Bolung: A statue of Assamese music icon Dr Bhupen Hazarika, who brought the Northeastern region to the rest of the country through his songs, was unveiled here in Arunachal Pradesh.
Bolung in Lower Dibang Valley district is the birthplace of the legendary singer, composer, and filmmaker of Assam.
Unveiling the 10.5 feet tall bronze cast statue, Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu said, "Hazarika served as a bridge in uniting all the sister states of the North East and even patronised to spread the unique culture of the region to the outside world."
He composed songs on each tribal communities of the state, the chief minister said.
During the Chinese aggression of 1962, Dr Hazarika visited the war front at Kameng sector and wrote a song to boost the morale of the soldiers, Khandu said.
Terming Hazarika as a bridge for cultural integration, he said the state government would propose to introduce Assamese as the third language in the schools of the state.
"During the NEFA days, most of the people used to obtain education in Assamese medium due to lack of schools and Hazarika made the language popular through his songs which are still being sung by people in the state, Khandu said.
The North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) was a political division in British India, which later became the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
"Hazarika can be considered as an encyclopaedia of the Northeast as through his songs people can understand the rich cultural legacy of each state of the region," Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein said at the programme where Hazarika's family members were also present.
Assam minister Tapan Gogoi, who represented the government of the neighbouring state, said a cultural integration centre in the name of Hazarika would be set up near the Dhola-Sadia Bridge in Assam's Tinsukia district.
"Our government has already acquired a land measuring 200 bigha to set up the Bhupen Hazarika Cultural Integration Centre to connect people of both the states culturally," Gogoi, Minister of
State for Power, said.
The Northeastern region was able to catch the attention of the people of other parts of the country because of the contribution made by Hazarika through his songs and other activities, Gogoi said.
In a message, Assam Chief Minister Sorbananda Sonowal expressed hope that the statue would strengthen the bond of brotherhood among the people.
The statue was built by the renowned sculptor of the region, Biren Singha, after the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society (APLS) proposed to the government in 2014 to erect it.
The then chief minister Nabam Tuki during 2015-16 allocated Rs 30 lakh to execute the project.
The family members of Gora Pertin, an eminent social worker of Bolung village, donated the land for erecting the statue of Hazarika.
The singer's statue has made several elders of the area nostalgic.
"I personally met the musical maestro on four occasions and he sang one of my favourite songs holding me in a function at Tezu in Lohit district," Rampok Yiram, the seniormost village head of Bolung village, said.
"We treat him as our inspiration and our God. He is in our heart and will remain forever," he said.
Another village head R Tayeng from Roing also shared his experiences of meeting Dr Hazarika on several occasions.
"It is not a statue but a living soul of Bhupen Da whose dream of uniting the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has come true," Director of Research, Batem Pertin, said while recalling his childhood days which he passed listening to the songs of Hazarika.