By K J M Varma
Beijing, Aug 2 (PTI) Several Chinese and Indian scholars have taken part in a cultural event organised by the Indian embassy here to showcase the essence and universalism of Baul music and philosophy.
The Bauls are dubbed as "mystic minstrels living in rural Bangladesh and West Bengal" by the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Organised by the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre at the Indian embassy on Friday, the event titled 'The Timeless Troubadours' showcased an innovative amalgamation of an offline and online live cast of Baul music and philosophy.
Bauls are the bards of time while their ballads transcend cast, creed, and religion to amalgamate mixed elements of Tantra, Sufism, Vaishnavism, and Buddhism, said Beijing-based Indian journalist Suvam.
The trilingual programme, comprising Mandarin, English and Bengali languages, highlighted the essence of music and philosophy and its universalism through presentations and performances, said Rajashree Behera, First Secretary (Culture) of the Indian Embassy.
Beijing-based Chinese scholar Yang Weiming Shorna, who had previously presented papers on the Bauls in the Chinese language, highlighted the intricacies and characteristics of the bards and their ballads.
She was joined by Subhanwita Sain, a Chinese language student from Cheena Bhavan, VisvaBharati, Santiniketan, who delivered a small presentation on how famous Baul icon Lalon Fakir had inspired Asia's first Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
The highlight of the evening was Goutam Hazra Baul and his troupe, who performed some of the most popular and soulful Baul songs straight from the bedrock of Baul music, Santiniketan in West Bengal.
Hazra’s energetic session included a couple of Lalon's magnum opuses and the special song he created depicting the danger of COVID-19 and its dreadful impact on mankind.
Darjeeling-based Nepali singer Deoashish Mothe gave a live performance of Nobel laureate music maestro Bob Dylan's 'Mr Tambourine Man' in Bengali.
As a special tribute to Dylan and his chart-buster creation, the Bengali version, "O Bhai Tomar" (Oh my brother) was written and composed by one of the most renowned internationally-acclaimed Baul legends Purna Chandra Das Baul, who had the rare opportunity of collaborating with Dylan during the 1960s and 1970s, Suvam said.
Cllr Yukteshwar Kumar, a UK-based Chinese language professor at the University of Bath and also an elected Councillor of the city of Bath, lucidly explained how Baul music influenced Beat Generation bard Allen Ginsberg and his metaphysical thoughts.
Conceptualised and produced by the non-profit cultural promotional organisation Knowledge Nomads, the hour-long event was simultaneously hosted at the auditorium inside the Indian embassy and also broadcast online through webcast. PTI KJV MRJ MRJ