Bangladesh’s baul (mystic) saint Lalon Fakir remembered

Bangladesh’s baul (mystic) saint Lalon Fakir remembered

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The 127th death anniversary of Fakir Lalon Shah, the most prominent figure of country’s baul tradition, will be observed here today amid tight security measures.

Marking his death anniversary, different programmes including a three-day fair from October 16 to 18, cultural function, conference of bauls, discussion and presentation of Lalon songs will be held on the bank of the river Kaliganga at Chheuriya here, where Lalon’s shrine is located.

Lalon Academy President and Kustia Deputy Commissioner (DC) M Jahir Raihan told BSS that like previous years local administration has taken tight security measures to avert any untoward incident on the occasion.

He said huge number of Lalon followers from home and abroad, visitors and researchers are expected to attend in hordes here on the occasion.

“Apart from the regular forces, adequate members of anti-crime elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), plain-clothed police personnel, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and tourist police will remain vigil there”, the DC added.

Researcher Dr Abul Ahsan Chowdhurty said Lalon, also known as Lalon Sain, Lalon Shah, Lalon Fakir or Mahatma Lalon, was a prominent Bengali philosopher, baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker.

He was away from religion, cast and racial discrimination and positioned the humanity in the highest position, he mentioned, adding, Lalon was a humanist, wrote songs being encouraged from this perception of secularism.

Considered an icon of Bengali culture, Lalon inspired and influenced many poets, social and religious thinkers including world poet Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and American poet Allen Ginsberg.

Lalon died at Chheuriya in 1890 at the age of 116 years. He was buried at the middle of his dwelling place known as his Akhra.

Fakir Lalon Shah was born in 1774 at Horishpur, Horinakundo, Jhenaidah. No details are found about the life of Lalon even he did not say anything about himself through writings but addressed himself as Lalon Fakir in some of his songs.

Experts say Lalon left no written copies of his songs, which were transmitted orally and only later transcribed by his followers. He composed about two thousand songs. However, many rural bauls claim that the number would be over 10,000.

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