Sylhet will celebrate the birth centenary of one of their most prolific sons, Baul Shah Abdul Karim, through a host of programmes beginning today.
A festival, organised by Shah Abdul Karim Birth Centenary Udjapon Parshad and assisted by The Daily Prothom Alo, will open today at Poet Nazrul Islam Academy in the city. Convener of the organising body, poet Subhendu Imam told the Daily Star that former Assam University VC Topodhir Bhatacharjee will formally inaugurate the festival. The Daily Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman, poet Sajjad Sharif, Signer Mousumi Bhoumik and Shah Abdul Karim's son Nur Jalal will attend as speakers, he added.
On the other hand, another state-level three-day festival, titled 'Shah Abdul Karim Birth Centenary Festival' will begin in Sylhet city on February 17. Sylhet festival committee will organise the event at the District Stadium as part of the pogrammes. In a preparatory meeting held recently, committee convener Dr. Abdul Fateh Fattah announced that Finance Minister and chief adviser of the national committee AMA Muhith will formally inaugurate the festival. Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor and former caretaker government adviser Sultana Kamal will be present as special guests. Moderator of the meeting Aminul Islam Chowdhury informed that famous folk band from Kolkata, Dohar, and other folk singers will join their Bangladeshi counterparts to perform on the occasion.
The birth centenary celebrations of the folk music maestro will formally be inaugurated in Dhaka at 6pm tomorrow (February 16), at the Nandan Mancha of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Plans are underway to simultaneously organise it in India's Bardhaman, Shilchar, Kolkata and Karimganj.
Baul Shah Abdul Karim, born on February 15, 1916 at the remote village Ujan Dhol of Derai upazila, was raised in the bhati regions of Sunamganj, Sylhet. He never received academic education, but the lessons he learned and taught from deep within his soul, are not the kind you find in school books. Growing up in an impoverished family could not hinder his search for the meaning of life -- in many ways, as Abdul Karim drew inspiration from nature and his surroundings to musically express himself from an early age. Under the tutelage of baul Shah Ibrahim Mastan Baksh, he absorbed the philosophies preached for centuries by spiritual bards, and delved deeper into them. He went on to write and compose over 1,500 songs.
His magical songs have had a spellbinding effect on the mass for decades. Shah Abdul Karim found inspiration in the philosophy of mystics Lalon Shah, Panju Shah and Duddu Shah.
The 'Baul Samrat' died on September 12 in 2009 at a private hospital in Sylhet.