corruption.