‘Bhupen Hazarika’ was born on 8 September 1926 in Sadiya, Assam. He was the son of Nilakanta and Shantipriya Hazarika. His father was originally from Nazira, a town located in the Sivasagar district. He married Priyamvada Patel in 1950.
Hazarika took his early studies at Sonaram and Dhubri. He matriculated from Tezpur High School in 1940. He completed his Intermediate in 1942 and his BA (1944) and MA (1946) in Political Science from Banaras Hindu University. For a short period, Hazarika worked at All India Radio, Guwahati when he won a scholarship from Columbia University and set sail for New York in 1949. There he earned a P.H.D. in 1952.
Bhupen Hazarika was an Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet, and filmmaker from Assam, widely known as Sudhakantha. He composed music for films from Bangladesh too which got international acclaim. He was elected the President of the Assam Sahitya Sabha in 1993. In 1967, Hazarika got elected as a member of the Assam Assembly.
Bhupen Hazarika’s songs are marked by humanity and universal brotherhood. His songs have been translated and sung in many languages, most notably in Bengali and Hindi. His songs are based on the themes of communal amity, universal justice, and empathy. He is also acknowledged to have introduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Hindi cinema at the national level.
Bhupen Hazarika received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1975. Recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padmashri, and Padmabhushan, he was awarded Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1992. He died on 5 November 2011. He was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012. Hazarika was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award in 2019.