The 129th death anniversary of the mystic bard Fakir Lalon Shah is being observed in Bangladesh today.
A three-day-long programme started today at the shrine of the saint at Chheuriya on the bank of river Kaliganga in Kushtia district of Bangladesh.
Devotees of Lalon from across the country and the world have congregated at the shrine to participate in the three-day-long programme which is being organised by the Lalon academy and the culture ministry of Bangladesh.
Lalon is believed to be born in 1774 though no written records exist. He died in 1890.
It is said that Lalon was born Hindu but he was raised by a Muslim family after he was abandoned by his own family when he got infected with smallpox and thrown into a river.
His songs talk about humanism, love and equality going beyond the limitations imposed by religion, caste and creed. His songs also express anguish at the social reality of his times. In one of his songs, he talks about the pirates who have come and looted everything in the village which is clearly a reference to the British. In another song, Lalon sings of a time when the blind will lead the blind and the mute will talk loudly.
He created and composed more than 2000 songs which were popularised by Bauls who sang his songs while wandering in the countryside of Bengal and parts of Assam of those days. His contemporary Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore got some of his songs transcribed and published.
His songs and philosophy have influenced many people, including Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul and Ellen Ginsberg, among many others in the world.