Family members of prominent Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika has decided to reject the Bharat Ratna conferred on him posthumously, during last Republic Day. This was confirmed by his son Tej Hazarika. However, there seems to be division among family members in this regard. But, singer’s brother Samr said Tej had taken the decision without consulting him.
Tej said that they have taken the decision to reject the same in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. He observed that Bharat Ratnas and longest bridges, while necessary, will not promote the peace and prosperity of the citizens of India.
Tej Hazarika said he has not yet received any invitation from the Centre to receive the award on his father’s behalf. He added that how the Centre moves on this matter is more important than the award, which he labelled as “a display of short-lived cheap thrills”.
Tej Hazarika also said that the Citizenship Bill was “painfully unpopular” and undermines his father’s “documented position” and “would in reality be in direct opposition to what Bhupenda believed in his heart of hearts”.
However, Hazarika’s brother, Samar Hazarika, said the matter should not be politicised. “We shouldn’t politicise the issue. I can’t accept or reject the honour as it is not given to me. Maybe Bhupen Da would have accepted it or rejected it, I can’t say.”
Manisha, the wife of Bhupen Hazarika’s deceased brother Jayanta Hazarika, said the famous singer is above petty politics. “This award is not just for the family,” she said. “It belongs to entire North East and the rest of the country.”