Monday, February 16, 2009

Tribute moves living legend- an emotional bhupen appeals for unity

Guwahati, Feb. 15: A sea of humanity thronged the Latasil ground today to felicitate music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, who reminded everyone of the virtues of unity and non-violence.
Hundreds of people and cultural troupes from the region converged at the function, organised by the All Assam Students’ Union, to pay tribute to the legend.
More than 500 groups performed traditional dances and songs in honour of Hazarika, during a three-hour cultural extravaganza.
The event ended with a traditional Bihu dance by 671 artistes.
The singer, who was overwhelmed with emotion at the end of the function, said he considered himself fortunate to have been accorded such a felicitation during his lifetime, but regretted that he could not join in the dancing because of his health.
Hazarika sang the lines of Paul Robeson’s famous song, We are in the same boat brother, and said, “Our society is passing through a critical phase. We become violent, fight with each other and then feel ashamed and cry. I hope that the violence comes to an end and there is unity and prosperity. Democracy cannot survive without unity and tolerance,” he said. “I am not very well these days. Otherwise, I would have joined in the dancing. Forgive me for my inability. May God bless everyone. Let us take our democracy to peace and prosperity.”
He sang some Bihu songs to encourage the group of 671 artistes. He also sang a few lines of another of his famous songs, Mahabahu Brahmaputra mahamilanar tirtha, and added that today’s function depicted the inherent unity in the diverse culture and traditions of Assam.
During the function, which started at 11.55am and continued till 3pm, more than 100 organisations like All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), North East Students’ Organisation, Asam Unnati Sabha, Asam Satra Mahasabha, Gauhati University Teachers’ Association, Don Bosco Institute and Sadou Asam Karmachari Parishad, presented Hazarika with a traditional attire and gifts.
The cultural function enthralled Hazarika, his family members and the hundreds of people assembled at Latasil ground.
Starting with traditional a gayan bayan programme by folk artistes from Nagaon, the function saw performances by diverse cultural and ethnic groups of the region, including the Bodo, Dimasa, Rabha, Hajong, Garo, Sonowal Kachari, Deuri, Manipuri, Naga and Mizos. Artistes from the river island of Majuli staged a traditional bhaona (religious drama).
AASU president Sankar Prasad Rai said Hazarika was the light of Assamese society and he deserved the best of tributes during his lifetime. AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said Hazarika must be honoured with the Bharat Ratna for his immense contribution towards cultural enrichment.
Source : The Telegraph , 16 Feb 2009

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