Folk Tradition of Bengal (and Rabindranath Tagore)

by Joydeep Mukherjee | 2018 | 49,317 words | ISBN-10: 8186036989 | ISBN-13: 9788186036983

An English study regarding the Folk Tradition of Bengal and its influence on Rabindranath Tagore—an important Bengali polymath from the 19th century who excelled in philosophy, arts (painting), literature and music. This research tries to initiate the semantic aspect of “folk” through the help of various dictionaries....

Chapter 2.3 - Baul Lalon Rabindranath

Baul is not the name of a religion rather one kind of research / investigation / meditation. Commoners can name rather impose name upon them but they all beyond such naming and never suffer from any identity crisis. What they think and talk is all about the self which itself has no name. ‘Naming of the parts’ as Eliot says is part of normal rather average human action. But these people believe in survival through a process / journey of searching the innate mate of human being. The body as they think is like a container containing the sole of life i.e. soul, totally identical. Surprisingly people fail to feel the fast friend of their bodies. Bauls have shown the ways to encounter such mystery. For this unison with body and soul, people need practice of meditation. They finally believe only in body they can be limited. It is a self motivated process indicted by Gurus. Therefore, they propagate such critical issues to attain the apparently unattainable through songs not by so called lecture demonstration. They only sing in the sense that they even do not feel to write those down. The idea is once it is written it becomes stagnant and stagnancy means death. Therefore, they only make it free from all aspects allowing to go through transformations. Consequently it has a chance of change and a chance to make change. They move from door to door singing songs. The relation is very unique.

Newton here finds a similarity with the ‘sant’ poets of north India. He also mooted another seminal question whether Bauls belong to Loka Sahitya or not. The question engenders a plethora of critical discussions. Bauls, they are devoid of formal set of education. Even listeners in the seat of audience are also uneducated. Therefore, literary or social value is in question mark because who will evaluate. But stunning is their use of symbolic or metaphoric language. It is also experienced that dictionary cannot direct them to the word meaning. For this solution, they are all in all.

Here the writer is very much focused on various aspects of Lalon Fakir. But very categorically he imitated the topics. Beginning with Bengali traditional music, he moves on to Baul; its development through the hands of Lalon, its growth, importance in the cultural atmosphere of Bangladesh / Bengal etc. Most importantly the book has trodden two seminal essays on Rabindranath Tagore; the speciality of Tagore’s art and novelty in Rabindra Sangeet.

The writer begins this essay with a provoking thought–biography cannot catch the poet. The poet is definitely a wise observer of life and things taking part in life. He not only encounters a series of incidents in his journey of life but scans them thoroughly to shape. Basically there are two types of incidents an acute feeling of beauty and expression of the same through flowering words.

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