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Magnum opus on legend – London launch for book on Bhupen Hazarika

June 14, 2008 – 10:32 am

Telegraph News

Guwahati, June 13: One man’s obsession — and 15 years of a global search — has resulted in a magnum opus on none other than Assam’s music legend Bhupen Hazarika.

Padmashree litterateur Surya Hazarika has come out with a three-volume compilation of Bhupen Hazarika’s entire writings that includes the lyrics of his songs, short stories, articles, travelogues and even an editorial the singer had written when he was the editor of a college magazine at Columbia University.

The three-volume compilation will have a grand “international” release at a function in London on July 26. The 82-year-old singer is likely to attend the function.

Surya Hazarika said his search for the balladeer’s write-ups took him to several parts of the world where Assamese people are based. “Many of the lyrics and write-ups are so rare and old that even the singer had forgotten about them. But we had made a public appeal through the Internet which resulted in several individuals coming forward to help us,” he added.

Bhupen Hazarika himself admitted that “this (the compilation) is my life. You need not look anywhere else”.

“I think one’s life journey is predestined and it is controlled by fate. God too must have willed a jajabari jeevan (nomadic life) for me for which I have no definite place to call my permanent hub. Like a restless honey bee in search of nectar, I met a number of people across the globe who immensely influenced me to create and help shape my life as an artiste,” the singer-composer writes in the preface to the compilation.

“If this book receives the adoration and admiration of the literature and culture-loving Assamese readers and can help inspire the coming generation, I will think my devotion and struggle as a nomad have borne fruits,” he added.

Considered the greatest cultural icon the state has ever produced along with filmmaker Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and rebel-poet Bishnu Rabha, Bhupen Hazarika’s contribution to Assamese music, literature, films and even literature is unparalleled.

Surya Hazarika, who won the Padmashree this year for his contribution to the field of literature, said the “vastness of the project seemed mind boggling at first but we decided to give it a try. The result has been very satisfactory”.

For him, the reason for coming out with the compilation was simple. “Many people overlook Bhupen Hazarika’s poetical, lyrical and literary genius in view of his larger-than-life image as a singer. As a result, his contributions to the field of literature have not been properly discussed or dwelt upon,” he added.

The writer said given the price of the book, which was on the higher side — each volume costs Rs 700 — he was planning to split the book into different subjects and come out with smaller volumes.

“There are many who want only his lyrics or some who want only his travelogues. The next project will be to split the compilations,” he added.

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