Kurigram’s Bhawaiya Bhaskar’s biography taught in Indian university
Bhupati Bhushan Barma of Kurigram is called "Bhawaiya Bhaskar". Since January, his biography is being taught at Panchanan Barma University in Cooch Behar of West Bengal, India.
Biographies of 25 other famous Bhawaiya artists from India and Bangladesh are also being taught in this university; the texts form part of the curriculum for their "Introduction to Indigenous Instruments Related to Bhawaya" course.
Bhupathi Bhushan Barma told The Daily Star that the university authorities sent him a letter, confirming the inclusion of his work in the university curriculum. Nidan Kaler Bandhab has been edited by Dr Md Ershadul Haque.
"It is a great achievement for me that my biography is being taught in a university in India alongside eminent Bhawaiya artists of Bangladesh and India," he said.
Barma has preserved Bhawaiya folk music by adhering to the ideals of Bhavwaiya Emperor Abbas Uddin and Bhawaiya Prince Kasim Uddin. Despite the hardships of his life, he has received 35 mementos and medals at home and abroad for singing Bhawaiya songs. He has established the Bhawaiya Academy in Ulipur of Kurigram to keep the Bhawaiya culture alive.
Barma was born on October 28, 1958 in the Atharo Paika village, a remote rural area of Ulipur Upazila in Kurigram. His father, late Narendranath Barma, was a school teacher and his mother, late Kamakhyamayee, a homemaker. Bhupati is the second among seven siblings. He passed SSC in 1975, HSC in 1979 and BSc in 1981, beginning his career by joining as a teacher at the Durgapur High School in his village in 1982. He completed a B.Ed course in 1993 and retired from teaching in 2018.
A father of two daughters, Barma was devastated when his wife Sadhana Roy died of cancer in 2007. But the love of Bhawaiya music is what kept him going.
Barma told The Daily Star that he is a folk music artist listed by Bangladesh Radio and Bangladesh Television. He has sung more than a thousand Bhawaiya songs on radio and television. He started playing music at the age of 12. He was the lead singer of Leela Kirtan in the village. Apart from Bhawaiya, he sings Baul songs, Bhatiali, Jari, Sari and Pala songs. Besides singing, Bhupati Bhushan Barma is conducting various social activities in his area. He is also standing by the side of distressed artists and supporting them financially in many areas.
"My only dream now is to turn Bhawaiya Academy into a full-fledged institution," he said.