Friday, July 06, 2012

Hiren Bhattacharjya

I wanted to write a tribute to the great man, but my fingers are numb. So is my soul... The Scented Butterfly has stopped fluttering. And darkness descends.


Poet Hiren Bhattacharjya no more

Staff reporter: GUWAHATI, July 4 – Hiren Bhattacharjya , the poet popularly known as Hiru Bhatta or Hiru-da among his fans, is no more. He breathed his last at 11.25 am today at the Dispur Hospital here following irreversible lung failure. He was undergoing treatment for severe lung infection since June 14 last. He would have turned 80 on July 27.
Earlier, he was admitted to the same Hospital on May 28 last following urinary tract infection, and was released on June 8.

Hiru Bhatta, who composed hundreds of poems with his trademark lyrics charged with intense feeling, has 14 collections of poems published to his credit.

He has given Assamese poetry a new dimension with his brief but highly expressive Urdu shayari-type (to some critics Japanese Haiku-type) poems, like the paean he composed for spring – Jaki mari ahil dakowal, gache gache hepahor rangin rumal (‘Basanta’) (The postman has come running, joyous trees are flaunting colorful hankies), or the one he wrote in praise of death – Mrityuoto eta shilpa, jeevanar kathin shilat kota nirlobh bhaskarjya (Death is also a work of art, a pleasant sculpture carved in the solid rock of life). He is popular for such of his highly emotional lyrics that continued to stir the readers’ hearts for decades.

He had won the Assam Valley Literary Award in 2001, the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992, Bishnu Rabha Award of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in 1985, Raghunath Chaudhari Award in 1976, Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987, Souhardya Sanman of Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sangsthan in 1992, Ganesh Gogoi Award of the Assam Government in 2010, Padmanath Vidya Binod Smriti Sahitya Puraskar in 2011, among others, for his contribution to the field of literature.

Inspired by noted litterateur Late Padmanath Gohain Baruah and his Parijat Sangha, Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Late Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Late Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Late Jatin Duorah, Late Ganesh Gogoi, and others, Hiru Bhatta started writing poems while he was a student. His first published poem was ‘Nimantran’ (Published in Prabash in 1954).

Connected with the Left movement, Hiru Bhatta was also a vice-president of the Assam wing of the All India Progressive Writers’ Association in the early 1964. He participated in All India Peace Conference held in Chandigarh in that capacity. He went to Russia to receive the Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987.

Known also for his instant sense of humour like describing a new year as the beginning of the silver jubilee year of his cough – the playful remark he had made about a couple of years back – Hiru Bhatta also served as a high school teacher, besides as a journalist with The Shillong Times. He started, in 1956, the now defunct literary and cultural magazine Chitrabon. He had also set up a coffee house ‘Akashi’ in the Chandmari area of the city, which once became a popular meeting place for the artistes and literary personalities. In 1961, he started the Chitrabon Printers on his residential campus on the Zoo Road (now RG Baruah Road).

His published poetry books include – Raudra Kamana (1968), Mor Desh Mor Premor Kabita (1972), Bibhinna Dinar Kabita (1974), Kabitar Rod (1976), Tomar Gaan (1976), Sugandhi Pokhila (1981), Shaichar Pathar Manuh (1991), Mor Priya Barnamala (1995), Bhalpowar Boka Mati (1996), Bhalpowar Dikchou Batere (2000), Sugandhi Shipa (2006), Kabitar Dalpat (2008), Shipar Pora Patoloike (2009), Hiren Bhattacharyar Kabita 1957-2010 (2011).

He also has a number of poetry books for the children. These include – Lora Dhemali (1991), Akau Dhemali (1991) and Roi Roi Dhemali (2008).

There are three collections of his poems in Bengali – Jonaki Mon O Anyanya (1991), Sasyer Math Manush O Anyanya (2002) and Shipar Theke Pata Abadhi (2010) and a collection of his songs in Bengali – Bristi Pare Ajhore (2011).

