June 28, 2022, 8:40 pm

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2019-03-21 11:21:17 BdST

Three-day Lalon Fair kicks off at Cheuriya

The three-day Lalon Fair kicked-off yesterday on the night of Dol Purnima, at Lalon’s Shrine in Cheuriya, Kumarkhali, of Kushtia district. The fair is being organized as a memorial festival to commemorate the life of Lalon Fakir, with an accompanying village fair.

The festival is being organized by Lalon Academy with the support of the Cultural Affairs Ministry and Kushtia District Administration. The theme for this festival are the immortal words of Lalon Fakir: “If the negativity of one’s heart passes away, then one shall see all the positive things.”

The festival was officially inaugurated at the Academy premises of Lalon’s Shrine by Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The special guests for the inaugural ceremony were: Bangladesh Awami League Joint General Secretary and Member of Parliament (MP) of Kushtia-3 constituency, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Kushtia-4 consituency MP, Selim Altaf George, Kushtia’s Police Superintendent SM Mehedi Hasan, Kushtia District Council’s Chairman Haji Rabiul Islam, Kushtia District Awami League President Sadar Uddin Khan,  General Secretary Azgar Ali, renowned GP advocate Akhteruzzaman Masum, renowned PP advocate Anup Kumar Nandi, Kumarkhali’s Municipality Mayor Shamsuzzaman Arun, Lalon Academy Organizing Committee member Taizal Ali Khan, and many others. 

The inaugural ceremony was presided over by Kushtia’s Deputy Commissioner (DC), Md Aslam Hossain.

The Vice Chancellor of Islamic University, Professor Dr Mohammad Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari, was the chief speaker at the discussion, and talked about Lalon Fakir’s life, his  songs, and the philosophy of Fakirs. His co- discussant was Khadem of Lalon Shrine, Mohammad Ali. The congratulatory speech was given by Assistant Deputy Commissioner Azad Jahan. The welcome speech was by Lalon Academy Organizing Committee’s Secretary and Kushtia District Administration’s NDC, ABM Ariful Islam. 

The second segment of the inaugural ceremony, which started after the discussion, was a cultural program featuring Lalon Sangeet, presented by a collective of various artistes and cultural organizations. The songs were presented by local artistes of Lalon Academy and famous singers of the nation. 

The festival will have open discussions every evening at the open stage, by the special guests who are to attend the festival. Following the discussion, Lalon’s songs will be presented by popular artistes deep into the night. 

On the banks of the Kalinga River, a village fair has started, selling all kinds of different items.

Hundreds of thousands of devotees of Lalon are expected to come to this year’s festival. In the age of civilization devotees are expected to forget their jealousies and differences, and are expected to implement the teachings of Lalon Fakir, regarding doing one’s duty to meet the need of the times. 

Many sadhus, gurus, and devotees are coming from around the world. They started arriving the week before the festival, and many of them have taken their place at the shrine seven or eight days before the festival began. 

The early arrivals have been constantly singing mystical songs of universal baul, Lalon Fakir. Songs of “Bhed Totto,” which means the philosophy of division, are also being sung. The Shrine has become a very thriving place because of this festival, just as it always does. Kushtia has also become a happening city for the occasion. The entire Academy premises is filled with groups of devotees, singing Lalon Sangeet. 

This festival, on the night of Dol Purnima, was celebrated with much gusto by the devotees of Fakir Lalon, even when he was alive. All the preparations for the memorial festival, along with several initiatives by Lalon Academy, are completed. The Shrine has been swept, mopped and decorated, and also painted in Lalon’s favourite colours: gray and white.

In order to complete the festiva, without any unpleasant occurrences, several layers of security have been introduced by the district administration. Aside from police, there will also be Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and undercover detective agents. 

The festival will end on March 22.

When the tyranny of the British rulers reached its peak in making the lives of ordinary villagers miserable, Lalon Fakir arrived at Cheuriya of Kumarkhali, to teach people the lessons of humanism and the path of righteousness. There are many speculations over the birthplace of Lalon, but it is still an unsolved mystery of history. Lalon had no children.

Due to lack of money Lalon could not receive institutional education, but he did educate himself on his own. Lalon went on a pilgrimage in his youth, and that is when he began his mystic life. During his pilgrimage, he was afflicted by measles, and his co-pilgrims abandoned him because of it. At that time he was given shelter at Malam Shah’s house.  Lalon later met Shiraj Shai, and with his guidance received the title of Fakir. 

Then Lalon Fakir began his meditation at the root of a mango tree, in the deep forest of Cheuriya village. He received help from local craftsmen. Malam Shah, his devotee, donated 3.2 acres of his land for the Lalon Shrine. 

In 1823 the Shrine was built on that donated land. A large straw house was built as Lalon’s living quarters. It is in this house where he would hold gatherings, chanting mystic songs. Lalon lived the remainder of his life meditating and singing with his devotees at Lalon Shrine till his death. 

Lalon has over 1000 songs in the oral tradition. On October 17 of 1890 the Fakir passed away from this earthly life. He was buried in the house, where he used to meditate. 

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