The ‘Aktanra’ (monochord) of Lalon

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Written by Jagannathdev Mandal

I do not remember the exact time when Baulgun, Fakirgan,(folk songs) has started attracting the simple people likelalan1 magnet. I Only remember that the ‘aakhda’ of Palashi village, in the evening, the ‘aktanra’ , ‘dotanra’, ‘anandalahori’ used to start playing everyday.
I remember that the ‘Boshtumi’ (nun) was from Nalhati. There was a begging bag on her hand, she had stittched it and made it colourful with cotton balls. She used to sing songs to my repeated requests. In the end, she gave some dust on my head.
Still I remember the morning songs of Batakeshta uncle. I had been sleeping deeply in the fogy morning of ‘Kartik'(

September- October) and I felt like I had entered in the sleeping shudder,”Rai jago Rai jago shukasari bole…”

After waking up I could see that Batakeshta uncle was singing and was vanishing in the fog.
Sometimes, a Muslim fakir used to come at noon. He used to sing after begging. I remember a line of his song,”If I go out in the morning, I can go beyond the river.”

If you are coming from Matiyari, then you have to cross the river Ganges. In my childhood I thought he was talking about this river.

My uncle can make his own musical instruments with ‘laokhol”. He sings alone. And he looms. He is a big fan of Lalan’s songs. He starts singing while looming. He starts singing in the every evening. He said to me a strange thing that if someone wants to be happy in complete loneliness, it is possible, singing the songs of Bijay Sarkar and listening to his songs. In Joydeb Kanduli fair, I heard the tune of ‘Setar’ of “Moner manush”. I felt completely addicted. The next morning a man was selling a small ‘Aktanra” under a banyan tree. A blind baul sitting beside me,let me hear,

“I left the deceased guru in your name”

[“Dehatari chhere dilam Guru tomar name”]

Till now  the faces of baul fakir is filled with calmness like the shade of banyan tree. I clalan2an feel the desire to find “Maner manush”. Once I heard from a poor fakir “Ami kothai pabo”, and I get shocked. Dew and sun rays come down in the Mirror Palace. The sun gilts. And I collect the sound of the simple song, and the fumes for the people of the mind.

“How long will I be able to meet people in my mind”

[“Milan Habe Katadine Amar Maner Manushero Sone”]

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