About a month ago, somewhere I read an article about Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. The author was a student of mass com in St. Xavier’s, Mumbai. He started off with a professor’s quote (now I don’t remember the professor’s name. All I can remember is, he was a south Indian). The professor, in one of his lectures, said how unique Hazarika is in his songs to convey so strong messages about political and social issues. The professor also mentioned Bob Dylan’s comment about Dr. Hazarika. According to Dylan, he was greatly influenced by Hazarika and he felt that it is really sad that Hazarika decided to come back to India instead of staying permanently in the U.S and had he decided to stay back, he (Hazarika) would have made a large fan base that could even make Dylan himself jealous! Dylan also added that the most unfortunate thing about Hazarika is that he belongs to a country like India!
And I take pride that I grew up listening to Bhupen Hazarika!
Initially I heard him because my father was a hardcore fan of him and I had no choice but to listen to his songs. But when I grew up and started to understand the meanings of his songs, it really amazed me. Just to mention, once a worthless critic had said that Bhupen Hazarika is like the flower that has no fragrance; it is only good to look at. And the reply that Hazarika gave to that good-for-nothing politician made an evergreen melody, “Modaror Phool”! His words and his voice are his main weapon, only with a harmonium, an acoustic guitar and a synthesizer; he can create such a strong music that could make any true music lover go gaga. Whatever song you name, all of them revolve around 3 main themes- revolt, reformation and romance! You are a God sir!
Last time when I visited home, I saw how the All Assam Student’s Union (AASU) paid respect to the legend by erecting a statue of him in a very famous recreation spot in Guwahati and also paid tribute in many other ways to this living legend. It was such an emotional moment that Dr. Hazarika himself broke down along with his thousands of fans. It was like telling the maestro that he is not gonna be with us for too long now! Gosh, I’m still getting goose bumps even while writing it! And in that very trip, on my way back to Pune, I was reading an Assamese digest I had bought in Guwahati airport only because of an article about Dr. Hazarika. It said about the author’s meeting with Hazarika at his residence in Mumbai and about his deteriorating health! I felt so bad that it made my eyes moist! But in the same flight, I met some Assamese students who are studying in Pune. In fact 2 of them- a boy and a girl came in the same cab with me. When they saw me reading with such an interest about Hazarika, they asked if I listen and like his songs. Hell yes! But they gave me an awfully disgusting look and kept themselves busy in discussing about each and every pub and disco in Pune! Grow up kids!
I really pity those who can understand the language but are still ignorant about Bhupen Hazarika and at the same time feel bad for some of my friends who, unfortunately, cannot understand his songs because of the language. I can boast that I have 2 copies of almost all of his songs- one in Assamese and one in Bangla in the same hard drive that has discographies of international favorites like Metallica and Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath for that matter. I love and respect them all. But I still feel something different whenever I hear Bhupen Hazarika’s songs and that sends a chill up my spine!
PS: A few lines from my latest post: 21:
At last, the sad demise of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. I feel too humble to write anything about Him (yes, with a capital ‘H’). He was not just a poet, nor just a singer. He was a visionary. He was, and will always be a great inspiration for many people living around the mighty Brahmaputra. I still remember when my father had told me about ferrying the bard in our Fiat Premier Padmini. I used to feel so proud about the car! And you know, when my mom used to sing some lullabies to me, I used to insist that my father should sing those, and he used to sing some of Bhupen Hazarika songs and I used to love that. I love you, father.”