We hold these truths to be self evident: That all words are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights among which is the right to life — to simply exist free of harassment; liberty — the right to be seen and spoken freely and used whenever deemed desirable. And happiness — the special joy that comes when they happen to say best what is in one's heart.
- The Bawdy Manifesto
Why do people swear? Most people start because it makes them feel cool and grown up to use 'forbidden' language. But in time, these words become a sort of short-code to express certain emotions - anger, frustration, amazement.
Swear words are extremely 'all-purpose' and can usually be moulded to fit into any mood or situation. As Bawdy Manifesto believes, "Few other words have their force, directness, or clarity of meaning".
While all cultures and languages have these words, some use them more freely. And the use of swear words in art forms like music and movies remains a contentious issue.
Hollywood uses swear words - so does the music industry, especially with the advent of rap and hip-hop. Parental concerns are addressed by rating films using expletives PG-13 or R. And albums with the 'parental advisory - explicit lyrics' sticker.
Gaali gaali mein shor hai...
No new information so far - so why write about it now? Well, two reasons. As film makers seek to make movies which reflect 'youth culture' how do they get around this problem? You want dialogues which embody how people actually speak but if you do that, the censors will go bleep bleep bleep!
The scriptwriters of Rang de Basanti solved this problem by getting creative. They coined entirely new phrases like 'Teri maa ki aankh' and 'Behn de takey' to convey the actual swear words... And it was pretty amusing and effective I must say!
On the other hand the song 'Sutta na Mila' by Pakistani band Zeest - a current campus cult - actually uses MCs and BCs and gets away with it because it's been 'released' only as an MP3. XLRI band Bodhitree's song GMD (G**** mein Danda) is also quickly spreading from PC to PC.
Whether you like it or not, it is a trend to take note of. I've explored the issue in greater detail in my new column on sify.com: Desi bands to swear by
Beyond the literal
Personally, I'm not into swear words - or smoking - but I quite like these songs for the spirit they represent. The words, I think, simply add an extra 'underground' appeal. Part of the overall package.
As lyricist and lead vocalist Skip of Zeest says, " I created this satirical, comical, slang song just for fun, but I always wanted to compose a song that could reflect my life story and that of other optimistic losers too. The song is so popular only because every average “tapori bachcha” can relate to it".
Here's to more songs by unknown, talented bands, outside the realm of ishq vishq pyaar vyaar. Songs with or without swear words that junta can relate to!