Copyright 2010 -2040
All rights reserved, means do not poach, make up stories, take the names off or make random Baul.
Being a Baul back then was a very difficult life in Bengal, if anybody thinks it is difficult today, back in Nabani's time it was super difficult. He wandered all over India, Nepal and Tibet. He was a sadhaka at Tarapith and had the blessings of Bhama Khepa and many other well known. He was a Legend and when he passed in 1969 the whole of Birbhum closed down in his honour. He never came to the West.
Photo of Nabani Das Khyapa Paul, Rabindranath Tagore
In the last 50 years during Babukishan time he was telling how difficult to educate people about Baul back in the 1960's until the modern computer and internet. They traveled and made arrangements all over the globe by mail, they set the ground for the new Baul singers to copy and follow.
If not for Purna Das Baul, Nabani Das Baul, Lakshman Das Baul, Manju Dasi and Babu Kishan aka Krishnendu Das Paul nobody would know what or who a Baul is because it was them who traveled and sang for the past almost 80 years worldwide, teaching at Universities. It is easy to sit on the side line and criticize who is Baul and what has happened to the Baul of Bengal.
50 years this Year since The Bauls came to America, 1967
There are very few people today if any who understand what and who the Bauls are. I often hear 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. Baul is being sold as something it was never meant to be. Sad but true and now we have the fundraisers who are using Baul to fundraise. Baul is already preserved.
This family, these Bauls were extraordinary, in talent and ability. Nabani Das Khyapa Baul sang for Nehru before his speeches all over India. Nabani was the Baul who initiated Rabindranath Tagore into Baul and Tagore appointed Nabani as Baul professor at his University in Shatiniketan. Purna Das Baul, Manju Dasi and Babukishan did the same for Indira Gandhi, Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi. They sang on the most prestigious stages in India and world wide, no one can claim or compare.
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. Nabani was Allen Ginsberg's Guru, no other Bauls... especially from Bangladesh had any contact with Ginsberg or Bob Dylan.
You have to know that no Baul had ever been out of India expect Purna Das Baul until the 1950's he went to Russia. The first Bauls to travel to America 50 years ago in 1967 because they were the only Lineage Bauls.
Manju Dasi and Babukishan, also worked endlessly preserving this one and only Lineage of the Bauls. They preformed at concerts around the world, teaching at Universities and giving Baul respectability. It may seem like it was easy but it was not as their English was weak and there were no computers and telephone cost a fortune back in the day, from India to the world. it was very expensive they gave up their life to preserve the Baul of Bengal.
Purna Das Baul performing in Delhi in front of Indira Gandhi, all Ministers and The President of India at the time Zail Singh (1982-1987)
The one and only Great Gospel singer from America Mahalia Jackson as a guest in Purna Das Bauls home in Calcutta, she loved his singing and when she came to Calcutta to visit Mother Theresa she had to visit Purna Das Baul.
Manju Dasi is the one and only Legendary Baul Women to travel outside of India for more than 50 years. I am going to write the real story of Baul women. Today everybody calls themselves a Baul it is seriously messed up and making a mess of this the only lineage of Baul. Why, I do not know, I guess it is a way to fame because of the accomplishments of this lineage. But please do not sing their songs and put other poets names on, it is so distasteful.
Others Bauls have followed or tried to follow in this lineages foot steps, going where they went and floating off the work and ground they laid. Babu and his family opened the doors for all Bauls, many have tried to do the same, it seem today people are more confused than ever about who and what Baul is mostly because of books and new Baul singers. This lineage family of Bauls has been traveling for more that 70 years. Babukishan for more than 40 years, spreading his one and only Lineage. There is no other lineage of Bauls, do not be fooled.
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 and Nargis ect.
Purna Das Paul 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 almost 80 years, he is a great singer, one of the first super famous India Vocalist who traveled outside of India (that is Legendary).
Mick Jagger, Purna Das Baul a Babu Kishan age 9 @ Jaggers place in Nice France 1971. They had come from London after performing at the fundraiser for Bangladesh hosted by The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Purna Das Paul was recording an Album called Jai Bangla.
