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Home News Bhupen Hazarika passes away

Iconic singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika, who has inspired generations of people across the Indian subcontinent, died on Saturday at a Mumbai hospital after multi-organ failure.

“It was a multi-organ failure. The end came around 4:30pm (Indian time),” said Jayanta Saha, chief public relations officer at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

Hazarika had been critically ill and undergoing treatment at the hospital since June 29. He was also put on dialysis a few days ago, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

His long-time companion and filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi was beside him when he died.

Popularly known as the ‘bard of Brahmaputra’, Hazarika, who was born in a remote village of upper Assam in 1926, had the ability to weave magic out of traditional Assamese music gave us songs like ‘Dil hoom hoom kare’ and ‘O Ganga Boicho Keno’, songs that inspired millions across generations with the power and passion of his voice.

One has only to recall Hazarika’s songs like ‘Oh Ganga tumi boicho keno’, ‘Aami Ek Jajabor’, “Manush manusher jonno’ and “Ganga Aamar Maa, Padma Aamar Maa”.

A poet, music composer, singer, actor, journalist, author and filmmaker, the self-proclaimed ‘jajabor’ (wanderer) took the rich folk heritage of Assam and interpreted it beautifully for the world through his songs.

With his death, the country has lost not only one of its few balladeers but also one of its greatest cultural icons.

Born in 1926 in Sadiya into a family of teachers, academically-talented Hazarika completed his early education from Guwahati in 1942, BA from Banaras Hindu University in 1944 and MA (in Political Science) in 1946.

He did his PhD in Mass Communication from Columbia University. He also received the Lisle Fellowship from Chicago University, US to study the use of educational project development through cinema.

During his stay in the US, he met legendary black singer Paul Robeson, whose famous number ‘Old man river’ was successfully transformed to the megahit ‘Bistirno du parey (in Bengali) a virtual anthem for generations of pro-Left activists.

In an interview to a national daily many years ago, he attributed his singing to tribal music.

“As a child, I grew up listening to tribal music – its rhythm saw me developing an inclination towards singing. Perhaps, I inherited my singing skills from my mother, who sang lullabies to me. In fact, I have used one of my mother’s lullabies in ‘Rudali’,” said Hazarika who had won the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest film award of Indian government.

He sang his first song ‘Biswa nijoy nojowan’ (in the second Assamese film “Indramalati”) in 1939 at the age of 12.

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