সহিজযা বাউল উত্সব (Sahajiya Baul Utsav)

Bauls are the wandering minstrels, the mystics of Bengal enlighten by a divine madness.


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


From outcasted they became fashionable, à la mode. From tribal villagers to Bengali intellectuals or even Kolkata’s middle class, we’re all seeking the Bauls of Bengal *.


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


“Promiscuously borrowing cultural elements from the religious traditions around them—particularly Vaisnava Hinduism and Sufi Islam—while rejecting their prescriptive requirements, the Bauls’ personally oriented pursuit of spiritual perfection also made them reject caste. While such attitudes have caused them to be attacked by religious authorities and scholars, during the nineteenth century there arose an increasing interest in their musical traditions”**.


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


“For poet Rabindranath Tagore, the Bauls’ songs represented a quintessential element of Bengali culture and he, along with his colleague Kshitimohan Sen (grandfather of Amartya, another Nobel from Santiniketan!), emphasized the humanistic, anti-sectarian, and heterodox attitudes expressed in some of their songs, and Tagore particularly valued their poetic diction and musical qualities as a stimulus to his own artistic inspiration, even incorporating Baul characters into his plays and famously portraying them, himself, on stage in private performances.”**

















Ami ke bhaiami janlem na /Ami ami kari kintu ami amar thik haila na / Kotha haite alam ami, tare kai guni!”

“I haven’t discovered who I am, brother, / I keep saying “I”, but the “I” hasn’t really become mine. / Do I ever enquire where “I” have come from?”


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


Conversation with a Baul, on a river’s bank in Vikrrampur, East Bengal: “We follow the sahaj way (…) and so leave no trace behind us.” “Do the boats” the Baul continued, “that sail over the flooded river leave any mark? It is only the boatmen of the muddy track, urged on by their petty needs that leave a long furrow behind. This is not the sahaj way.”*


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of « Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity » by UNESCO.


Sahajiya Baul Utsav


Born in Murshidabad District, West Bengal, Paban Das is one of the few international Bauls, wandering between Paris and Bengal with his partner Mimlu Sen, author of Baulsphere – The Honey Gatherers, Random House, 2009. This year they’ve organised a two-days-&-nights festival – Sahajiya Baul Utsav in Lohagar – leaving their guests one short day rest after the tormented Joydeb Mela.


Sahajiya Baul Utsav Sahajiya Baul Utsav















Sahajiya Baul Utsav




Sahajiya Baul Utsav




Sahajiya Baul Utsav












* Seeking Bauls of Bengal, Jeanne OPENSHAW, Cambridge University Press, 2004

** from http://www.baularchive.com/index (Website based on the work of ethnomusicologists Charles Capwell, Shubha Chaudhuri, Daniel Neuman. Bauls performances and interviews, movies, texts and solid bibliography)


Sahajiya Baul Utsav

Other sources:


“Baulsphere” and “The Honey gatherers” by Mimlu Sen, Random House, 2009-2010


Moner Manush is a Bengali film directed by Goutam Ghose and based on the life and philosophy of Fakir Lalan Shah, noted spiritual leader, poet and folk singer of Bengal in the 19th century


En français:

“Bengale, l’Inde mystique”, Grands Reportages, n°345, août 2010







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