Sidhu Moosewala: For world, the ‘macho star’, at his alma mater the ex-student with stage fright – The Indian Express

For world, he was a star. A singer, known as much for his songs as the ‘macho man’ image he had created with his fondness and unabashed love for guns and bullets. Yet, even with all that stardom, with millions following him on social media, and having contested an election, Sidhu Moosewala was all butterflies when it came to addressing the college from he graduated as an electrical engineer.
“I might have performed in front of 2-4 lakh people on big stages.. but my legs are shaking as I stand here and speak in front of my teachers,” Moosewala had said as he addressed students at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNDEC) in Ludhiana last year.
But in the same breath, he accepted that “today Shubhdeep Singh is Sidhu Moosewala only because of the guidance that I got from teachers here; my alma mater is no less than any Gurdham for me”.
His teachers at the college can’t believe that the young student who would roam around the campus on his Royal Enfield bullet, play harmonium in his hostel room and sing in canteen and college’s cultural programmes with his friends is no more.
A day after he was shot dead at Jawahar Ke village of Mansa in cold blood, Moosewala’s teachers and friends remember how he never let go of his roots and was “proud of being a desi Punjabi”. Moosewala graduated from GNDEC in 2016, the year he wrote lyrics for his first commercial composition ‘License’ sung by another singer Ninja.
“Like a coin, Shubhdeep had two sides. He was very shy and even used to stammer a bit during one on one interactions but would become a different person when performing on stage. He wasn’t a perfect singer, but a crowd puller. It was in second year that he was selected for solo singing. We don’t remember if he ever disrespected any teacher,” said Gagandeep Singh Sodhi, his ex-teacher and then member of the college’s cultural committee.
It was in March last year that Moosewala, on a call from his teacher requesting him to be a part of college’s Alumni interaction, had agreed to reschedule his shoot, and reached the college.
“The event was on March 20 and I called him just three days back. Still he rescheduled his shoot and came. A huge crowd had gathered… there were no airs about him. Coming from a humble background, he knew how difficult it was for poor students. He said if any student needs financial help, he was always there to help and that we should contact him,” said Rupinder Jit Singh Kathuria, associate professor, electrical engineering at GNDEC.
“When he came for alumni interaction, he touched the feet of all teachers. He was scheduled to get married soon and said that he will invite his teachers,” Kathuria added.
An average student as per his teachers, they remember how he had started writing lyrics of songs in college days and would participate in singing and writing cultural events in the college. “Sometimes I would counsel him that he should stop promoting weapons and violence in his songs. He would say, ‘Sir, I like arms and weapons and I have a strange fascination for them but I have never written any song promoting drugs or vulgarity or something that disrespects women’,” said Kathuria.
One of his closest college friends, Sehaj Grewal, said Moosewala was so proud of his desi Punjabi roots and loved to flaunt it.
“That humbleness in him never went away. He used to tell how he bicycled to school that was kilometers away. It was in 7th semester that he had started getting formal training from a local music teacher in Ludhiana and got a harmonium in the hostel room for practice. He wrote his first song in 2016 and went to Canada in 2017 for a hotel management diploma. After that there was no looking back. But even as Shubhdeep became Sidhu Moosewala, he never forgot his college friends,” said Grewal.
Grewal said despite being a star, Moosewala preferred to live in his village. “With the kind of resources he had, he would have lived anywhere in the world,” said Grewal.
After his murder, Moosewala’s old clip of performing at college went viral. He is heard saying in the video that he has passion for writing and singing. He also sings a few lines from his first composition as lyricist – ‘License’, which glorified illegal weapons: “Derhdniya hikka oh license nahio lehnde, jinhe chakna kise nu warrant nahio lehnde…Sidhu Moosewala fokiyan ni rod da, Na desi asla recardan vich mol da.. (Those who have to tear someone’s chest don’t take license, those who have to kidnap someone, don’t take warrants… Sidhu Moosewala doesn’t brag in air, his country-made weapons don’t show in any records)”
However, during the alumni interaction, he had sung a song dedicated to his mother, which is now being shared widely. “Kadey suraj waangu tapda haan, kadey shaant savere warga haan, maa mainu lagda rehenda main javaan tere warga haan..’
The unreleased song on Punjab issues
His friends said that Moosewala had prepared a new track which was focused on Punjab issues including SYL canal, Sikh prisoners in jails and touched political chords. “However, it is not released yet. He used to say that now his every third song would be on Punjab issues,” said a friend.
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Divya GoyalDivya Goyal is a Principal Correspondent with The Indian Express, base… read more

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