A Sentinel photo by Rajib Bhattacharjee

Mur Gitor Hazar Shrota
Tumak Nomoskar
Gitor Sobhat
Tumie Tu Prodhan Alankar
Prayax Koru
Tumar Uthat Hahi Bilabole
Proyax Koru
Tumar Dukhot Xosai Kandibole

While the news of Bhupen Hazarika’s demise is yet to sink in the minds of the people, the visionary himself seemed to have visualized the impact of his songs and life on the people long back. But even the bard might not have fathomed the extent to which his songs and poems had influenced the people of Assam as lakhs and lakhs of teary-eyed people swelled on the streets of the State, in a manner never witnessed before, since early morning today to receive the body of their much loved balladeer.

Indeed, Bhupen Hazarika might have left his physical state here on earth but the fact that he will continue to live forever in the hearts and minds of every Assamese was evident in the heart-rending cries of “Bhupen Hazarika Amar Hok” (Long live Bhupen Hazarika) that was let out by the mammoth crowd that had assembled at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport to receive his body. Watching the sea of humanity –– perched atop trees, on top of trucks, bridges and jostling for space on footpaths – trying to stop their tears while screaming their maestro’s evergreen numbers in a bid to suppress their grief, provided for the creation of a poignancy that is bound to remain etched in one’s heart and mind forever.

Even as the huge crowd in the airport sobbed inconsolably as the legendary humanitarian’s coffin was brought out of Jet Airways aircraft 619, hundreds of thousands of people holding placards, photographs, wreaths and petals continued to come out on the streets of Guwahati, assembling along the 26-km long route through which the coffin was supposed to pass, so that they could pay their last tributes to a man whom they have epitomized as the torchbearer of Assamese culture and identity. As shops all over the gateway city of the Northeast downed their shutters as the body reached Dighalipukhuri paar –– where the bard had unveiled his own statue a few years back –– a teary-eyed Assam today did indeed bid adieu to their legend in a befitting manner.

As the coffin was brought out of the airport before a ceremonial guard of honour at around noon, Governor JB Patnaik and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi paid floral tributes to the legend. “I am numbed and speechless,” an emotionally charged Tarun Gogoi, who is otherwise known for his witty repertoire of speech, said in front of mediapersons.

The hearse carrying the coffin, decorated with flowers, was accompanied by Kalpana Lajmi, his partner and companion for the last four decades, his family members, his nephew Mayukh Hazarika, Manisha Hazarika, State Culture Minister Pranati Phukan and Kamal Kataki. Lajmi, who had always been by the maestro’s side despite coming under scathing criticism from the people of the State on quite a few occasions, said, “I have lost my father, mentor and husband. He may have died, but his spirit would remain forever.”

The district administration had yesterday chalked out an itirenary for the hearse to follow, underlining the places where it would stop on its way to the Nizarapar residence from the airport. However, the tremendous support of the people threw the State government’s plans totally off-gear and it reached his Nizarapar residence only at around 7 pm in the evening –– much later than the government’s scheduled time of 2:30 pm.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed all along the route from the airport to the Chandmari area of Guwahati today as lakhs of people waited along both sides of the road, lighting earthen lamps and holding placards, along with photos of the maestro that were placed atop bamboo plantains.

The first major stop of the procession was at Gauhati University –– a place where Bhupen Hazarika had spent some of the most memorable events of his life. With a group of students rendering Jilikabo Luitore Par –– a song he had written on the university –– the crowd of more than 4,000 people that had gathered stood silently with tears streaming down their face as they watched life coming full circle for their legend. GU VC Akhil Kumar Medhi, GU Registrar Uttam Chandra Das, Tezpur University VC Mihir Kr Choudhury, Guwahati MLA Robin Bordoloi, Director General of Police Shankar Barua and Chief Secretary Naba Das were also present in the university.

The procession later on stopped at Garegaon, Gauripur, Adabari, Maligaon, Pandu, Kamakhya Gate, Kalipur, Santipur, Lalit Chandra Bharali College, Bhootnath, Bharalumukh, Fancy Bazar and Dighalipukhuri paar.

Once in his Nizarapar residence, the body was taken inside the balladeer’s bedroom while troupes from a neighbouring naam ghar performed gayan bayan outside the residence. The coffin was placed on his usual bed, which was shrouded in a white cloth and adorned with yellow flowers. Singing lines from the immortal Biswar Sande Sande, family members performed the requisite Hindu rites and rituals inside his bedroom, smearing the body with turmeric, even as traditional nam kirtan and prayers were performed alongside the bard’s bed.
The body was later taken to Judges Field in the city where it will be kept till tomorrow afternoon. The cremation will take place tomorrow afternoon at Gauhati University.

Written by Aiyushman Dutta and first published in The Sentinel (Nov 8, 2011)


About Aiyushman Dutta

Who am I? Yet to find the answer. For the time being, u can call me a writer, maybe a journalist and a music entrepreneur or an errand boy! Whatever suits your fancy!

Posted on November 7, 2011, in Concerts/ Reviews, Day-to-Day, Musicians/ Bands, Personalities/ Interviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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