28 October, 2006


tilak smeared foreheads
with white skull caps
is not an everyday sight
but this is what happens
when our eid-spirited selves
run into diwali's bright lights

08 October, 2006

Bant Singh Can Still Sing

Most of us in India may have heard of Bant Singh. He is a dalit farmer from a village called Phullewal in Punjab. He's had one of the most traumatic and tragic experiences in recent times.

Bant Singh spent his time organizing farm hands in Punjab but that obviously didn't go well with the landlords. The series of ghastly acts began with his daughter getting raped by the village goons. Bant took refuge in the legal system and fortunately was able to get the perpetrators convicted. But this was just the beginning of his woes. The sympathizers of the rapists and landlords caught hold of him and battered him almost to death. The end result was that three of his limbs were chopped off. When admitted at the local district hospital, Bant Singh ran into further civic and administrative apathy and almost for three days was without any medical aid. The doctors apparently wanted some monetary consideration to treat him.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, Bant Singh is getting treated right now at Delhi's St. Stephens Hospital and the total expense to rehabilitate him, that is to provide him with prosthetic limbs would cost an upward of INR 300,000-00 (USD 6,500-00 approximately).

The Forum for Democratic Initiatives is organizing a fund raiser for him on October 15th, 2006 here in Delhi. The details of the fund raising program are given below. We'd appeal all of you, if you're in Delhi to make it for the fund raiser and contribute to Bant Singh's rehabilitation. If you're not in Delhi then please spread the word to your friends here in Delhi whom you think would be willing to attend the fund raiser and contribute to Bant Singh's relief.

Thank you and best regards,

Murtaza Danish Husain

Bant Singh Can Still Singh

Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:00 pm JNU City Centre, Near Mandi House
35, Feroze Shah Road
Delhi, Delh, India
Phone: 9868038981

Forum for Democratic Initiatives invites you to an evening of cultural performances to celebrate resistance.

Bant Singh, a Dalit singer and an agrarian worker, who continues to be defiant even after the amputation of three limbs, is currently being treated in St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi. The doctors are hopeful that with artificial limbs, Bant Singh will be able to walk again.

Bant Singh was assaulted by powerful landlords in Mansa, Punjab for consistently pursuing the legal battle against the rapists of his daughter and for organising the rural poor under the banner of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha (of the All India Agriculture Labour Association).

An evening of cultural performances to honour Bant Singh’s courage and defiance and to raise funds for his rehabilitation will be held on 15th October 2006 (Sunday)

venue: jnu city centre, near mandi house, 35, feroze shah road, new delhi

time: 4:00 pm

* an exhibition of photographs by raghu rai and others

* ‘video letter from bant singh’

* musical performance by rahul ram of indian ocean

* sufi songs by dhruv sangari

* bhojpuri songs by hirawal, a patna-based cultural group

* ragini and haryanvi folk songs

* akarmashi: a play based on saran kumar limbale’s story

* dastangoi: the lost art of urdu story telling by mahmood farooqui and danish husain

* protest poetry by balli singh cheema and others

* revolutionary Punjabi songs by iqbal udasi

Contributions for the programme will be directed to the ‘bant singh relief fund’

Entries are through coupons ranging from Rs. 250/- to Rs. 1,000/- For further details, coupons and contributions contact: Forum for democratic initiatives

9868038981/ 9811625577 / 9910074470/ 9810252416/ 9818416968/ 9871338943