Thursday, 2nd June 2011
Independent University - Bangladesh (IUB)
I write to express my deep disappointment and irate sentiments after having read the Introduction of your book Lalon – Bangla Bauls 1 – the Second Edition published in June 2010 which I purchased just a few days back.
As a researcher and a member of the Baul fraternity of over 24 years, it was a shock to go through some of the contents that you have been so insensitive about. They stand contrary to our great spiritual lineage and indeed demeans our belief system.
The most damaging aspect in your introduction was to ‘sex-up’ the book unnecessarily. What you have done is misogynist in character and by implications condemns the Baul philosophy to that of the male only and/or male chauvinism. Nothing is closer to the truth.
You should have known all to well that gender bias is non-existent among the Bauls and women are held in the highest of esteem. Similar insinuations have been challenged in the past, and I will be as upright to advise you that in your case too – it will not go unchallenged.
Ironically while criticizing the intellectual supremacism of the Center and appreciating the resistance of the Bauls, you have unwittingly or by intention – fallen into a trap. It is really unfortunate that descriptions of esoteric and unscientific Tantric-Yogic sexual practices of a few, (the catalyst for the genocide on Buddhism in Bengal and its ultimate demise) – as the ‘religion of Bauls’ is indicative that you have deliberately played up to the western status quo that Baul and/or its philosophy is all about sex and drugs? The over all emphasis that the only way to attain spirituality (Fanafillah/Nirvana) is by 'sexual intercourse' are those of mundane illiterates and not expected or worthy of somebody of your stature.
You seem not to have come across the famous phrase of the Bauls –
“Aponar Shadhon Bhojon er kotha,
Kohiyo na jotha Totha,
Aponar apuni kei koriyeo shabdhdhan”
By reading your book and trying to understand your thought patterns, it is evident that you do not seem to be one that has read or have any clear idea about Ilm-E-Tusawwuf and or the basic principals and practices of Ma’arefoti Islam. If you did, you could not have simply written the utter nonsense that describes our venerated Fakirs in your book. Do consider the exoteric and esoteric (Zahiri/Batini) implications of "Fey,Kaaf,Yaa, Ray" in Arabic please. You have surely bitten more than you can chew.
Spiritualism Sir, is not about writing or explaining – it has got to be experienced personally and surely you have neither lived the life of an ascetic or understand its rigor and therefore your articulations are flippant, inappropriate and vulgar.
You seemed to have arrived at a definite conclusion that Fakir Lalon Shah was a ‘Muslim’ based on the book of Dr. Khondokar Reajul Haque. Is he really the final authority on Lalon? I know the gentleman personally and have visited Harishpur, Harinakundu and his hypothesis is based on unsubstantiated claims of Shadhus that Siraj Shai lived in the area and is a matter of friction between the Shadhus of Seuria, Kushtia.
It is now beyond any reasoning of the Shadhus and Fakirs that there are no historical records of a person by the name of Sirah Shai ever being in existence. Indeed every time Lalon Shaiji referred to Siraj Shai he was referring to our omniscient Maker!
Finally, the convoluted sexual practices of some Shadhus which you have in a round about way implied was also that of Lalon Shaiji – is hurtful and one I take serious personal exception. Sir, nobody has gotten away by demeaning and/or insulting our Shaiji.
The Fakirs and their enlightened spirit should not to be taken lightly.