Celebrating Baul heritage
The first ever Baul Fakir mela is going to be held outside West Bengal, where 60 traditional Baul practitioners will be present including Bhajan Das Bairagya, Shyamsundar Das Baul, Armaan Fakir, Sadhu Das Baul, Kangal Khyapa, Subhadra Baulani, Rina Das Baul, Babu Fakir.
Tapan Sengupta, General Secretary Bengal Association confirmed that distinguished Baul researchers will also be present at this prestigious mela, which is organised by Bengal Association, New Delhi, and is supported by Sangeet Natak Akademi and banglanatak.com.
The mela will be organised on November 9 and10, at Meghdoot Amphitheatre, Rabindra Bhavan.
Baul music is the soul of Bengal and is essentially the music of self searching. It's about 500 years old. Chaitanyadev's Bhaki Cult movement, which is seen as the first social reform movement in Bengal, may be the basis of evolution of Baul music. Lalan Fakir, who used to live at Kushtia in Bangladesh and he may be called as the father of Baul music. Living the life of an esoteric, denouncing the material world, they urge people to rise above the narrow divides created by caste, creed and religion to find love, peace and harmony. Do not look for God anywhere, look for him in the human body. Only then will you get him, feel him and be able to know your own self too. Baul is a philosophy and music. The Bauls and Fakirs believe that Murshid or the Guru is the steersman who can lead a devotee to God. The philosophy gets passed on from 'Guru' to his disciples.
Rabindranath Tagore came to know about Lalan Fakir, may not have met Lalan in person, but met his disciples and got highly influenced by Baul music. Nadia in West Bengal and Kushtia in Bangladesh can be called as Source of Baul music (in pre-independence days, Nadia and Kusha were in same district) and it has travelled to Birbhum because of Tagore and then spread across Bengal. It may not be wrong to say that Baul music was once a subaltern music, but has reached the heart of Bengal including urban educated elites, through the hands of Tagore and has evolved as Soul of Bengal. Baul has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.