A four-day programme on the occasion of the 121st death anniversary of Baul king Lalon Shah ended at Chheuria Lalon akhra in Kushtia on Wednesday night.
The event is an annual fixture held on the first of the Bangla month Kartik. State-run Lalon Academy, which consists of local elected people, arranged the programme. Baul Abdul Karim Shah, a recipient of Ekushey Padak for upholding Lalon’s philosophy for the last 55 years, inaugurated the programme. Banglalink, a private mobile service provider, was the sponsor of the programme.
Special assistant to the Prime Minister and joint secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Mahbubul Alam Hanif was chief guest on the first day.
The other guests at the programme included State Minister for Science, Information and Communications Technology Yafes Osman; State Minister for Information and Cultural Affairs, Advocate Pramod Mankin; lawmakers Sultana Tarun(of Kushtia-4) and Majharul Haq( Panchagar-1); Islamic University Vice-Chancellor Professor M. Alauddin and Abdul Mannan, Divisional Commissioner, Rajshahi.
Among the discussants were Lalon exponent Professor Abul Ahsan Choudhury of Bangla Department, Islamic University and M. Moniruzzaman.
Bauls in thousands and Lalon admirers from in and out of the country flocked to Lalon’s shrine on all four days. Seated in smalls groups, the Bauls could be seen paying homage to Lalon at the bard’s grave and singing the songs of their spiritual guru.
Lalon is regarded as the torchbearer by the Bauls and shows them the path to obtain spiritual or divine peace.
The Bauls also consider the akhra, Lalon’s shrine as a sacred spot where they can free themselves of all sorrows and misery through Sadhan-Bhajan( spiritual songs). This homage takes the form of Lalon’s songs. Among the visitors to Lalon’s akhra was Neil Sarafin who had come all the way from Turkey. Sarafin said that he was keen to conduct research on the bard and had come here to learn about all aspects of Lalon’s life.
Neil, however, was unhappy that Lalon’s followers had departed from the original practices of the Baul king and his deputies.
Fakir Alauddin Shah, a noted baul admitted Neil’s observation that Lalon’s present followers often do not follow the customs, traditions and philosophy of Lalon.
Despite such negatives, Lalon and his philosophy are attracting the attention of people across the globe. A number of research papers have focused on the bard. However, the bauls present at Lalon’s shrine have called on the government to take firm initiatives to spread Lalon’s philosophy all over the country.