Who won’t be familiar with the name –Bhupen Hazarika? A man of many talents- a playback singer, lyricist, balladeer, musician, poet, composer & film-maker, he was not only admired and respected in his native Assam, country India but the whole world, at large.
Widely known as Sudhakantha (nectar-throated), this marvel was recently conferred India’s highest civilian award- Bharat Ratna, posthumously, along with former President Pranab Mukherjee and social activist Nanaji Deshmukh.
Here at a few things to know about this legend, Bhupen Hazarika. Read on!
Bhupen Hazarika was born on 8 September 1926 in Sadiya, Assam. He made his singing debut at the mere age of 12, in the year 1939. Along with Assamese, he wrote a lot of songs in Hindi & Bengali language. He not only contributed to the Hindi film industry but introduced the Assamese folk music to a world-level platform.
From 1930s-1990s, he wrote more than 1000 lyrics, several short stories, essays and travelogues. His songs were based on the theme of humanity, universal brotherhood, justice, empathy & communal amity. These songs were very popular especially in Assam, Bengal, Bangladesh.
He studied initially at Guwahati & Tezpur, a college from Benaras, and then got a scholarship for a course in cinema in Chicago. There he earned a PhD (1952) on his thesis “Proposals for Preparing India’s Basic Education to use Audio-Visual Techniques in Adult Education”.
During his stay in the US, he met the legendary African-American singer Paul Robeson, whose famous number ‘Ol Man River’ was an inspiration for his ‘O Ganga Behti Ho Kyun’ (in Hindi), a virtual anthem for generations of Left activists.
Bhupen Hazarika won not just hearts of many admirers but accolades & rewards too. He received the-
- National Award for Best Music Director in 1976 for Chameli Memsaab
- President’s medal for his films Shakuntala (1960), Pratidhwani (1964) and Lotighoti (1967)
- Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1977), and Padmabhushan (2001)
- Hazarika was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), India’s highest award in cinema, by the Government of India.
- 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.
Bhupen Hazarika’s list of achievements doesn’t stop here as yet. He was also a member of the Central Board of Film Certification. In 2003, he was appointed the member of the Prasar Bharati Board.
Moreover, he had joined the BJP party ahead of 2004 Lok Sabha elections, because he was a humanitarian soul and was super impressed by the performance of Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He had also been an independent member of the Assam Assembly.
Other than so many awards, his dedication was recently acknowledged when Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, named India’s longest bridge in Assam after him. (Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which is also referred as Bhupen Hazarika Setu).
A man who was a jewel of our country is worth being known and remembered by one and all. We at, Gigglers Media, feel proud to have our country blessed with such a person who was a bundle of talent & charisma.