Bhupen Hazarika suffers stroke on stage | india | Hindustan Times
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Bhupen Hazarika suffers stroke on stage

India's oldest performing singer suffered a mild stroke while giving an Assamese new year stage performance in Guwahati on Sunday.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 15:45 IST

India's oldest performing singer, Bhupen Hazarika, suffered a mild stroke while giving an Assamese new year stage performance here late Sunday.

"He is in the intensive care unit after suffering a mild stroke. His condition is stable although we would like keep our fingers crossed before we do a repeat scanning tomorrow (Tuesday)," Numol Bora, the head of the Guwahati Neurological Research Centre, told IANS.

Hazarika, 80, was taken ill while performing at a Bihu function around 11.30 pm on Sunday.

"I am having a severe back pain. So please excuse me for taking a little rest," he told the nearly 10,000 spectators at the Noonmati Bihu celebration function.

Assam Friday ushered in the Assamese New Year or Bohag Bihu with stage shows, a specialty during this season.

The last of India's most well known balladeers, Hazarika, was forced to sit on a chair several times during the performance. He even tried singing by reclining on a chair.

"I am all right and there is no need for worry. I will sing for you very soon," he said in between his performance to reassure the crowd.

But his condition deteriorated and he was shifted after midnight to the hospital where doctors declared he had suffered a mild stroke.

Hazarika, one of Assam's greatest cultural icons, has captivated audiences not only in India but also beyond.

Interestingly, he was forced to stop his performance while singing his most famous and popular number Manuhe Manuhar Babe (For Man).

Hundreds thronged the hospital Monday to inquire about his health and offered prayers for his speedy recover.

"He is a singer people will remember for ages," said Ankur Bora, a college student. Hazarika considers it important that a singer should have humanistic ideals - and these should be reflected in his songs.

"When I go to Japan, students of music want me to sing Manuhe Manuhar Babe. When I reach California people say you are our Paul (Robeson), please sing We are in the same boat brothers", Hazarika told IANS last year.

"I have composed only a few songs, maybe just a thousand odd, and to be frank all my numbers have become legends and history," Hazarika added.

Singer, lyricist and filmmaker, Hazarika's passion for music is unrelenting.

"I don't feel like retiring as music has no retirement age. Throughout my life I have been trying to interpret Assam and India to the outside world through my songs," the genius said.

"I am travelling in a beautiful world and reaching the hearts of the people through their own words which I use as lyrics for my songs".