New Delhi: Late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika’s family has decided not to accept the Bharat Ratna conferred to him by the government, in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Hazarika was posthumously awarded the highest civilian award on January 26.
His son, Tej Hazarika, has said that he will not be accepting the Bharat Ratna conferred to his father. The decision comes in wake of the ongoing protest across the northeast region against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which is pending in the Rajya Sabha and is likely to be passed in the ongoing Budget session.
Tej, who is based in the US, confirmed to a local channel in Assam on Monday that he is rejecting the award based on the current scenario in the state.
Tej had earlier said that the award was a “victory for diversity.”
Tej, reacting to his father being conferred the country’s highest civilian award, said, “In his songs he celebrated the richness of indigenous people not only of the Northeast but all of India and he advocated their inclusion in the Indian experience as essential to the success of Indian civilisation as a whole.”
In addition to his native Assamese, Hazarika composed, wrote and sang for numerous Bengali and Hindi films from 1930s to the 1990s besides other songs. He was also one of the leading author-poets of Assam with more than 1,000 lyrics and several books on short stories, essays, travelogues, poems and children’s rhymes.
He received the National Award for Best Music Director in 1976 for Chameli Memsaab and President’s medal for his films Shakuntala (1960), Pratidhwani (1964) and Lotighoti (1967). He was a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly from 1967-72 and was awarded the Padmashri in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987. He was the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from 1999-2004.