On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s longest bridge, the Dhola Sadiya bridge, in Assam, and named it for Bhupen Hazarika, the Padma Vibhushan-winning singer from the state.
It is perhaps fitting that the 9.15-km-long structure built over the Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Assam, will be named after Hazarika. For the late Assamese singer sang about rivers often. One of his most popular songs (video above) was Bistirno Dupare (Ganga Behti Ho Kuyon in Hindi), which was influenced by Paul Robeson’s Ol’ Man River.
The singer was called the Bard of the Luit, as the Brahmaputra is known in Assam, for he frequently referred to the river in his work. It was used as a recurring motif that united Assam and also North-East as a while.
In Luit Poriya Deka Bondhu (video below), Hazarika sings about the river that often inspired him.
Hazarika also sang of lesser-known riversm such as the Kopili (video below), a tributary of the Brahmaputra that flows through Meghalaya and Assam.