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Folk Emperor of Bangla Song - Shah Abdul Karim

Shah Abdul Karim (February 15, 1916 - September 12, 2009) was a Baul musician from Bangladesh. He is a Legend of bangla music. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 2001 for outstanding musical performances. He also received the Kotha-Shahitayk Prize Drouhee Abdur Rouf Choudhury in 2000. He died in Sylhet on September 12, 2009 due to respiratory problems. He has written thousands of bangla folk songs. But the sad fact is, his songs got very popular in cities before some years of his death.

Early in life

Shah Abdul Karim was born on February 15, 1916 in the village of Dhola Ujan, Dera Thana in Sunamganj in Sylhet. Growing up in poverty and facing difficulties, he began his thoughts and feelings in a very early musical expression. Ektara (one-string instrument most often used in traditional music from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt), a traditional stringed instrument was only his constant companion. However, poverty forced him to seek employment to work in agriculture. As he grew up, he was trained in religious music with his master Shah Ibrahim Baul Mastan Baksh. Mastan came from Sreepur peer mohol.

Personal life

Shah Abdul karim's wife name was Aftabunnessa. He called her Sarala with love. Shah Abdul Karim had a son named Shah Nur Jalal.


Shah Abdul Karim has written and composed more than 1500 folk songs. These songs are organized in six books: Dholmela, Gano Sangeet, Bhatir Chithi, Aftab Sangeet and Kalnir Kooley, Kalnir Dheu. The Bangla Academy has translated  ten of his folk songs into English.
                                                  Shah Abdul Karim with Humayun Ahmed and Abul Khayer
Most famous songs:

  • Jhil Mil Jhil Mil Kore re
  • Bonde Maya Lagaise
  • Ashi Bole Gelo Bondhu
  • Kano Piritee Barailarey Bondhu
  • Gari Cholena Cholena
  • Ami Koolhara Kolonkini
  • Agey Ki Shundor Din Kataitham
  • Ami Tomar Koler Gari
  • Shokhi Kunjo Shajao
  • Ailai Na Ailai Na
  • Boshonto Batashey
  • Krishno Aila Radhar Kunje
  • Tumi bine akul poran
  • Ager Bahaduri Ekhon Gelo Koi
  • Periti Modur milona
  • Ar Kichu Chay Na Mone Gaan Chara
  • Age ki sundor din kataitam
  • Notun preme mon mojaia koresi ki mosto vul
  • Murshid dhono he kemone chinibo tomare
  • Bondhure koi pabo shokhi go

There will be hold a public festival in memory of Shah Abdul Karim's 101st birthday at his village home in the village of Dhola Ujan, Sylhet.
For more info about the festival:

At last, though bangla is not so much famous language. But its resources are not less from any other languages. People like Shah Abdul Karim has made bangla a very rich language. Some other famous bangla folk singers are Lalon Shah, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Momtaz Begum, Saidur Rahman Boyati etc.


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