Monday, March 24, 2008

INDIA EMPOWERED TO ME IS When every Indian has knowledge, skill of communication


Source : The Indian Express, 25th Oct 2005
By Bhupen Hazarika

Way back in 1939, I wrote a song in which I said I was just a small spark of the age of fire, but even then I wanted to build a society where there would be no space for traders in religion and untouchability, where walls of discrimination would crumble and a paradise of equality would be created on earth.
That incidentally was my second song. In 1964, I felt that the sky had given me a wide vision, storm tremendous energy, thunder a loud voice, courage and reason—with which I would sing songs of humanity in a sea that was in the grip of pirates, and provide the silent masses a spark of life.

Music is power. Music is empowerment. Remember how those great lyrics had set the entire subcontinent on fire and provided such a great momentum to the freedom struggle? Have you ever met a person who would say he does not like music? Have you ever found a doctor who would ask his patient not to listen to music? Music is communication, very effective communication. Why do you give a coin to the blind singer on the pavement? Not because he is blind, but because he can sing.

What did Rakesh Sharma tell Mrs Gandhi when she asked him how India looked like from space? Saare jahan se achha!

I had always dreamt of an India where every individual would acquire knowledge and skills of communication. Look how strong our tradition has been since the ancient times. One two-letter word—Om!—and you acquire such unbelievable energy. It is divine power and divine energy in the form of music that kindles the fire within an individual.

In 1976, I sang about inter-caste marriages, in which I told a couple who came to seek my blessings: This is the age of mass communication through satellites in outer space. This is the age of nuclear energy, of snatching away that energy from the evil forces and using it for the benefit of the common man.

India is a vast country. Very few people have been lucky enough to have criss-crossed this country. I am one of the few who have had the opportunity as a singer and film-maker. Whether it is the illiterate sarkari gaon-burra (village headman) at Dong, the village in the easternmost tip of Arunachal Pradesh where the sun’s rays fall first on Indian soil, or the broker at Dalal Street in Mumbai, all are bound by the same music that is India. One hundred crore souls. It is not a matter of joke. Imagine their potential. Gandhiji had realised that. We are fortunate, our President APJ Abdul Kalam understands that. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh understands that. You have to be in touch with the people at the grassroots to be able to kindle the fire in them. You can do that with music. India, after all, is a wonderful mosaic of musical traditions, which can be transformed into musical power.

But I often feel sad when I notice a lack of confidence among the people, especially in the Northeast. I would not blame the young men for taking up arms. We must accept the fact that the benefits of development have not trickled down to the last village. There is a huge communication gap. The rights of the common man to enjoy the benefits of development have been usurped. It is good that the Right to Information Act has come into force. But have we told the masses about it? Have we, as the world’s largest democracy, been able to evolve an effective communication model, a two-way model that would make every citizen a partner in our dream to become a developed country by 2025?


Saturday, March 15, 2008

LP Cover of Bhupen Hazarika 's Aarop

Back cover of Aarop LP record
Front cover of Aarop LP record

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Great versatile writer Padma Barkataky passed away

Source: Asomiya Pratidin,12/03/2008
Bhupen Hazarika remembers Padma Barkataky

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bhrigu Phukan -one of the best -----By Bhupen Hazarika


