Journey into West Bengal India to meet the Bauls of India.
Baul (Bengali:) are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many sects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Not much is known of their origin. Lalon Fakir is regarded as the most important poet-practitioner of the Baul tradition. Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and on his music (Rabindra Sangeet).
Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO.