The emotional and spiritual world of folk literature is the
philosophy of the Bauls and in the regions where this idea is
predominant most of the people follow the profession of weaving.
Jessore, Kushtia. Patina, Narsingdi, Baburhat are amongst these.
They practice either Hinduism or Islam but their religious practices
are laden with folk beliefs and rituals. The Bauls have tremendous
influences over the weavers of Jessore, Kushtia, Patina, Narsingdi
and Baburhat. There is a historical reason for this close contact.
Nath Dharma is one of the derivative forms of belief of the
Bauls. This is a complex and curiously obscure ritualistic ideology.
Now forgotten, Nath Dharma, lost in the morass of symbolism,
is still alive in the 'Jugi' or `Jola' surname of these weavers.
According to Nath thought the root of human suffering is the
untrained body. By bodily practices the body is purified into
immortal existence. They believed one could gain the spiritual
life only through the fire ritual of physical body. Nath Dharma
got overpowered due to the conflict of Brahminite Sakti Dharma
and Buddhist Tantric cults. In the ensuing political and social
supremacy of the Brahminite faith, Nath community was pushed
into the oppressed position of an outcaste. Nath Yogis took
the surname of Jugi and the profession of weavers. They also
added Nath to their surname. This has survived amongst this
community with those who embraced Muslim faith. In this region
of Bangladesh the travelling Bauls sing of the body cult and
that section of agricultural community who create beautiful
designs on their handloom, the structure of which is based on
the formalized beauty of the body. As they weave and as they
listen to the celebration of the body cult as the only way to
the divine bliss, they remember their lost faith, and they revive
the memory of their practices. The sadness of the tune touches
the basic and permanent problems of their life.
In Brahmanbaria there is a community by the name of `Nagarchi'.
Their traditional profession is singing and dancing. They profess
Muslim faith and they practice Hindu rituals and are primitive
in their lifestyle. The girls of this community decorate themselves
with shankha or conch bangles and 'sindur' the red mark on their
foreheads. They raise their hands in prayer to 'Allah' and they
salute the earth mother 'Basumati' before they start their entertainment.
They are not accepted in Muslim society and they are outcaste
amongst the Hindu community. Their customs and behavior patterns
are a complex mosaic of many cultures and traditions. In their
faith they combine the impact of history.