The Life & Practice of Lalon Shadhok
A photofeature by Taslima Akhter/Pathshala
Baul philosophy, especially the thought, practice, and music of Lalon Shai is an important part of the national life and tradition of Bangladesh. Many shadhoks (devotees) scattered throughout Kushtia, as well as in the rural areas all over the country have been practicing the philosophy of life and music of Lalon. The central theme of Lalon's philosophy is to understand people and knowing oneself through that understanding. Begging is the most important part of a devotee's life. But this is not conventional begging. They maintain their life practice by begging and they use this as a symbol of destroying the ego.
This feature explores the practice of Lalon's philosophy in the everyday life of the shadhoks and tries to capture the phenomenal role of the Baul shadhoks in carrying out the subaltern intellectual/cultural praxis of our nation.
The two individuals in this feature are Abdur Rob (80), a respected and leading shadhok from Sufi tradition among the Baishnab and Sufi traditions, hailed from Kholishakundi of Kushtia, and Buri Fakirani hailed from Pakkola, Kushtia, who only at the age of twenty four embraced Khilafat along with her husband Shamsul Fakir. Abdur Rob and Buri Fakirani are related through kinship ties. It sheds light on the life practice, music, relationships, and everyday lives of these individuals. I toured five communities -- the Chheruia majar in Kushtia, Pragpur, Pakkola, Bheramara and Kholishakundi.