Bhupen Hazarika, humanist musical maestro from Assam, posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna
The influential musical maestro was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012, a year after his death at the age of 85
Playback singer and cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika was posthumously conferred the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna on Friday by the Government of India. The influential musical maestro was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012, a year after his death at the age of 85.
Hazarika was born in Sadiya, Assam and received musical training from an early age. As an artist, he was interested in themes of humanism and social emancipation. After establishing himself as a singer, composer, lyricist, poet, painter and filmmaker in both Assamese and Bengali cinema, he transited to Mumbai and met Bollywood filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi in the early 1980s, marking the start of a lasting professional and personal relationship. Hazarika scored Lajmi’s first Hindi feature film, Ek Pal (1986), and also contributed songs and music to Rudaai (1993) and Daman (2001). Lajmi’s 2006 film, Chingaari, was based on the The Postman and the Prostitute written by Hazarika. He contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections as a Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate from Guwahati but lost to Congress candidate Kirip Chaliha. Kalpana Lajmi passed away due to renal failure in 2018. Hazarika is survived by his son Tej Bhupen Hazarika.
Some of Bhupen Hazarika’s timeless songs (across languages) include Dil hoom hoom kare, O Ganga Behti Ho Kyon, Moi Eti Jajabor, O Bideshi Bandhu, Ekkhana Megh Bhese Elo Akashe, Bistirna Parare and others.
Besides Hazarika, the Bharat Ratna was awarded to former Indian president and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee and Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh.