Photographer's Note

Who you see here is actually a - BAUL... I met him when I was travelling the Birbhum District in West Bengal in 2006 October, this fellow was singing and begging at the same time, as often poor Bauls do all over the state. This was shot near the KANKALITALA MANDIR one of the Shakto-Peeths; One of of the 51 Peeths - or Holy Places where it is believed after Lord Shiva did his Dakshayagya destruction and a s a result his wife Satis's body was cut by the Revolving CHAKRA(Celestial Cutting Disc)and the pieces were scattered over a vast area and each of these 51 spots turned into most auspicious and Holy place. The spots are scattered over Assam, Birbhum, Pathankot, Mount Abu and even outside India.

"Bauls" are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. Bauls constitute both a synergistic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many sects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Not much is known of their origin. Lalon Fakir is regarded as the most important poet-practitioner of the Baul tradition.
Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and music (Rabindra Sangeet).
Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable.
In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.

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