Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Yogi Adityanath line the streets in Allahabad, India, on Feb. 25, 2022. India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is holding state elections, as the Hindu-nationalist BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to defend its majority in the “cow belt” heartlands amid deepening sectarian divisions in the country. Ritesh Shukla—Getty Images

Brassy beats, poorly-synced visuals, and jarring edits haven’t stopped Prem Krishnvanshi─ an engineer-turned-singer from the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh─ from becoming a sensation on YouTube and social media. It’s his music’s message that resonates more than the quality. Krishnvanshi is one of several increasingly popular artists in India producing a relatively new rancorous genre of music, commonly known as “Hindutva pop.”

Hindutva is a term used to describe Hindu nationalism, the more than a century-old supremacist movement seeking to establish Hindu hegemony in India. Hindutva pop songs, which have become ubiquitous in the last several years, typically praise the ruling rightwing government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The lyrics spew hate toward Muslims─India’s largest minority community that constitutes nearly 200 million of the country’s 1.4 billion people.

Recently, Hindutva pop has also been blamed for instigating violence. Syed Zubair Ahmad, founding editor of Muslim Mirror, an independent media organization that tracks cases of violence against Muslims in India, believes the music normalizes the dehumanization of Muslims in India and encourages listeners to commit violence. “They are making people inure to the violence that accompanies these songs.”

Hinduo kaa hae Hindustan, Mullo jaao Pakistan” (India is a land of Hindus, Muslim preachers should go to Pakistan) is a line from one of Krishnavanshi’s hits, which YouTube pulled from his official channel but hasn’t been able to completely remove from the platform as it continues to be reuploaded by others.

A common refrain of Hindutva pop songs is that Muslims of the country are disloyal and work for the interests of Pakistan, the neighbouring Muslim majority nation that has been at loggerheads with India since separating from it more than seven decades back.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here