Pagla Kanai (8 March 1809 – 12 July 1889) was a Bengali mystic folk singer. His songs were in the genre of Jari, Dhua, Pala Gaan, Kobi Gaan, Murshidi, Marfati and Islamic. He was notable for developing a Jari form, called Dhuajari, in which an incident is narrated in a rhythmic tone. He was contemporary of another folk singer Lalon.
8 March 1809
|Died||12 July 1889(aged 80)|
Kanai was born as Kanai Sheikh to Kuron Sheikh and Momena Khatun in Jhenaidah District. He had two younger siblings, Uzzal Sheikh and Shornari. Afterh the death of his father, Momena moved to a relative's house at Chewniya village, Kaliganj Upazila. Kanai and Uzzal took up jobs as cowherds at the resident of Bhoros Mandal at Balarampur village, Harinakunda Upazila. Later, their sister Shornari took them to her husband's house.
Scholars including Mohammad Mansuruddin, Mazharul Islam, Abu Talib, Amin Uddin Shah, Durga Das Lahiri and Upendranath Bhattacharya collected Kanai's songs and conducted research on his life. Mazharul Islam included 240 of the songs in his book, Kobi Pagla Kanai (1959).
A 3-day folk festival is held on Kanai's birth anniversary, organized by Pagla Kanai Smriti Shangrakkhan Shangshad (PKSSS) in Berbari village, Jhenaidah District.
- Rahman, Azibor (13 March 2002). "Pagla Kanai's 202nd birth anniversary observed". The Daily Star. Retrieved 15 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Ali, Yunus (February 2012). পাগলা কানাই / Pagla Kanai (1809-1889). jessore.info (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Debnath, Bipul (22 July 2016). "Pagla Kanai: Pioneer of mystical songs". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Hossain, Zahid (10 March 2016). "Pagla Kanai remembered". Daily Sun. Retrieved 15 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)