Last week, Delhi Sultanate and Seedhe Maut dropped a new track, ‘Scalp Dem’ which immediately went viral for all the right reasons.
The track, produced by Jawan explores issues of casteism, hate crime, mob lynchings, and Islamophobia.
The track begins with a line with takes us way back into history, “You little Dalit boy, We pour lead into your ear”. According to the Manusmriti, if the Shudras/Dalits were caught listening to sacred verses, lead would be poured into their ear, if they were caught reciting the verses, their tongues were to be cut. Delhi Sultanate AKA Taru Dalmia goes on to bring forth the case of Najeeb Ahmed, the missing JNU student who disappeared after an attack by students belonging to the BJP-backed youth group, ABVP.
Seedhe Maut’s first verse brings in a clear image of a lynched Muslim, The lines “Galti ki muslim hai, Banda ye mujrim hai. Ghar jaake faadega maas abhi, Usse pehle maare maata ko jakadd lo utregi iss hi ki khal abhi” are a reminder for the listeners to remember the cases of mob lynching over cow slaughter. Seedhe Maut’s fiery verses go on to describe new standards of democracy, patriotism and nationalism. The artwork of the song is designed by Mumbai-based artist Priyanka Paul. The visuals are the best testament to the song, with Hanuman, godmen, a bloodied man, a Mercedes and a young pair.
This song comes out in times where the country is going through a politically tumultuous time. Citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the controversial Citizenship Act and the National Registry of Citizens. Many have called the current government fascists, in nature. Dissent continues to be met with censorship, erasure, or allegations of ‘hurt sentiments’. “India is the only country were ‘hurting sentiment’ is a legal category punishable by law.” says Dalmia on Dastaan Live being arrested at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa.
‘Scalp Dem’ is a song unafraid of the government, and backlash. Both the artists in their verses drop not so subtle hints of real-life instances of Hindutva, lynchings, hate crime, and the Prime Minister’s infamous selfie with Bollywood stars. The song’s brutal honesty and rich lyrics make it the new dissent anthem.
But does speaking up come with a price of censorship?
“We’ve made a choice not to do that but of course its something that we constantly think about. Let’s see what happens with this track. If they want to, they can create some trouble. We’ve faced nothing like what other musicians in this country have had to suffer.” says Dalmia.’