Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated India's longest bridge Dhola-Sadia over the Lohit river — a tributary of Brahmaputra — on Friday and renamed it as the Bhupen Hazarika bridge.
Members of the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society had requested Modi to name the bridge after Hazarika because Sadia was the birthplace of the singer. "Hazarika, during his life time, worked relentlessly for unity and integrity for all caste, creed and religions through his songs and music. And it is the dream of the people of the state of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam that the bridge constructed at Sadia be named after him," The Arunachal Times quoted the society's president YD Thongchi as saying.
Hazarika, who died in 2011, was a playback singer, poet, journalist, author and musician from Assam. He is hailed as the uncrowned king of North East India's cultural world. His songs continue to bind people together even today.
The reason Hazarika’s songs are so popular even today and ring through the state of Assam is because they contained the man himself and humanity was a subtext in most of his compositions, according to The Wire. He would travel to the hills in the 1960s – amidst tension and violence – to sing in both Assamese and Nagamese.
"If man wouldn’t think for man with a little sympathy
Tell me who will, my friend?
If we try to buy or sell humanity, won’t we be wrong, my friend?"
Assam and the Assamese have long been identified with his songs. He used songs to bring forward social issues and remind the people about the responsibility for the state. He even sang of building a new Assam.
"I am the spark of the age of fire
I will build a new Assam
will bring back everything to those who have lost everything
will build a new Assam"
Hazarika was also drawn towards India's struggle for independence. "I would attend secret meetings with those who wanted a free India. Somewhere down the line, the revolutionary in me was born. My music and, later, my film scripts portrayed that ethnic anger I suffered from," The Guardian had quoted him as saying.
Hazarika was given India's highest film honour, the Dada Saheb Phalke award in 1992 for his contribution to cinema. He was named best composer in India in 1977 for his music for the Assamese film Chameli Memsaab. He has also produced a 52-episode tele-serial titled Dawn for Star TV and a 18-part documentary Glimpses of the Misty East on the socio-economic and cultural progress in North East India. He also won the President's National Award for the best filmmaker thrice - 1960, 1964, 1967.
His music connected with the masses because he was always in direct communion with his audience. One of his songs 'Humans are for humanity' was chosen as the second most favourite number in Bangadesh after the country's national anthem. He was awarded with the Padma Shri in 1977, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhshan in 2001. In 2013, a stamp bearing his face was released to honour him.
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Updated Date: May 26, 2017 18:01:56 IST