Blog: Susheela Raman offensive frenzied songs struck down by Mauritian Tamil community
Born in Hendon in London UK in 1973, Susheela Raman is not a particularly known musician in Britain but she provoked a controversy during her visit in Mauritius when the Mauritian Tamil community rightly prevented her from singing two of her tracks in which she uses, as incantations, sacred words relating to the popular Hindu deity Murugan especially worshipped amongst Tamil Hindus.
In the song « Paal », the singer Susheela Raman uses the name of the deity Murugan and prayers dedicated to Murugan and shook her body as if she was possessed herself or under the influence of drugs and invoked « Vel Murugan » several times as the music pushed the trance to new limits with her using religious words as incantations to pull in the audience under her spell. This is the sort of song hippies used to listen to when smoking pot and having free sex, with many subsequent abortions. Such music is still commonly used in discos and in private parties associated with sex orgies, wife-swapping, drugs, male and female homoexuality. In « Ennapane », Susheela Raman invoked « Vel Murugan » again to similar ends. Those were the two songs which, for very good reasons, the Mauritian Tamil community, through the Mauritius Tamil Temple Federation and the Tamil Cultural Centre, rejected because they were offensive. Had the singer not removed those two songs during her concert at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute on 26th May 2012, the concert would have been cancelled. Those two songs were certainly not like Anup Jalota’s beautiful devotional songs such as « Aisi Lagi Lagan » and « Bharat Bhai Kapi Se Urin Ham Naahi ».
It is true that trance and rave music are quite common and not normally regarded as offensive. But, in this particular case, the singer used the name of the deity Murugan worshipped amongst Tamil Hindus and clearly showed lack of respect for the deity, which some Tamils may even interpret as sacrilegious and blasphemous, an attitude she most probably cultivated in the permissive society she has been living in. The fact that she has been reprimanded by Mauritian Tamils has absolutely nothing to do with « ultra-conservative religious hotheads » or with whether Mauritius is a « religious state » (like Israel), as she claimed (le Mauricien, 29 May 2012).
Also, it has nothing to do which Darlmah Naëck’s extremist thinking in that the offended parties « n’ont qu’à ne pas se rendre dans ces types de concerts et de ne pas écouter ce genre de chansons » (« Le dieu Muruga et la censure », Défi 30 May 2012). On the contrary he should advise Susheela Raman to use her incantations on audiences in other countries rather than in Mauritius where people still demand respect for what is very dear to them. In addition, when he says « Mettons Dieu en dehors de nos insanités », he must be referring to his own insanity through self-confession. He even went on to attack Mauritian Tamils for not knowing the language of their ancestors in order to justify the disrespect to the deity Murugan through the singer’s censored songs, but does not say that the process of creolisation of Mauritians of Indian origin is responsible for the deculturisation of many of them, including himself, perhaps. The singer Susheela Raman herself can be said to have gone through a similar process in the UK like Jamaican Creoles given the types of songs she is singing and her misuse of Hindu deities in the process. Tamil Hindus want their deity to be respected, and rightly so.
Any society should evolve, but the Mauritian authorities have to ensure that it evolves in the right direction. Describing Susheela Raman as a « diva » and as « popular » is mere propaganda for political purposes. I have never heard of her, and even by Tamil friends in and around Hendon (London) never heard of her either. One even said that she could be a « basement singer ». Through her reaction, it is clear that Susheela Raman, as a guest in our country, does not respect our people. She should apologise for the way she reacted and for the political campaign she is leading against the Mauritian society, of which the Tamils form an integral part. Her one minute silence in protest at the concert in MGI is both foolish and provocative since minute silence is used to remember the dead. When the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mukeshwar Choonee, says that the singer should not have accepted to remove those offending songs, he is only speaking for himself. Using a deity to such ends has nothing to do with arts and culture. Maybe, Choonee should look for another job.