The eleventh death anniversary of legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika, popularly known as Sudhakontho, is being marked on Saturday.
The Bard of the Brahmaputra, who had forever been immortalized with his soulful songs, still continues to be a timeless inspirational icon for many aspiring singers.
Although a sea of people bade him goodbye with hearts full of remorse on November 5, 2011, he still continue to literally live among people through his evergreen songs.
Hazarika’s songs are still played and listened by everyone with rapt attention and it still lures them to go along with its smooth flow and get touched with its deep lyrics.
The songs, which are no less than a session of music therapy, can calm a troubled mind and bring solace to a sad heart.
Here are some lesser known facts about the personal life of Bhupen Hazarika-
Early life and education
Born on September 8, 1926 to Nilakanta and Shantipriya Hazarika in Sadiya, Hazarika was the eldest of ten children. He received his early education from Sonaram High School, Guwahati, Dhubri Government High School and Tezpur High School. He passed his matriculation exam from Tezpur High School in 1940. After completing his 10+2 exams from Cotton College in 1942, he enrolled at the Banaras Hindu University from where he received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1944 and Master of Arts (MA) degree in political science in 1946. The Bard of Brahmaputra earned a PhD degree from Columbia University in 1952.
Hazarika’s foray into his remarkable musical career came at a tender age of 10 years at a public function in Tezpur. With his melodious Borgeet, Hazarika was able to impress noted Assamese filmmaker Jyotiprasad Agarwala and renowned poet Bishnu Prasad Rabha. He accompanied them to Kolkata to record his first song at the Aurora Studio for the Selona Company. After a short period, he sang two songs in Agarwala’s film Indramalati – Kaxote Kolosi Loi and Biswo Bijoyi Naujawan – at the age of 12. While in New York, Hazarika befriended famous musical artist Paul Robeson who influenced him to compose the famous song Bistirno Parore which is based on the imagery and theme of his own song Ol’ Man River. Besides his soulful Assamese songs, he also lent his voice to many Hindi and Bengali songs.
Professions other then music
Hazarika had shortly worked at All India Radio (AIR) station in Guwahati before leaving for his doctoral studies to Columbia University. After completing his PhD degree, he did a teaching job at Gauhati University for a brief period but soon embarked to find his calling in a momentous artistic career. As a filmmaker, he made award-winning Assamese films Shakuntala Sur (1961) and Pratidhwani (1964). He also worked as a director and some of his directorial ventures include Lati-Ghati (1966), Chik Mik Bijuli (1969), For Whom the Sun Shines (1974) and Mera Dharam Meri Maa (1976). He also entered politics and had contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Guwahati constituency but lost to Indian National Congress candidate Kirip Chaliha.
While studying at Columbia University, Hazarika met Priyamvada Patel whom he married in 1950. He was introduced to Kalpana Lajmi in the early 1970s by his childhood friend and India’s top tea planter Hemendra Prasad Barooah in Kolkata. Lajmi stood as a rock solid friend of Hazarika till his last breath at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute in Mumbai.