Source : The Assam Tribune,30/03/2006
I was informed in Mumbai from Guwahati by my young friend Samudra Gupta that Bhrigu Phukan was dying and that he was on a respirator fighting for his life. I was shocked and saddened by the suddenness of this terrible news. And I prayed hard to the Almighty that Bhrigu should live and recover, for Bhrigu was a fighter all his life and had faced and conquered so many ups and downs, highs and lows and had won. This time too he would win in his battle for life. This time too he would conquer and vanquish death.
Three days ago my personal manager Kamal Chandra Kataki informed me, that not only had Bhrigu expired, but his cremation too was over. I am very very upset since then ... Why Bhrigu, did you have to die so young? Born in 1954 you are young enough to be my son, and perhaps I was lucky that you always considered me as your father, and your role model. Why has present day society become so indifferent, cruel and insincere? Why do they forget the brave warriors and pioneers like Bhrigu who have heralded their freedom?
Not a single national daily in Mumbai carried, not even mentioned about Bhrigu’s passing away. Not a single important news channel telecast nor mentioned his death either. It broke my heart. If Asom got its second independence it was due to the courage, fervour, patriotism, commitment, sincerity, sacrifice, perseverance and bravery of Bhrigu Phukan and all his wonderful young colleagues of the All Assam Students Union.
It was 1979, twenty seven years ago when I first met two dynamic gentlemen, Bhrigu Kumar Phukan and Prafulla Mahanta. I was immediately sucked into their passionate fervour and vision, and it struck me that it was a new Asom that was being born because of both of them and their fellow colleagues.
It was 1979, and a new sun arose on the horizon of Asom’s political scenario. The people of Asom are peace loving and like most riverine civilisations, prospered in contentment with their agriculture, thanks to the mighty, gigantic river Brahmaputra. Then this son of Brahma gave birth to several sons from Asom’s soil, who formed a movement by all the students of Asom’s universities and colleges. They shouted out a warning to end the complacency that gripped the Asomiya people. They performed their clarion call that the Asomiya ethos language, spirit, its very existence was at stake, and they were confined to becoming minorities in their own home State.
This movement was spearheaded both equally by Bhrigu Phukan and Prafulla Mahanta.
My vision of a new Asom which I propagated through my lyrics and my compositions and sung by me was initiated by me long before Bhrigu was born. My songs were taken on by the All Assam Students Union. They travelled the length and breadth of Asom, penetrating villages and towns not only singing my songs but heralding a call of awakening. Their slogan was “Jai Aai Asom’, wake up and throw out the foreigners.
What and where that Bhrigu, Prafulla and their youth brigade succeeded was that soon enough not only the educated urbanites, but along with them the rural underprivileged identified with their students’ movement for Asom was extremely grateful that at least these youth were addressing their age old problem of the Centre’s negligence and isolation of Asom.
Late Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India proved to be extremely magnanimous, after being impressed by Bhrigu and Prafulla’s presentation. He agreed to their request and the Assam Accord was offered to the AASU leaders which was historically signed to protect the identity, existence, spirit, language, ethos, culture, administration and revenue due to the Asomiya people. Rajiv Gandhi convinced Bhrigu and the AASU leaders to take up the path of peace and to participate in mainstream politics.
Thus the Asom Gana Parishad was born. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta became India’s youngest Chief Minister heading a new Asom and Bhrigu Phukan shoulder to shoulder with him became a most dynamic yet youngest Home Minister, Asom had ever seen.
Bhrigu, thereafter became busy as Home Minister over the next ten years. We met sporadically, because then he was no longer a youth leader who sought my advice, but was a dynamic Home Minister who could design and expedite his own decisions.
But his love for me never abated. He would call me regularly and speak over phone at most times late at night. He married a young beautiful girl and I attended his marriage on his personal insistence. Time went by ..... His first girl child was born.
He insisted on my choosing and giving the child her name and blessing her. I went to the then Home Minister’s bungalow on the banks of the beautiful Brahmaputra and named and blessed his lovely baby. I can never forget that afternoon, his happiness and laughter along with the baby’s gurgling still ringing in my ears as if it was just yesterday.
And today that beautiful bride is a young widow ... And that little baby must have grown into a beautiful young woman. Why Bhrigu, did you die so young, leaving them so desolate so soon?
We last met at Kamakhya Temple during the last elections. He was standing as a candidate for AGP and I for BJP. He was shy and embarrassed. He touched my feet and asked me to forgive him for standing opposite me. He said this was his last chance for changing his frustrations and political loss into a win. I embraced him tightly and said there was no question of my forgiving him, and said I would be very happy if he won against me.
As we completed our prayers at Maa Kamakhya’s feet, he looked at me quizzically and helplessly, tired, thin and lost and said “Bhupenda we have both prayed for success to the Goddess, whose prayers will she hear and grant?” And I had replied laughing “Maa Kamakhya will see that the best man wins”.
Yes, Bhrigu you, the best man did win .... Maa Kamakhya heard your prayers and granted them. She embraced you forever ... because you were her best man.
You will never be forgotten Bhrigu .... by every man, woman and child of Asom, for who’s freedom and recognition of their identity you sacrificed your life.I will never forget you Bhrigu .... You are and were one of the best among the best men. May your soul rest in peace.
(Published on the occasion of Bhrigu Phukan’s Adya Shraddha).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Melody Man

Source : India Today ,April13,1998
PROFILE: BHUPEN HAZARIKA
Melody Man
The Assamese poet's repertoire of songs is firmly anchored in his environment.

