The Piano Man Jazz Club in Safdarjung Enclave in south Delhi found itself in a controversy after it scheduled a performance by a music band called 'Bhangijumping'. The band was scheduled to perform on 5 June.
Social media slammed the club for supporting a band that offended the sentiments of Dalits.
After the club distributed pamphlets with the band's name, members of the Dalit community staged a protest and called out everyone to boycott the club. They pointed out that they were being casteist and derogatory.
According to The Huffington Post, 'Bhangi' is a derogatory term coined by the upper castes to refer to manual scavengers and the Scheduled Castes. It is a slur that is used to describe something as 'unclean' or 'untouchable.'
A band called "Bhangijumping"?
What is wrong with you guys?
And Piano Man, seriously, why feature this band?https://t.co/9w2vlYfhar
— Omair Ahmad (@OmairTAhmad) June 5, 2017
Casteism is so normalized in our society that most often people don't realize they're part of the problem. #TPMJC #Bhangijumping #casteism pic.twitter.com/RrIBa1xicF — Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) June 6, 2017
An online petition was also started on change.org that demanded the shutting of the jazz club to stop the hate crimes against the Dalits. The post criticised the band for "undermining the social and legal connotations" of using the casteist slur.
In The Huffington Post report, Arjun Sagar Gupta, the owner of Piano Man is quoted as saying that their Facebook page started receiving comments about the casteist band name. However, band member Akshay Kapoor said that he was not aware about the Bhangi community and wanted to only rhyme the name with 'bungee jumping.'
The Indian Express reported that Kapoor sent them a mail commenting on the issue. He was quoted as saying: "It was ignorant on my behalf and it hurts me to see what this issue has turned into, all because of a personal choice that I made. I was genuinely unaware and highly ignorant on naming my band what I did. I did not intend to hurt people and did not take into consideration the sensitivity of the matter.”
In a clarification that Gupta posted online, he urged people to focus on the artistic sentiment and not be "small-minded." He mentioned that the intention of the band was not to hurt anyone and said that he had asked the band members to change the name.
Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 15:00 PM