Lalon (October 17, 1774 – October 17, 1890) was a Bengali with many talents; He is also known as Fakir Lalon, Lalon Sai, Lalon Shah, Mahatma Lalon etc. He is simultaneously a spiritual Baul devotee, humanist, social reformer and philosopher. He was the lyricist, composer and singer of many songs. Lalon is considered to be one of the pioneers of Baul music and is also referred to as the ‘Baul-Emperor’. It was through his songs that Baul music gained much popularity in the nineteenth century.
Lalon was a humanitarian devotee. Who gave the highest place to humanity by moving away from all kinds of ethnic divisions including religion, caste, tribe. He composed his songs with this non-communal attitude. His songs and philosophy have influenced countless people including Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul and many famous poets, writers, philosophers and intellectuals like Allen Ginsberg. Although his songs were originally Baul songs, Lalon’s songs have been sung by many musicians throughout the ages, in addition to the Baul community.
No details about Lalon’s life are available. His most unadulterated reference is his own 27 songs. But he did not leave any information about his life in any of Lalon’s songs, but in a few songs he called himself “Lalon Fakir”. Fifteen days after his death, an editorial in the Hitkari newspaper from Kushtia said, “It is difficult to find any material to write his biography. He did not say anything himself. The disciples can’t say anything because of his prohibition or ignorance. ”
There is controversy over where Lalon was born. Lalon himself never revealed it. According to some sources, Lalon was born in 1774 AD in the village of Harishpur in Harinakundu upazila of Jhenaidah district in the then undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Many disagree with this view. In an article in the monthly Mohammadi published in the month of Ashar 1348, it is mentioned that Lalon was born in the village of Fulbari in Jessore district.
According to a news article published in Hitkari, Lalon contracted smallpox on his way out on a pilgrimage at a young age. Then his companions abandoned him thinking he was dead and left for their respective destinations. Malam Shah rescued the dying Lalon who was floating in the river Kaliganga. Malam Shah and his wife Matijan took him home and cured him with care. After that Lalon was baptized by him and started living with his wife and disciples in Chheuria of Kushtia. Lalon lost an eye due to smallpox. In Chheuriya, he met the philosophical singer Siraj Sai and was influenced by him.
Many world famous poets, writers and philosophers have been influenced by Lalon’s songs and philosophy. Two years after the death of world poet Rabindranath Lalon, he went to his akhra house and composed 150 songs influenced by Lalon’s philosophy. The American poet Ellen Ginsberg was influenced by Lalon’s philosophy, and her writings imitate Lalon’s style. He also wrote a poem called After Lalon.
Lalon’s music and religion-philosophy have been and are being researched at home and abroad. 1963 Lalon Lok Sahitya Kendra was established around Akhra Bari in Chheuria. After the abolition of Lalon Lok Sahitya Kendra, Lalon Academy was established in 1978 under Shilpakala Academy.
On the day of his death, a commemoration ceremony was held at Chheuriya Akhra Numerous people from remote areas of the country and abroad come here every year to commemorate the visit of this spiritual saint on Lalon Smaranotsav and Dol Purnima. The festival has been going on for five days since 2010. This event is known as “Lalon Utsav”. In 2012, the 122nd Lalon Utsav was held here.
Lalon died on 17 October 1890 at the age of 116 in his stables at Chheuria, Kumarkhali, Kushtia. About a month before his death, he was suffering from stomach problems and glandular problems. He did not eat anything other than milk when he was sick. At that time he wanted to eat fish. He sang until 5 a.m. on the day of his death, and at one point told his disciples, “I’m leaving,” and he died shortly thereafter.