Indo-Bangla Baul music fest begins to mark Lalon’s 249th birth anniv

Published : 03 Jun 2023 08:23 PM

A three day long Indo-Bangla music festival began in Dhaka on Thursday to celebrate the 249th birth anniversary of the mystic saint and humanist bard Fakir Lalan Shah. 

The event was organised by the cultural and research organisation Lalon Biswasangha working to popularise the work and promote research on Lalan Fakir. The High Commission of India and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh are supporting the event. 

Inaugurating the programme, renowned Baul singer, scholar and Sadhu Artist Sunil Karmakar called upon the government to accord the same status to Fakir Lalon Shah as given to Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore and Bangladesh’s national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

The speakers highlighted the deeply humanist worldview espoused by Fakir Lalon Shah in his songs and philosophical discourses. Prof. Anisuzzaman of the Philosophy Department of Dhaka University said Fakir Lalon Shah put humanity at the highest pedestal. He believed in the essential unity of human beings cutting across the divisions of language, region and culture. 

CEO of Lalon Biswasangha Abdel Mannan thanked the Indian High Commission for the help provided to organise the event. He said Bauls from both sides of the border are participating in the event which symbolised the unity of people that formed the core of Lalon’s teachings. 

Director of Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, High Commission of India Mrinmoy Chakravarty welcomed the initiative in organising the event. He said Lalon Fakir can’t be confined to the barriers of language, culture or political boundaries.

Fakir Lalon Shah is considered the most prominent figure of  the Baul tradition of Bangladesh and India. Born in 1774 at Horishpur in Jhenaidah district of modern Bangladesh, he is revered as a great mystic saint, philosopher and social reformer of his time. He composed thousands of songs which were later compiled by his disciples. His songs celebrate the spirit of humanism blending elements of Islam, Vaishnavism, Sahajiya Buddhism and Jainism.

He inspired and influenced people like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and the American poet Allen Ginsberg among others.