Bangladesh: 132nd death anniversary of Fakir Lalon Shah observed

The mystic saint and bard of Bangladesh Lalon Shah was remembered by devotees across the country on his 132nd death anniversary yesterday. Thousands of devotees congregated at his tomb in Kushtia to pay their respect to the great saint who spread the message of humanity through his songs and philosophy.The event at Lalon Akhara in Kushtia was organised by the Lalon Academy and the district administration in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.The event was held with full public participation after two years as it had remained suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

The programme held at Kushtia included Lalon fair, Lalon Songs and discussions on the life and philosophy of Lalon Fakir. Bauls and artists from across the country took part in the programme at Kushtia which was inaugurated by the local MP Mahbubul Alam Hanif as the Chief Guest. In capital Dhaka, the Shilpakala Academy organised a ‘Shadhu Mela’ to pay tribute to Fakir Lalon Shah. Bauls and Lalon devotees take part in the 'Shadhu Mela' to perform Lalon songs on full moon day at the Shilpakala Academy on a regular basis. It was followed by a discussion on the life and philosophy of Lalon which was presided by the Director General of the Academy Liaqat Ali Lucky.

The Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) also organised programmes in Dhaka with cultural shows, processions and discussions to pay respect to Fakir Lalon Shah on his 132nd death anniversary. Fakir Lalon Shah is considered the most prominent figure of the Baul tradition of Bangladesh and India. Born in 1774 at Horishpur in Jhenaidah district of modern Bangladesh, he is revered as a great mystic saint, philosopher and social reformer of his time. He composed thousands of songs which were compiled later by his disciples. His songs celebrate the spirit of humanism blending elements of Islam, Vaisnavism, Shahajiya Buddhism and Jainism. He inspired and influenced people like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and the American poet Allen Ginsberg among others. He is believed to have died on the first day of the Bangla month of Kartik in 1890.

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