REVOLUTIONARY balladeer and icon of Dalit resistance, Bant Singh, turned down a state award offered to him by the AAP’s Delhi Government. The Delhi Government had invited him to accept the award and a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar. Comrade Bant politely refused the award, saying that he did not accept Government awards on principle. A CPI(ML) activist, Comrade Bant Singh’s limbs were chopped off for his defiance to the dominant castes, but he continues to sing and fight.
Speaking to a reporter of the Tribune, Aparna Banerjee, at the Utho Mere Desh program in Jallandhar on Ambedkar Jayanti, Bant Singh said, “I can stay hungry for two days, but I can’t accept money from political parties. I don’t need their money.... I believe all this is being done to gain some publicity ahead of elections. Only a government which stays true to the ideology of Bhagat Singh shall talk for the rights of the common man (aam aadmi).”
He added, “Modi had said good days would come, but see how tough is the going for farmers and labourers these days.” On the Congress, he said, “Sonia (Gandhi) also once said that she wanted to meet me. I thought she would come with 60 cameras. Congress men severed my limbs and I thought that the party president would tell the entire country that Bant Singh had pardoned them. I don’t play into the hands of such people.”
On the Shiromani Akali Dal, he said: “They never invited me. But before every elections, they drop me a letter to vote with care. When they need our vote, they recognise us for a few days. But for most of the five-year period, no one cares about the common man.”