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Bauls of Bangladesh

Bauls of Bangladesh

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Published by: anmolzico on Sep 04, 2009
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04/12/2012

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Knowing Bauls of Bengal 
“Bauls of Bangladesh”
 November 5
2008
Submitted to:
 M 
 R
 . S. M. H 
UMAYUN 
 ABIR
 
Submitted by:
 Khonker Taskin Anmol – 0630182
 NCH – 101Sec – 02
 
The smell of materialism is not too distant from it, yet here among thedisciples of Lalon we see the issues of property, money, possessions not giventhe highest importance. Practically no one talks of making more money, no oneeven bothers about the value of the clothes that one wears. In the attire, there isan austere uniformity-here among the Bauls all that is important is the search for one’s inner self. The Bauls of Bengal are spiritual sect of traveling minstrelswhose songs of joy, love, and longing for a mystical union with the divine havecaptivated audiences for the past century. They are saffron-clad folk singers whotraditionally live in the huts of rural Bengal though they can be found traveling,dancing, and singing their way around the world. Their livelihood dependsentirely on donations which have been given to them freely over the centuries.They are teachers and spiritual gurus and they are a peace loving people that embrace all and quarrel with none. In fact, Bengalis are known to be among themost friendly and intelligent people in Indian Subcontinent. The Bouls are the folk heroes of Bengal. The popular romantic imagination everywhere seeksexpression through its chosen bard. The Americans have their Bob Dylans and Jim Morrisons, the English have their Beatles Led Zeppelins, and we have our Bauls. These wandering minstrels carry with them from village to city the soul of Bengal, perhaps of India, and every Bengali knows it even if today he isbecoming uncertain what that soul really is.Baul is almost exclusively performed by Bauls (hermits) who are followers of Sufism in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, in the early days of Bauls who claimed tobe Muslims and followers of the VAishnav tradition, with greater focus on love of the society and harmony with nature. Baul geeti had to go through a major struggle of survival as did the Bauls themselves. Bauls were subjected to harshteasing and isolation. However, with time, Islamists were forced by the general  population to accept the Bauls and their spiritual music as part of the society.Current day Bauls in Bangladesh are Sufis. Most live simple lives on an absoluteminimum, earned mainly from performing their music. Baul songs alwaysincorporate simple words expressing songs with deeper meanings involving Creation, society, lifestyle and human emotions. The songs are performed withvery little musical support to the main carrier, the vocal. Bauls, bohemian by nature and belief, leave on grand expeditions, writing and performing music ontheir entire trip to earn living and disseminate notion of love and spirituality 
.
The Word Baul 
The word Baul comes from the Sanskrit word batul, which means mad,but not in a pejorative sense. In fact, their madness stems from love of the`Infinite Self' they believe to be present in every human being. They are a kind of grassroots mystics. The origin of the word is Baul is debated. Some modernscholars, like Shashibhusan Das Gupta have suggested that it may be comefrom the Sanskrit word vatula, which means (divinely inspired) insane or fromvyakula, which means impatiently eager and both this derivations are consistent 
 
with the modern sense of the word, which denotes the inspired people with anecstatic eagerness for a spiritual life, where a person can realise his union withthe eternal beloved - the Maner Manush (the man of the heart).
The Impact of Baul Geeti 
The impact of these singers/songwriters is not restricted to rural Bengal.Through their simple tunes, rudimentary instruments and allegorical lyrics, they have captured the imagination of the world and have made a major impact onthe international cultural scene. The most famous living Baul, Purna Das, evenfound a place on the cover of Bob Dylan's 1968 album John Wesley Harding.
Rabindranath Tagore and the Baul Effect 
The famous Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was greatly influenced and inspired by Bauls. Here is a famous Rabindrasangeet (Tagore song), heavily influenced by Baul theme:
 Amar praner manush achhé pranéTai heri taye sakol khane Achhe shé nayōntaray, alōk-dharay, tai na haraye-- Ogo tai dekhi taye jethay sethay Taka-i ami jé dik-panéThe man of my heart dwells inside me.Everywhere I behold, it's Him! In my every sight, in the sparkle of light Oh I can never lose Him -- Here, there and everywhere,Wherever I turn, right in front is He! The Lyrics
The lyrics often use an esoteric language called `sandhya bhasa' (wordswith hidden meaning). Besides, Bauls come from both the Hindu and Muslimcommunities; their object of worship is no conventional God or Allah, but `moner manush' (the man within) who can be reached by anyone through love and devotion.
The Roots of Baulism and Its Philosophies

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