India and Bangladesh has deep cultural connect! A glimpse of the depth of the said connect was evident, when The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received the first copies of book ‘Lalan Shah Fakir Ke Geet’ written by Prof. Muchkund Dubey and DVD of selected songs of Lalan Shah Fakir on June 3, 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Also present on the event eminent guests from Bangladesh – including Hassanul Haq Inu, Minister of Information of the Government of Bangladesh and Prof. Anisuzzaman, Chairman of Bangla Academy, Government of Bangladesh.
Speaking on the occasion, the President congratulated Prof. Muchkund Dubey who had served as High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh for his pioneering work and for giving an opportunity to recognise and pay tribute to Lalan Shah Fakir, a great saint, poet and social reformer. He also congratulated the Sahitya Academi for publishing the book and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations for supporting the project of producing a DVD containing the Hindi rendering by Begum Farida Parveen. He said that Begum Farida Parveen had enthralled all at the gathering with her soulful presentation of songs of Lalan Shah Fakir both in Hindi and Bengali. He expressed hope that the translation and musical rendering of Lalan Shah Fakir’s songs into Hindi would contribute in an unprecedented way to popularising the incomparable compositions of Lalan Shah Faqir in all parts of India.
The President said that there is hardly any Bengali who does not know the songs of Lalan Shah Fakir. Among the luminaries of saint poets – particularly of the Bengali speaking region, Lalan Shah Fakir occupies an exalted position. He is regarded as one of the most profound thinkers and social reformers of this region. His poetry is an invaluable treasure of the Bengali literary tradition. This outstanding saint did not lean on any one religion or ideology, but picked up the best from Vaishnavism, Sahajya Buddhism and Sufism.
The President said that Rabindranath Tagore, poet laureate of India was the first to publish a significant number of songs of Lalan Shah Fakir and played a central role in bringing Lalan Shah Fakir’s compositions to a wider audience. Today, while Lalan Shah Fakir is an icon and Lalan geeti is in the mainstream of Bengali folk music in Bangladesh, at the same time, he is equally regarded and celebrated among Bangla knowing people of India.