Today marks the 9th death anniversary of legendary Baul musician Shah Abdul Karim, whose lyrics and celestial voice still spellbound the people of Bengal. On this day of 2009 he died at the age of 93.
This legendary musician was born on February 15, 1916 in Ujan Dhol village, Derai Thana, in Sunamganj District in Sylhet Division. Baul Shah Abdul Karim who passed his entire childhood in extreme poverty, started expressing his thoughts and emotion musically from a very early age.
The eternal story of bliss, love and life of the people of Vati region of Bengal has been expressed through his songs. He also protested against all wrongdoing, injustice, superstition and communalism by singing. He received inspiration from the philosophy of the famous Fakir Lalon Shah, Panju Shah and Duddu Shah. The ektara, a traditional single-stringed instrument, has been his constant companion. However, poverty forced him to seek work in agricultural labor but nothing could prevent him from creating music. He received training in spiritual and Baul music from Shah Ibrahim Mastan Baksh.
Self-educated Baul Shah Abdul Karim has written and composed over 1500 songs. These songs are organized in six books: Aftab Sangeet, Gano Sangeet, Kalnir Dheu, Dholmela, Bhatir Chithi and Kalnir Kooley. The Bangla Academy has translated ten of his songs into English language. Bonde Maya Lagaise, Agey Ki Shundor Din Kataitham, Ar Kichu Chay Na Mone Gaan Chara, Kano Piritee Barailarey Bondhu, Gari Cholena Cholena, Boshonto Batashey, Ami Koolhara Kolonkini, Krishno Aila Radhar Kunje are some of his most famous songs.
Shah Abdul Karim fought a major part of life with poverty. He has never received any help from various organizations who came forward to help him at different times. In 2001, he got Ekushey Padak. He also received various prestigious awards during his lifetime due to his extraordinary contribution to Baul music. He will remain with us for his songs and melodies forever.