Guwahati, May 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated the Dhola-Sadiya bridge to music legend Dr Bhupen Hazarika and will be named after him ‘Bhupen Hazarika setu’. On the occasion of third anniversary of his government, Modi inaugurated the nation’s longest bridge that straddles the river Brahmaputra. With the opening of the 9.15-km long Dhola-Sadiya bridge, the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will  be reduced to just one hour as the distance will shrink by 165 kms.

Members of the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society had requested Modi to name the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge after Hazarika. “Dr Hazarika, during his life time worked relentlessly for unity and integrity for all caste, creed and religions through his songs and music. And it is the dream of the people of the state of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam that the bridge constructed at Sadiya be named after him,” said APLS President, Y D Thongchi in a memorandum, according to The Arunachal Times.

Hazarika was born in 1926, in Sadiya, Assam. He has produced and directed, composed music and sang for the Assamese language films.

The Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner died in 2011 due to multi-organ failure.

The bridge has been constructed across the rivers Brahmaputra and Lohit and connects Dhola with Sadiya in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district. The construction of the bridge began in 2011 and was scheduled to become operational from December 2015 but the work was delayed.

It is 3.55 kms longer than the Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, making it the longest bridge in India above water.

Who was Bhupen Hazarika

Hazarika was a poet, music composer, singer, actor, journalist, author and film-maker of the very highest repute. He was the only pioneer of Assam’s film industry in the Northeast, and has been therefore, rightly hailed as the uncrowned king of North-Eastern India’s cultural world.

He did his Inter (Arts) in Guwahati in 1942, and went to Banaras Hindu University to complete his BA in 1944 and his MA in Political Science in 1946. He received his doctorate (PhD) in Mass Communication from Columbia University. He also received the Lisle Fellowship from the Chicago University to study the use of educational project development through cinema.

He was ranked amongst the leading film makers of the nation. He began his career in films as a child actor in the second talkie film to be made in the pioneering years of 1939.

He wrote and sang his first song at the age of 10 after which there has been no looking back. He has rendered music, written lyrics and sung for numerous Assamese, Bengali and Hindi films from 1930s to the 1990s. He has scored music and sung for the highest number of Assamese films made in the past 40 years.

He has won the President’s National Award for the best filmmaker thrice. He also won the National Award as best music composer in India in 1977.

Although he has sung in numerous languages, he has written lyrics ad poems in his mother tongue. He has also been hailed as India’s Cultural Ambassador abroad for placing the folk music of Eastern India on the map of world folk music.

He has been conferred the highest the highest honour by making him the president of Sahitya Sabha in 1993.

He was one of the leading author/poets of Assam and has written more than one thousand lyrics and more than fifteen major books on short stories, essays, travelogues, poems and children’s rhymes.

He was also a recipient of Padmashri in 1977 for his outstanding contribution to the field of culture in India. In 2001, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan and he was given the Lata Mangeshkar Award for his overall contribution in music by the Madhya Pradesh government.