GUWAHATI, Dec 15 – “In his life, Bhupen Hazarika was loved and criticised by the people for various reasons. But his death worked as a great uniting force for the people of Assam, and all the criticism vanished like magic.”
Anil Sarkar, Education Minister of Tripura, who unveiled the bust of music maestro Bhupen Hazarika at the 13th North East Book Fair today, remembered Dr Hazarika as a person who contributed immensely towards uniting the people of Assam, West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The Bhupen Hazarika Day was observed at the book fair today. Dr Hazarika’s bust was made by artiste Khagen Das.
“Bhupen Hazarika popularised the music of this region in the outside world. His was the music of renaissance, the music of awakening which united people, even after his death. The great power of music, culture and literature unite people,” said Sarkar.
The Government of Tripura will organise a seven-day workshop in January on the music of Dr Hazarika.
In a discussion on various aspects of Dr Hazarika, many of his close associates shared their experiences with the singing legend.
Noted singer Sudakshina Sarma remembered the days in 1970 when she, along with Bhupenda and others, used to prepare songs for radio. “We selected some of the lyrics from Rasaraj Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s collection of poems and lyrics, Kadamkali, which also had the instructions about the style of singing,” she said. She also hummed a few lines of Prem Prem Buli Jagate Ghurilo for the audience.
George Baker, the lead actor of award-winning movie Chameli Memsaab, also recalled his association with the bard and remembered the cultural evening of Kolkata when Dr Hazarika waited eagerly to watch his performance. “After the performance, when I got a huge applause from the audience, Bhupenda told me that he wanted to see whether I was able to uphold the honour of the people of Assam. Amid his performance, Bhupenda paused for a while to introduce me as a son of Assam,” he said.
“His contributions in uniting two countries, India and Bangladesh and also two communities, Assamese and Bengali, cannot be overlooked. The Government of Bangladesh gave him the highest honour. But, unfortunately, he did not get the international recognition which he deserved. His song, Ganga Amar Ma, Padma Amar Ma was a great attempt to unite the people of two communities,” Baker said.
Also recalling Bhupen Hazarika’s contribution in his life, Baker said that Bhupenda and the team of Chameli Memsaab gave him a new life in the field of acting.
Bhupen Hazarika’s close associate Kamal Kataki paid a befitting tribute to the singing legend, humming his compositions, created by Dr Hazarika at different phases of his life.
“I have categorised his music in different parts according to different phases of his life. He started with spiritualism (Srimanta Sankara…. ) and we also we see a revolutionary in him later (Agni jugar phiringoti, hey doula). He was a social reformer (Bistirna parore), a promoter of universal brotherhood (Jindabad Mandela, Jai jai Nabajat Bangladesh), a humanist (Manuhe Mahuhar Babe) and a lover (Bon Juye Home Dile, Bimurta Mur Nisa),” said Kataki humming the compositions of Dr Hazarika.
The discussion was presided over by Dhirendra Nath Chakravartty.
Various cultural programmes based on Dr Hazarika’s music were also organised throughout the day in the book fair.