On Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s 11th death anniversary, we bring you 10 facts about the legendary singer. Bhupen Hazarika was undoubtedly one of the colossal cultural personalities of northeast India – with a deep social commitment and profound political consciousness.
Today, on the eleventh death anniversary of the ‘Bard of Brahmaputra’, we bring you some interesting facts about Dr. Bhupen Hazarika that have touched millions of hearts and shall stay alive until time immemorial in the heart of Assam.
He sang his first song at the age of 13
At the age of 13, Hazarika wrote his first song. He was recognized by noted Assamese lyricist Jyotiprasad Agarwala and artist Bishnu Prasad Rabha. Briefly after that, Hazarika sang two songs in Agarwala’s film Indramalati. It is to be noted that Indramalati (released in 1939) is the second Assamese film, directed by the great Assamese poet Jyotiprasad Agarwala.
He also lent his talent to Hindi films
Endearingly called Xudha kontho, he also lent his talent in his Hindi films like Rudaali (1993), Mil Gayee Manzil Mujhe (1996), Saaz (1997), Darmiyaan (1997), Gajagamini (1998), Daman (2000), Kyon (2003).
His songs were about humanity and brotherhood
He is also believed to be a humanist. Most of his songs echo the subtle feelings of his humanistic heart. Many of his famous songs like ‘Manuhe Manuhor Babey’ evoke fellow feelings in the heart of the masses.
Manuhe manuhor babey
Jodihe okonu nabhabe….
Bhabibo konen kowa, xamania……
(If a man doesn’t think of man with little sympathy…… tell
me o friend who will….?)
His lyrics bear the liberal ideals of humanity that he sought to give. This composition indicates the need for fellow feelings and bondage between people in a humanistic manner. Throughout his life, Dr. Hazarika strove for unity and brotherhood among the people cutting across the barriers of ethnicity, community, language, etc.
He appeals to the down-trodden, oppressed and poorer section. Along with that, his songs are the spontaneous expression of human love in society.
He is titled as the Bard of Brahmaputra
Bhupen Hazarika popularly known as the Bard of Brahmaputra for his voice that seamlessly fused the lilting strains of Assamese melody with the mainstream sound.
His American influence and singing
Most of his famous compositions were adaptions of American Black Spiritual that he learned from Paul Robeson multi-talented activist and performer. Dr. Hazarika befriended him while he was in New York. His famous song “Bistirno Parore” is influenced by Ol’ Man River sung by Paul Robeson.
Entered politics in 2004
The uncrowned king of Assam also served as the Secretary of the Reception Committee at the Third All Assam conference of IPTA. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, he contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in the Guwahati constituency, persuaded by Chandan Mitra via Kalpana Lajmi which he lost to the Indian National Congress candidate Kirip Chaliha.
He was a teacher at Gauhati University
Apart from being a musical maestro, Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was also a teacher at Gauhati University.
He worked at All India Radio, Guwahati where he won a scholarship from Columbia University and set sail for New York in 1949 where he earned a Ph.D. (1952) on his thesis “Proposals for Preparing India’s Basic Education to use Audio-Visual Techniques in Adult Education”. ) and also received Lisle Fellowship from Chicago University, USA.
Almost six decades ago, he was compelled to quit his job as Assistant lecturer due to purported association with leftists.
Produced 52 episodes of tele series Dawn at Star TV
He produced 52 episodes of a teleserial titled Dawn for telecast on Star TV. Besides that, he has also produced another 18-part documentary entitled Glimpses of the Misty East based on the socio-economic and cultural progress in North Eastern India from 1947 to 1997.
His song ‘Manush Manusher Jonno’ was chosen as the second most favourite song of Bangladesh following their national anthem
In addition to Assamese, the legendary singer also composed, wrote, and sang for numerous Bengali and Hindi films from the 1930s to the 1990s. It became the second most loved song in Bangladesh in a music opinion poll in the year 2006.
It is to be noted that the 11th death anniversary of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika will be observed on November 5 in Dhaka under the initiative of Shilpakala Academy and Byatikram MASDO.
Also won National and state honors
Renowned Indian music artists also won the President.s National Award for the best filmmaker thrice: for.Shakuntala.,.Pratidhwani., and . Loti Ghoti. in 1960, 1964, and 1967 respectively. Hazarika was awarded the Bharat Ratna (2019), Padma Vibhushan (2012), Padma Bhushan (2001), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1993), etc, and many other nation’s top awards.
In 1977, he won the Arunachal Pradesh Government’s Gold Medal for his outstanding contribution towards Tribal Welfare, and the Upliftment of Tribal Culture through cinema and music. Notably, he also won the National Award as the best music composer in India in 1977 for the Assamese film Chameli Memsaab.
On Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s 11th death anniversary, here’s remembering the legend who bound together a fragmented Assam.
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