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Bhupen Hazarika: A Legend in the Music World

Death of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika is a loss of music lovers of the world. His songs contained rhythm of Indian classical music vis-a-vis a lucid meaning depicting nature, Indian culture, language, unity etc. For example “Mahabahu Brahmaputra, Maha Milonor Thirtha…….. “(Assamese song -Meaning River the Brahmaputra is symbol of national integration….). Another song in Bengali explains ‘love to human being ……’ i.e. in Bengali, “Ami Bhalobasi Manuske….” 

In one of his songs, Dr Hazarika sang “Can anyone provide a person whose blood is white or any person whose blood is black. That is when colour of blood is same then why the differentiation among the human beings”. Meaning is so nice that after listening any human being will feel for others. All the songs carried specific meanings and very touchy. His songs enthralled us. 

I had the opportunity to listen him in Guwahati in many occasions at the ‘Bihu-toli’ (where Bihu functions are held normally in mid of April i.e. in Assamese New Year).I have observed he sings with core of his heart. His songs are not only popular in India but also in Bangladesh and other countries. While I was in Bangladesh many persons told about him and his songs were highly esteemed by them, because of music and meaning. During my two years stint in Eritrea, (a country located in north east Africa) I carried mainly Dr. Hazarika’s CDs and evening always used to listen his songs. My Indian, Pakistani and Eritrean friends used to visit my residence and highly charmed by his melodious songs. I was explaining meaning of the songs so they were more excited and appreciated his talent. 

Born at Sadia, in upper Assam on September 8, 1926, father Sri Nilakanta Hazarika was a high school teacher. Dr Bhupen Hazarika had his schooling in different places of Assam viz., at Dhubri, Guwahati and Tezpur. He completed his matriculation in 1940; Intermediate in Arts (IA) from Cotton College in 1942 and then joined Banaras Hindu University (UP) for higher study and subsequently completed his B.A. (1944) and M.A. (1946). The maestro rendered his services as music director in as many as 36 Assamese films, 8 Bengali films and 5 Hindi films. His activities were rightly recognized by conferring various awards. These inter alia, include Dada Saheb Phalke, Sangeet Ratna, Padma Bhusan, Asam Ratna, Srimanta Sankardev etc. He was the architect of the movement that culminated in the establishment of a film studio in Guwahati, a first full-fledged film studio in Assam. He made many films such as Era Bator Sur (1956), Mahut Bandhure (1958), Shakuntala (1961), Pratidhvani (1964), Loti Ghoti (1966), Chik Mik Bijuli (1969), Siraj (1988) and a tele- film Miri Jiori (1990), documentaries like For Whom the Sun Shines (1974), Amuthi Chaulor Kahini (1974), Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad aru Joymoti (1976), Through Melody and Rhythm (1977), Along the River Brahmaputra (1981), Satras and Namghars of Assam, Glimpses of the Misty East (1996) and The Brahmaputra, An Endless Journey (2006). Due to his endeavour ‘Sattriya dance’ (a form of dance performed at Holy places, i.e.Namghar) got national recognition. He published books for the children -- Bhupen Mamar Geete-Mate, A, Aa, Ka, Kha and a transcript autobiography -- Moi eti jajabor.

Although he passed away on 5th November 2011 in Mumbai but he will be remembered in this world through his melodious songs. 

Sri Tej Hazarika, only son of Dr Bhupen Hazarika performed his last rites on 9th November 2011 at the cremation ground prepared for him at Jalukbari campus of Gauhati University, Guwahati. Before the pyre was lit, Jawans of the Assam Police offered 21-gun salute. During rituals many dignitaries including Governor of Assam, Sri JB Patnaik, Chief Minister Sri Tarun Gogoi, and opposition leader of Lok Sabha Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister of State (Independent) for Development of the North East Region (DoNER) Sri Pawan Singh Ghatowar, Secretary of All India Congress Committee Sri Jaydev Jena and many ministers of Assam were present. Sri Ghatowar represented the Prime Minister, while Jena represented UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. In addition to the dignitaries, millions of people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language attended to adieu Dr Hazarika which vividly reveals that he was in the heart of all sections of people. 

Dr Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor & Head (CPME),NIRD & PR ( Govt. of India), Hyderabad,  India
Former Associate Professor, Eritrea
Former Assistant Prof, Govt. Degree College, Tripura, India
Former Senior Planning Officer, Govt of Assam, India