Saturday, February 21, 2009

Legend recalls Cotton days

The Telegraph , 21Feb 2009

Feb. 20: Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, during a visit to his alma mater Cotton College today, reminisced of his days at the institution, remembering old classmates and faculty besides recalling the pranks they played nearly six decades ago.

“Returning to my alma mater is a matter of pride and privilege for me. I have many happy memories associated with the college, including the adda with friends and also a little bit of eve-teasing,” the maestro said candidly in a lighter vein as the audience erupted in laughter.

Hazarika was at the college to unveil a bronze bust of Assam’s cultural icon Bishnu Prasad Rabha in front of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha auditorium on the college campus.

The function, organised by the Bishnu Prasad Rabha Birth Centenary Celebration Committee, was like a nostalgic homecoming for the 83-year-old Dadasaheb Phalke and Asom Ratna awardee.

“Today is a memorable day for us as the bust of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha was unveiled at our college campus and that, too, by an alumnus of the college, who has not only made Assam but the entire nation proud,” college principal Indra Kumar Bhattacharyya said.

Hazarika graduated from Cotton College in the 1940s. The last time he visited the college was during the premier educational institution’s yearlong centenary celebration in 2001-02.

Hazarika also recalled his “close association” with Bishnu Prasad Rabha and how he benefited from it, helping him to become a musician and composer. He also sang a few lines of the song, Surare Deulore, Rupore Ki Kali, amid loud applause from the audience. The original version was sung by Hazarika himself and the lyrics were penned by the legendary Bishnu Prasad Rabha.

“Bishnu Rabha was an artiste, a writer, a dedicated researcher of art, culture and literature as well as an advocate of social reform. He also worked for the liberation of the exploited and the downtrodden,” Hazarika said.

Arun Sarma, litterateur and president of the celebration committee, thanked Hazarika for unveiling the bust and the college authorities and state education department for the initiative.

“I can’t find enough words to describe a multifaceted personality like Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha and the main objective of the celebration committee is to inspire the present generation to follow Rabha’s ideals,” Sarma added.

He also expressed gratitude on behalf of the committee to the Indian Oil Corporation-owned Guwahati Refinery for extending financial assistance for setting up the bust sculpted by Munindra Rajbongshi and Jayanta Paul.

Executive director of Guwahati Refinery, G. Bhanumurthy, who felicitated Hazarika on behalf of the IOC today, said it was an honour to felicitate a great personality like Hazarika.

Students and teachers of Cotton College, members of the Bishnu Prasad Rabha Birth Centenary Celebration Committee and senior officials of Guwahati Refinery, among others, attended the function.

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