The 131st death anniversary of Fakir Lalon Shah, the most prominent figure of country’s baul tradition, was observed on Saturday.
Marking the day, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) organised Lalon Memorial Festival and Shadhu Mela at Baulkunjo of the academy on the evening. Singers Shafi Mondol, Kangalini Sufia, Samir Baul, Pagla Bablu, Moushumi Akhter Salma, Sultana Yasmin Laila, Beauty, Shohaila Afsana Eco and BSA Baul troupe performed Lalon songs at the festival.
Lalon also known as Fakir Lalon Shah, Lalon Shah, Lalon Fakir or Mahatma Lalon was a prominent Bengali philosopher, Baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker from the Indian subcontinent.
He 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.
Lalon has secured a unique position in the history of traditional music for his humanitarian songs, blending philosophies of different devotional traditions such as Shahajia of Buddhism, Shahajia of Vaishnavism, Sufism of Islam and several others.
Regarded as an icon of Bengali culture, he inspired and influenced many poets, social and religious thinkers, including, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, and Allen Ginsberg although he ‘rejected all distinctions of caste and creed’.
In 2004, Lalon was ranked number 12 in BBC’s poll of the Greatest Bengali of all time.