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Bhupen Hazarika’s ashes immersed in the Teesta

Kalimpong, Nov. 14: A portion of the ashes of music legend Bhupen Hazarika was immersed in the Teesta at Tribeni today, hours after an urn containing the mortal remains of the singer was brought from Guwahati.

The urn was brought here after Assam-based Gorkha organisations like Assam Gorkha Parisangh, Akhil Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU) and Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha took an initiative along with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to immerse part of the remains in the river.

Tribeni, the confluence of the Teesta and the Rangeet, is 18km from Kalimpong town.

Today, 100-odd people gathered to pay their last respects to a man whose love for the Gorkhas was evident by the “vadgawley” Nepali topi with crossed khukuris pinned to it that the balladeer always wore.

The Gorkhas find mention in at least one of his songs, Kopili noir parat Gorkha gabhoru joni (that Gorkha girl on the banks of the Kopili river).

Cries of “Bhupen Hazarika amar raho” broke the afternoon quiet today as the urn was put on a raft and taken to the middle of the river.

“The essence of Bhupenda was his humanism. He does not belong only to Assam but to the entire world. His songs do not talk about his community alone but of others as well. We felt it was only fitting to immerse his ashes in the Teesta as a way of paying our respects since rivers figure so prominently in his songs,” said Keshab Sharma, the secretary of AAGSU.

One of Hazarika’s immortal songs is “Bishtirna nadi pare” that has been translated in many languages.

“That song is the one that comes to my mind immediately when I think of Bhupen Hazarika. I had first heard the great man sing it during the joint centenary celebrations of Dow Hill and Victoria schools (both in Kurseong) way back in 1979. I was in Class V then,” Rajesh Subba, the principal of Green Shields School in Takdah, told The Telegraph over the phone.

Dilip Rasaily, who had accompanied Hazarika on the violin on some of his performances, said: “He had great respect for Nepali culture and literature. I consider him to be the temple of Assamese literature, music and culture. I am so glad that his ashes are being immersed in the Teesta.”

The balladeer was cremated on the Gauhati University campus on November 9. Portion of the remains were immersed in rivers in Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Part of the ashes would be immersed in different rivers across the world that are mentioned in his songs.

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