Manuhhe Manuhor Babe

Bhupen Hazarika


If man wouldn’t think for man with a little sympathy
Tell me who will, comrade?

It is a song generation after generation have turned to in the place I call home, looking for hope and sanguinity in troubled times. It is a musical moral compass for an entire set of people – a reiteration of the indispensability of humanity, a cautionary tale of the perils of apathy.

On the first day of 2018, Assam will wake up to a much-awaited document – the first draft of the updated list of the state’s “legal” citizens. While in the mainland they send you to Pakistan, in the North Eastern frontier the choice of banishment is Bangladesh. There’s fear in the air. The state, pre-empting violence, has called in the troops. Assam is “tense”, the news reports have repeatedly affirmed. In these frenzied times, this 1965 composition by the bard of Brahmaputra seems like a rather apt song to begin the new year with – and listen to throughout the year.