By Sukanya Shantha

Mumbai: Two young rappers posted videos of their songs on the internet. In a matter of minutes, both songs went viral on social media. The two men, from two different parts of Maharashtra and perhaps unknown to each other, had raised similar political and social questions.

While Raj Mungase’s rap attacked Maharashtra’s Eknath Shinde-led government (without mentioning names), Umesh Khade criticised politicians for ignoring poverty-stricken people for their personal gains.

The Maharashtra police found both the songs “obscene” and booked the rappers in two separate cases.

On March 25, Mungase, a young man from Aurangabad, released his new song “Chor” on a YouTube channel called ‘Bhimraj production’. His song directly opens with the lyrics “Chor aale 50 khokhe gheun kiti bagha, chor aale…ekdum okay houn”, which loosely translates to, “Look, the thieves have come with Rs 50 crore. Look, the thieves look all fine”.

The song, which has over 22,000 views till date, mentions no political party or politicians.

But it hints at the allegations made against the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the MLAs of his faction of the Shiv Sena who had camped in Gujarat, Assam and Goa in June last year after breaking away from the then Mahavikas Aghadi government and aligning with BJP. The MLAs were accused of taking hefty bribes to jump camps and bringing down the Uddhav Thackeray government. Shinde became the chief minister after this political coup.

Mungase was picked up from Aurangabad and brought to Ambernath in Thane district following the registration of an FIR based on a complaint filed by an activist from the Shinde faction. The Ambernath police, however, have denied having detained Mungase.

Mungase was booked under section 501 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 505(2) (statements creating enmity between classes) by the Shivajinagar police station in Ambernath.

His younger brother Somesh, speaking to the media in Aurangabad, said days before the FIR was registered, the police had even visited their home. Afraid of police action, Mungase had gone into hiding before he was taken to Mumbai, his brother claimed. “He has done no wrong. It is an angry rap against the state of politics but he mentions no names. Now our family is afraid of the repercussions,” Somesh said.

Ambedkarite activists from Aurangabad shared that Mungase comes from a Dalit community and has of late been participating in Ambedkarite movements. “He accepted Dhamma Deeksha (converted to Buddhism) only recently,” shared Gunratna Sonawane, an Aurangabad-based student rights and anti-caste activist.

Khade’s song, on the other hand, is more generic. Unlike Mungase’s song, it does not criticise or side with any political party. His rap simply focuses on how the poor and marginalised are left to fend for themselves even as the political parties are busy striking lucrative deals. Khade, a Mumbai resident, is more famous as Shambho and his Youtube channel ‘Shambho Rap’ has over 3.74 lakh subscribers.

On April 6, the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Mumbai police lodged a complaint against Khade for uploading a song, ‘Janta bhongali keli’ (‘You stripped the public naked’). ‘Bhongali’ is a common rural slang used to denote nakedness. Khade, in an acerbic tone, hits out on the state for not caring for its citizens…

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