বাংলা
19 September 2018

Search of Spirituality in Bengal


Newsworldbd.com -12.02.2016

Folk music occupies a special place in history of Bangladesh. It is based in the very roots of our culture. People of Bangladesh and folk music have a powerful, almost unworldly, relationship. That connection is somewhat evident in the city and only gets more obvious when one moves away to the rustic countryside. Folk music however branches out into different subgenres; Baul, Lalon, Bhandari, Bhatiali, Jatra, Kavigan, Kirtan, Sari, Hason Raja, and Gambhira are some examples. Lalon is almost exclusively attributed to the spiritual writer and composer, Lalon Fakir of Kushtia. The Bauls are a spiritual sect of travelling minstrels who sing about life, love and nature. They are saffron clad musical/spiritual persons who are unscathed from the world of materialism.

Bhatiali is generally sung by boatmen. Bhatiali music can be heard mostly in the riverside regions however it’s not limited to just that locale. Bhawayia is sung by coachmen especially in Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Rangpur and Pabna. Sari is sung in Sylhet and Mymensingh while Gambhira is often heard in Rajshahi, usually sung by a grandfather and his grandson on a special topic. Baul is more or less found across the country but more so in the south western regions like Kushtia.

Before Rabindranath Tagore’s time, Bauls were not seen positively and were simply considered vagabonds. Tagore in his youth knew Lalon Fakir – one of the greatest Bauls and sages who translated wisdom into music. This led Tagore to highlight the work of Bauls and he included them in his songs and plays. In time, the clarity and meaning contained within this mystic music has travelled far and beyond, even crossing borders.

To this day Baul music does not cease to impress and provoke curiousity. It is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of material life, the cage that is the concrete jungle of Dhaka. You can go to Kushtia and get mesmerised by the philosophies and visions of Baul singers. You can travel north for Bhawaiya or east for Bhatiali. There is so much musical tranquillity out there, captured in the waves and in the gentle breeze or swaying of leaves – one will miss out much if they do not explore.




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