Bhupen Hazarika's son on Monday said that he will not accept the highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’ conferred by Modi government to his father over the Citizenship Amendment Bill row. Interestingly, Tej Hazarika, the son of the late singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika, last month had said that the government's decision to confer Bharat Ratna on his father is a victory for humanity, diversity and India's secular character.
The government had announced that former president Pranab Mukherjee, the later Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and Bhupen Hazarika would be conferred the Bharat Ratna -- the country's highest civilian award.
An e-mailed statement issued on Sunday quoted Tez Hazarika, who lives in the USA, as saying: "In his songs, blueprints for the youth and future of India can be discovered." Tez, reacting to his father being conferred the country's highest civilian award, said, "In his songs he celebrated the richness of indigenous people not only of the Northeast but all of India and he advocated their inclusion in the Indian experience as essential to the success of Indian civilisation as a whole."
Reacting on the issue, Samar Hazarika, Bhupen Hazarika's brother said, "It is his (Tej Hazarika) decision, not mine. Anyway, I think he (Bhupen) should get it. It is already too late."
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also welcomed the Centre's decision to confer the Bharat Ratna posthumously on singer Bhupen Hazarika.
In a statement issued, Sonowal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conferring the highest civilian award of the country on the legendary singer from Assam, honouring the long-pending demand of the people of the state and the north-east.
"Dr Hazarika, with his message of humanity, was not only a great son of Assam, but of India as a unifier of people of all languages and creed through his contributions to the field of art and culture of the country. He is an inspiration for the new generation to go forward with his message of peace, harmony and brotherhood," Sonowal said, paying rich tributes to the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee.
"Bharat Ratna for the Bard of Brahmaputra is a great honour for Assam and its glorious culture. A proud moment for all of us. Congratulations to all," he added.
Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and state BJP chief Ranjit Dass also expressed happiness over the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Hazarika. "It is a matter of great pride and delight that Bhupen Hazarika is being posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna. My gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We are elated," Sarma said.
Dass said, "This is extremely good news for everyone in Assam on the eve of Republic Day and a proud moment for every Assamese."