By Avirook Sen
***************************************************************
The structural engineer in Alaska turned the heat on full blast inside his car and hummed to the strains of Moi eti jajabor (I am a wanderer). The road was endless, he was cold, there was no one at home to talk to. But at least, on the music system, there was Bhupen Hazarika. And listening to him sing wasn't very different from conversation. So the Assamese engineer picked up the phone and called the man in Dibrugarh: "Dada, your music is what keeps me going ..." Says Hazarika: "I never met the man, but I knew he was warm."
From Alaska to Assam, to those who understand the several languages in which he sings -- the Japanese don't, but have their own version of his humanist ballad Manush manusheri jonyo -- Hazarika's songs could be any of several things. They could be letters from home. They could be promises of revolution. They could soothe, exhort, excite or simply entertain. But whatever they do, there's a face to it: benign, dreamy eyes under a lined brow, half covered by the trademark Nepali cap.
In the North-east, everyone knows that face (and that Rs 16 cap). More than that, they acknowledge he is the humane face of a disturbed region. In May, you will see him on television, travelling through the North-east and telling people elsewhere in the country that bad news isn't all there is here. At 72, his wanderlust evidently hasn't waned. The 13-episode series for Doordarshan, Misty Lands of Seven Sisters -- North-east India, has already taken more than a month's gruelling travel to shoot. Hazarika is still on the move.
It's been a long road. Hazarika wrote and performed the first of more than a thousand songs at the age of 10. At 13, he sang about building a new Assam and a new India. Precocious thoughts, but growing up in Tezpur, Assam, he would catch snatches of adult conversation. Eavesdropping on talk about Trotsky's murder and the Indian freedom movement between grown-ups. These were filed away in a then unadorned head and used in lyrics.
Lyrics that promised change. And raised expectations in Assam. He found out during his recent travels that if he were a weaker man, the burden of that expectation would give him a stoop: "I met a man in Nagaon this time and he broke down in front of me, saying 'You promised so much for us in your songs. You made us hope. But life has been nothing like your songs'."
It's tough being Bhupen Hazarika in Assam. During the Assam Movement of the early '80s, Hazarika was looked upon by an entire generation of agitating students as an inspiration. His music was their sustenance. He wrote and sang for them, drawing on the experience of singing with Paul Robeson in the US (he even went to jail briefly in America for his participation in civil rights' rallies). As he had promised in his songs, change came. But not the kind of change he, or the people, wanted.
But we're getting ahead in the story. He was trained in the arts at Banaras Hindu University where he also got his first formal lessons in music. "I recall an incident after a college function where I sang. Ghanshyam Das Birla, one of the institute's patrons, called me and gave me a Rs 50 note. He said, 'Gana mat chodna (don't stop singing)'." Maybe he sensed Hazarika was about to become a lawyer and settle in Guwahati; after all music brought in just the odd 50 rupees. But things changed.
In 1948, after a stint as a producer at All India Radio, Guwahati, Hazarika left for the US on a scholarship to study Mass Communication at Columbia University, New York. The main attraction, even then, wasn't an Ivy League education. It was the chance to slake his thirst at Greenwich Village's several watering holes for artists and performers. So he sang with American musicians, but most of all, he soaked in American folk music like a sponge. Yes, there is evidence of American folk in his own work. But he mostly sings the folk tunes of his immediate environment. This is what makes him the consensus candidate, so to speak, for the post of emissary of the North-east.
There's an amazing convergence of opinion about Hazarika all around the region: everybody likes and respects him. Something he is aware of: "If I wanted to be chief minister of this state, I could have ruled for 20 years without questions being asked." He's actually contested the assembly elections once (in 1967) and won comfortably as an Independent. Candidates in the recently concluded parliamentary elections went around canvassing, armed with "certificates" from Hazarika ("I did it for people I liked personally, not for their party affiliations"). Even Paresh Barua, "commander-in-chief" of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has been known to call him up. Hazarika has offered to mediate between the banned group and the Government, provided the ULFA agrees to drop its secessionist demand. "Barua and I talked about stopping this madness, but their position is intransigent and I am too Indian to discuss the secession of my own state," says Hazarika.
But what is a man with these credentials doing in Bollywood? "It's a crazy place," says Hazarika, "but it is one way of reaching people." (Remember Dil hum hum kare from Rudaali?) But even in films, he started pretty early: in 1939, he was a child artiste in the second talkie film to be made in India, Indramalati. More than 50 years later, in 1993, the film industry conferred its highest honour on him: the Dada Saheb Phalke award.
Time to retire? Not for Hazarika. There's a film to be completed. Songs to be sung. Centuries whiz past at a Stonehenge-like mausoleum of the Jaintia tribesmen of Meghalaya. He walks through them for the camera. A tune is hummed. Stone warriors stand proud and listen. Their women lie with their ears to the ground. Hazarika is in concert.

