GUWAHATI, July 4 – Hiren Bhattacharjya , the poet popularly known as Hiru Bhatta or Hiru-da among his fans, is no more. He breathed his last at 11.25 am today at the Dispur Hospital here following irreversible lung failure. He was undergoing treatment for severe lung infection since June 14 last. He would have turned 80 on July 27.
Earlier, he was admitted to the same Hospital on May 28 last following urinary tract infection, and was released on June 8.
Hiru Bhatta, who composed hundreds of poems with his trademark lyrics charged with intense feeling, has 14 collections of poems published to his credit.
He has given Assamese poetry a new dimension with his brief but highly expressive Urdu shayari-type (to some critics Japanese Haiku-type) poems, like the paean he composed for spring – Jaki mari ahil dakowal, gache gache hepahor rangin rumal (‘Basanta’) (The postman has come running, joyous trees are flaunting colorful hankies), or the one he wrote in praise of death – Mrityuoto eta shilpa, jeevanar kathin shilat kota nirlobh bhaskarjya (Death is also a work of art, a pleasant sculpture carved in the solid rock of life). He is popular for such of his highly emotional lyrics that continued to stir the readers’ hearts for decades.
He had won the Assam Valley Literary Award in 2001, the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992, Bishnu Rabha Award of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in 1985, Raghunath Chaudhari Award in 1976, Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987, Souhardya Sanman of Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sangsthan in 1992, Ganesh Gogoi Award of the Assam Government in 2010, Padmanath Vidya Binod Smriti Sahitya Puraskar in 2011, among others, for his contribution to the field of literature.
Inspired by noted litterateur Late Padmanath Gohain Baruah and his Parijat Sangha, Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Late Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Late Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Late Jatin Duorah, Late Ganesh Gogoi, and others, Hiru Bhatta started writing poems while he was a student. His first published poem was ‘Nimantran’ (Published in Prabash in 1954).
Connected with the Left movement, Hiru Bhatta was also a vice-president of the Assam wing of the All India Progressive Writers’ Association in the early 1964. He participated in All India Peace Conference held in Chandigarh in that capacity. He went to Russia to receive the Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987.
Known also for his instant sense of humour like describing a new year as the beginning of the silver jubilee year of his cough – the playful remark he had made about a couple of years back – Hiru Bhatta also served as a high school teacher, besides as a journalist with The Shillong Times. He started, in 1956, the now defunct literary and cultural magazine Chitrabon. He had also set up a coffee house ‘Akashi’ in the Chandmari area of the city, which once became a popular meeting place for the artistes and literary personalities. In 1961, he started the Chitrabon Printers on his residential campus on the Zoo Road (now RG Baruah Road).
His published poetry books include – Raudra Kamana (1968), Mor Desh Mor Premor Kabita (1972), Bibhinna Dinar Kabita (1974), Kabitar Rod (1976), Tomar Gaan (1976), Sugandhi Pokhila (1981), Shaichar Pathar Manuh (1991), Mor Priya Barnamala (1995), Bhalpowar Boka Mati (1996), Bhalpowar Dikchou Batere (2000), Sugandhi Shipa (2006), Kabitar Dalpat (2008), Shipar Pora Patoloike (2009), Hiren Bhattacharyar Kabita 1957-2010 (2011).
He also has a number of poetry books for the children. These include – Lora Dhemali (1991), Akau Dhemali (1991) and Roi Roi Dhemali (2008).
There are three collections of his poems in Bengali – Jonaki Mon O Anyanya (1991), Sasyer Math Manush O Anyanya (2002) and Shipar Theke Pata Abadhi (2010) and a collection of his songs in Bengali – Bristi Pare Ajhore (2011).
Born to Late Tirthanath Bhattacharyya , a jailor and Late Snehalata Bhattacharyya , as the second of their 11 children, in Jorhat on July 27, 1932, Hiru Bhatta had his primary schooling at Golaghat, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. He had done his secondary schooling in the Tezpur Government High School and Cotton Collegiate High School in Guwahati and then joined the Cotton College. However, inspired by the move of noted educationist and socialist leader Late Hem Barua (who later became famous also as a Lok Sabha MP), he left Cotton College and joined the B Borooah College as one of its first batch students.
It may sound strange for many today that Hiru Bhatta was an opening batsman of the Cotton College cricket team. He also used to play football in his youth.
He married Parul Devi of Sivasagar in 1974 and they have a daughter Shanta. He leaves behind a host of relatives, besides his wife and daughter.
People thronged the Zoo Road Tiniali residence of the poet in large groups as soon as the news of his demise spread. Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues, including Nilamoni Sen Deka, Pranati Phukan, leading litterateurs like Lakshminandan Bora, Rong Bong Terang, Hare Krishna Deka, veteran journalists PG Baruah, Pradip Baruah and Kanak Sen Deka, educationists Prof Anil Goswami, Prof Udayaditya Bharali, Excise Commissioner Santanu Thakur, ADGP Dilip Bora, Secretary of Cultural Affairs Swapnanil Barua, artiste Nikunjalata Mahanta, other intellectuals, political leaders, and leaders of the student organisations paid their last respect to the poet at his residence. His body is likely to be carried to the Uzanbazar Swahid Nyas Bhawan and the Sahitya Sabha office here, among others, in a cortege, said family sources here.
His last rites would be performed at the Navagraha cremation ground here tomorrow.