Born to Late Tirthanath Bhattacharyya , a jailor and Late Snehalata Bhattacharyya , as the second of their 11 children, in Jorhat on July 27, 1932, Hiru Bhatta had his primary schooling at Golaghat, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. He had done his secondary schooling in the Tezpur Government High School and Cotton Collegiate High School in Guwahati and then joined the Cotton College. However, inspired by the move of noted educationist and socialist leader Late Hem Barua (who later became famous also as a Lok Sabha MP), he left Cotton College and joined the B Borooah College as one of its first batch students.

It may sound strange for many today that Hiru Bhatta was an opening batsman of the Cotton College cricket team. He also used to play football in his youth.

He married Parul Devi of Sivasagar in 1974 and they have a daughter Shanta. He leaves behind a host of relatives, besides his wife and daughter.

People thronged the Zoo Road Tiniali residence of the poet in large groups as soon as the news of his demise spread. Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues, including Nilamoni Sen Deka, Pranati Phukan, leading litterateurs like Lakshminandan Bora, Rong Bong Terang, Hare Krishna Deka, veteran journalists PG Baruah, Pradip Baruah and Kanak Sen Deka, educationists Prof Anil Goswami, Prof Udayaditya Bharali, Excise Commissioner Santanu Thakur, ADGP Dilip Bora, Secretary of Cultural Affairs Swapnanil Barua, artiste Nikunjalata Mahanta, other intellectuals, political leaders, and leaders of the student organisations paid their last respect to the poet at his residence. His body is likely to be carried to the Uzanbazar Swahid Nyas Bhawan and the Sahitya Sabha office here, among others, in a cortege, said family sources here.

His last rites would be performed at the Navagraha cremation ground here tomorrow.

[Source: Assam Tribune]


The end of a poem

Staff Reporter. GUWAHATI, July 4 – Hiren Bhattacharjya was a unique talent of Assamese poetry. He is one of the major Assamese poets of our time. The news of his death is a great shock for me, said noted poet Nilamoni Phukan.
“Hiren Bhattacharjya is one of the best Assamese poets of the contemporary age. But above all, he had a unique inimitable personality. The pain that has been resulted from his death has two aspects for me. One of them is related with the public life – our society has lost one of the extraordinary poets and thoughtful personality. The other one – I have lost a friend with whom I was associated for the past about 60 years, said noted folklorist and former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Birendranath Datta”. But, Dr Datta maintained, Hiren Bhattacharjya will remain alive with his numerous witty remarks, and poetic works.

Noted poet Harekrishna Deka described Hiren Bhattacharjya as one of the architects of modern Assamese literature. “His poems have given Assamese poetry a new dimension. His poems are the bridge between romanticism and modernity. The thematic contents of most his poems are romantic but they are expressed in a modern manner. His reliance on the modern way of expressions has restrained his emotions.

“He has penned Assam’s natural setting in a vibrant manner. The nature painted by Hiren Bhattacharjya may be compared with the nature painted by Bangla poet Jibanananda Das. Both of them have painted nature in a sensuous manner.

“Rhythms of Bhattacharjya ’s poems come out lyrically, while their synergy come out through synesthesia.

“Hiren Bhattacharjya is undoubtedly one of the best poets of the modern Assamese poetry, which started in the Jonaki era”, said Deka.

Noted litterateur and theatre personality Arun Sarma described Hiren Bhattacharjya as one of his school day friends. Though junior to him (Sarma), because of their association that started in the Parijat Sangha in the 1940s at Tezpur, the difference of age became obliterated. Hiren Bhattacharjya started writing poems at the Parijat Sangha, Sarma said.

“When I sat beside him and used to listen to the words or the verses pouring out from him, it seemed that Hiren Bhatta himself became an embodiment of a long poem I was reading,” said the noted theatre personality.

“His commitment towards Assamese language, literature and society was at the core of his creativity. He loved people the most and his concern towards the people is the main theme of his writings. Though not known much, he also had a significant command over prose. He could write prose in a similar eloquent and poignant manner in which he could mould his poetic works. His death has snatched away a very warm companion from me”, said Sarma.

