By Dipanka Hazarika
Dr BhupenHazarika, the guiding light of the Assamese who is ever present in their minds, an institution besides being their tiol treasure. Till the time the mighty Brahmaputra keeps flowing across the hills and plains of the undivided Assam, till the time the indigenous people of all the ethnic groups residing in both sides of the Brahmaputra Valley carry on with their unique and distinct cultural heritage, Bhupenda’s songs and tunes will reverberate across the valley and will continue to act as a source of inspiration. In short, we want to harp on the fact that the creations of Bhupenda will remain immortal and will continue to inspire the generations to come. But is that enough? The call of the hour is that the life-work-creations of Bhupenda be evaluated, studied and documented in a scientific way so that they can be preserved for the posterity. The inimitable lifestyle of Bhupenda, his unparalleled creations transcends the time barrier and highlights the achievements of the past, relevant in the present and base for the future. Bhupenda’s creations are all encompassing- from the daily humdrum of life to the socially relevant issues. The range of his creations is so vast that it has not only enriched the literature and culture but has also strengthened our tiol base immensely.
To make an exhaustive study on the life and creations of this towering persolity, son of Dr Bhupen Hazarika and Priyam Hazarika –Tej Hazarika who is a resident of New York and a noted literary critic ( a regular contributor in papers of intertiol repute like New York Times) and his initiative has resulted in the formation of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Foundation. The advice and suggestions of Bhupenda’s family members, his admirers from different places across the world, the kin of the triumvirate Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rava and tsurya Phani Sarma, with whose blessings of the foundation of the colossal institution med Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was laid, the family members of Bharat Rat Lokopriya Gopith Bordoloi who had encouraged Bhupenda to pursue higher studies in the Colombia University, several leading persolities who were with Bhupenda have come forward to form this foundation to carry on constructive and meaningful work in this regard. To carry on with our work we need the support and suggestions from the admirers of Bhupenda across the globe.
Till the day the mighty Brahmaputra continues with its journey from Mansaovar to the Bay of Bengal the songs and tunes of Bhupenda will continue to inspire us- and it has become more evident after the demise of the great maestro. The new generation not only in Assam or elsewhere in the country but even in the foreign shores are showing a keen interest in Bhupenda’s songs. A new cultural reissance is taking place with the public renditions of his immortal songs which in turn is helping in building a cultured society. The songs of Bhupenda is making the new generation aware of the diversity of the region with its different ethnic groups, dialects, culture, heritage, traditions, the tural surroundings. The awareness generated by the songs of Bhupenda will help in strengthening the bonds among the different groups residing in the region. Not only in Assam or in different places of the country but even in a number of countries across the globe, a good number of individuals, associations, organisations have been working on the multi-dimensiol contributions of Bhupenda. We express our gratitude towards them for their untiring efforts in popularising the works of Bhupenda. In this context we would like to throw some light on the plans and programmes of the Dr. BhupenHazarika Foundation (BHF).
Firstly, the BHF would strive to spread the light of education in the society. It’s an irony that even after almost seven decades of Independence we are lagging far behind in the field of education. Having studied in the historic and heritage institutions like Cotton Collegiate School, Cotton College, Baras Hindu University, Colombia University besides teaching for some time in the B. Borooah College and the Gauhati University, Bhupenda with his creations tried his best to remove the scourge of illiteracy. Not only that, Bhupenda motivated the educated how to use their education in tion building process. Bhupenda had undertaken a research project-Adult education in India with the help of mass communication. Tej Hazarika has collected the thesis paper of this research project from the Colombia University and has published it along with his comment. The study on adult education undertaken by Bhupenda in the fifties of the last century is still relevant today. In spite of the District Primary Education Programme, Sarva Siksha Abhijan, tiol Secondary Education Programme, Education for All till 14 years, the education scene in the country has shown no significant improvement. But way back in the fifties Bhupenda could visualise the importance of education in tion building.
