Songs of the bauls: Voices from the margins as transformative infrastructures

Uttaran Dutta, Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bauls, the rural minstrels who sing songs of transformation, are a socio-economically and politico-religiously marginalized cultural population from rural Bengal (both from eastern and north-eastern, India and from Bangladesh). They identify themselves outside of any organized religion or established caste system in India, and therefore are constituted at the margins of contemporary global South. Voicing through their songs and narratives of emancipation, they interrogate and criticize material and symbolic inequalities and injustices such as discrimination and intolerance (including class and caste hierarchies, and other forms of disparities) perpetuated by hegemonic authorities and religious institutions. Embracing a critical communication lens, this paper pays attention to material and discursive marginalization of Bauls and Fakirs, foregrounding voice as an anchor to communicative interrogation of structural and cultural inequalities. Through voice, Bauls and Fakirs foreground reflexive spiritual and humane practices that raise societal consciousness and cultivate polymorphic possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number335
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Baul
  • Bengal
  • Fakir
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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