Bhupen Hazarika (Assamese: ভূপেন হাজৰিকা) (1926–2011) was an Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam. 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. Hazarika also held the position of the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from December 1998 to December 2003."Acclaimed singer Bhupen Hazarika dies at 85". CNN-IBN. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011. "Padma Awards". pib. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika - the Legend of Assam India-north-east.com
ContentsBiography1.1 Early life1.2 Education and career1.3 IPTA years1.4 Professional life1.5 Later life1.6 Death
Hazarika was born on 8 September 1926 to Nilakanta and Shantipriya Hazarika in Sadiya ( শদিয়া ), Assam. 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. His father moved to the Bharalumukh region of Guwahati in 1929, in search of better prospects, where Bhupen Hazarika spent his early childhood. In 1932 his father further moved to Dhubri, and in 1935 to Tezpur. 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 classical 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. 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 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 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 PhD (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 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, and he returned to India in 1953.
His famous songs include (in Assamese):Bistirno ParoreMoi Eti JajaborGanga Mor MaaBimurto Mur Nixati JenManuhe Manuhor BabeySnehe Aamar Xoto ShrabonorGupute Gupute Kimaan KhelimBuku Hom Hom Kore
Hazarika began close association with the leftist Indian People's Theatre Association soon after returning from the USA in 1953 and became the Secretary of the Reception Committee of the Third All Assam Conference of IPTA, held in Guwahati in 1955.
After completing his MA he briefly worked at the All India Radio station at Guwahati before embarking for his doctoral studies at Columbia University. His thesis "DEMYSTIFYING DR. BHUPEN HAZARIKA: envisioning education for India", edited by Tej Hazarika and published by Cool Grove Press will be available in the US in days.
Soon after completing his education, he became a teacher at the Gauhati University. But after a few years, he left the job and went to Kolkata where he established himself as a successful music director and singer. During that period, Hazarika made several award winning Assamese films such as Shakuntala, Pratidhwani, etc. and composed evergreen music for many Assamese films. He was also considered as a new trend setter in Bengali music. The famous musical genre of West Bengal, the Jivanmukhi geet started by Kabir Suman in 1990's is thought to be influenced by Dr. Hazarika. Bhupen Hazarika composed music for films from Bangladesh too which got international acclaim.
He was elected the President of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in 1993. In 1967, Dr. Hazarika got elected as a member of Assam Assembly from Nauboicha constituency.
He was introduced to Kalpana Lajmi in the late 1970s by the family of Atma Ram (Mumbai). Subsequently, Lajmi began assisting him professionally and personally till the end of his life. Lajmi made her directoral debut with Ek Pal in 1986 which was jointly produced by Dr. Hazarika and Lajmi and financed by Hemendra Prasad Barooah, a tea baron and childhood friend of Bhupen Hazarika. ( the film Ek Pal (' at the Internet Movie Database) (1986).)
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.
He served as an MLA (Independent) during 1967-72 in the Assam Legislative Assembly from Nauboicha Constituency.
He contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from the Guwahati constituency, persuaded by Chandan Mitra via Kalpana Lajmi 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. He was admitted to the intensive care unit on 30 June 2011. He died of multi-organ failure on 5 November 2011. 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."As ashes merge into rivers". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 12 November 2011. "BBC News - Celebrated Indian singer Bhupen Hazarika dies". Bbc.co.uk. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2012. Sushanta Talukdar, Brahmaputra Balladeer, The Hindu, 10 November 2011 Asjad Nazir, Bhupen Hazarika obituary, The Guardian, 6 November 2011 "Presidents of Asam Sahitya Sabha since 1917". Asam Sahitya Sabha. Retrieved 5 November 2011. "Rituparna Chatterjee's Blog : Kalpana Lajmi-Bhupen Hazarika: A 40-year-old love story". Ibnlive.in.com. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2012.  "Kalpana Lajmi inconsolable after Bhupen Hazarika's death". Movies.ndtv.com. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2012. Hemendra Prasad Barooah, Fond memories of a schoolmate, The Telegraph, 9 November 2011 Debraj Mookerjee, Bhupen Da done in by the popular, The Pioneer, 12 November 2011 "Assam Legislative Assembly". Retrieved 16 November 2012. Chandan Mitra, The boatman's missing melody, The Pioneer, 12 November 2011 "Hazarika's death plunges Kolkata into gloom". Movies.ndtv.com. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2012. http://www.cathnewsindia.com/2011/11/07/church-condoles-hazarikas-death/ "Music Legend Bhupen Hazarika passes away". Bollywood Life. Retrieved 5 November 2011. "Bhupen Hazarika is no more.". Indiavision news. 5 November 2011. "Celebrated Indian singer Bhupen Hazarika dies". BBC News. 5 November 2011. "Lakhs aend Bhupen Hazarika's funeral". indiatv. Retrieved 13 December 2011. Smitha (29 December 2011). "Bollywood pays tribute to Bhupen Hazarika - Oneindia Entertainment". Entertainment.oneindia.in. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
Legacy and influences
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. 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. 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. His famous song "Bistirno Parore" is heavily influenced by Ol' Man River sung by Paul Robeson.Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and his attachment with Meghalaya, Efi-news.com Mobarak Ali, RK Mission Road, Gopibagh, Dhaka (11 November 2011). "Manush Manusher Jonno …". Thedailystar.net. Retrieved 25 December 2012. "Dr. Bhupen Hazarika official biography". Retrieved 6 November 2011.