River Brahmaputra and Bhupen Hazarika!

River Brahmaputra flows through almost the entire length of Assam, a state in North East India, from the far east of Arunachal Pradesh down to the west and out of Assam. It’s called by different names in different regions. In Assamese it’s also referred to Lohit or Luit.

The peoples’ singer-poet-composer Bhupen Hazarika accepts River Brahmaputra as the symbol of vitality and strength of Assam. Very much in the tradition of Ol’ Man River of Paul Robeson fame he always sings in eulogy and devotion to the great river:
                        “O’ mighty Brahmaputra…you are the pilgrimage of reunion…
                            For ages and ages…you have been preaching…
                            The message of assimilation…integration…unity…”

But when the sensitive poet sees people in both the banks of the river suffering and leading miserable lives he cries out in anger at the same symbol of devotion:

                           “Even after witnessing the sufferings of countless people in…
                             Your valley so vast…O’ you Burha Luit (Old Luit)…
                         Why do you just flow on…so indifferently…so dumbly…”    

When there is a time of severe crisis faced by the state or the region the poet addresses the river identifying it with the people’s agony and asking for total support:


                             “Today…river Brahmaputra is afire…blazing…
                     The horizon of the peoples’ mind shrouded with smoke…darkness…
                     The sky is peppered with blackened and falling stars…
                           Whom do they think they dare insult again and again…”     

Apart from such classic period songs Bhupen Hazarika had sung many other exquisite compositions describing the natural beauty of the river, its majestic presence; and other patriotic songs on the river and the people in its valley—particularly the youths whom he always described as most courageous and ready to die defending the honor of the Baba Brahmaputra. 

Tributes to the Bard of Brahmaputra...         


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