Bistirno Parore: A tribute to Bhupen Hazarika

Bhupen Hazarika was cremated this morning in Guwahati, at a ceremony on the banks of the Brahmaputra that was attended by an estimated 100,000 people present to pay their tribute to the legendary singer.

His politics did go  somewhat awry in his last years,  but I don’t want to think about that right now.  Here is Bhupen Hazarika, with the original Assamese of the song many of us have heard him sing in Hindi, Ganga behti ho kyon.  While studying at Columbia University, New York, Hazarika met Paul Robeson, whose song Ol’ Man River moved him so much that he rendered it into his mother tongue Assamese as bistirno parore.   In  Ol’ Man River, Robeson had adapted to the context of slavery, an American folk song of the Mississipi region. It is believed that this song in turn was an American version of a popular Russian song, Song of the Volga Boatmen. Hear the song in Robeson’s voice here.

8 thoughts on “Bistirno Parore: A tribute to Bhupen Hazarika”

  1. they dont have a word to console themselves..they are just weeping,shouting ” long live bhupen da”,they have been coming from far far places to see him for the last moment..lakhs of people are on the streets of guwahati..
    nobody has that much importance in assamese society as bhupen da has..!! atleast three surviving generations ( we,our fathers and mothers,and our grand maothers and fathers) are hypnotised by bhupen da…and it will continue…!! because those were not songs, and he was not a man..bhupen da was an institution and his songs were our breaths and bloods..!!

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  2. It was a sea of humanity that throng all around the roads of Guwahati to pay their last tribute to the bard of brahmaputra.Nobody can ever replace him and his contribution to the people and to the society. Really, he became immortal and will remain alive in our hearts for years to come.

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  3. The death of this great personality is a huge loss to the cultural field of Assam, India and abroad. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika shall always be remembered for his contributions to the field of music and literature.

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