It was a vivacious gathering of artistes and discussants of Assam, India and Bangladesh at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on September 7. They came together in a two-day programme to celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of timeless singer Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, an Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and filmmaker from Assam.
The songs of Dr. Hazarika evoke humanity, love, communal amity, empathy, universal justice, brotherhood and have been translated and sung in many languages. Widely known as Sudhakantha, the influence of the legendary singer reaches beyond borders and continues to inspire the forthcoming artistes and generations for centuries.
Asaduzzaman Noor, Cultural Affairs Minister, inaugurated the opening day's event as chief guest. In a moving speech, he reiterated to strengthen the cultural and fraternal ties between two countries. “This is a new beginning of cultural exchange between Assam and Bangladesh. I would like to emphasise on the close cultural affinity to emerge between the peoples of Bangladesh and all the states of India,” said Asaduzaman Noor.
Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the event as special guest. He shared memories of listening to Bhupen Hazarika's songs in his teens. He assured the gathering of inaugurating a deputy high-commission in Guwahati soon, to boost bilateral relations between Assam and other Northeast Indian states.
Dr. Amarjyoti Choudhury, former Vice Chancellor of Guwahati University, Assam attended at the event as chief discussant. ASM Shamsul Arefin, coordinator, Friends of Bangladesh delivered welcome address. Anuradha Sharma Pujari, adviser, Bhupen Hazarika Cultural Trust, and Saumen Bharatiya, the co-founder of Byatikram and general secretary of the Assam chapter of Friends of Bangladesh spoke at the event. Hasan Arif, general secretary of Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, hosted the event. Liaquat Ali Lucky, DG of BSA, presided over the programme.
Liaquat Ali Lucky stole the show as an instant performer on the evening. He shared his memories with the legend. “I never think that Dr. Bhupen Hazarika is an artiste of Assam or India. He is an artiste of Bangladesh and the rest of the world. I am deeply inspired by his songs.” At the end of his speech, he soulfully rendered several songs -- “Ami Ek Jajabor”, “Sharat Babu Khola Chithi Dilam”, “Chokh Chol Chol Kore” and “We are in the same boat brother” by Bhupen Hazarika.
A cultural programme followed on the theme “Traas Bhuley Danobere Naash Kori Aaye”. Noted Bangladeshi artistes -- Bulbul Islam and Khairul Anam Shakil performed songs “Bistirno Duparer” and “Ganga Amar Ma” respectively. Folk singer Dil Bahar Khan also rendered a song. Rupam Bhuiyan [of India] beautifully performed three songs including “Dil Hoom Hoom Kare” and “Sonar Boron Orey Pakhi Rey”, a Gwalior folk song.
Artistes of Sursangam dance troupe from India wrapped up the opening day's performance with presenting Ganesh Vandana and an experimental piece “Somoyer Ogrogoti” in Kathak style.
Dr. Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the Prime Minister, attended the concluding day's (September 8) event as chief guest while folk music troupe Dohar (India) performed songs in the evening.
Friends of Bangladesh, Dhaka and BSA in association with Bhupen Hazarika Cultural Trust, Assam and Byatikram organised the programme. Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh sponsored the programme.