GUWAHATI, Dec 3 – Rameswar Pathak, the Kamrupi Lokageet maestro, passed away at the GNRC Hospital around 5-15 pm today. He was suffering from pneumonia, sepsis and multi-organ failure, hospital sources said.
Pathak was 74 and leaves behind his wife Dhanada Pathak, also a reputed folk singer, besides two daughters and two sons.
Pathak was admitted to the GNRC on October 29 and had been critical almost since.
The eminent folk artiste who was singularly instrumental in popularizing and promoting the genre of Kamrupi Lokageet was among the few that strode the State’s arena of folk culture like a colossus.
Recipient of many awards and accolades, Pathak was associated with Kamrupi Lokageet since the last six decades, reviving and upholding the genre among the masses. Together with his wife Dhanada Pathak, he was able to inject a new much-needed dynamism to Kamrupi Lokageet. A versatile artiste, he was as proficient a composer as he was a singer, and a number of his Lokageet compositions bear the stamp of his creativity.
In his bid to revive the folk music form for posterity, Pathak collected many rare Lokageets which otherwise could have sunk into oblivion.
Pathak’s awards include the Sangeet Natak Akademi honour in 1990 and the Asom Silpi Bota, also in 1990. He had over 150 audio cassettes to his credit, and had been a regular artiste in All India Radio since 1963.
Pathak as a singer lent his voice to a number of films which include Aparajeya, Santan, Manas Kanya, Sewali, etc., besides a documentary film Moi Amar Laksminath directed by Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha.
Pathak was involved in a large number of stage presentations and had performed live before four Presidents and three Prime Ministers of the country. He took part in shows in different States including West Bengal, Rajasthan, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, etc., besides the north-eastern States. He also featured in several programmes for Doordarshan.
Born at Nagaon village of Bhella in Barpeta district on March 1, 1938, Pathak had his college education at MC College in Barpeta. He later joined the Arya Vidyapeeth HS School as a teacher.
Various organizations, parties and individuals have mourned Pathak’s death. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, in his condolence message, recalled the contributions of Pathak and said that the State had lost a great artiste.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, among others expressed deep sorrow in his demise and conveyed their sympathy to the bereaved family members.