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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 1 January 6, 2024

Ghoshal’s review of Who Killed Moosewala? by Jupinderjit Singh

Friday 5 January 2024



by Joydip Ghosal

Who Killed Moosewala?
by Jupinderjit Singh

Westland Non-fiction
195 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9357764615
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9357764612

Jupinderjit Singh’s book Who Killed Moosewala ? The Spiralling Story of Violence in Punjab laid bare the different aspects of violence that tormented Punjab for a long time. The author delved deeper into the social and political realties to peel off the layers in order to unearth the menace that shoved a bright singing star into untimely death. Punjab ,plagued by the trouble of gang rivalry and feuds witnessed killings and attacks on many rising stars. The reprehensible and gruesome killing of Moosewala was just another addition. In this gripping book the author tried to unravel the sequence of events that led to Moosewala’s death. While navigating through the path he gleaned many nuggets and valuable information that added value to this book. This book contains 17 chapters. Moosewala’s death on 29 May 2022 rocked and shook the entire country . His acolytes and fans could not believe that the rap idol was no more. The author showed in this book that there were several warning signs. It could not be dubbed as bolt from the blue. Even in his interview with Pro-Punjab TV journalist Yadwinder Singh Kurfew Moosewala detailed about a turban – bomb incident. On May 28, 2022 ruling dispensation curtailed the security cover of 424 VIPs and VVIP’s. Moosewala’s security cover was also pruned. Next day assailants’ bullets snatched his life. Thirty bullets were fired at him. The life snatching fatal one was wedged in his lung.
Jupinderjit Singh is an eminent journalist who won Prem Bhatia Young Journalist Award for his remarkable feats in the field of journalism. He did pioneering work on the changing demography of Punjab. Apart from that he brought to the fore the outflow of Punjabis to the western countries and inflow of people of eastern states into Punjab through his research. A journalist with 25 years of varied experience his area of coverage is crime for The Tribune, a leading daily .This book is a testament to his in-depth knowledge and experience regarding the dark underbelly and socio-political factors of this state. In order to comprehend the life of Sidhu Moosewala and to chart his blossoming from a gun -toting rap star into a soulful singer he had analysed some of his songs in the book. For ease of understanding he translated some of his verses. So it has become easy for the readers to get a holistic view. Moosewala , the rap sensation stood in solidarity with the farmers and publicly proclaimed his support for the farmer’s agitation. His rebellious streak was evident in his songs. At the time of his death his career was on a sharp incline. In 2018 PTC Punjabi Music Awards nominated him in the Best New Sensation category for his song Issa Jatt. He won Brit Asia TV Musis Awards ( BAMA), his song 47 featured in the top 20 on New Zealand Hot 40 charts and UK mainstream weekly. Despite his expanding stardom he had to face brickbat from his detractors. They used abusive language and threatened the singer. He contested from Mansa Assembly seat. Through this book the readers come to know that in the verses of his song The Last Ride Moosewala compared his life and surrounding controversies to his idol Tupac Shakur, the famous American rap singer. His songs left a deep impression upon him. In 1996 he was shot in Las Vegas by a suspected gangster. Like his idol, Moosewala also met a tragic end. A pensive feeling echoed in our mind. “Had he ever had an inkling about how similar their lives would turn out to be?”

The author here made an interesting observation. His earlier songs were marked by hyper masculinity and Jat supremacy . Later the socio-political issues found places in his songs. In this book the author graphically portrayed the rap sensation’s childhood, his college life. Even the brief period he spent in Canada also found illustrious mention here. At the same time the author tried to portray the gory , macabre world of the gangsters and the atrocities they unleashed. These are not mere information. Rather, interspersed with facts on the social realities these made the ‘crime reporter’s account’ authentic. Decades old enmity, vendetta, misguided passion of the youths , the simmering animosity resulting in violence were delineated with superb craftsmanship. Writing about his passing away , the outcome of a gruesome killing has been tumultuous journey for the author. Professional expertise mingled with evocative prose make the book a memorable read. He hoped that many more people would discover him through this account. He wrote this book for everyone who are admirers of his songs and engage with his music. This honest admission makes the book a remarkable one.

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