Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hason Raja, Rabindranath Tagore and Lalon Shah:

Bengal’s mystic philosopher, polymath and social reformer

Photo Source: Web

The rich cultural heritage of the lands of Bangladesh, that certainly derive from the international influences of the great trading centre, that from as early as the second millennium BCE, brought traders and travellers from across the world to the delta of the great Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, echoes through the ages.
Here, Mahayana school of Buddhism developed, with the Tantric traditions that the 12th century monk, Atish Depanker, carried to Tibet, echoes in the work of the great 19th century poet, mystic and songwriter, Lalon Shah.
A man who lived to be 116 years of age, and left a lasting influence of religious tolerance that no efforts by fundamentalists of any religion seems able to shake, had many contemporaries, but Asia’s first Nobel Laureate for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, remains, certainly, the most famous.

 
Photo Source: Web

Even Allen Ginsberg, the American poet who famously sympathised with the Liberation War of 1971, acknowledged the influence of Lalon on his philosophy.
But Tagore, in a lecture at Oxford University, where he was, himself, much lionised as an international litterateur, also drew to the attention of the world another of the great poets Bangladesh has given birth to, Hason Raja.

Photo Source: Web
 
Tagore and Hason had, perhaps, more in common with each other, that either had with Lalon, except their great expressions of religious and cultural tolerance. Both were products of the landed classes, the Zamindari, and Hason, particularly, who, unlike Tagore, was a man of his land and his home.

Photo Source: Web

The region around Sunamganj, in Sylhet, where, descended from ancient kings, he was born in 1854, can still show, proudly, some of the results of his responsibility as a traditional landowner he took seriously, supporting charities, and the building of schools, mosques, temples and churches. Indeed, the devastation of the Great India Earthquake, with its epicentre in Shillong, just north of Sylhet, so moved him that the last twenty years of his life was dedicated to the humanitarian works that resonated, too, from his poetry.


Photo Source: Tiger Tours


Tagore and Hason came from the tradition of landownership that encompassed the responsibilities, as well as the rights, that such ownership carried. Lalon, however, seems to have been even more aware of the spirituality of belonging to the land with such a rich heritage, and it was, perhaps that, that has made his bequest of social justice and tolerance so resonant, even today.


Photo Source: Web

2 comments:

  1. I don't think that's Indira Gandhi's photo.

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  2. Here is link of a beautiful baul song written by Hason Raja https://youtu.be/jnYe63tsw94

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