Babu Kishan in the 1980's came to associate with Bob Dylan and had a many decade friendship with Allen Ginsberg, he is the only Baul who knew Ginsberg for a long period of time, yet others keep writing about Ginsberg and the Bauls without knowing this? Babu Kishan performed in 40 or more concerts with Bob Dylan and the Band? He released all Bob Dylans albums in India and Asia. Yet, those who are talking and writing keep making like they had the association. Babu Kishan's youngest brother never ever met Bob Dylan, he lied when he said Bob Dylan came to Calcutta to secretly attend his wedding. Bob Dylan has never been to India. It is easy to talk about outsiders destroying Baul but it comes from the inside too and it comes right from inside Lineage Baul. Baul is extinct, no indigenous peoples of planet earth can survive their old way of life.
Baul has been passed down for thousands of years through 'family' lineages. A Guru Shishya Paramapara Sampradaya. It is easy today to make up what Baul is and create new lineages that never existed, sad but true and then fundraising in the name of Baul, telling people Baul is not from a family but initiation only? Shockingly easy and this is watering down and reducing what Baul is, what you do not even have authority to do but do because Baul is extinct and you think you can charm, dress exotic and perhaps you too can be a Baba or Maaa???
Not only watering down and reducing, it is a cultural appropriation a cultural degradation, speaking about what Baul is when you make it up and change what Baul is based on your own selfish desires without respect for the ancients.
Most of these people speaking now for Baul are not born into any Lineage or are not related to lineage Baul. Baul became a way for many outsiders to make a living as they can not find another way, they learned if they can be a Baul, at least they can survive. This is the way with all indigenous peoples who struggle to adapt to the modern world.
Baul became extinct decades ago, cigarette sellers and low caste have become Baul, however, Baul was a high philosophical thought that is not reachable by ordinary person. They are riding on the coat tails of this lineage, singing their songs, but only portions there do not know the teachings and make it up as they go. Making up stories, following this lineage around the world. Baul adopted people into their families and initiate them into Baul as part of their family. The Western people do not know and they think, oh wow how cool, how exotic, and even the Bauls that were born in Baul families can not survive, as I said Baul is extinct and I will say it again Babu Kishan has spent his whole life preserving Baul as he could see the writing on the wall.
Bauls meet in Akara's and learn, it takes at least 12 years of living with a Baul family to become a Baul and today or for the past at least 3 decades that does not constitute what makes a Baul because Baul is extinct.
I read recently a paper by a young scholar OMG it sounds like she is saying Baul learn only seminal retention in Akara's. What a way to absolutely destroy Baul, misinformation and sensationalized piece of scholarly garbage, of an extinct indigenous peoples? Instead of scholarly work trying to get to the truth of what Baul is of trying to meet someone related, this copy and paste paper after paper needs to qualified by someone because they ruin the lineage of a people that do not exist anymore in the original Baul way of life.
It should be known that authentic Vaishnava Baul of Ekchakra Birbhum the only lineage of Baul are NOT low caste, real Bauls were actually Gosai which a Brahmin lineage but they rejected the Gosai, but you would never know this because you have never met an authentic Baul, you only can make things up and copy and paste what every other writer wrote and it is wrong. Baul is extinct and it has been preserved decades ago by Babu Kishan but then you do not know him or have never talked to him and probably never will after he read what you wrote about Baul? The so called Bauls you are meeting are degrades because of scholars like you, you do not understand what it is to be an indigenous person or anything about preserving authentic Baul.
There are 2 types of Bauls that come from Lineage Baul and the family of Baul, one is Girhi (lives in the home, mother, father, husband wife and children) and Udasi comes from the family but is a sadhu and wanders but still associates with the family. All come and go from a family, there is not Baul without family connection and just saying you are from a lineage does not mean you are, your Guru copied and followed everything Nabani and Purna Das Baul did and he wore a the patch work quilt dress Babu Kishan designed, he sang the songs of this lineage, he danced exactly carbon copy of Nabani and his style of Ekatara Baya and Nupoor but you have a different lineage? No, not true and in historical Baul and when Babu Kishan starts to talk, the truth will be out for all to see.
Nabani Das Khyapa Baul aka Khepa Baul - the Baul who initiated Rabindranath Tagore into Baul and his wife Brajabala Das a pure Vaishnava Baul she would call Nabani - Mahanto.
