Minati Das Baul

Sriphala, Raqmpurhat, Birbhum

The sight of the river leads my heart and soul astray (Nodi Dekhiya Mono Pran uriya jai re)

The sight of the river leads my heart and soul astray
Such a precious boat of gold, the current sweeps away.

In that boat woven in blue, who rise flashing within?
Who are those people that dwell in there?

When the boatman guides the boat with oars in his two hands
He rows along slowly, listens to no one on the way.

The boat has sixteen lanes, and shops set up row after row
Pointless going there – the chameleon Madan leads you astray!

Recorded in February 2008 in Santiniketan, WB

The song seems to imagine the human body through the metaphor of a precious boat, within which dwell forces unknown to the conscious mind (this is reminiscent of Lalon Fakir’s description of the body as a house with many rooms, doors and windows, with a spirit that cannot be tamed/controlled by the mind). The boat is prone to be led astray through the ‘current’ of the river, and needs direction from the boatman. The boatman is a common metaphor for higher guidance in the Bhatiali sub-genre of Bangla folk songs, used in famous examples such as ‘Majhi tor naam janina’ [O Boatman, I do not know your name], and in Lalon Fakir’s ‘Ami opar hoye boshe achhi’ [I sit waiting to cross the river]. The chameleon Madan – this is a reference to the lord Krishna, who is imagined in many devotional traditions as a mischievous figure prone to lying, thieving and playing tricks.

Translator/Transcriber: Aniruddha Dutta

Producer/Director:  Aditi Sircar

Camera: Shubhankar Bhar, Alok Maity

Camera Caretakers: Sanjib Das, Shantu
Sound: Dhiman Karmakar

Production Co-Ordinator: Kartick Das Baul

Edited By Rhonda Granger