Purna Das Baul sang for many 'Indian Presidents' and all top politicians he sang to including the Russian President, American President and in India at every political function in India. (This is singing Baul on the most prestigious stages.
Purna Das Baul brought Baul to an international platform before this Baul was no where just in the Village, how can anybody compare themselves?
Purna Das Paul 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.
Babu Kishan knows he was there and was totally dedicated to his father along with his mother Manju Das. No Baul or singers has achieved or come close to what he has achieved. Nabani Das Paul 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.
At Allen Ginsberg's in New York, Babu remained in touch with Ginsberg for decades, visiting every years until his death. Ginsberg loved Nabani whom he met in India. I have no idea why any other Baul anywhere in this world talks about Ginsberg. He did not associate with any other. Same with Bob Dylan. All the new Bauls love to tell stories.
Nabani Das Paul was not only a Sadhaka he also was a freedom fighter and gave up so much to his country. He sang and was friends with Neru, he would sing before his talks to the nation.
If any other Baul can accomplish what these Bauls have done on their own merit please let it be so but that does not change history. Babu has preserved this lineage because this is the only Baul Lineage who have made a platform for other NEW Baul singers and Bengali Culture making an International platform from the village to the World.
They started off so poverty stricken, it was Sitaram Das Omkarnath who suggested to Purna Das Baul to sing on the trains, there is a whole story about this, before Purna Das Baul no Bauls sang on the trains of India. Nabani was a wandering Sadhu and Avadhuta Tantric and gone all the time. The times were different, he did not stay home until Babu was born in 1962 and he agreed to take care of his first Grandchild the little Krishnendu Das Baul (Babu Kishan) until Nabani Das Baul passed away in 1969. Babu Kishan had 8 years sitting in Nabani’s lap during this time he met and was given darshan with the greatest Guru’s, Swami’s, Sadhu’s, Yogi’s, Siddha’s and Nath’s that traveled all over India to see Nabani Das Khyapa Baul. Those times and those Guru’s do not exist anymore.
Manju Dasi the only Legendary Baul Women with her great friend Indira Gandhi.
And may I add that Babukishan is the first Baul to ever be educated with a BA and MA from Calcutta University. He is the first Baul to be a Music Composer, Film Maker and Producer he is the first Baul to Live in North America, he made it easier for the new Bauls all the traveling and interviews on TV books and education. He is the first Multi talented Baul and he is a Baul and has done it all on his own merit, no help from his family and no complaining. He is first Baul to record Baul all the songs, and today you will hear Bauls sing his songs, his recorded music but they make like they are the ones who created the songs.
There is even a new Baul women singer who has taken a Nabani Das Baul song recorded in the 1960’s by Hindustan Records and put another poets name on it? It makes ones head shake at the audacity, ignorance or not she also, is making up a lineage that does not exist?
Babu Kishan’s contribution to his Lineage (the key word his) is astronomical time wise and devotion wise. Key word because there is no other lineage of Baul (period).
Babu Kishan still has all the songs of his lineage inside of him as his memory is like a lazer. He remembers every story, every detail, especially of who is who and what he did for some of the old Baul singers. I suspect Babu’s memory is so great because he learned Sanskrit in the Oral Tradition.
The Bauls today do not know this so they say, oh it is against Baul to know Sanskrit they only know how to talk about Tantric Sex and smoke Ganja but the Ganja is smoking them.
Pranab Mukerjee the President of India, they are related through Babu Kishan's late mother Manji Dasi and Pranab's late wife. So many stories all connected and spending much time together.
Vaishnava Bauls of Birbhum the place where Bauls originate spoke Sanskrit. There is so much garbage on the internet being spread, it is a dilution of such a beautiful tradition.
I mean Bengal needs to face it that the Bauls are extinct, for whatever reason? Many reason and this has left the door open for fake Bauls making up stories, singing out of tune, and stating they are greater than they are. I am convinced that people in the west would not know a true Baul from a fake. A true Guru from a real Guru, or a real Yogi from a fake... in India today too, they just don't know and that leaves the door open to fundraising in the name of Baul to preserve what already has been preserved.