Baul is not like other Sadhu's or Tantrics who obtain initiation from any Guru although they have more than one Guru in a lifetime, they study everything but that does not mean they become that, they are born Baul.
Bauls stick together in a group or Akara. It is sad today that Baul is extinct. New Baul singers are singers and they sing the song of this lineage, they follow this lineage of Baul Jai Nitai is a common greating, Nitai for their direct ancestor Nityananda a Baul Avadhuta from their village Ektara Birbhum but they have moved on, they are not orthodox and were Sanskritist. New Baul follow the dress, many dressing in the patch work quilt dress that Babu Kishan aka Krishnendu Das designed back in the late 1970's, this is how you can tell who follows who, if you see Ektara, Baya and Nupoor 100% copied from Nabani, nobody did this but Nabani but now you follow but take his name off and use everything of this lineage and even follow right down to exact places and friends, how is this possible?
Many follow the one and only Nabani Das Khyapa Baul style of Ektara Baya (drum) and nupoor style of bells, this did not come from another lineage. There is no other lineage of Baul. Baul is not Fakir Auls Sai and Dervish that is Fakir not Baul, that was a plant by Babu Kishan to see who would copy it and by Bhaktivinode Thakur who hated the Bauls, he was an orthodox reformer and never met a Baul in his life, like other city folk and scholars they think everybody is a Baul, sorry that is not so.
Babu Kishan in the late 1970's brought some Bangladeshi's to Calcutta to record them, and to record Lalon Fakir songs, he is one of the first to record Lalon Fakir poetry. Babu Kishan is an extreme creative and a Master Composer of all Indian Music, he uses his talents in many experimental ways.
Lalon Fakir was a great poet, he was not a Baul. His poetry is Baul like but he did not follow Baul practices. More will be written about this in his new book to be released. Babu Kishan preserved Baul decades ago and is always shocked what people write about Baul, copy and paste and make it up as you go? Somehow Babu Kishan's recording of Lalon Fakir (Lalon shah) poetry into songs, made people think Lalon was a Baul. He was poet, he did not have a tune to his poetry until Babu Kishan put music to his words. A poet only is not a Baul. There is more and much of what Babu Kishan has to say will be shocking.
Babu Kishan late 1970's front row middle person beside the guy with the dark shirt, the others are all Bangladeshi singers, Purna Das Baul back row.
Not many understand the destruction they are causing, they do not understand, they just use and play act to fundraise for their fake lineages.
A new young scholar is now copy and pasting making huge assumptions and calling Baba Pagla a Baul, Babu Kishan knew him personally over a long period of time, he would stay in their house in Calcutta, he was a poet and a musician. Baba Pagla followed Baul not the other way around, Baul did not follow him, he used to stay in their home in Kolkata and follow them.
Baba Pagla used to hang out with Purna Das Baul and family, he used to babysite Babu Kishan and his brothers. Babu recorded him many times and there are many stories, He was not a Baul but appreciate Baul, he was a Bengali Poet who had his own following.
I will say it again. Baul is extinct, leave them alone and let them preserve their birth right, no outside interference is needed, no speculations, no using their story as your story but taking the names off, no riding on the coat tails of this lineage.
Nabani Das Khyapa Baul is the last authentic Baul who left in 1969, his wife is the last authentic Baul Women who left in the last 1990's. New Baul singers are just that singers and some are yogi's and yogini's but not Bauls, to be a Baul is not an act, it is deep and now extinct. You follow Baul, desire to be but you are NOT, stop duping people and stop making up stories and telling untruths.
Have some respect for an indigenous people, stop making it up as you go! You follow Baul, there is no other lineage and if you don't know, do not make it up, it is endless, the damage is endless.
More to come is the late book Historical Baul from inside the tradition, not by followers but from the Lineage. The book is late but better late than never.
Recently National Geographic apologized, the headlines read, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” And as well intentioned as it is, it is a problem and it hurts indigenous cultures that are marginalized and Baul is, even if it looks like some are rich, they are trying to survive in this world. Leave them alone.
The only Baul poetry written by Allen Ginsberg, Ginsberg wrote this for Babu Kishan. Ginsberg wrote a song title Lalon, however, the song has nothing to do with Lalon and the speculation and linkage that is made by people who did not even know Allen Ginsberg is crazy.
Written by Allen Ginsberg (1983) for Babu Kishan