Music Maestro Bhupen-da crowned Bharat Ratna

New Delhi: Singer and Music maestro late Bhupen Hazarika was among chosen for the elite prestigious civilian award Bharat Ratna apart from former President Pranab Mukherjee and Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader late Nanaji Deshmukh this Friday.

Previously Assam’s first CM Gopinath Bordoloi was honoured with Bharat Ratna and now Bhupen Hazarika becomes the second from Assam State to receive the prestigious award, The Telegraph reports.

Bordoloi had been awarded for his exceptional service/performance of the highest order without distinction of race, occupation, position or gender.

After Bordoloi, state people have been demanding the Bharat Ratna for Hazarika for quite some time now as his songs continue to inspire guided generations but the demand for the singer-cum-film director intensified when the he passed away on November 5, 2011 at the age of 85.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing happiness for Hazarika, tweeted: “The songs and music of Bhupen Hazarika are admired by people across generations. From them radiates the message of justice, harmony and brotherhood. He popularised India’s musical traditions globally. Happy that the Bharat Ratna has been conferred on Bhupen Da”.

However, many had wished that the award had been conferred on the singer during his lifetime which could have brought him immense pride for recognition of his work.

Raveena Tandon, who had acted in Daman, whose music was composed by Hazarika, tweeted in reply to Modi’s tweet, “Rightly so… though I wish these honours are conferred onto some people while they are still alive.”
Movie Daman was directed by Hazarika’s long-time partner Kalpana Lajmi who ws also the one to approach the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna on Hazarika.

“Bhupenda would have been very happy if he had got the award when he was alive although his works cannot be measured merely by awards. Today I am also missing Kalpana Lajmi who had done so much for him. She had pursued the matter with the Centre. She should have been here today,” said Manisha Hazarika, Bhupen’s sister in law.

Meanwhile, Assam’s CM Sarbananda Sonowal also welcomed the Centre’s decision for conferring the award to Hazarika.

He thanked Modi for taking a step to confer the award on Hazarika. The CM described Hazarika as “one of India’s greatest sons and unifiers.”

“Great honour for Assam and its glorious culture. A proud moment for all of us,” he said.

The Asam Sahitya Sabha also welcomed centre’s decision. They added Hazarika was an asset not only for Assam but the country.

“Bhupenda should have been awarded the Bharat Ratna when he was alive. We had raised the demand when he was alive and after his death. He deserved it. We welcome the Centre’s decision,” Sabha president Paramananda Rajbongshi said.

Guitarist Kamal Kataky, who played the guitar with Hazarika throughout his life, was happy too.

“At the age of 13, Bhupenda had penned the song Agnijugor firingti moi, which showed that he was a great ambassador of the country’s culture. The year was 1939 and the country was under the British rule when Bhupenda wrote that he would make a new India,” Kataky said.

Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted, “It is a matter of great pride and delight that Dr Bhupen Hazarika has been posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna. My gratitude to Prime Minister Modi. We are all elated.”

While All Assam Students’ Union adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya welcomed the announcement but on the other hand also requested the Centre to scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

“We welcome the Centre’s decision to award Bhupenda with the Bharat Ratna. He had guided us all. We are happy that he has been awarded although it is late. But, at the same time, we request the Centre to scrap the citizenship bill,” Bhattacharjya said.

Meanwhile Modi expressed his delight over the announcement. He tweeted : “Pranab-da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna.”
He further added: “He personifies humility, compassion and service to the downtrodden. He is a Bharat Ratna in the truest sense!”

Addressing the nation on the eve of Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said: President Kovind said: “This year, the people of India have another responsibility: of voting in the general election and electing the 17th Lok Sabha. Our country is at a key juncture. In some respects this is as critical and formative a period as the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Decisions and actions of today will shape the India of the remainder of the 21st century. As such, this is not just a once-in-a-generation moment – it is a once-in-a-century moment.”

Apart from Hazarika, Assam surgeon Ilias Ali and social innovator Udhab Kumar Bharali have been awarded the Padma Shri awards.

Surgeon Ali is known for working on family planning and education of Muslim women while Bharali has more than 100 innovations to his credit, mostly at the grassroots level.

Others who also got the Padma Shri awards are Bombayla Devi Laishram from Manipur and musician Thanga Darlong from Tripura.

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted: “Heartiest greetings to Shri Thanga Darlong ji on being conferred the Padma Shri Award”