BULĀKĪ DĀS was the masand or head of the Sikh saṅgat, at Dhaka, now capital of Bangladesh, during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. Dhaka had been visited by Gurū Nānak at the beginning of the sixteenth century when a saṅgat had emerged in the town. During the time of Gurū Hargobind, a Sikh, Bhāī Mohan, had kept the Gurū's message alive there. Bhāī Natthā, third in succession to Almast, the Udāsī saint, who had been sent by Gurū Hargobind to preach in the eastern parts, had been deputed to supervise the saṅgats or Sikh fellowships or communities in Bengal. When Gurū Tegh Bahādur visited Bengal in 1666-67, Bulākī Dās was in charge of the Dhākā saṅgat. His old mother, a devout lady, had long wished to receive and behold the Gurū. She had a seat especially designed for him, and had also stitched garments of homespun cotton which she longed to present to him in person. Her heart's wish was fulfilled when upon reaching Dhaka Gurū Tegh Bahādur went straight to her house, and sat on the couch and received the offerings. Bulākī Dās and the saṅgats served Gurū Tegh Bahādur with devotion. Before he departed, the old lady had another request to make. She requested him to let a likeness of his to be painted. The Gurū acceded to her request. He told Bulākī Dās to have a dharamsālā raised in town. The dharamsālā, named Gurdwārā Saṅgat Ṭolā, still exists in a street named after it.
Later, in 1670, when he learnt that Gurū Tegh Bahādur had left for the Punjab asking his family to follow him, Bulākī Dās sent a gilded palanquin from Dhaka to Paṭnā for use by the young Gobind Rāi, later Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Once he also travelled to Anandpur to pay homage to Gurū Tegh Bahādur. He lived to a ripe old age, and his name appears as one of the leading Sikhs of Dhaka in a letter (hukamnāmā) Gurū Gobind Siṅgh addressed to the saṅgat there in 1691, although he had by then been replaced as masand by Bhāī Hulās Chand.
A. C. Banerjee