Secondly, in spite of the geographical and political division, Bhupenda has been the symbol of hope and unity amongst the different ethnic groups of greater Assam. Taking inputs from the varied groups, reflecting their unique culture and traditions formed the basis of a good number of songs composed by this great persolity. The BHF will endeavour to create harmony amongst the different groups. The BHF has already chalked up plans and programmes in this regard.
Thirdly, the North East region is endowed with eye-catching tural beauty with unique flora and fau. It is a treasure trove of rare herbal and organic products. The tourism potential of the region is immense be it in the tural, cultural, heritage, organic products, food and exotic cuisine. The BHF seeks to make the region a tourism hub both amongst the domestic and intertiol visitors. Bhupenda was our cultural ambassador. He had projected and popularised the region across the globe with his creative works. If we can preserve our unique culture and popularise it both within and outside the country, it will be a fitting tribute to this great man. The BHF strongly believes that tourism, particularly eco and cultural tourism can usher in development in Assam and in the other parts of the North East.
Fourthly, the BHF is of the view that till now the cultural side of Bhupenda is often discussed. But this immortal persolity was a poet, litterateur, film director, art critic, cartoonist, artist, jourlist, editor, educationist, politician, besides being a social scientist. Bhupenda, a genius, who never considered himself an intellectual but a worker left his secured teaching job in the college and university to earn a living by singing. It reflects his courage and conviction. But among all these multi-dimensiol qualities, the literary aspect of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika has not been properly evaluated. Till now efforts are being made to preserve the songs of Bhupenda. The Asam Sahitya Sabha gave recognition to the literary talent of Bhupenda by making him the President of Sivasagar session of the Sabha held in 1992. Later by conferring the title Sahityacharya to Bhupenda, the Sabha has accorded the due honour to this great man. The All Assam Students’ Union in a rare gesture had built a statue of Bhupenda and got it unveiled by the great maestro himself. After his demise, people now feel that Bhupenda deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature. However this wish can never be fulfilled any more because Nobel Prize is not given posthumously. But it is a fact that the literary collection of Bhupenda is very rich and it covers a wide range of themes. The vagabond who can’t be confined to a region in fact is a global citizen (himself identified as ‘Jajabor’ means wanderer) who spoke for humanity and his literary works encompassed the Luit, Ganges, Mahadi, Godavari, Volga and Mississippi from the Bay of Bengal to the Pacific Ocean. It would be better if Bhupenda’s literary works are translated to the major Indian languages like Bangla, Hindi, besides English , French and other foreign languages so that the world can get a glimpse of the literary masterpieces of Bhupenda. The Bhupen Hazarika Foundation will strive to get the literary works of Bhupenda translated into different languages. The Foundation requests the admirers of Bhupenda to come forward and help the Foundation in this regard. The writings of Bhupenda have covered varied themes like history, economics, politics, philosophy, science and technology and the environment. Bhupenda had children literature too to his credit. Bhupenda’s editorials in several magazines, the presidential speech of the SangitSanmilan of the1963 session of AsamSahityaSabha besides the President’s address in the 1992 session of the Sivasagar session of the Sabha throws ample light on his literary talent.
To discuss these topics, BHF today has organised a tiol convention at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi, in association with Care Luit and Pragjyoti Communications and
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s son Tej Hazarika. We are striving to project the manifold contributions of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika in the tiol level. This is our first humble step in this direction.
Filly, we fervently hope that the creations of Bhupenda will inspire and motivate the future generations and thereby strengthen our social fabric. The very fact that a towering persolity was born in Assam should act as a source of inspiration to the new generations and motivate them to work for the overall welfare of the society. Let the life and works of Bhupenda be our guiding light. With this hope I on behalf of all his admirers across the world pay tribute to the immortal legend on his fourth death anniversary.
With Bhupenda’s immortal song for our new generation… ‘Agni jugor firingoti moi…tun Asom gorhim’
(A spark of the age of fire I will destroy the old/ And kindle the new to life/ I will give back the down-trodden/ Whatever they have lost/No room in my new land/for traders of religion/ or champions of parochialism / I will destroy with my own hands / The spectre of untouchability /And build a new Assam.)