A two-day Lalon Mela commemorating the baul legend Fakir Lalon Shah was held at his shrine at the Chheuriya area of Kushtia.
Thousands of Lalon devotees from across the country attended the festival that traditionally features talks, performances and stalls selling musical instruments.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Kushtia district administration and Lalon Academy jointly organised the programme.
Beginning on Thursday, the event drew the likes of Kangalini Sufia, Latif Shah, Azmal Shah, Rosida Begum and other prominent Lalon singers who performed alongside up-and-coming singers from 64 districts.
On the opening day, Lalon Academy apprentices and singers from Kushtia, Faridpur, Chandpur, Rangamati, Mymensingh, Shariatpur, Sherpur, Tangail, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Kishoreganj, Gazipur, Narsingdi, Khagtachari, Jamalpur, Narayanganj, Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Dhaka and the Indian state of Nadia performed.
They were accompanied by traditional instruments such as ektara, mandira, banshi, dotara and percussion instruments.
On Thursday, the festival was inaugurated by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky and secretary Jahangir Hossain Chowdhury, and Kushtia superintendent of police Pralay Chichim.
At the brief discussion session chaired by Kushtia additional deputy commissioner Mujib-ul-Ferdous, Liaquat Ali Lucky urged the local government representatives, administrators and law enforcement officials to patronise baul practitioners.
‘The songs by Fakir Lalon Lalon can raise awareness of the importance of communal amity and interfaith tolerance in the young generation, thus ensuring peace and harmony,’ he said.
Afterwards, a seminar titled ‘Lalon Shain: Marami Mrittikar Fashal' was held at the Lalon Academy auditorium.
Abul Ahsan Chowdhury, a Bangla teacher at the Islamic University, Bangladesh, presented the keynote paper.
Among others, BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, ADC Mujib-ul-Ferdous, BIU vice-chancellor Harunur Rashid Afsari, BSA Kushtia general secretary Amirul Islam, bauls Mohir Shah and Jahid Hassan were also present on the occasion.
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