A three-day Lalon Smaran Utshab (memorial festival) ended at Lalon akhra in Chheuria in Kushtia on Monday night.
The programme highlighted the philosophy of Fakir Lalon Shah (c.1774-1890). Lalon Academy organised the programme with the assistance of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The festival is held annually to celebrate Dol Purnima.
Like previous years, on the occasion, the akhra saw an influx of devotees and admirers from all over Bangladesh and overseas. An attraction of the event was a Baul Mela.
Research shows that Dol Purnima has been celebrated for around 200 years and was introduced by Lalon himself. In his lifetime, Lalon used to organise the event at his akhra. After his demise, his disciples carried on the tradition. They formed a committee. The committee initially organised various programmes at the venue. The festival was organised with donations from well-wishers. Later, Lalon Academy was formed to look into akhra affairs. In the course of time, the festival has turned into a government-organised programme.
At the festival, the baul community fervently follows their customs. According to their philosophy, every religion is on par and division of mankind in the name of religion is unacceptable. Following Lalon's teachings, they prefer to shun worldly desires.The programme was inaugurated by Acting Divisional Commissioner, Khulna Mohammad Faruk Hossain. Folk exponent Professor Dr. Rashid Askari, also vice chancellor of Islamic University Kushtia, was chief guest on the concluding day. Kushtia Deputy Commissioner Md. Zahir Raihan chaired the event.
In their speeches, speakers emphasised the importance of disseminating Baul culture among the masses. They also said that the humanitarian and secular Baul songs could help build a violence-free society.
Professor Sarwar Murshed of Bangla Department at Islamic University Kushtia, Kushtia Civil Surgeon Nazmul Ahsan, Principal of Kushtia Government College Professor Badruddoza and journalist Rasedul Islam Biplob, spoke on the occasion.