Published On: 2009-04-06Mystic Pagla Kanaiâ€™s 199th birth anniversary observedAzibor Rahman
â€˜Lathi Khela,â€™ one of the highlights at the Pagla Kanai birth anniversary celebration
The 199th birth anniversary of mystic bard Pagla Kanai was observed on March 4 in Jhenidah in a befitting manner. The programme was arranged by 'Pagla Kanai Smriti Shangrakkhan Shangshad' of Berbari village, Jhenidah. The anniversary programme began last Friday.
Mohammad Motahar Hossain, state minister for education, was present as chief guest at the opening programme. Local lawmaker Shafikul Islam; A.H.M Akhtarul Islam, assistant professor of English, Kushtia University; Babu Kanak Kanti Das, Sadar Upazilla chairman; police superintendent Jahangir Hossain Matabbar and Rashidul Islam, vice president of Jhenidah Sadar were present as special guests. The programme was presided over by A.K.M. Rafikul Islam, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Jhenidah.
Several stalls were set up around the 'Mazaar' (shrine) complex of Pagla Kanai. Visitors in thousands thronged the venue. A good number of devotees of Pagla Kanai showed up to pay tribute to the legendary mystic. Rinku (of "Close Up 1" fame) performed a good number of Baul songs on the occasion.
Pagla Kanai was born in Labutala Madhabpur village under Jhenidah district on March 18, 1809 (Falgun 25, 1226 in the Bengali calendar). Kanai was born to Messer Ali and Momena Khatun. This year, Kanai's birth anniversary was celebrated later as the date coincided with Muharram, said Ibrahim Hossian, joint secretary of Pagla Kanai Smriti Shangrakkhan Shangshad.
Kanai became renowned for his folk songs. He composed a good number of devotional songs but many of these have not been preserved. An auditorium and library named after him now stands near the Mazaar.
Pagla Kanai's passion and intense spirituality was evident at an early age, hence the locals started calling him "pagla" (crazy).
Kanai left his village to evade the oppression of the British rulers who forced the farmers to cultivate indigo. Dirt-poor Kanai became a drifter after his father's death. He became a cowherd. Many were taken aback by his eclectic spiritual songs and "dhua jaari." His spiritual inclination put him in touch with the bauls and fakirs of the area.
People from all walks of life used to throng his 'ashor' (performance) and listened to his songs for hours. And gradually his fame extended throughout the country.
Pagla Kanai's songs can be classified into 'jari,' 'dhua,' 'pala gaan,' 'kobi gaan,' 'murshidi,' 'marfati,' Islamic and more.
Scholars such as Mohammad Mansur Uddin, Dr. Mazharul Islam, Abu Talib, Amin Uddin Shah, Durga Das Lahiri and Upendranath Bhattacharya collected Pagla Kanai's songs and conducted researches on the bard.
The legendary baul passed away in July 1889.
Aulad Hossain, a descendant of Pagla Kanai said, "We are elated that his birth anniversary gets a major celebration but we also expect the government to take further steps to preserve his memories."The Daily Star