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Compiler warm to Hazarika song remix

Guwahati, Feb. 10: The first compiler of Bhupen Hazarika’s works, Dilip Kumar Dutta, said remix cannot harm the legendary balladeer’s songs.

He said more care should be taken so that every new generation sings Hazarika’s songs rather than trying to frame tough rules on singing them.

Dutta, who retired as a professor of mathematics from Rhode Island University (US) in 2006, has painstakingly collected “99 per cent” of Hazarika’s songs.

“I do not think that remix can harm his (Bhupen Hazarika) songs. More care should be taken so that his songs are practised by more and more people, especially by the young generation, rather than trying to confine them in the name of maintaining sanctity. The young generations may make some mistakes while singing his songs but nobody should stop them from singing them. However, the original songs should be preserved and be played by institutions like the All India Radio,” Dutta told The Telegraph.

Credit for Dr Bhupen Hazarikar Geet aru Jiban Rath, the first compilation on Hazarika’s songs, goes to Dutta. It took almost 16 years for him to compile the work.

In the introduction to the book, Dutta says as a singer and lyricist, Hazarika can be compared to only Sankardev and Madhabdev, the two Vaishnavite saints of Assam.

Dutta said initially he started collecting and preserving Hazarika’s songs for his own sake but later started to do so on a larger scale.

“When I was outside the country decades ago, I used to hum his songs and wanted to listen to them. But, there was no computer, Internet and CDs in those days. Getting his songs was very tough. But I started collecting his songs. When I met Bhupenda in Guwahati I asked if somebody was preserving his songs. He said no and he gave me his consent to do it,” said Dutta.

“I have almost 99 per cent of Bhupenda’s songs in my collection. I have discussed with Bhupenda’s sisters about what can be done to protect and preserve these songs for posterity. I have also spoken to the All Assam Students Union about it,” said Dutta.

Dutta also has five of Hazarika’s paintings in his collection.

“I had once requested Bhupenda to paint the picture of a bride (the way he described one in a song) for the cover page of my book. He agreed. Handing me the painting, he said the bride on the painting was of mine and not his. He then explained that the bride on the painting looked angry, and, an angry bride cannot be Bhupen Hazarika’s!” he recalled.

After Hazarika’s demise, many people came forward to research his works.

“Several of them, including one from Shillong, have approached me seeking my advice to select research topics on Hazarika’s work,” he said.

Dutta said no systematic study has been done so far on the period-wise development of Hazarika’s songs which can be a good research subject.