By Md. Intaj Ali
Joydev Kenduli Mela (Fair) attracts a lot of Bauls and Fakirs, who perform their mystic and soulful songs. The fair is held every year on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and is attended by a large number of tourists from all over the world.
There are a few organized festivals held annually in West Bengal like the Joydev Kenduli Mela that celebrate the poetry and music of the Bauls and Fakirs in such a divine, spiritual, and philosophical manner. It’s an annual three-day festival held in Joydev Kenduli in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Joydev Kenduli is regarded as the birthplace of poet Jayadeva and coincides with Makar Sankranti, which marks the beginning of winter harvest, considered auspicious.
The Bauls and Fakirs of Bengal are a spiritual sect of traveling minstrels whose songs of joy, love, and longing for a mystical union with the divine soul have enchanted the audiences for long. Originally, the Bauls were nonconformists, who rejected the traditional social norms to form a distinct sect that upheld music as their religion.
The unique philosophy of both the Bauls and Fakirs has a tremendous impact on people, whether they are from the cities or villages. People from all over the world attend the fair and stay awake through the night to listen to their songs. These three days provide enough joy to last for the whole year, until people return again.
Radhabinode Temple carved in terracotta style
Temporary tent at the Moner Manush Akhra
Halim Fakir and Chand Bibi at the time of their performance
Sadhan Das Bairagi
People gather to take a holy dip in the Ajay River
The manab bedi (human altar)
Baul songs performed at the Moner Manush Akhra
Sadhus and their followers
Unique combination of dance and painting
You may listen to some of the songs of the Bauls and Fakirs I uploaded on the Youtube Channel on the occasion of Joydev Kenduli Mela. Follow the links:
Md. Intaj Ali is a research scholar at the Center for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License. Once a piece is published in Cafe Dissensus Everyday, we will retain exclusive copyright for a period of 15 days, from the date of publication. Within this period, the piece cannot be re-published elsewhere even in an adapted and modified form.Thereafter, it must be acknowledged that the piece was first published in Cafe Dissensus Everyday. Failing to comply with this and any unauthorized republication/reproduction of the piece will invite legal measures and will be liable to prosecution.