Guwahati: Millions of fans across the country paid tributes Bharat Ratna Dr Bhupen Hazarika on his ninth death anniversary November 5 where Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal remembered the legendary music director, singer, lyricist, poet, film-maker attending a function organised in his Samadhi-sthal at Jalukbari near the Saraighat bridge over mighty river Brahmaputra.
Sonowal offered floral tributes at Bhupen-da’s statue and urged all sections in the society to join hands to sustain peace and harmony stating that the doyen’s songs carried deeper meanings of life & society. The invaluable contributions of the ‘Bird of Brahmaputra’ play the role of a bridge to take forward the Assamese community to the global platform.
All Assam Students Union leaders paid homage to Bhupen-da on the bank of Dighali Pukhuri inside the city, where a large section of people paid tributes to him. Different other organisations also organised memorial meetings on Bhupen-da’s death anniversary. Children danced to the music that echosed everywhere in Assam on Thursday.
Mentionable is that the self-proclaimed Jajabor (wanderer or gypsy) can be termed as the most exposed, discussed and reported personality in Assam for the last six decades. With his immortal voice, Bhupen-da was equally popular across the country and also in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. He was honoured with Padma Shri (1977), Padma Bhushan (2001), Padma Vibhushan (posthumously in 2012) and Bharat Ratna (posthumously in 2019). The pioneering film maker was also awarded with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke (1992).
Born on September 8,1926 at Sadiya in eastern Assam (father Nilakanta Hazarika and mother Shantipriya Hazarika), Bhupen-da had preliminary education in various parts of the State. After completing matriculation at Tezpur in 1940, Bhupen-da came to Guwahati for his IA course from Cotton College (1942). Then he went to Banaras Hindu University and completed BA and MA (1946) in Political Science. Bhupen-da left for the USA to complete his PhD in Mass Communication from Columbia University, New York in 1952.
He returned to Assam and worked as a professor in Gauhati University for some time. During his creative journey Bhupen-da penned thousands of lyrics and rendered his crisp voice for nearly 1500 songs. He had composed music for 36 Assamese films, many in Bengali and Hindi languages. As a director, some of Bhupen-da’s outstanding Assamese films include Era Batar Sur (1956), Mahut Bandhure (1958), Shakuntala (1960), Pratidhwani (1964), Lotighoti (1967), Chick Mick Bijuli (1970), Mon Projapati (1978), Siraj (1988) etc.
Assam government conferred two highest awards ( Shrimanta Shankardev 1988 and Asam Ratna 2008) on Bhupen-da. The State’s highest literary forum Asom Sahitya Sabha offered him the coveted post of President in 1993. For a five year term Bhupen-da was appointed as the Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1999. Bhupen-da even emerged as an independent legislator in the State Assembly (1967-72).