Reclaiming Lalon and his philosophy: Deho-Totto, transcendentalism, and our academia
AuthorMasud, Syed Farhan
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The philosophical and spiritual dimensions of early Bengali literature and Fakir Lalon Shah’s significant contribution to that is still an area that requires further research. Grounded in the tradition of the “sahajiya,1” Lalon’s philosophy demonstrates the fundamental aspects of liberal humanism and individualism as well as the prioritization of the soul over the body. Prominent works of Bengali literature are replete with enlightened borrowings from Lalon, even though his significance as well as wide influence remain unrecognized. Unfortunately, because of the negligence of policy makers in our educational system, most Bangladeshi students often complete their studies without any knowledge of this Sufi saint. We are yet to recover from our colonial hangover, and this is quite evident in our Europeanized educational system. Even though our poet Fakir Lalon’s philosophy stands equal to American philosophies like Transcendentalism, our educational system overlooks this aspect. So,the purpose of this paper is to analyze the gap between our institutional education and the philosophy of Fakir Lalon Shah. In order to do so, I will go through a brief discussion on how the origin of Lalon’s philosophy rooted in ancient manuscripts like “Deho-Totto” and “Sahajiyana”. Tracing Lalon’s history in the ancient texts of our literature, this paper will demonstrate the similarities between Lalon’s philosophy and American Transcendentalism, European modernism, the Romantic and Symbolic Movements. Doing so, through a Marxist and New Historicist reading of his works, the paper will try to reconstruct and rescue Lalon and his philosophy and address the some of the gaps between our educational system and Lalon’s philosophy and suggest some possible solutions.