February 5th, 2016
Life was looking bright for Bant Singh, a Dalit in Punjab who unlike many other Dalits had his own cattle to rear. His eldest daughter was in 9th Standard and waiting to get married a year later when destiny took a turn for the worse. His daughter was gang raped by upper – caste men who had threatened him not to go to the courts. Contrary to the diktat he went to the courts seeking justice for the crime and won, a first time for a Dalit to win a case against the land lords. It is very tempting to think, this marked a bitter-sweet end to the cruel story but it isn’t the case. Bant Singh was later rounded up by goons and broke one of his legs and hands and left him to die. Bant Singh was barely a few beats away from death before the villagers found him on time. He miraculously survived, but with amputated limbs and leg.
Singing for Justice
Bant miraculously survived much to the angst and disdain of the perpetrators of the heinous crime. Bant Singh now conveys his message, angst and emotions through his songs. He became a prolific singer who had a profound impact on its listeners. Bant Singh despite his physical and emotional turmoil dint stop and went on to become a voice of the oppressed and face of class struggle. Demand for justice for Dalit’s remains a central theme to his songs. Today, his songs of revolution and change have reached far and wide, inspiring many in different parts of India. Bant Singh has emerged as an agricultural labor activist who fights against the wrong-doings of landowners and spreads his message through his songs.