Video documentary focus to life and philosophy of Lalon Shah ( Fakir Lalon Shah ).

Lalon was mystical poet and saint. He was devoted to love, freedom and peace that is expressed in his songs. He had taught the way of eternal liberation. He strongly emphasized to resolve the internal conflict and dominancy of false desires. He was the greatest mystic-singer in the subcontinent. Lalon believed, the ‘body’ is the universe and the universe is the body. He was revolutionary, challenged to contemporary life style, religions, and practices with simple word of songs.

Script:

Lalon was a mystical poet and a saint. He was devoted to love, freedom and peace which he expressed in his songs. He taught the way of eternal liberation. He strongly emphasized to resolve internal conflicts and dominance of false desires.

Lalon was a mystical poet and a saint.  He was devoted to love, freedom and peace which he expressed in his songs. He taught the way of eternal liberation. He strongly emphasized to resolve internal conflicts and dominance of false desires.

Stricken by smallpox around the age of sixteen Lalon was found abandoned and floating on a banana raft by the bank of Kaliganga River. He was taken to the home of Malam Shah and his wife Matijan. They took care of him like their own son. Matijan became the first devotee of Lalon.

Lalon did not have any formal education. He led a simple spiritual life. To this date, we’re not certain about his real birthplace or birth date, religion or the names his birth parents. But research shows that Lalon Fakir was born around 1774. Also, Lalon died at the age of one hundred and sixteen.

Both Hindu and Muslim communities felt the connection with Lalon. Hindus believed he was a Kayastha and adopted by a Muslim Moulovi. On the other hand, the Muslims believed he was one of them by birth. Philosophically, Lalon was neither as he always strove to go beyond all boundaries of political or religious identities.

Lalon composed about two thousands songs which still provide spiritual inspirations and awareness to many. By songs he guided people to be a “moner manush” or a spirited (perfect) man*, as well as to be a “shohoj manush” or a simple man. He was against all forms of oppressions, hierarchy, racism and above all, caste. He celebrated freedom of mind, body and spirit. Lalon represents the “baul”. The bauls are the spited revolutionaries from the secular communities. Formally, they are illiterate and wondering singers but informally they possess impressive and immeasurable wisdoms. Bauls deny all worldly affairs in desperate search for mystical ecstasy of the souls with songs synchronized with the strumming of a one string musical instrument called “ektarak” or perhaps with a basic hand-drum known as a “dugdugi”.

Lalon was not famous in his time. But his baul philosophy was introduced to the masses by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and his contemporary scholars. He was the greatest mystical singer of the subcontinent. Lalon believed that the body was the manifestation of the universe and reciprocally the universe was the body. He was the revolutionary who challenged the contemporary lifestyle, religions and worldly affairs which he expressed in his songs of simplicity.

Nowadays in Bangladesh, there’s a resurrection of Lalon’s songs among the modern signers following his approach with greater enthusiasm. Today among Bangladeshi, there’s a rebirth of appreciation of Lalon’s songs, particularly for their deep spiritual and inspirational contents. Also, to commemorate Lalon and his life, the Lalon Festival is held in Khustia every year at his shrine. It’s the biggest gathering of bauls and their performances.

Shahjahan Siraj
Dhaka, 16 July, 2007

Script and multimedia: Shahjahan Siraj
Text editor: Arham Chowdhury
Precaution Associates: Rakib and J. Alam
Duration: 13.20 minutes, format: DVD
Copyright © Machizo Multimedia, 2007