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The singer who stood tall

- CM unveils statue of jayanta hazarika & a place to pay tribute to freedom fighters

Jan. 17: His lifelong companion was the guitar and to help others through song, his mission.

His familiar voice mobilised people to help the flood-affected and enthralled a thousand others.

Popular singer Jayanta Hazarika passed away at the age of 34 in 1977.

Today, near the playground of Assam Engineering Institute, he stood tall again, though in the form of a statue.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today unveiled the 10.5-foot fibreglass statue, made by sculptor Biren Singha at a cost of Rs 15 lakh under the annual operation plan 2011-12 of Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority.

Fans of Hazarika arrived at the decorated venue to witness the unveiling of the statue, which was kept covered with the Tricolour.

They sat patiently listening to Hazarika’s songs out of a loudspeaker, till the chief minister arrived at the spot, over an hour late.

The day was “an auspicious one to unveil the statue”, said Hazarika’s wife, Monisha.

This day is observed by the people of Assam as Xilpi Divas, a day to recall cultural icon Jyoti Prasad Agarwala.

GMDA chief executive officer M. Angamuthu said they had dedicated the statue to the people of the city.

Although Hazarika’s life was short, he had contributed a great number of evergreen songs in Assamese and worked as music director in several films, documentaries and stage plays.

In 1977, he had formed the organisation called the Xur Bahini with the help of people from Golaghat to help the flood victims of Assam. The group sang in the streets and collect donations.

Gogoi appealed to the people to follow Hazarika’s dream and that of other cultural icons like Bhupen Hazarika, Bishnu Rabha and Jyoti Prasad Agarwala to enrich the cultural world of the state.

“It was unfortunate that we lost him (Jayanta Hazarika) at such a young age. Had he lived long enough, the state would have been enriched a lot from his contributions. He is still popular among us and I am happy to have the opportunity to unveil his statue today,” said Gogoi.

Sculptor Singha said he had a very cordial relationship with Hazarika and always listened to his songs. “A sadness at losing him suddenly was always in my heart. His voice was so wonderful. I doubt if we will ever get another singer like him. Whenever I listen to his songs I become nostalgic,” said Singha.

GMDA chairman Robin Bordoloi was frank enough to urge the people to take necessary precautions to protect the statue. “Some people pollute the place by drinking liquor and taking other intoxicants. You should keep an eye on the place,” he said.

Yesterday, GMDA demolished several shops set up near the venue.