Baba Sehgal, for a lack of a fitting definition, is one of the most bizarre products of the Indian music industry. The reason that he still has a semblance of an audience is because occasionally his music is so bad that it's good. This generation of Indians listen to Baba Sehgal for pretty much the same reasons the world listens to Taher Shah - to cringe and laugh.
Though Sehgal has rapped about Mumbai's Vada Pav and Goa's party-culture and suchlike, he occasionally tries to take up socially-relevant issues. For example, in the wake of the Pratyusha Banerjee suicide, he even went ahead and recorded a song about why taking your own life is not a great idea - 'hope hai toh dope hai', the song went.
He has been ridiculous, but we can't remember the last time he has been viciously offensive.
However, he seems to have decided to change that bit about his career. So in his latest single released hours ago on Facebook, the rapper comes down heavily on plus-size women, slamming them for eating too much. He vehemently insists they hit the gym asap, or they're done. (Dieting, dieting is the song's chorus).
‘Mind na karna baby tere cheeks hai thode chubby, cubby... aa training tujhko dedu, tu gym mein aaja, abhi, abhi,'
Just in case the message doesn't sink in and a woman who has listened to the song is still tempted to reach out for an extra helping of fries, Sehgal's cheap-animation experts come to his help. So the video shows a plus sized woman, gradually reducing in size while running.
The end result, obviously, leads to skimpily-clad, leggy lasses, who are celebrating zealously (all with pompoms) their hourglass figure. "Pet tera nikal raha, boyfriend tera nikal raha hai, weighing scale par 80 kg weight yeh tera nikal raha hai (Your tummy is growing bigger, your boyfriend is on the verge of running away as your weight touches 80 kilos)," Sehgal admonishes the hapless woman in the video.
While you may want to dismiss Baba an an inconsequential rapper who's juvenile and deliberately reckless with no serious following whatsoever, that is precisely what makes his brand and theme of music so awfully dangerous. Sexism is never 'casual' and lyrics that say 'Pet Cover Kar Liya Hai Chunni Se It'S Looking Odd, Kamar Thi Chhabbis Ab Hai Battis Omg O My God' deserve to be slammed for promoting a misleading idea of 'perfection'.
In a digital ecosystem where women are routinely a target of deep-rooted, blatant misogyny, clips like these with those nauseating lyrics, go a long way in creating notions we are getting tired of disrupting
Make no mistake – Baba isn't propagating healthy living by asking his audience to eat right – he's specifically asking women to do so. He is suggesting that women should be worried about obesity as it would result in boyfriends running away. Wow.
In a digital ecosystem where women are routinely the target of deep-rooted, blatant misogyny, clips like these with those nauseating lyrics, go a long way in creating notions we are getting tired of disrupting.
However tiny, or self-aware his audience maybe, Baba, for whatever its worth, needs to use that neutrally, if he is incapable of sending across the right message. The fact that nobody expects him to, is a lazy excuse. By taunting a woman by crooning, "Baby Kitna Khaayegi? Bus kar" (Baby, why do you eat so much. Enough) he has taken body-shaming to a sickening level.
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