Melody Man

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bhupen Hazarika at Amritapuri

An old article published in www.amma-france.org , posting here in english with the help of google translator .
December 10, 2006, Amritapuri

Bhupen Hazarika (80), legendary Indian musician of Assam, also known as the "Golden Voice of Assam ', came to Amritapuri and delighted the crowd by singing tonight during qu'Amma gave darshan. In its Assamese language of birth, he sang a song inspirational speaking of the interaction between Yashoda and Krishna (Mother and Child). All the crowd has joined, including Amma hitting hands while giving the darshan. It was the first time Bhupen singing in public since he had major surgery.


God & I - Amma has become my God, my mother

By Kalpana Lajmi

I WAS an atheist when I first met Mata Amritanandamayi Devi at the insistence of a friend in 2004.

We had gone alongwith Bhupen Da, who was suffering from some infection at that time. We reached her Mumbai ashram at 1 am to see about two lakh people standing in a queue to receive a loving embrace from the hugging saint.

I wanted to turn around as I don’t like queues. Amma was sitting in the confines of her ashram, but somehow she knew that we, who were unknown to her, were waiting outside her ashram gate. She sent someone to bring us straight to her.

So my first meeting with her was a revelation in itself. I came in front of her and started crying. I am logical and don’t usually accept anything out of the norm.

Amma looked at Bhupen Da and said “Haa…an!” It was a feeling of two souls recognising each other. I was standing behind him, crying, feeling as though I was getting cleansed of toxins from within. She offered Bhupen Da some coconut water and when we reached home, his infection was gone.

Since then she has become my universal mother, my God. Amma is in a time and space dimension that is not of this world. I have a tremendous obsession to merge with her. When I hug her I can smell her spiritual fragrance.

She called me once when my soul was agonised and said, “I reside in your heart. You don’t have to come to me physically”. From that day I surrendered completely. I carry on with my responsibilities towards society and family, but I know I don’t want to be born again.

In January 2006, I became her complete devotee and she recited the Gurumantra separately in Bhupen Da’s ears and mine. These are never to be divulged.

She became my Satguru — the one who becomes the quintessential bridge between your soul and the supreme power. Amma is God with a name, a physical form. I only pray to her that I die without fear and that she carries my soul and lets it be merged with hers.

(As told to Uma Devarajan) — KALPANA LAJMI is a well-known film director, producer and writer

Source: dc-epaper.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Book

Bhupen Hazarika: The Roving Minstrel
by Arup Kumar Dutta

From The Jacket
When Bhupen Hazarika sings, you can hear the voices of the lonely boatman on the Brahmaputra, the women picking tea leaves and the joyous rhythms of Bihu.

For the last fifty years Bhupen Hazarika has worked ceaselessly to use his music as an instrument of social change, introducing Assamese culture to the rest of India and taking it to the world.

Singer, lyricist, composer, film-maker and journalist, Bhupen Hazarika's creative spirit has moved through myriad fields. But at heart he remains an eternal jajabor, the dreamy-eyed nomad, wondering the land singing of the hopes and dreams, the sadness and joys of common people.

