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Genius of Bhupen Hazarika

Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011) emerged as a central figure in Assam giving voice to the aspirations and imagination of Assamese nationalism. Despite his deep-rootedness in his own cultural context, his music and ideas were universal and constantly engaged with the people in a dialogic process.

I too wanted to be a singer with the power to change society

– Bhupen Hazarika

It is not often that a musician’s works become synonymous with the political and cultural aspirations of a nation­ality. Bhupen Hazarika, the versatile Assamese singer was that kind of rara avis. The world of Assamese imagination was associated, since Independence, with the songs and music of Bhupen Hazarika. His music was responsible for reinforcing the cultural aspirations of various communities during this time. That he was one of the central elements in the world of Assamese imagination was again proven when Hazarika died on 5 November. In a rare show of public mourning, more than a million people in Assam paid their tribute. They were joined by others across India.

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