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Essay On Cleanliness In Punjabi Language Songs

Kishan emailed me requesting a poem about cleanliness.

Here are some rhymes and poems I found that are generally about cleanliness, keeping clean or washing up…

First, here’s a traditional nursery rhyme that mentions having a clean face:

The Clock

There’s a neat little clock,
In the schoolroom it stands,
And it points to the time
With its two little hands.

And may we, like the clock,
Keep a face clean and bright,
With hands ever ready
To do what is right.

This next rhyme is about washing feet:


Marguerite, go wash your feet;
The board of health is ‘cross the street.

Here’s a song you can sing when washing up or brushing teeth:

This is the Way We Wash our Hands
(To the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we wash our hands
Wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands
In the afternoon (or “To keep us very healthy”)

(You can continue with washing other body parts or substitute the line “This is the way we brush our teeth”.)

Here’s a song about washing away germs:


Wash your face and hands with soap,
Wash them every day!
Keeping clean by using soap
Will help keep germs away

Finally, below you’ll find an old poem called Cleanliness by Charles and Mary Lamb from around 1874. First I’ve given a shortened version that I found and after that you’ll find the full, longer version of it:


All-endearing cleanliness,
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfull’st duty,
To the body health and beauty;
Who that’s human would refuse it,
When a little water does it?

Here’s the longer version:


Come, my little Robert, near-
Fie! what filthy hands are here!
Who, that e’er could understand
The rare structure of a hand,
With its branching fingers fine,
Work itself of hands divine,
Strong, yet delicately knit,
For ten thousand uses fit,
Overlaid with so clear skin
You may see the blood within,-
Who this hand would choose to cover
With a crust of dirt all over,
Till it look’d in hue and shape
Like the forefoot of an ape!
Man or boy that works or plays
In the fields or the highways,
May, without offence or hurt,
From the soil contract a dirt
Which the next clear spring or river
Washes out and out for ever-
But to cherish stains impure,
Soil deliberate to endure,
On the skin to fix a stain
Till it works into the grain,
Argues a degenerate mind,
Sordid, slothful, ill-inclined,
Wanting in that self-respect
Which does virtue best protect.
All-endearing cleanliness,
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfull’st duty,
To the body health and beauty;
Who that’s human would refuse it,
When a little water does it?

If you know of any songs, rhymes, poems, or sayings about cleanliness or washing up, please let us know about them in the comments below.


Mama Lisa

The Indo-Canadian community, who is struggling to curb the problem of gang violence among the Punjabi youth, has criticised the projection of violence and gang wars that have become a common feature in Punjabi songs.

The Punjabi diaspora is quick to embrace their music industry that is expanding exponentially lately with great songs popping up time and again. But not all are happy with this rise!

Jiwan Singh from Surry, British Columbia told SBS Punjabi that he is concerned over the bad influences of the glamorous and violent lifestyles often promoted in Punjabi songs and movies.

“They are so influenced that we struggle to give them values and ethics that we carried from our elders,” he said.

“Gone are the days when the role models were our freedom fighters and spiritual leaders, now they follow movie stars and singers.
“The community is struggling to tackle the gang violence that is engulfing Punjabi youth in Greater Vancouver Area.

“The Indo-Canadian gangs are ranked third behind the Outlaw Motorcycle gangs and Asian gangs in the organized crime statistics, which is our major concerns.

“Although, there is no single explanation for why these gangs have emerged, but there is a culture that promotes these types of things.

Screenshot from gangland song by Mankeerat Aulakh

Sgt. Jag Khosa, gang intervention officer with Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC (CFSEU BC) said he has no doubt in informing that there is an over-representation of South Asian youth in gangs. 

“Music is something that teenagers connect with instantly,” Simran Walia told Global News.

“If this is the kind of music that’s going out there, with a video that explicitly shows how to think, how to act, then it is very disturbing,” she said.

Not only in Canada but it is a general concern within the Punjabi diaspora over the projection of violence and gang wars that have become a common feature in Punjabi songs.

Many big names in Punjabi singing have used these types of songs to gain name and fame with a great success.

Singer like Honey Singh, Dlijit and Jazzy B have many predecessors and followers who not only like these songs but also promote this new culture in Punjabi singing industry.

A few years back, Honey Singh teamed up with Diljit Dosanjh to sing "Mitran nu shauk golian chalan da (We are fond of firing from our guns)".

The recent wave has seen Sidhu Moose Aala, Mankirat Aulakh and many more who often showcase songs with prominent gun culture and violence.

Gurbhajan Singh Gill, a Punjabi poet and chairman of International Punjabi Lok Virasat Akademi told Hindustan Times that songs with bad content have great influence on society, especially on youngsters.

“The need of the hour is surveillance by the government, which should at least monitor the content of songs being aired on TV and radio.

“There are good singers and writers in the industry but the production companies don’t find them profitable, which is very disappointing, he says. 

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