Bengal to set up academy for Bauls

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Kenduli (West Bengal), Jan 18 (IANS) The West Bengal government will set up an academy for Bauls — mystic minstrels from the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday.

The academy would come up in Kenduli village in Bolpur sub-division of Birbhum district.

The academy will be christened Jaydev, after a famous Sanskrit poet of the 13th century who many believe was born in Kenduli village.

Banerjee, who inaugurated the annual folk festival “Jaydev Mela”, said the state government would spent Rs.2.5 crore for establishing the academy.

Banerjee said that from next year, a Baul festival will be organised by the state government as part of the Jaidev Mela.

Describing Birbhum as the land of Bauls who spread the tune of peace and serenity, Banerjee said she would attend the festival regularly from next year.

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The chief minister said her government was also setting up an eco-tourism hub christened “Rangabitan” at Bolpur.

The Bauls, who are conspicuous by their distinctive clothes and one-string musical instruments ektara, have deeply influenced Bengal’s culture.

Many of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions were inspired by traditional Baul songs.

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