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Dispur moots Bhupen award

Guwahati, Oct. 12: The Assam government has decided to institute an international award in the memory of late Bhupen Hazarika, the legendary singer and cultural icon of the state.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced this during a meeting of the advisory committee for implementation of Bhupen Hazarika memorial schemes at Gogoi’s official residence at Koinadhara here today.

The proposed award — Dr Bhupen Hazarika International Award for Brotherhood through Music — has been aptly named, as Hazarika had always tried to spread the message of peace and universal brotherhood among all sections of society through his evergreen music.

The meeting discussed ways and means to preserve the music maestro’s ideals and invaluable creations for posterity and to take him to the world stage. Gogoi promised all possible help from the state government to make this a reality.

Kamal Kotoky, a member of the advisory committee and a long-time aide of Hazarika, described the meeting as being very constructive and fruitful. “The meeting discussed long-term steps to preserve the work and memory of Hazarika.”

Kotoky said it was decided that construction of the Hazarika’s samadhi (memorial) would start shortly.

The memorial will be constructed on a plot of land on the Gauhati University campus where Hazarika’s cremation was held on November 9 last year.

Hazarika, also known as the Bard of the Brahmaputra, passed away in Mumbai on November 5, 2011. A record of sorts was created when lakhs of his fans and admirers paid tributes to the singer at Judges Field here, where his body was laid in state for two days before being cremated.

The members of the advisory committee decided to start a permanent sound- and-light show at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here to highlight Hazarika’s creative work and his contribution towards enriching the art and culture of the Northeast.

It was also decided that the Bhupen Hazarika museum on the Kalakshetra premises would be upgraded.

Another important decision taken at the meeting was to create a Bhupen Hazarika memorial fund with public help.

Cultural affairs minister Pranati Phukan, information and public relations minister Basanta Das, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, chief secretary N.K. Das, cultural affairs principal secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, Gauhati University vice-chancellor Okhil Kumar Medhi, Assam University vice-chancellor K.V. Nagarajan, Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra vice-chairman Ratna Ojha, Sudakshina Sarma, Kalpana Lajmi, Manisha Hazarika, Hemendra Prasad Baruah, Kanaksen Deka, Arun Sarma, Lakshminandan Bora and Surjya Hazarika, among others, attended the meeting.