Lalan Fakir and Allah Jilai Bai

Complete Set of 2 nos of postage stamps on the Personality Series : Folk Music :

2033 Lalan Fakir [India Stamp 2003]2034 Allah Jilai Bai [India Stamp 2003]Issued by India

Issued on Dec 29, 2003

Issued for : The Department of Posts is proud to bring out a set of two commemorative postage stamps in recognition of the invaluable contribution of these two doyens of Indian folk music.

Designed by : Sankha Samanta (Stamp on Lalan Fakir is inspired by a line sketch of Lalan Fakir by Nandlal Bose).

Type : Stamps, Mint Condition

Watermark : No

Colour : Multi Colour

Denomination : 500 Paise each

Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million each in sheets of 50

Printer : Calcutta Security Printers Ltd.

Name : Lalon Sain, Lalon Shah, Lalon Fakir or Mahatma Lalon

Born on 1774 at Bhanrara, Kustia district, Bengal Presidency, British India

Died on Oct 17, 1890 at Cheuriya, Kushtia district, Bengal Presidency, British India [now in Bangladesh]

Name : Hajjan Allah Jilai Bai

Born on Feb 1, 1902 at Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

Died on Nov 3, 1992

About : 

  • Lalan Fakir (1774-1890), the all-time emperor of the bauls of Bengal was born in Bhanrara village of Kustia district (now in Bangladesh). He was the only child of his parents but having lost his father in early childhood, he could not obtain any institutional education. His village was a centre of folk traditions, renowned also for the culture of folk songs especially baul songs. Baul songs are considered to be the most popular folk songs of rural Bengal and the contribution of Lalan Fakir towards making them popular is immense. From his very boyhood, Lalan was fond of devotional songs. It is stated that he went on a pilgrimage with his neighbours but fell seriously ill due to an attack of small pox. While his companions abandoned him in a state of senselessness, a Muslim lady rescued him, nursed him and got him backed to life. However, Lalan was not accepted back in his village. So, he adopted an ascetic life with Siraj Sain as his preceptor.
  • Lalan established a religious institution in the village of Chenuria near Kustia where he preached his spiritual ideology based on the tenets of philanthropy, universal love and secularism. His devotional baul songs were simple and touched people’s hearts. People of different religions and castes were drawn to his philosophy based on humanism and before long, his popularity crossed the boundaries of Chenuria. His open-mindedness, secular sense and social orientation added a new dimension to his baul character. He was able to instill a remarkable awareness and sensibility in the life of rural Bengal. The great Indian poet and philosopher, Rabindra Nath Tagore was deeply influenced by Lalan’s ideology and composed many songs based on his baul philosophy.
  • Another trail-blazer of folk music was Hajjan Allah Jilai Bai from the erstwhile Bikaner state of Rajasthan. She was born on 1 February, 1902 in a traditional family of musicians. It is said that when she was born, someone gave her poison. He mother besought the Almighty and by virtue of his prayers, the young child was saved. That is why she was named Allah Jilai Bai. Jilai Bai’s mother sang in the court of Maharaja Ganga Singh who was a great patron of the arts. Young Jilai Bai used to accompany her mother to the court when she used to sing at Holi, Diwali, Teej and Gangaur. At times, she used to sing with her mother. Her melodious voice was found to be so captivating that she was placed under the tutelage of Ustad Hussain Bakhsh in the Court School of Maharaja Ganga Singh known as “Guni Jankana” when she was merely eight years old. It was here that she imbibed the Dadra, Thumri and traditional Rajasthani music from Ustad Bakhsh. She learnt dance as well but soon gave it up for she believed it would adversely affect her singing.
  • Allah Jilai Bai’s forte was Maand and Lok Sangeet. Her rendition of Mharo rangeelo Rajasthan and Kesariya baalam, aao ni padharo mharey des is unrivalled. Besides the Dadra and Thumri, she also rendered Meera’s bhajans and Ghalib’s ghazals and the ‘Hori’ and Kajri with versatility. Her melodious yet powerful singing received recognition from the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Akademi which awarded her a “Manpatra” in 1975 and also conferred on her the title of “Swar Sadhika”. She also received a Sammanpatra from the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, Udaipur in 1978 and the Rajasthan State Award in 1980. On 26 January, 1982, the Govt. of India honoured her with the “Padmashri”. Allah Jilai Bai passed away on 3 November, 1992 at the age of 90.
  • Text : Based on material received from the proponents and other published sources.

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