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Stars that died 2010

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bhupen Hazarika, Indian singer, died he was 85.

Bhupen Hazarika  was an Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam Loulou de la Falaise, French fashion muse and designer (Yves Saint-Laurent). 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 introduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Hindi cinema at the national level. He received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1975. Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1997), and Padmabhushan (2001), 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 2012.[2] Hazarika also held the position of the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from December 1998 to December 2003.[3]


Early life

Hazarika was born on 8 September 1926 to Nilakanta and Shantipriya Hazarika in Sadiya, Assam.[4] 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.[5] His father moved to the Bharalumukh region of Guwahati in 1929,[4] in search of better prospects, where Bhupen Hazarika spent his early childhood. In 1932 his father further moved to Dhubri,[6] and in 1935 to Tezpur.[4] 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 (the traditional Assamese devotional songs written by Srimanta Sankardeva and Sri Sri Madhabdeva), 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.[4] 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[6] and he was well on his way to becoming a lyricist, composer and singer.

Education and career

He studied at Sonaram High School at Guwahati, Dhubri Government High School[4] and matriculated from Tezpur High School in 1940. He completed his Intermediate Arts from Cotton College in 1942, and his BA (1944) and MA (1946) in Political Science from Banaras Hindu University. For a brief period he worked at All India Radio, Guwahati when he won a scholarship from Columbia University and set sail for New York in 1949. There he earned a Ph.D. (1952) on his thesis "Proposals for Preparing India's Basic Education to use Audio-Visual Techniques in Adult Education".
In New York Bhupen Hazarika befriended Paul Robeson- a prominent civil rights activist, who influenced him in [6] his song Bistirno parore which is based on the imagery and theme of Robeson's Ol' Man River. This song is translated in various Indian languages, including Bengali and Hindi (by the artist himself), and is still popular. Being inspired from some other foreign ones, he also composed several other songs in Indian languages. He was exposed to the Spiritual, and the multi-lingual version of We are in the Same Boat Brother became a regular feature in his stage performance. At Columbia University, he met Priyamvada Patel, whom he married in 1950. Tez Hazarika, their only child, was born in 1952,[7] and he returned to India in 1953.
His famous songs include (in Assamese):
  1. Bistirno Parore
  2. Moi Eti Jajabor
  3. Ganga Mor Maa
  4. Bimurto Mur Nixati Jen
  5. Manuhe Manuhor Babey
  6. Snehe Aamar Xoto Shrabonor
  7. Gupute Gupute Kimaan Khelim
  8. Buku Hom Hom Kore

IPTA years

Hazarika began close association with the leftist Indian People's Theatre Association soon after returning from the USA in 1953[6] and became the Secretary of the Reception Committee of the Third All Assam Conference of IPTA, held in Guwahati in 1955.

Professional life

After completing his MA he briefly worked at the All India Radio station at Guwahati[7] before embarking for his doctoral studies at Columbia University.
Soon after completing his education, he became a teacher at the Gauhati University.[6]
He was elected the President of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in 1993.[8]

Later life

He met Kalpana Lajmi in the 1970s[9] and they made the film Ek Pal (' at the Internet Movie Database) (1986). Subsequently, Lajmi began assisting him professionally and personally till the end of his life.[10][11][12]
In the period after the release of Ek Pal (1986) until his death, Bhupen Hazarika mainly concentrated on Hindi films, most of which were directed by Kalpana Lajmi. Ek Pal (1986), Rudaali (1993) and Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001) are major films this period. Many of his earlier songs were re-written in Hindi and used as played-back songs in these films. These songs tried to cater to the Hindi film milieu and their social activist lyrics were browbeaten into the lowest common denominator.[13]
He served as an MLA (Independent) during 1967-72 in the Assam Legislative Assembly from Nauboicha Constituency.[14]
He contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from the Guwahati constituency,[15] which he lost to the INC candidate Kirip Chaliha.


Hazarika was hospitalized in the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute in Mumbai in 2011.[16][17] He was admitted to the intensive care unit on 30 June 2011. He died of multi-organ failure on 5 November 2011.[18][19][20] 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.[21][22]

Legacy and influences

Hazarika (right) with Hartmut König (left) at the Berlin Festival of Political Songs in 1972
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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

Awards and honors

Bhupen Hazarika Statue
  • Award for the Best Feature Film in Assamese (Shakuntala; Directed by Bhupen Hazarika) in the 9th National Film Awards (1961)[26]
  • Award for the Best Feature Film in Assamese (Chameli Memsaab; music by Bhupen Hazarika) in the 23rd National Film Awards (1975)[27]
  • Padma Shri - the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India (1977)
  • 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)[28]
  • All India Critic Association Award for best performing folk artist (1979)
  • In 1979 and 1980 he won the Ritwik Ghatak Award as best music director for two theatre plays, Mohua Sundari, and Nagini Kanyar Kahini
  • Bengal Journalist's Association Indira Gandhi Smriti Puraskar in (1987)
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987)
  • Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1992)
  • First Indian to win Best Music for the film Rudaali at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival in Japan (1993)
  • Padma Bhushan - the third highest civilian award in the Republic of India (2001)
  • Honorary Degree from Tezpur University (2001)
  • 10th Kalakar Award for Lifetime Achievement in the year 2002, Kolkata.
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008)
  • Asom Ratna - the highest civilian award in the State of Assam, India (2009)
  • In February 2009, the All Assam Students Union erected a life size statue of Hazarika on the banks of Digholi Pukhuri in Guwahati.[29]
  • Muktijoddha Padak - the highest civilian award by Bangladesh Government (posthumously, 2011)
  • Asom Sahitya Sabha has honoured him with the title "Biswa Ratna".
  • Padma Vibhushan - second highest civilian award in the Republic of India (2012)[30]

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