Bant Singh is a lower caste Mazhabi, Dalit Sikh farmer and singer from the Jhabhar village in Mansa district, Punjab, India, who has emerged as an agricultural labour activist, fighting against the power of the landowner. Described by Amit Sengupta as “an icon of Dalit resistance” he has been active in organizing poor, agricultural workers, activism that continues despite a 2006 attack that cost him both of his lower arms and his left leg.”
After his minor daughter was raped by some powerful men in 2000, he dared take them to court, an unusual occurrence when a Dalit is raped by a non-Dalit, braving threats of violence and attempted bribes. The trial culminated in life sentences for three of the culprits in 2004, “the first time that a Dalit from the region who had complained against upper-caste violence had managed to secure a conviction.” (more about the man here)
Enter ★ Word, Sound, Power ★
An attempt to showcase the legendary Dalit icon Bant Singh and his songs of rebellion, inter-caste violence and equality. Bant Singh from Jabbhar Village in Punjab is a legendary singer and activist of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha. The Bant Singh Project is a brave collaboration covering wide uncharted areas of music and socially harking issues – the mashed up Indian electronic sounds of Chris McGuinness and the politically charged flow of Delhi Sultanate attempt to spread the message to urban masses via dancehall, dub, and poetry.
The project culminates in a short film shot in Jabbhar Village – filmed on location, by photographer Lakshman Anand, and stylized and edited by Loco Farm. The film critically examines the need for voices of dissent in todays capitalized urban society. Also a deeper look into Bant Singhs background, his lyrical inspirations, 20 years of the unsung Dalit struggle in Punjab, followed by the mash up of genres between Chris McGuinness, Delhi Sultanate and Bant Singh. A bold attempt to fuse socially relevant issues and lyricism across two different languages.
The venture is directed by Samrat B a.k.a Audio Pervert. He contributes his electronic flavor with a remix as well. The project is supported by the Goethe Institut of New Delhi and is the flagship production of New Delhi Films.
The Recording of this project took place on Bant Singh’s farm in Jhabbar, Punjab, India in June 2010. Everything here is free but if you wish to show your solidarity you may purchase the album for however much you wish. The proceeds go towards distributing The Bant Singh Project in rural Punjab. (I’m having trouble pulling up the link for the paypal account myself but you can try here).
01 – Comrades
02 – Intifada – Shaheedanwali Manzil
03 – Modern Dayz – Slavery
04 – Into the Fire
05 – DuBSingh
There’s also more music to follow on their soundcloud page like,
Modern days slavery (NUCLEYA remix) by The Bant Singh Project
Into the fire (DUBBLESTANDART remix) by The Bant Singh Project
Modern days slavery (SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM remix) by The Bant Singh Project
Into the fire (DR DAS remix) by The Bant Singh Project