Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Arambagh folk fest trumpets harmony

Cross-border gathering to spread message of brotherhood

Snehamoy Chakraborty Arambagh Published 28.02.20, 08:43 PM
An artiste performs at the folk festival in Arambagh.

An artiste performs at the folk festival in Arambagh. Picture by Ananda Adhikari

Music of harmony is being played out here at a time when politics of hate has claimed several lives in New Delhi.

Organisers of the folk festival — International Gosain Parab — has set the platform for artistes from Bengal, Bangladesh and Japan to sing communal harmony and brotherhood.


One of the organisers of the festival that began on Friday and will continue for three days said the event was planned in the backdrop of country-wide tension over the Citizenship Amendment Act. They said the folk festival sought to send across the message that communal harmony and brotherhood have a tradition nurtured over hundreds of years.

“The country is going through a very tough time. We planned the festival as we thought the country’s secular fabric seemed threatened. We have invited folk artistes of all genre to sing songs of brotherhood,” said Ashok Kumar Nandi, a physician who is involved with the festival.

The organisers said although the Delhi riots happened much after the programme was planned, the violence and loss of lives at the national capital made the festival even more relevant.

“The politics of dividing people and incidents of violence since last December shocked us and we thought of sowing the seeds of harmony through this festival. The Delhi riots have made it more relevant,” said Nandi.

The organisers have picked a line from a song of Lalan Fakir, the minstrel whose compositions celebrating the oneness of humanity and the evils of social and religious divisions had influenced Rabindranath Tagore, as the tagline for the event.

Lalan’s popular song “Jaat gelo, jaat gelo bole (caste is lost, caste is lost)” has been made the tagline of the fest. The song is Lalan’s way of criticising the caste system that existed in the 18th century Bengal.

“We are against the divisions of people on the basis of religion and castes,” said Srideep Chatterjee, another organiser.

The organisers have invited political leaders of all hues to the festival to portray the event as a joint fight for communal harmony.

“With what’s happening in New Delhi, the festival has been organised at the right time,” said Dipak Majhi, a functionary of the Trinamul-run Arambagh panchayat samity.

CPM leader Santi Mohan Sarkar also welcomed the move and said all politicians should come together to save the secular tradition of the country.

BJP’s Arambagh president Biman Ghosh said he welcomed the move adding that the violence should be stopped everywhere, including Bengal.

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