ROPAR: Punjab's 'Facebook poet' Surjit Gagg was today arrested under blasphemy charges after he posted a rather risqué poem that referred to Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, in terms widely considered derogatory and unacceptable.
"Main te Nanak," Gagg's poem that got him into trouble, is not the first time he pushed the envelope a little too far, but so far he had remained outside the pale of law. In his poem in question, Gagg portrayed himself and the founder of Sikhism as rather thick friends who discuss the state of affairs in the world and exchange views on various subjects.
However, many of his references in the poem could easily inflame passions among devout Sikhs. Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Master, is highly reverred by people across religions in India and the wider world.
Surjit Gagg’s 'GaggBani' often takes on the 'system', but even in the past, he was perceived as crossing lines that most writers refrained to tread. His arrest has now sharply divided the world of activist writers.
Top officers of the Ropar police confirmed Gagg's arrest under section 295-A of IPC. Earlier, a senior manager of Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib had filed a complaint about his latest poem.
Interestingly, it took just a few minutes for members on many social media groups to develop sharp differences when the news of the arrest broke. Even Whatsapp groups that have many men and women from the world of literature as members saw extremely sharp exchanges and often unprintable words against each other, and about Gagg.
Surjit Gagg’s poetry, which he calls 'GaggBani', often takes on the 'system'. While many of his poems attack corruption, communalism, cow vigilantes, state repression, he has in the past been seen as crossing lines that most writers refrain to tread. Gagg's supporters argue that any writer needs his space and the decision about the acceptability of his work must be left to the readers and not subject to state's censor.
Gagg's latest skirmish with law, and the potential anger and rage that his controversial poem is likely to trigger among the Sikh community, is set to stay in the headlines for quite some time now, said a senior official of a forum of writers.