The entire Diljit Dosanjh Coachella Indian flag video controversy, fact checked

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaApr 26, 2023 | 14:58

The entire Diljit Dosanjh Coachella Indian flag video controversy, fact checked

Diljit Dosanjh's recent statements at a Coachella performance seem to have been misinterpreted on Twitter (photo-DailyO)

Diljit Dosanjh created history at this year's edition of Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival as the singer became the first Indian artist to perform at the global event. However, by the second week of Coachella, Dosanjh drew the ire of some trolls on social media who seemed to have been misquoting or taking his performance out of context. 

Now, the actor and singer, has a reply against allegations of him being anti-Indian. 


What happened exactly?

In this middle of his second week performance on April 23 (Sunday), Dosanjh saw an Indian audience-member holding the Indian tricolour. On witnessing her holding the flag, the Punjabi singer and actor remarked in Punjabi which can loosely be translated as, 

"This girl is carrying my country's flag, this is for my country and everyone. Save yourself from negativity. Music belongs to all and is mutual, don't use it to spread hate."

Did Dosanjh actually try to spread any hate?

It seems like Dosanjh was just making a general statement of not fighting across boundaries at an international stage like Coachella. Pointing at the woman with the flag, the singer was simply stating that the flag is of his country. But in the days that followed, a section of Indian Twitterati began misinterpreting Dosanjh's words. 

The fact that he said "don't use [music] to spread hate" was being misinterpreted as Dosanjh saying that the Indian waving the tricolour was a hate-mongering activity. With the Twitter handle @PunFact (that claims to "bring out the truth in Punjab" in their bio) uploaded a tweet on April 25 that amassed over 2.9k retweets within a day.


However, if one listens to the words said in the video, Dosanjh wasn't accusing the woman of spreading hate by waving the flag. He was just making a general statement that music unites everyone.  

Dosanjh replies to trolls

The next day, on April 26 (Wednesday), Dosanjh went to Twitter to explain that his video is being misquoted and taken out of context. He started off the tweet in all caps, "DON’T SPREAD FAKE NEWS & NEGATIVITY". He explained in Punjabi that what he acknowledged that the tricolour flag was from "his country" and the concertgoer "brought Dosanjh's performance in Dosanjh's country". 

"If you don't understand Punjabi, then please use Google"

He added that the reason behind saying "Music belongs to all" was simply because Coachella involves people from diverse countries all over the world. The tweet ended with a snarky remark that people learn how to "twist words" from these trolls. 

How are people responding?

While some of Dosanjh's fans are siding with him, some trolls are still hellbent on painting him as a singer spreading hate against India. The words like "Khalistani" are also being commonly used in the replies. Despite him not openly declaring his support of the separate country that some Sikhs demand, Dosanjh is no stranger to such hate. He was branded a "Khalistani" by many on social media in 2021 when he underwent a similar social media trial for his support of the farmers protesting against the central government's new farm laws.


On his Coachella performance, these trolls have been arguing that Dosanjh is an anti-national artist just because he refrained from waving the tricolour on stage and saying the words "Jai Hind". 

Diljit Dosanjh's political past

Dosanjh, who also starred in Udta Punjab as a cop fighting the drug menace in Punjab, has also been vocal of violence perpetrated against the Sikh community. In the 2022 Netflix film Jogi, Dosanjh starred as a survivor of anti-Sikh hate crimes in 1984.

When critic Rajeev Masand asked him a question during an actors' roundtable discussion, Dosanjh claimed that Masand's usage of the word "anti-Sikh riots" was wrong and the word "riots" should be replaced by "genocide". 

"Riots is when two groups are fighting. But when you are intentionally targeting anyone, then it is genocide."
Last updated: April 26, 2023 | 17:15
    Please log in
    I agree with DailyO's privacy policy