| Hemalata Handiqui Memorial Institute |
Jorhat, Oct. 25: The name Bijoy Krishna Handique conjures up the image of a suave and seasoned politician who has won successive electoral battles and made his name synonymous with Parliament.
Few, however, are aware that this seven-time MP from Jorhat, undefeated since 1991 for the Lok Sabha seat and a Rajya Sabha MP between 1981 and 1985, can pen a lyric when the urge takes him.
His nostalgically inspired Band up, HHMI has been dedicated as the theme song for the golden jubilee celebrations of Hemalata Handiqui Memorial Institute (HHMI), the first English medium school in the then undivided Sivasagar district, which his father Krishna Kanta Handique established in 1962.
It was here that Handique had started his career, not as a politician but as a teacher.
An MA in English from Presidency College, Calcutta, Handique, before he entered the world of politics, taught Shakespeare in the school constructed in memory of his mother, Hemalata, and also directed a couple of plays.
“I was approached by a former student of the school, Bubu, who wanted a jubilee song besides the school song to be performed on stage during the function on October 28. Something stirred in my soul and I wrote it in a day,” Handique said.
Bubu (Manash Jyoti Borah) of the 1988 batch of the school has lent the tune to the song, the first stanza of which reads:
We are the voice of mankind
This is the song of you and me
We all think in unity
We all sing of love
We sing of peace and harmony
Band up, band up HHMI
Handique rued that his political assignments and consequent moving to Delhi had kept him away from the school that he had helped his father establish. “I would have liked to do much more for the school. It was here that I had taught numerous children, and the excitement about the jubilee celebrations among the former students and staff of the school has aroused my emotions as well,” he said.
Reminiscing about the past, Handique said he had directed two plays at the school. He recalls former student Puspanjali Baruah who was the heroine of The Gray Necked Stork based on a Russian folk tale and Amulya Bhuyan, who was the fox stalking the stork, and also Jitu Tapan, who created the background music for the play staged in the sixties. The other was a skit, Iona’s Doll.
Handique, when he finds the time, tries a hand at writing poems both in Assamese and English and has even published some of these.
The school was first started at Jorhat Club, which was a renovated operation theatre used to treat wounded soldiers of the Allied Forces during World War I. It had to be temporarily closed for some time during the year of opening following the Chinese aggression. In the mid-sixties, when the school was shifted to its permanent site near Lichubari, Pakistan attacked Junagadh on the western front.
“It was as if wars dogged us at every step,” the MP said.