Monday, February 16, 2009

Legend unveils his statue- AASU pays tribute to ‘Voice of Assam’

Guwahati, Feb. 14: It was a tribute befitting a living legend.

Bhupen Hazarika was escorted through a “sea of humanity” from his residence at Nizarapar, one of the most revered addresses in the city, to unveil his own life-size statue on the bank of Dighalipukhuri today as “Bhupen Sangeet” rent the air along the 3km stretch.

It was a memorable journey, as much for its novelty as for the spontaneous and uninhibited outpouring of love and affection for the ageing genius.

The unveiling of the statue, a creation of sculptor Biren Singh, was a unique way of paying tribute to the icon by the All Assam Students’ Union. It took a month for Singh to sculpt the fibreglass statue.

Hundreds of school students and fans lined on either side of the road to get a glimpse of the Voice of Assam and showered flowers as the white Honda City carrying the maestro passed them.

AASU volunteers and fans sang “Bhupen Sangeet” all along the journey that saw four decked-up elephants in the front and three following the car and traditional dance troupes escorting the overwhelmed Hazarika to the site from his residence at around 11am. It took over an hour for the colourful and energetic entourage to cover the 3km stretch as hundreds of people came out to be part of the historic occasion.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of such an occasion,” said Bubul Das, a student.

Visibly moved by the honour, Hazarika said he had no words to describe the creation of the sculptor and even posed in front of his statue.

The signs of ageing were visible on his face. But as he started humming lines from some of his immortal creations, it was vintage Bhupenda — mesmerising and evergreen. Manuhe manuhor babe jodihe okonu nabhabe; Dil hum hum kore... and Akashi gana bisara nai... were some of the lines of his melodies hummed by the maestro.

Hazarika then went on to claim — amidst loud cheers from the gathering — “I will live for many more days and sing many more songs.”

AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi said the students’ body installed the statue so that the living legend continues to inspire the upcoming generation as he did over the years.

“Bhupenda will continue to lead us and be a source of our inspiration,” he added.

AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya described the moment as “unique” and said, “Bhupen Hazarika belonged to the world.”

“The AASU initiative is on the lines of the installation of life-size wax models of Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan at Madame Tussauds,” Bhattacharyya had recently said while announcing the AASU plan.

The students union is organising another public felicitation programme at Latasil ground here tomorrow to honour the balladeer.
Source : The Telegraph, 15 Feb 2009

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