| The Arts building of Gauhati University |
Jan. 28: Gauhati University will add 300 more songs to Bhupen Hazarika Digital Archive, an online archive to digitally preserve songs of Hazarika as well as lyrics penned by him.
“We are planning to add around 300 songs and their lyrics to the archive in March this year. We have collected 200 more songs and these are ready to be uploaded. After collecting 100 more we will upload them in the archive,” the head of the university’s information technology department, Shikhar Kumar Sharma, said.
The archive has been developed by the language technology research and development group of the university’s information technology department. Besides the songs, it preserves their lyrics in a Unicode format.
The archive was formally launched by Meghalaya governor R.S. Mooshahary on November 7, 2012 — a day ahead of Hazarika’s first death anniversary — on the university premises with 356 songs and thelyrics of the legendary singer. The lyrics were collected from different sources including books, magazines, write-ups, newspapers and Internet.
Sharma said the songs which would be uploaded in the website (archive) in March are the ones “sung by Bhupen Hazarika but written by others” and “written by Hazarika and sung by other singers”. He added the website would have an option to help visitors easily find out any newly uploaded songs and lyrics.
Anybody from anywhere can listen to Hazarika’s songs and read his lyrics by visiting the website http://bhupenhazarikadigitalarchive.org.
Sharma said as of now, more than 8,000 visitors have logged into the website and the number of its page-viewer has reached one lakh. “People from 22 countries visited the archive just after we launched it. Now the number has increased further,” he said.
Another source in the university said lack of funds had posed as a problem for the university to expand the website, though it was proposed to house the entire works of Hazarika. On the day the website was launched, vice-chancellor of the university, Okhil Kumar Medhi, promised to upgrade it and incorporate movies made by Hazarika.
“But to maintain a website like this one, with so much data, requires a recurring expenditure. The university is struggling to manage it. Once the university approached the cultural affairs department of the state government for financial support. Although the department expressed its willingness to help financially to maintain and expand the website, it has since been silent on the matter,” the source said.