In the past 50 years during Babu kishan time he said, how difficult it is to educate people about Baul back in the 1960’s. They traveled and made arrangements all over the globe by mail. If not for Nabani Das Baul and his son Purna Das Baul and his son Babu Kishan nobody would know anything about Baul, they traveled and sang for the past almost 100 years.
There are very few people today who understand what and who the Bauls are. I often get oh the Bauls do not speak sanskrit, that is completely wrong they did speak Sanskrit and were the biggest Sanskrit Scholars in the Oral Tradition.
The young generation and when I say young I mean the people who have only observed the Bauls for the past 30 or 40 years do not know who the Bauls are because the ones that have come after this time period do not speak Sanskrit, most do not even know who wrote what song or the discourses behind the songs. Instead of saying they do not know, they say Baul does not care, what a lie. If you were indigenous Baul yes you would care.
Baul is really being sold as something it was never meant to be. Sad but True and Cultural appropriation of Baul is real.
Nabani Das Khyeppa Baul was legendary in India, he never left India, it was Purna Das Baul and Laxshman Das Baul his 2 son's who were the first Bauls to leave India on their fathers advice to Sally Grossman and her husband Albert B Grossman and Allen Ginsberg. You have to know that no Baul had ever been out of India expect Purna Das Baul in the 1950's he went to Russia. Then it was Babu Kishan who encouraged others who follow Baul to travel, he brought many along on their trips, but you will not hear this, you will only hear new made up lineages?
Manju Dasi and Babukishan, also worked endlessly trying to preserving this one and only lineag of Baul. They did concerts around the world, teaching at Universities and giving Baul some respectability because of the fake Bauls who denigrated Baul, many were Bangladeshi refugee’s who saw Purna Das Bauls success as a Baul singer, they are the riders on the coat tails of, the ones who presented as tantrics attracting unsuspecting tourists from India and worldwide hippy era.
It may seem like it was easy but it was not as their English was weak and there were no computers or telephones from India to the world. Traveling was very expensive..they gave up their life to preserve the Baul of Bengal, their birth right and lineage. Then came all the others who just used Baul to do something. There is cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation, when you make up a fake lineage that is cultural appropriation.
Others followers of Bauls have followed or tried to follow in their foot steps. Babu and his family opened the doors for all people who follow Baul whether they have tried to do the same and have been successful who knows, today people are more confused about who is real and who is not. This lineage family of Bauls has been traveling for more that 70 years. Babukishan for more than 50 now.
Purna Das Baul was given the title Baul Samarat by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) he was given the award because he was India's first Vocal singer outside of India to win a Gold Metal for his vocal performance at the Russian Youth Festival which included participants such as Indian Cinema super star Raj Kapoor, Nagis ect.
He was the first Gold Metal for Bengal from a Baul, nobody knew what a Baul was he did not give himself this title, it was an honour bestowed upon him and yes he has it on the outside of his house and he should be proud as he was given many, many titles, awards and honours over his 88 years, he is a great singer.
After this so many politicians he sang to including Russian President, American President and in India at every political function in India.
Purna Das Baul brought Baul to an international platform before this Baul was no where just in the Village. He was very close to Indira Gandhi and he received his second Presidents Award for 'Lifetime Achievement and International Cultural Ambassador for India" from Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Babukishan knows he was there and was totally dedicated to his father along with his late (2010) mother Manju Das.
No Baul or singers has achieved or come close to what he has achieved. Nabani Das his father was the great illusive Avadhuta Baul who was written about and respected by great Poets and Authors of his time, just because the young people do not know or remember, does not mean it was so.. Nabani Das was not only a Sadhaka he also was a freedom fighter and gave up so much to his country.