Noted critic and translator of some of Hiren Bhattacharjya ’s poems Pradip Acharya said, “Bhattacharjya popularized modern poetry and made it accessible to the people. He could attain universal fame by writing in his mother tongue, such was the power of his poetry”.

Personally, Acharya said, he is feeling lonely as he had a long and deep association with Bhattacharjya .

Noted writer and journalist Dr Sivanath Barman described Hiren Bhattacharjya as a simple person, who was always one among the commoners. “Though he used to write poems on serious themes, by nature he was humorous. He was somewhat bohemian too. He loved sports and used to read the sports page of the newspapers with keen interest and he never posed himself to be a learned man.

“The lyrical character of his poems made them popular”, said Dr Barman.

Terming Bhattacharjya as a colossus, academician and playwright, Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury said that a poem had come to an end with his death but the poet in Hiru-da would live through his words and continue to “enthuse us with hope and optimism”. He said that Hiru-da showed the way to the new generation to think differently.

Veteran journalist and author Kanak Sen Deka said that among the modern Assamese poets, Bhattacharjya stood out for his humanism and romanticism in his works. “Simplicity was his forte as manifested not just in his creations but in his persona as well. The new generation of poets has lost a stalwart and a path-breaker,” he said, adding that this endeared him to the masses.

Author and president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, Rong Bong Terang said that his poems represented contemporary society in its myriad hues and was redolent with artistic charms. “As a man also he represented many a virtue, and was equally popular with all the tribes of Assam,” he said.

Singer Zubeen Garg, who had a close association with Hiru-da having sung a number of his lyrics, termed him as the “immortal classic modern poet in Assamese poetry.”

“Even his Bangla poetry was unique, and I am blessed by his presence and inspiration in my life. He will live forever in my conscious mind…long live great Hiru-da,” Zubeen said.

All Assam Students’ Union adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya termed Bhattacharjya’s death as an irreparable loss and said that his legacy would continue to endure and inspire generations to come.

Author Anuradha Sarma Pujari, while describing Hiru-da’s death as a huge void that would be next to impossible to fill, said that one should take solace in the unparalleled contributions made by the poet. “An all-pervasive emptiness has engulfed us with his death…,” she said.

Singer Apurba Bezbaruah who lent his voice to many lyrics penned by Hiru-da, said, “The State has lost a great literary figure…and this is a personal loss for me as well”.

The Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti, the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association, the Assam Chamber of Commerce, the Sabita Sabha, Guwahati, former president of the Asom Sattra Mahasabha president Bhadra Krishna Goswami, have also mourned the death of Hiren Bhattacharjya . The publishers and book sellers’ body has decided to keep close all the book shops of the State tomorrow in honour of Bhattacharjya. Assam Trinamool Congress has also mourned the death of the noted poet.

[The Assam Tribune]

Assamese Poet Hiren Bhattacharyya Dead

Guwahati, July 4, 2012: Noted Assamese poet and Sahitya Akademi award winner Hiren Bhattacharyya passed away this morning at a private hospital in the city after prolonged illness. Bhattacharyya (80), popularly known as ‘Hiru Da’, passed away at Dispur Hospital at around 11.30 am, hospital sources said. He was admitted to the hospital for the past few weeks due to lung and urinary infections, the sources said. Bhattacharya, who leaves behind his wife and a daughter, was one of the most celebrated poets of Assam. Born at Jorhat in 1932, he has anthologies of poems to his name like ‘Roudro Kamona’, ‘Tumar Bahi’, ‘Sugondhi Pokhilaa’, ‘Moor Dekh’, ‘Bibhinno Dinor Kobita’ and ‘Shoichor Pothar Manuh’. He also penned nursery rhymes for children and many songs and had a number of books to his credit. Recipient of a number of honours, including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992, Bhattacharya had also edited several newspapers and magazines in his lifetime. He was first admitted to the hospital on May 29 and again on July 12 and since then was under ventilator support in the ICU. Assam Transport Minister Chandan Brahma went to the hospital to pay his last respects. (Source: IANS)

Bohemian poet's pen falls silent

GUWAHATI: Renowned poet Hiren Bhattacharya died here on Wednesday after battling with multiple kidney and lung-related ailments for over a month. He was 79.

