| The immersion procession at Neematighat in Jorhat on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Nov. 11: Thousands of people in different corners of Assam paid their last respects to Bhupen Hazarika today before his ashes were immersed in different rivers, including his favourite — the Brahmaputra.
The people of Jorhat bid a tearful adieu to their favourite singer, whose ashes were immersed in the Brahmaputra at 10.30 this morning at Neematighat, while their Tezpur counterparts immersed his ashes at Jahaj Ghat around 4pm.
Thousands of Tezpur residents turned up at the Church Field, where the balladeer had started his career under the tutelage of Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla.
People are also mulling a samadhi or a memorial in the name of Hazarika at Tol Gereki alongside the samadhi of Bishnu Prasad Rabha. A decision on this, however, will be taken only once Bhupen Hazarika’s brother Nipen Hazarika returns after the shraddha ceremony.
In Golaghat, the ashes were taken out in a procession and immersed in the Dhansiri around 11am. Gayan bayan was performed throughout the journey.
In Guwahati, there was a steady stream of visitors to Hazarika’s Nizarapar residence, with people dropping in to convey their sympathies to the family members.
Assam State Women’s Congress members, along with other artistes who had the privilege of closely knowing the singer, also visited the family today.
Mourners are still thronging the cremation spot at Gauhati University in Jalukbari to light earthen lamps in memory of the singer, while the makeshift auditorium, where the mortal remains of Hazarika were kept for two days at Judges Field, was dismantled today.
The people of Dhubri bid a tearful farewell to Hazarika and Gouripur residents to a true friend, as the legend’s asthi (urn of ashes) was immersed in the Brahmaputra-Gadadhar confluence here.
Thousands of people, led by various organisations, took out a procession with his asthi, chanting hymns and playing his songs.
When the procession reached the historic Netai Dhubini-Mahabeer Chilarai Park on the riverbank, Assam Police personnel presented a guard of honour, following which the ashes were taken to the middle of the confluence on a boat by residents and administration officials.
Dhubri deputy commissioner Sunil Dutta immersed the ashes at the confluence at 12.10pm today, after priests performed relevant rituals.
People here, while mourning the demise of Hazarika, remembered his dual connection with the district — as a student of Dhubri Government Boys Higher Secondary School and in getting global recognition for Goalpariya lokgeet.
Principal of the school, Sankar Pada Sanyal, told The Telegraph that Hazarika had studied there in Classes III and IV.
“According to school documents, Hazarika took admission in Class III on May 6, 1932, when his father, Nilkanta Hazarika, was transferred to the then Goalpara district as deputy inspector of schools. They stayed on Daffrin Road in Dhubri town,” he said, adding that Hazarika had studied at Sonaram Higher Secondary School in Guwahati before coming to Dhubri.
He said they were planning to construct a permanent memorial in the school for Hazarika, besides organising his adya shraddha on November 15 on the school premises.
Retired principal of the school, Manju Goswami, said for a cross-section of Dhubri residents, the legend’s association with the school was a matter of pride.
This apart, various socio-cultural and student organisations paid homage to the balladeer at Gouripur, where Hazarika had spent a lot of time with the royal family and highlighted Goalpariya lokgeet by guiding and encouraging its biggest exponent, Pratima Barua Pandey, who was subsequently awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award and conferred the Padma Shri.
A nearly half-a-kilometre long procession was taken out in Gouripur town from the statue of Pratima Barua Pandey with Hazarika’s ashes, which were subsequently immersed in the Gadadhar.
Prabir Coomar Barua, a member of the royal family, said the people of Gouripur would remain indebted to Hazarika for his contribution to getting global recognition for Goalpariya lokgeet.
Dhubri deputy commissioner Sunil Dutta said proposals were pouring in on steps being taken to preserve the memory of Hazarika, but a final decision would be taken after considering their pros and cons.
In Goalpara, Hazarika’s ashes were also immersed in the Brahmaputra today, after being taken to the riverbank in a procession.
In Bilasipara, the ashes were immersed in the Gourang.
In Bongaigaon, the ashes have been kept in the Birjhara Higher Secondary School field to allow people to pay their last respects and would be immersed tomorrow, a Bongaigaon district administration official said.
In Dibrugarh, too, the ashes will be immersed in the Brahmaputra at Kachari Ghat at 9am tomorrow. The Lahowal College has named its auditorium after the legend.
In Tinsukia, however, the ashes will be immersed on Sunday, after being sent to Sadiya, the birthplace of Hazarika, and to Parashuram Kund in Arunachal Pradesh.
In Sivasagar, too, the immersion is slated for Sunday. Naam and kirtan are being performed continuously at Boarding Field, where Hazarika’s ashes have been kept. Students of different schools paid homage to the singer at the field today.
The Dikhowporiya Sanmilita Yuba Mancha has shown three sites to the district administration and asked for the allotment of one for erection of a statue of the singer.