The two-day cultural festival, organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and UNESCO Dhaka office, marking the 130th death anniversary of Baul legend Fakir Lalon Shah ended on October 17.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) offices in all 64 districts took part in the programme.

The first day's cultural activities began with the Bauls' paying tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Bangabandhu Museum at Dhanmondi in the capital on October 16.

An international seminar titled 'Bissho Manobotar Muktite Lalon Dorshon' was held at the auditorium of the National Theater of Shilpakala Academy.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid attended the programme as the chief guest while BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky presided over it.

On the last day, Baul artistes from the academy and different districts performed Lalon's song highlighting his philosophy of life and death.

Lalon died on the first day of Kartik in 1297. According to the Gregorian calendar, his date of death is October 17, 1890. But his death anniversary is observed according to the Bangla calendar.

Fakir Lalon Shah holds a special and unique place in the history of traditional music, as his songs blend in various philosophies and ideologies. Lalon was against religious conflict and many of his songs mock identity politics that divide communities and generate violence. A true liberal at heart, Lalon is celebrated as an epitome of religious tolerance. He did not believe in classes or castes, the fragmented, hierarchical society, and took a stand against racism. His powerful beliefs reflected in his songs.

Through his songs, Lalon envisioned a society where people from all religions and beliefs would stay in harmony and peace. He was hailed as a humanitarian. His songs highlighted the material and spiritual aspects of life, rejecting the idea of dividing people on the basis of barriers, religions and other societal discriminations.

The literary and musical prowess of Fakir Lalon Shah, influenced hundreds of people, including Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam among other legendary musicians and artistes.

Lalon has been ranked among the top 20 Greatest Bengalis of all time, according to BBC polls. His creations are celebrated throughout the country, in both rural and urban areas, among people of every age and every class. Lalon continues to inspire new generations of musicians and artistes.

It is estimated that Lalon composed more than 2,000 songs, but there are no official records. There are no written copies of his songs, which were transmitted orally and later on, his followers transcribed most of the songs.

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