Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I am afraid the Assamese will not last as a people: Bhupen Hazarika

News Source : The Telegraph

Guwahati, Feb. 28: For a man who penned and sang immortal, patriotic lines such as “Mor Aik bhaal pao bulile anor Aik jano gheen korato bujabo? (If I love my mother does it mean I hate that of others?),” Bhupen Hazarika is afraid of what may happen to Assam and its people.

“The fragmentation of Assam scares me, I’m afraid the Assamese will not last as a people,” the music maestro told The Telegraph today, resting in his hospital bed.

“We must learn to live together: the old and the new, the old Assamese and the new, the old Muslim and the new, all communities, be they tribal or others.”

“Mor bhoi lage (I am scared) the Assamese as a race will become extinct one day. So we have to remain united,” Hazarika said in a room at Hayat Hospital that has been arranged specially for his treatment.

Eighty-five year-old Hazarika is undergoing treatment for respiratory distress.

In his cosy “special” cabin today, he sat relaxed, his face bright in the sunlit room, surrounded by bouquets from well-wishers, his mind reflective of the times he has lived through, his songs so often a beacon of hope for his people in times of distress.

The adventurer in the self-proclaimed, legendary jajabor (wanderer), though, is up and well.

He watched the India versus England match for an hour yesterday, smiling every time Sachin Tendulkar hit a boundary, said Manoj Deka, general manager of the hospital.

And Hazarika is impressed. “I’d like to be born as Sachin Tendulkar in my next life,” he says.

And why is that? “Because of the boy’s honesty and the fact that he is so proud of being a Marathi, just like I am so proud of being an Assamese,” he said.

“I’ve heard so much about Sachin, also read a book on him.”

Like Sachin with his game, Hazarika has been with his people all along — as a poet, journalist, singer, lyricist, musician, filmmaker, writer and politician.

And so time for the question that’s been asked all along, of Hazarika as is it with Sachin.

Will there be another?

“Yes there will be another Bhupen Hazarika,” he says, pondering perhaps what answers the riddle of good music.

“But there are conditions. Kiba eta kathat dhori thakibo lagibo. Manuhor majoloi jabo lagibo. Teulokor mon aru xur bujibo lagibo. Jibon aru manuhok morom koribo lagibo. Xadhona lagibo.... (One must stick steadfastly to something, one must go to the midst of people, understand their minds and melodies, love people... there must be devotion)”.

And it all comes for a price: “Sacrifice and often painful experience”.

His people’s prayers are being answered.

“Bhupenda is fine and will fly to Mumbai tomorrow. His heart is functioning well and the blood pressure and sugar have come down to normal,” said Deka.

Chief cardiologist Dr Sasanka Barua said there was nothing to be worried about Hazarika’s health and that he would leave tomorrow.

As the man of the masses had once sung, a long time ago, “Akaxi janere, uraniya monere ... (On an airplane, my mind taking flight)”