Bhupen Hazarika

Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika

Dr. Hazarika was an Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam, he was born on 8 September 1926 to Nilakanta and Shantipriya Hazarika in Sadiya, Assam. His father was originally from Nazira, a town located in Sivasagar district. The eldest of ten children, Bhupen Hazarika (as also his siblings) was exposed to the musical influence of his mother, who exposed him to lullabies and traditional Music of Assam. His father moved to the Bharalumukh region of Guwahati in 1929, in search of better prospects, where Bhupen Hazarika spent his early childhood. In 1932 his father further moved to Dhubri, and in 1935 to Tezpur. It was in Tezpur that Bhupen Hazarika, then 10 years of age, was discovered by Jyotiprasad Agarwala, the noted Assamese lyricist, playwright and the first Assames Filmmaker and Bishnu Prasad Rabha, renowned Assamese artist and revolutionary poet , where he sang a Borgeet taught by his mother at a public function. In 1936, Bhupen Hazarika accompanied them to Kolkata where he recorded his first song at the Aurora Studio for the Selona Company . His association with the icons of Assamese Culture at Tezpur was the beginning of his artistic growth and credentials. Subsequently, Hazarika sang two songs in Agarwala's film Indramalati (1939): Kaxote Kolosi Loi and Biswo Bijoyi Naujawan at the age of 12. He wrote his first song, Agnijugor Firingoti Moi at the age of 13 and he was well on his way to becoming a lyricist, composer and singer.

His songs, written and sung mainly in the Assamese language by himself, are marked by humanity and universal brotherhood and have been translated and sung in many languages, most notably in Bengali, and Hindi. His songs, based on the themes of communal amity, universal justice and empathy, have become popular among the people of Assam, besides West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is also acknowledged to have intoduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Hindi Cinema at the national lavel. He received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in the year 1975. Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1997), and Padmabhushan (2001), Dr. Hazarika was awarded with Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), India's highest award in cinema, by the Government of India and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008), the highest award of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's The National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. He was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award in the year 2012. Dr. Hazarika also held the position of the Chairman of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi from December 1998 to December 2003.

As a singer, Hazarika was known for his baritone voice and diction, as a lyricist, he was known for poetic compositions and parables which touched on themes ranging from romance to social and political commentary, and as a composer, for his use of folk music. In a poll conducted in Bangladesh, his song, Manush Manusher Jonno (Humans are for humanity) was chosen to be the second most favourite number after the National anthem of Bangladesh. Some of his most famous compositions were adaptations of American Black Spiritual that he had learned from Paul Robeson, whom he had befriended during his years in New York City in the early 1950s.

Awards and honors

  1. Award for the Best Feature Film in Assamese (Shakuntala; Directed by Bhupen Hazarika) in the 9th National Film Awards (1961)
   2. Award for the Best Feature Film in Assamese (Chameli Memsaab; music by Bhupen Hazarika) in the 23rd National Film Awards (1975)
   3. Padma Shri - the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India (1977)
  4. Gold medal from the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh for "outstanding contribution towards tribal welfare, and uplift of tribal culture through cinema and music." (1979)
   5. All India Critic Association Award for best performing folk artist (1979)
   6. In 1979 and 1980 he won the Ritwik Ghatak Award as best music director for two theatre plays, Mohua Sundari, and Nagini Kanyar Kahini
   7. Bengal Journalist's Association Indira Gandhi Smriti Puraskar in (1987)
   8. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987)
   9. Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1992)
  10. First Indian to win Best Music for the film Rudaali at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival in Japan (1993)
  11. Padma Bhushan - the third highest civilian award in the Republic of India (2001)
  12. Honorary Degree from Tezpur University (2001)
  13. 10th Kalakar Award for Lifetime Achievement in the year 2002, Kolkata.
  14. Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008)
  15. Asom Ratna - the highest civilian award in the State of Assam, India (2009)
  16. In February 2009, the All Assam Students Union erected a life size statue of Hazarika on the banks of Digholi Pukhuri in Guwahati.
  17. Muktijoddha Padak - the highest civilian award by Bangladesh Government (posthumously, 2011)
   18. Asom Sahitya Sabha has honoured him with the title "Biswa Ratna".
   19. Padma Vibhushan - second highest civilian award in the Republic of India (2012)

Hazarika was hospitalized in the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute in Mumbai in 2011. He was admitted to the intensive care unit on 30 June 2011. He died of multi-organ failure on 5 November 2011. His body lay in state at Judges Field in Guwahati and cremated on 9 November 2011 near the Brahmaputra river in a plot of land donated by Gauhati University. His funeral was attended by an estimated half a million people.

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