Parvathy Baul belongs to a group of mystic minstrels whose works have had a profound impact even on Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Very little of this vast body of work has been annotated as it has been largely handed down from generation to generation.
Now, Parvathy Baul, the winner of a prestigious national award who has taken the genre to 42 countries, is working to set up an archive at Santiniketan in West Bengal’s Birbhum district to preserve it for prosperity.
“My guru (teacher) Sanatan Das Baul was a great composer who never craved for recognition. The Baul archive was his vision. I am only fulfilling his dream by planning to collect all the works on Baul that can be found in various libraries and other places around the world,” said Parvathy Baul.
“This would be beneficial for future reference and also help in preserving the tradition dating back to the 8th century,” added Parvathy Baul.
Baul tradition is classified in the folk genre with deep roots in Hinduism, Turkish Sufism and Buddhism. However, Parvathy feels that Baul sangeet is much more than folk music.
“Baul sangeet is a way of life, talking about deep philosophies and Baul practitioners expressing them in simple language,” she said.
The doyen of Baul music feels that translation of works like Lalon Shah Fakeer Ke Geet can be beneficial to spread Baul culture among the Indian population, adding that one who truly appreciates Baul must try to learn it.