From Prasun Sonwalkar
Leading lights of the Indian community here came together to honour late Bhupen Hazarika,
described as a "multifaceted genius" who touched the lives of millions of people through his music, poetry, films and other cultural activities.
Hazarika, whose death on November 5 last year at the age of 85 was mourned by people across India, Bangladesh and elsewhere, was remembered by various speakers yesterday at the Nehru Centre, including India's High Commissioner Jaimini Bhagwati, who hails from Assam.
A photo of the late artiste ? also known as the 'Bard of Brahmaputra' who established a personal relationship with millions of people through his music ? was installed in the Nehru Centre, the cultural wing of the Indian high commission here.
Besides Bhagwati, the event was attended by the Bangladesh High Commissioner M Sayeedur Rahman Khan, who noted that Hazarika was highly respected and was considered a source
of inspiration in his country.
A notable feature of the event organised by Rini Kakati, director of Friends of Assam and the Seven Sisters, was the presence of the late singer's younger brother, Prabin Hazarika and his wife, Trisha Hazarika, who are based in Leicester.
Prabin recited his older brother's last poem, written in Assamese in 2007, titled 'Akash Saboty' (Embracing the sky), and translated it in Bengali and English for the benefit of the audience that comprised Indian-origin people from various communities.
Messages were read out from the late singer's son, Tej Bhupen Hazarika, lyricist Javed Akhtar, and from members of the Assamese community in the United States and India. Recalling personal memories of time spent with Hazarika in the 1960s in New Delhi, the Indian high commissioner said "it was the underlying sentiment of solidarity with the downtrodden in Hazarika's work that made him truly great".
Prominent Indian-origin industrialist Lord Swraj Paul said everyone whose lives Hazarika touched through his work will remember him for his warmth and sincerity.
Others who fondly recalled Hazarika include Kailash Budhwar, former head of the BBC Hindi Service. Hazarika's iconic songs such as 'Manuhe manuhar bhabhe' and 'Ganga behti ho kyon' were played during the event that included a live vocal tribute by Ananda Gupta and award-winning dancer Rajib Saha. PTI