In yet another cowardly attack in two weeks, two bauls were assaulted and humiliated and their abode set to fire in a remote village in Chuadanga. We denounce such mindless acts of violence against some of the most non-violent members of society who convey the message of love, harmony and peace through their songs and lifestyle. This is, however, not the first time bauls, the followers of Lalon, a nineteenth century mystic minstrel revered by ordinary men and women of Bengal as well as great poets in the likes of Tagore, Nazrul and Ginsberg, were under attack. Last year, 'unidentified' criminals killed a baul fair organiser and a year before; six bauls were beaten up by a group of people in the same district.
The beauty of Lalon's music is that it a great equalizer that refuses to conform to the conventions of the class-conscious Bangalee society. It is about brotherhood that transcends politics and religion. It is part of our heritage. No baul is known to have hurt the sentiments of others, religious or otherwise. Therefore, attacking these peace-loving, plain-living people, we feel, is an evil design by the perpetrators to create religious disharmony.
The baul community in the area has, reportedly, complained that inaction from the police has emboldened the criminals to carryout the assaults with impunity. The culprits should be caught immediately and punished under law. But more importantly, resistance against such elements of the society should come from within the society itself.