Garima Hazarika, the renowned Sattriya and Odissi exponent, choreographer, script writer, designer, painter and the Sangeet Natak Akademy awardee passed away in the wee hours of August 5 at the age of 83. Born to her distinguished parents Lokabandhu Dr Bhubaneswar Barooah and Induprova Barooah, Garima, fondly called Mainu by everyone, made a tryst with mudras when she was just a child revealing her spontaneous inclination towards dance. She was married to the noted dancer and cultural activist Krishnamurtty Hazarika who predeceased her.
All the gurus of Garima—Pandit Charu Bordoloi in Kathak , Surendranath Jena and Muralidhar Majhi in Odissi, Borbayans Rosheswar Saikia and Ghana Kanta Bora in Sattriya recognised her potential as a born artiste and Garima deemed this long Guru Shishya parampara as something divine and sacred.
As a connoisseur of dance, Garima made it her life's mission to systematize the Sattriya dance form, root it in the proper classical tradition and establish it as a genre in its own right following a methodology, a ritualistic order in the presentation of this dance. Her meticulously designed costumes for Sattriya recitals using Assam's ethnic handloom products are indeed one of the most remarkable contributions. Garima has left behind a wide range of repertoire reflective of her dazzling array of talents. The eminent Odissi guru, Kelucharan Mahapatra showered his lavish praises on Garima when once she mesmerised a huge audience by her scintillating Sattriya recital at Konarak Music and Dance Festival.
She choreographed Bihu dance at the first South Asian Festival of SAARC in New Delhi. Garima's presentation of two short pieces from the writings of Sri Sankardev and Sri Madhabdev in the Unity Concert at Prasanthi Nilaya, Puttapurtty, was of immense virtuosity. Jugalbandi was one of her highly acclaimed, flawless experiment in the harmonious fusion of two dance forms—Sattriya and Odissi.
The Rabindra Nrittya Natya, Chandalika was an enthralling amalgamation of various folk dances of Assam. Garima's plethora of dance dramas, adroitly and impeccably choreographed, such as 'Chetona', 'Mukti Sangram', 'The Story of the Golden Butterfly', 'Sea-God', 'Prakriti Manab' etc are a fascinating medley of pure entertainment, aesthetics and instruction, the sole aim of all these being pleasurable learning.
Apart from directing dance in more than 18 Assamese films she also scripted and directed dance dramas for the mobile theatres of Assam. Guru Gorima Hazarika has left to her credit a host of disciples who have now earned reputations for themselves as teachers and mentors. Each of Garima's productions is a revelation of her unflinching devotion and dedication, her concern for the societal values which she desired to uphold through the medium of dance.
Garima's unique life style was revelatory of her wonderful zest for life. Wherever she went she carried invariably with her an aura of love, joy, cheerfulness and vivacity, that amazing joie-de-vivre which was the flag of her disposition. This sprightful, down-to-earth, unpretentious and very talented dancer's agonising descent into the abyss of dementia was like a bolt from the blue that left dumbfounded the entire family and each and everyone who loved and adored her. Her son and daughter -in-law Dr Abhijit Hazarika and Dr Vandana Sinha left no stone unturned to provide her medical treatment including timely access to specialist care . Nothing worked however, and thus she passed gently into that good night creating a void, an unbearable emptiness never ever to be filled. Rest in eternal peace and heavenly bliss dear Mainu.