Baul Fakir Utsav for the bond called ‘Music’

By Rikparna Sinha Roy

Photo Courtesy : Parvathy

Kolkata has been witnessing the Baul Fakir Utsav or festival for 14 years in a row since 2005. Baul, Fakir and Musicians like Kartik das Baul, Nazrul Fakir, Paban Das Baul, Gour Khyapa, Biswa Nath Baul and others can be seen composing and performing live and this tradition has been an integral part of this festival. 

This music festival is held in every year on the first Saturday and Sunday evening of January. But the environment mesmerize everyone young and adult, who offer everything to study the inner thoughts and reality, which are expressed through lucid and simple songs, that touch hearts.

More than 1000 Bauls, Mystics, Fakirs and Singers along with the modern and western musicians perform for two days long. The festival has also crossed its borders, which is evident from the participation of artists from Bangladesh. Famous singers from Kushtia, Dhaka, Farezuddin and Sylhet district of Bangladesh no doubts adds charm to the festival. 

Apart from this mystics and musicians, music lover actively participates in the two days extravaganza, organised in a venue, which is in the heart of the cultural capital at Jadavpur Shaktigarh ground, South Kolkata. The festival starts at 5pm everyday and continues till 11pm to 12am midnight.

Organised completely with the support of the art and music lovers, whose love for this traditional art form of Bengal continues without the support of Corporates and Government. Not only this this festival add colors with the active participation of local people and the students of Jadavpur University who put up stalls and sell items like food and merchandise item and the profit is directly donated to the community.

In the year 2011 the group of art lovers who have organised the festival has started a monthly magazine, Arshinagar, which accounts for the Baul Fakir Music tradition. Another significant effort is the publication of Lalan Fakir’s biography by Abul Ahsan Chowdhury.

Lalan Fakir was a 16thcentury Bengali Philosopher, Mystic, Songwriter, Singer and Social reformer. He is regarded as an important pillar of Bengali culture, his songs has inspired and influenced stalwarts like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Allen Ginsberg.