Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A song that connects

Voice of India Debojit Saha pays tribute to Asom Ratna Bhupen Hazarika
My introduction to Assamese music was through the immortal song of Bhupen Hazarika, Bistirna parore. I was a young boy then, just starting my lessons in music. And this song floored me completely.

Even then I could feel the greatness in the song — the words, the tune, everything had the stamp of the master. Like almost every one in the state, I had turned into a fan of Bhupen Hazarika.

But the Assamese song, which became so very dear to me, was another classic, Poro jonomor subha laganot, composed by another legendary cultural activist, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha.
This song has been sung by many but the singer who had totally captivated me was none other than Bhupen Hazarika himself.

Bhupenda gave soul to this beautiful song and elevated it to a different level.
Why I am going back to history?

Because all these has a link to a recent event where the living legend was felicitated. I performed at that programme at Machkhowa in Guwahati a few days before he was awarded the Asom Ratna at the same venue.

It is fitting that the highest civilian award given by the state government has gone to the living legend.

I had interacted with Bhupenda many times earlier but never had the chance to perform in front of him. When I was invited to perform in that programme, I was thrilled. That night when I took the stage, Bhupenda was sitting in the front row. I had goosebumps as I started singing the same old song, Poro jonomor.

I could see Bhupenda’s lips moving as if he was too trying to sing along. His fingers were gently tapping, as he was totally engrossed in the song. I am not saying that I sang as well as him but I could sense that Bhupenda was getting totally involved in the song. It was a wonderful moment for me.

Just before the performance, I gave Bhupenda a gamocha and sought his blessings. I was moved when he got up from his seat and hugged me.

What made the day somewhat sad for me was the fact that the very morning I heard the news of the death of Mohini Rabha, the widow of Bishnu Rabha. When I was singing Bishnu Rabha’s song, I was also thinking about my interaction with her just last year when I had paid a visit to her house in Tezpur.

It was a very emotional meeting as she showed me the personal artefacts of Bishnu Rabha. I still remember the visit clearly as well as the benign lady who showered me with love and blessings.
As I sang Poro jonomor, I was thinking that in my own small way, I could at least pay tribute to Mohini Rabha.
Source : The Telegraph , 02-Feb-2009