Charitavali is a series of biographies dedicated to the legendary figures of India. The series presents the lives of great kings, freedom fighters, political thinkers, social reformers, pioneers of industry, eminent scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, dancers and film stars, writers and sports people. These biographies have been written for the reader who is curious about the life, achievements and character o these legends. Full of fascinating stories and facts, written in an easy, story telling style, these biographies will make these great Indians and their times come alive for the reader.
Book Details :
ISBN: 8129100150
Format: Hardcover, 80p., Plates; 17cm.
Pub. Date: Jan 2002 , 1st ed.
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
Language: English

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Book :

Great Masters of Indian Cinema: The Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winners
by D. P. Mishra
Hardcover (Edition: 2006)
Publications DivisionISBN 8123013612
Size: 9" X 7"
Pages: 160 (B & W Illus: 36)
For More Details Check : http://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/details/IDG486/

Preface:
Indian Cinema has evolved in more than one ways over the last 100 years. It has now come to play an important role in our daily lives-mainly as a source of entertaining and occasionally, a soul stirring and thought provoking medium. Commercialization of this effective medium is the order of the day with all the attendant pitfalls. Industry has been facing several challenges and hopefully, shall overcome all of them with the passage of time.

Every field including the Cinema has its own ups and downs and highs and lows and the extraordinary and ordinary. Dadasaheb Phalke Award, starting with 1969 has emerged as the most widely acknowledged recognition of the contributions of distinguished persons to the growth and development of the film industry in several ways. This Award has indeed become an institution and is much sought after. Over the years this distinction has been conferred on actors, actresses, directors, producers, lyricists, composers and singers covering the broad spectrum that constitutes the industry. From Devika Rani to Adoor Gopalakirshnan, 35 distinguished persons from different languages and regions have been conferred the honour of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Dr. D. P. Mishra has made an effort to capture the glimpses of their contributions in this book and it is an effort worthy of appreciation.

Analytical approach correlating the evolutionary social trends and their reflection in cinema of different times would have been more appropriate for the benefit of the readers. Maybe, this requires another special effort. This book presents a sketch of details of life of various awardees and the films they were associated with. To that extent this book can be a collector's item.

The author and the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, deserves appreciation for their initiative and efforts in bringing out this book.
(Dr. Dasari Narayana Rao)
NEW DELHI.08-02-2006
CONTENTS :
Preface
Devika Rani-Actress (1969) Page No. 1
B. N. Sircar-Producer (1970) Page No. 6
Prithviraj Kapoor- Actor, Director, Producer (1971) Page No. 9
Pankaj Mullick- Singer, Actor, Composer (1972) Page No. 13
Sulochana- Actress (1973) Page No.16
B. N. Reddi- Director, Producer (1974) Page No.19
Dhiren Ganguly- Actor, Director, Producer (1975) Page No.21
Kanan Devi- Actress, Singer, Producer (1976) 23
Nitin Bose- Cinematographer, Director, Producer (1977) Page No.26
R. C. Boral- Composer (1978) Page No.28
Sohrab Modi- Actor, Director, Producer (1979) Page No.29
P. Jairaj-Actor, Director, Producer (1980) Page No. 32
Naushad- Composer Page No.36
L. V. Prasad- Actor, Director, Producer (1982) Page No.40
Durga Khote- Actress (1983) Page No.44
Satyajit Ray- Director, Producer (1984) Page No.47
V. Shantaram- Director, Producer, Actor (1985) Page No. 53
B. Nagi Reddi- Producer (1986) Page No. 58
Raj Kapoor- Actor, Director (1987) Page No.61
Ashok Kumar- Actor, Singer (1988) Page No.66
Lata Mangeshkar- Singer, Producer (1989) Page No. 72
A. Nageswara Rao- Actor (1990) Page No.76
Bhalji Pendharkar-Producer, Director (1991) Page No.81
Bhupen Hazarika-Composer, Singer, Producer (1992) Page No.83
Majrooh Sultanpuri-Lyricist (1993) Page No. 87
Dilip Kumar-Actor (1994) Page No.91
Raj Kumar- Actor, Singer, Producer (1995) Page No.96
Sivaji Ganesan- Actor (1996) Page No.99
Pradeep-Lyricist, Poet (1997) Page No.105
B. R. Chopra-Director, Producer (1998) Page No.109
Hrishikesh Mukherjee- Director (1999) Page No.112
Asha Bhosle-Singer (2000) Page No. 119
Yash Chopra-Director, Producer (2001) Page No.122
Dev Anand- Actor, Director, Producer (2002) Page No.130
Mrinal Sen- Director (2003) Page No.136
Adoor Gopalakrishnan- Director (2004) Page No.140
Bibliography Page No.143

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tezpur University Anthem

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, the doyen of Indian Music, penned the lyrics of the Tezpur University Anthem. He also composed its music. The Anthem is in Assamese -