Bhupen Hazarikar Geetar Gadhulee

JP Das (second from right) and others present Manuhe Manuhar Babe
at the function.

A musical tribute to the bard of Brahmaputra

A multifaceted genius, Dr Bhupen Hazarika was a poet, music composer, singer, actor, journalist, author and film-maker of the very highest repute. He was the only pioneer of Assam’s film industry in the Northeast, and has been therefore, rightly hailed as the uncrowned king of North-Eastern India’s cultural world.

On 8th September, the nation celebrated his birth anniversary. Last year on his death the whole of Assam and for that matter, the whole of North East joined hands to pay their last respect to this multifaceted personality who put Assam on the country’s cultural map through his compositions and songs. This year too on his birthday the scene was no different.

Shillongities too came together to celebrate this occasion in one of its historic buildings, ‘The Assam Club’. To mark this occasion, Shillong Assamese Ladies Welfare Club organized a cultural evening -Bhupen Hazarikar Geetar Gadhulee to pay tribute to the maestro.

The programme started with the lighting of the lamp by the chief guest, Mrs Binu Hazarika, president of the Shillong Assamese Ladies Welfare Club who welcomed the audience with a thoughtful speech. Dr MM Baruah shed light on the life of Bhupen Da, a Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner.

The cultural programme began with a beautiful chorus -Aah Aah Olai Aah – a classic number of Dr Hazarika, presented by the members of the Laban Assamese Mahila Samiti. This was followed by a rendition of Bhupenda’s song, Aakashi Ganga by Minoti Bishwakarma.

The Members of Assam Krishti Kendra also presented a chorus. There were solo performances by a number of Shillong-based singers namely Kula Bora, Anuranjita Kalita, A Das, Juthika Goswami Medhi and Dhrubajyoti Chakravorty. They were well supported by Ramajit Bhattacharjee on key board and Bhola Das on tabla. Two young dancers – Manika Malakar and Nandita Deka enthralled the audience with their beautiful renditions.

The guest artist for the evening was J.P Das, a renowned artist, who worked under Bhupen Da. He was accompanied by Jabaratna, an upcoming singer from Assam. JP Das presented some famous numbers of the balladeer. The jam-packed audience clapped to Das’ Shillong Monalisha Lyngdoh and Jabaratna’s some Bihu-based songs.

The audience could not resist themselves from humming with the guest artist. The programme ended in a befitting manner. The artists along with the audience sang in unison one of the best compositions by Dr Hazarika, Manuhe Manuhar Babe, which has been declared as the song of the millennium by the BBC Bengali Service.

Shillong Assamese Ladies Welfare Club deserves kudos for organizing such a beautiful programme. I hope they would continue their endevour so that we can witness more such events in future.

Assam Club: At the out set of this write-up, I used the word ‘historic’ to refer to Assam Club of Laban. This club was established in 22nd December 1896 with the motive of uniting the Assamese people and to protect their interests. It started functioning from a rented house in Laban as most of the Assamese people occupied the Laban area. Several earthquakes led to the destruction of the building.

The Syiem of Mylliem then donated 13,000 sq feet of land for the construction of a new building. With a cursory look at the club building, one can feel that it needs a total renovation. I request the concerned people to do something to maintain its ‘heritage’ tag.

Contributed by Aadrita Chakravorty

(The writer is a Class XI student of St. Mary’s College, Shillong)

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