CANCELLED: Dalit Performativity and Masculine Normativity? Considering the life and works of Sant Ram Udasi and Amar Singh Chamkila with Virinder Kalra

This event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Thank you for your support! 

This event is in collaboration with UBC Green College and the Department of Asian Studies. 


In exploring the lives and works of two Punjabi singers who came from Dalit backgrounds, the accuracy
and relevance of this caste positioning is put into question. Udasi as a Naxalite revolutionary with some
sympathy to Sikh separatist forces in the early 1980s and Chamkila, was known for his lascivious lyrics
and died in a violent encounter, blamed on Khalistanis. Perhaps in relation to Paash, the renowned leftist poet of the 1980s these two characters are neglected repeating caste privilege and thus justifying the appellation Dalit in relation to caste. In exploring these poet-performers the question of gender is prominent, as Iqbal Kaur (Udasi’s daughter) continues his legacy in propagating his ideology and the
emergence of Ginni Mahi asserting a positive ‘Chamar’ identity through Ravidas and Ambedkar disrupting the hypermasculine overtones of Punjabi pop aesthetics.


Professor Virinder S Kalra is head of the Sociology department at the University of Warwick. His research interests are in the popular culture of Punjab and its diaspora.