The Cultural Icons Who Revolutionalized Assam
The ideas, ideologies, and thought-process of a single individual have the power to influence generations with the literary and cultural acumen. Such individuals go on to carve a niche for themselves and go on to define the state that they belong to. Assam, too, has been fortunate to have belonged to such eminent personalities that continue to inspire millions.
- Bhupen Hazarika: Dr. Hazarika has become synonymous with Assamese music. His music was rooted in the cultural earthiness of the place he called home and touched the souls of many. He donned many hats of being a singer, poet, music director, filmmaker and lyricist to name a few. He sang in many languages like Assamese, Bengali, Hindi etc. His baritone voice echoed his lyrics, often written to reflect the political scenario of the state and also the daily struggles in the lives of the Assamese people. His most famous compositions are Buku Hoom Hoom Kore, Moi Eti Jajabor, Bistirno Parore. His songs are still remembered and performed by the Assamese people with great love and reverence.
- Jyoti Prasad Agarwala: Though a Marwari by birth, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was one of the doyens of Assamese literature and a cultural torch-bearer. Not only was he a noted poet, he was a freedom fighter, lyricist, playwright, writer, and filmmaker. He is widely regarded as the founder of Assamese cinema for his film Joymoti, released in 1935. His school of songs is known as ‘Jyoti Xongit’. One of the most notable plays is ‘karengor ligiri’ and ‘Rupkonwar’.
- Mamoni Raisom Goswami: Indira Goswami, the Sahitya Academy Award and Jnanpith Award winner, was lovingly called Mamoni. She was a contemporary Indian writer who was applauded both at home and other countries. Her most famous work is ‘Aadha Likha Dostabej’ or An Unfinished Autobiography. She has also documented the ‘Sattra’ culture in Assam in great detail. She was a master in revealing the cultural aberration that lie within the society.
- Jahnu Barua: The supremely talented Jahnu Baruah is a multiple National Award-winning film director and he has won numerous International awards too. One of his best-known films is Halodhia Soraiye Bao Dhan Khai, is a social and cultural commentary on how a simple farmer falls prey to a greedy landowner.
- Bishnu Prasad Rabha: He was affectionately called ‘Kola Guru’ or the Master of the arts. Not only was he fought for our independence, he was an established singer and lyricist. His compositions are collectively called ‘Bishnu Rabha Sangeet’. His songs continue to inspire many generations.
- Zubeen Garg: The magnificent popularity that this artist enjoys can be gauged by the size of his cult following. No other contemporary comes even closer. Not only is he a singer, he is also a music composer, songwriter, music producer, film director, film producer, and actor. He is popular not only in Assam but in Bollywood too.
There comes a luminary, once in ages, that becomes the torch-bearer of the genre that he/she represents. Although this is not an exhaustive list, these literary and cultural doyens, for sure, have left an indelible mark on the minds of their people.