Bauls, the wandering minstrels of rural Bengal (of both Bangladesh and India), are a socio-religiously marginalized cultural group. While the ritualistic practices and spiritual discourses of the Bauls have received scholarly attention, scholarship on Bauls’ songs about material and communicative adversities and their emancipatory visions is lacking. Bauls’ performances and discourses are precursors to envisioning alternative emancipatory possibilities that question dominant intolerances, oppressions, and exploitations. This article documents and reflects on the works of two contemporary Bauls—Shah Abdul Karim and Manimohan Das. Through their songs and performances, they (i) question the power structure and legitimize the sufferings and struggles of the downtrodden, and (ii) seek to raise societal consciousness in imagining a free and just society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies