Khachar Bhitor Ochin Pakhi

Performed by Sumon


Khachar Bhitor Ochin Pakhi is a popular Baul song by Lalon Shah (also known as Lalon Fakir), whose followers include both Hindus and Muslims. His humanitarian songs are still sung by followers of different devotional traditions. Lalon died on October 17, 1890. He is believed to have been 116 at the time. Every year, a three-day Baul festival is organised in Lalon’s shrine at Chheuriya in Kushtia district in Bangladesh’s Khulna division. It is believed to have started from his very first death anniversary.

This Baul-rock composition was edited and directed in 2015 by Bangladeshi bassist named Sumon (popular as Bassbaba Sumon), roping in performers from some of his country’s best-known bands.

The lyrics, translated by my colleague Arunava Sinha, say:

The unknown bird is in the cage
How will it fly away
If I could catch it
I’d put shackles on its feet
With my heart
How will it fly away

You’re longing for the cage, my heart
Your cage is those fragile bamboo shoots
Any day now the cage will crumble
Says Fakir Lalon, weeping

In the turbulent times of gau raksha, this is a sentiment that keeps me going. There is no better song with which I could start my new year.