Day before yesterday, Assamese cultural icon, Dr. Bhupen Hazarika passed away at a hospital in Mumbai.
Bhupenda (thats what he’s called by connoisseurs of music from where I come); was a filmmaker, playback singer and writer. He has been honoured with the National Award and Padma Bhushan. But lets face it, he’s probably not the kind of musician that you actively listen to anymore.
But if you’ve grown up anywhere in the eastern part of India you’ve probably heard him sing in an old timey radio show when you were a kid. I remember my dad being transported to another world when this song came on Akashvaani Sangeet.
But most of us know this song better:
You have also seen him on the telly atleast once in your life (very hard to miss with his distinctive hats), if only at the new Mile Sur thingy that kept playing on and on last year.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that this man has been a part of our lives, ALL our lives, even if it be in a minuscule way. Even if you’ve never seen a single one of his films, and have never been to Assam (where they have a statue of him at Guwahati) his voice still occupies a infinitesimally small part of your childhood memories. And now that is gone.
He was 85 years old when he died. Born in a pre-independent India, he was one of north-east’s finest filmmakers and musicians. One might even say, an epoch ended with him.