Bhattacharya, who was popularly known as Hiru-da, was admitted to a private hospital on May 29 after he complained of pain in the abdomen and back. He returned home after his health improved. On June 14, he was again taken to hospital where he was put on ventilation.

Born on July 27, 1932, Bhattacharya earned his popularity as a Bohemian poet. He studied at Cotton Collegiate School and B Borooah College. He worked for a newspaper in Shillong and later taught at a school in north Guwahati. In 1954, Hiru-da published his first poem 'Nimantran' in a journal named Pravah. Ten years later, he was elected vice-president of All India Progressive Writers' Association. His works had a profound effect on the minds and souls of contemporary writers and artists of the state. He was an inspiration for many, including singer Zubeen Garg.

In 1992, Bhattacharya was conferred the Sahitya Akademi Award for 'Shoichar Pathar Manuh'. In 2010, the state government honoured him with the Ganesh Gogoi Award. Prior to this, he won the Assam Valley Literary Award in 2001. He also received the Soviet Desh Nehru Puraskar for 'Sugandhi Pakhila' in 1987 and the Sonhardeya Sanman from the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan in 1992.

Some of his immortal works are 'Mur Priya Barnamall', 'Kabitaar Rod', 'Sugandhi Pokhila' and 'Raudra Kamana'. He translated 'Jonaki Man O Anyanya', 'Sasyer Math Manus O Anyanya Kabita' and 'Shipar Theke Pata Abdi' into Bengali. His last poem was 'Gaan Samorir Hoboloi Hol'.

"Hiru-da never complained about anything. Instead, he would enquire about the health of other people in hospital. He was a very jovial and witty. He was a great cook too. His pickles were quite famous," Ratan, the poet's younger brother, recalled.

Hiru-da will be cremated on Thursday.

[Source: The Times of India]


GUWAHATI: The death of Hiren Bhattacharyya, the bohemian poet of Assam, has left writers, singers, artists politicians and the general populace grief-stricken state.

Hiren, who was struggling with kidney and lung ailments, is the fourt cultural icon of the state to breathe his last within a year after Bhupen Hazarika, Mamoni Raison Goswami, and Sobha Brahma. Popular singer and actor Zubeen Garg, who was very close to the poet, was in Mumbai when the news of the poet's demise reached him. He is expected to arrive in the city on Thursday afternoon. While he was absent, his father Kapil Thakur expressed their condolence.

"Hiruda was a simple man. He was a farmer of words. Zubeen's association with Hiruda began in 1992 during which he penned a song for his album 'Maya'. Zubeen will arrive tomorrow from Mumbai. He is very sad by his death," said Kapil Thakur.

Ratna Ojha, vice-chairman of Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra and a noted cultural activist, said, "In the world of poetry he was, he is and will be a ray of light. He will forever be etched in our hearts and souls and for which he will be at peace."

Noted writer Atulananda Goswami said, "It's hard to describe and one by one we are losing great cultural icons of our times. It is a great loss for the Assamese community. Hiruda introduced us to many thoughts."

AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya and president Shankar Prasad Rai said, "We will feel the void. Hiruda, through his words, professed the love for one's own country. He was a star in poetry and no one can replace him."

Agriculture minister Nilomoni Sen Deka added, "He was a modern-day Kalidas and through his works he created a legacy. He took Assamese language and culture forward."

[Source: The Times of India]

Admirers are mourning the loss of eminent Assamese poet Hiren Bhattacharya who breathed his last in a private hospital in the city on Wednesday morning. According to official sources, Hiru-da, as the poet was popularly referred to, died of multiple kidney and lung-related ailments after a battling the condition for over a month.

