Play On Bengali Singer Lalon Fakir: Dum Dum inmates to spread message of communal harmony — on stage

Atri Mitra

A file picture of inmates during a performance. Express

The Dum Dum Central Correctional Jail will offer a stage to 25 inmates who will perform in a play, based on the life of the famous baul (folk) singer of Bengal, Lalon Fakir.

Under the guidance of Samrat Bose, director and mentor of the group, Theatre Traveller, the prisoners will spread the message of communal harmony through the eponymous drama, Lalon. The performers, who have been undergoing rigorous rehearsals for six months, will finally showcase their talent towards the end of this month or beginning of the next.

“Lalon Fakir is very much relevant in the present scenario of the country. Hundreds of years ago, he used to convey the message of humanity among people. Even in today’s world, it is very important to preserve the religion of humanity. That is why we chose his life as our subject.”

DIG of Correctional Administration (Dum Dum Range) Arindam Sarkar said, “We never discriminate our inmates on the basis of religion, caste or creed. We always try to give them lessons on equality. So, we encouraged the inmates to perform the drama on Lalon Fakir who perpetuated those values.”

Born in 1774, Fakir was a preacher of asceticism as well as composer and singer of Baul songs. It is said that he had no institutional education. He acquired knowledge on religious doctrines of both Hindus and Muslims, the manifestation of which is found in his compositions.

“In our drama, there are two Lalons. Inmate Pijush Ghosh will play the role of young Lalon, while Tuhin Roy the older one,” said Bose.

According to him, irrespective of religion and gender, all inmates live amicably behind the bars.

“I have been working in the Dum Dum jail since 2014. I have seen people from all religions living in harmony, helping each other during prayers in an exemplary manner. A Hindu woman, Jinia Nandi, can call the azan impeccably.”
According to jail sources, Nandi will play the role of Lalon’s mother, Rabeya, in the play. Besides her, five other women inmates and life convicts are part of the talent pool.

Sirajul Mondol, who is a versatile singer, will lend his voice to the play.

A jail official said, “The drama is now ready to be performed. We are planning its first show on end of January or first week of February. We think, it will be a great message from the inmates to the common people on social harmony.”