A palakar is a kind of storyteller-performer. Islamuddin, a palakar from Kishoreganj broke the rules of this art form by using the stuff of his own life and putting it into his art. Traditionally, these storytellers have stuck to the ways of their predecessors and have steered clear of their private lives when it came to their work. The story of Islamuddin's life and a description of his performance are one and the same. He does not shower anyone with praise, not even himself. His story is a tell-all, much to the dismay of some. His Guru, Kuddus Boyati, who he badmouths, is a well-known public figure. As such, Islamuddin's performance pushes some sensitive buttons.
The desire to one-up the mentor is found across different traditions. At first, there is an acknowledging of the mentor, followed by gradually outgrowing and even outdoing him. Though some might find it excessive to link this impulse to the Freudian “killing the father” instinct, Islamuddin certainly shows his instinct for self-assertion by bringing the father down.
From the Insight Desk
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