Eighty-year Bhattacharya was admitted to Dispur Hospital following complains of pain in the abdomen and back on May 29.

Subsequently he was discharged but was readmitted on June 14 in serious condition. Since then he was under ventilator support in the ICU.

The poet’s body has been kept for public tributes at his residence while preparations for the last rites are being arranged for Thursday.

"Hiru-da never complained about anything. Instead, he would enquire about the health of other people in hospital. He was a very jovial and witty. He was a great cook too. His pickles were quite famous," says Ratan, the poet's younger brother.

Life and works
Bhattacharya was born on July 27, 1932. He attended Cotton Collegiate School and B Borooah College. After graduation, Hiru-da started working for a newspaper in Shillong and later taught at a school in north Guwahati.

One of the most celebrated poets of Assam, Bhattacharya poetic style was simple through which he could establish a direct interaction with his readers.

He is credited with anthologies of poems like ‘Roudro Kamona’, ‘Tumar Bahi’, ‘Sugondhi Pokhilaa’, ‘Moor Dekh’, ‘Bibhinno Dinor Kobita’ and ‘Shoichor Pothar Manuh’.

Some of his others works are 'Mur Priya Barnamall', 'Kabitaar Rod', and 'Sugandhi Pokhila'. He translated 'Jonaki Man O Anyanya', 'Sasyer Math Manus O Anyanya Kabita' and 'Shipar Theke Pata Abdi' into Bengali. His last poem was 'Gaan Samorir Hoboloi Hol'.

He also penned two collections of nursery rhymes for children, many songs and a number of books. During his lifespan he edited several newspapers and magazines.

Recipient of a number of honors
Bhattacharya was bestowed the honor of the Sahitya Akademi Award for 'Shoichar Pathar Manuh' in 1992. The state government gave him the Ganesh Gogoi Award in 2010.

He also picked up the Assam Valley Literary Award in 2001. In addition, he was recipient of the Soviet Desh Nehru Puraskar for 'Sugandhi Pakhila' in 1987 and the Sonhardeya Sanman from the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan in 1992.


Over 1000 attend Hiren Bhattacharya 's funeral

GUWAHATI: Almost a thousand people turned up at the Nabagraha Cremation Grounds on Thursday to pay their last tributes to Hiruda braving downpour. At 1:20 pm, the corpse of the bohemian poet was placed on the funeral pyre and consigned to flames.

The funeral procession was taken out from the Zoo Road residence of Hiren Bhattacharya and it made its way through the AIDC road, stopping at the Doordarshan Kendra, Guwahati Artists' Guild and the All India Radio office, for the waiting artists and people to pay their obeisance. The funeral hearse then passed through the busy Chandmari Road and headed for the cremation grounds.

As it reached Nabagraha, the waiting crowd began to chant "Hiru-da amar rahein" in unison. As the saang or the traditional bamboo corpse platform was lowered and placed near the flower bed, there was a rush of people to place who wanted to place wreaths. Finally, when the corpse was laid on the specially made pyre made of dry sandalwood, tears rolled down the cheeks of some people present there. Santa Sarma, the poet's daughter, performed the "mukhagni".

"It is very important for the young generation to know about the contribution of Hiru-da. The state government will work along with the public for preservation of his legacy. We also have to see that his works need to translated into other Indian languages. Whatever steps will be taken will be in unison with the public" said Himanta Biswa Sarma, state education and health minister.

Swapnanil Barua, secretary, cultural affairs, said the government will take one year for taking steps to preserve Hiru-da's legacy. "The first step will be to publish a collection of his works and for that some factors have to be taken into consideration. We are also contemplating to work on a coffee table book on his many sketches. We have to see that many of his books have been published by different companies and for that copyright issues have to be taken care of. Some of his works have been translated into English by Pradip Acharya," said Barua.

[Source: The Times of India]

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