THOUSANDS of devotees paid tribute to the late legendary mystic bard Fakir Lalon Shah rendering his songs under the full moon on Monday night at the on-going Lalon Memorial Festival at Lalon Akhra in the village Chheuria under Kumarkhali upazila of Kushtia.
The Lalon Academy and Kushtia district administration have organised the three-day festival, which commenced on Sunday, in association with cultural affairs ministry.
Every year, devotees gather at the Akhra in March to celebrate Lalon Memorial Festival, a major attraction of the event being the Dol Purnima Utsab where devotees pay tribute to Lalon rendering his songs under a full moon.
This year Dol Purnima Utsab was celebrated on Monday. Lalon himself introduced the observance of Dol Purnima during his lifetime and the event was revived two decades ago.
Caretaker of Lalon Akhra Mohammad Ali said that festivals on Lalon draw devotees from across the world. The devotees have taken shelter on Lalon Akhra premises and in tents that have been set up near the canal.
‘Devotees come to the shrine from Bangladesh and elsewhere to participate in festivals on Lalon. They celebrate Lalon’s philosophy and pay tribute to him rendering the songs,’ he said.
‘We come to Lalon Akhra every year for spreading Lalon’s philosophy and to pay tribute to him. We render his songs and promote his philosophy of “atmatatta” among the masses,’ Fakir Nayeem Shah, a participant, told New Age.
The festival is also featuring a Lalon Fair where nearly one thousand makeshift stalls were put up. They displayed traditional attires, sweets, pottery and handicrafts.
‘I have always wanted to visit the festival and the fair. I have had a great time and am looking forward to visiting the fair again in the future,’ Mimi Chakma, a visitor, told New Age.
State minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid inaugurated the festival. Following which, a discussion on Lalon was held at the venue.
KM Khalid addressed the programme as the chief guest while Awami League lawmaker for Kushtia 1 constituency AKM Sarwar Jahan, Awami League lawmaker for Kushtia 4 constituency Selim Altaf George, Kushtia’s superintendent of police SM Tanvir Arafat, Kushtia zilla parishad chairman Rabiul Islam, Kushtia sadar Awami League president Sadar Uddin Khan, general secretary Asgar Ali, Kumarkhali upazila parisad chairman Abdul Mannan Khan and Kushtia Press Club president Rashedul Islam Biplob were present as special guests.
Islamic University pro-vice-chancellor professor M Shahinoor Rahman delivered speech as the chief discussant with Kushtia district commissioner Aslam Hossain in the chair.
The speakers emphasised the importance of promoting Lalon’s philosophy among the masses. As Baul songs celebrate humanity, such songs can inspire people from all walks of life to create a violence-free society, they observed.
The festival ends today.