The Assam government has rescheduled Bhupen Hazarika’s funeral on Wednesday in view of thousands of people queuing up to pay their last respect to the iconic minstrel. Fans from across India and Bangladesh have descended for a last glimpse at Judges’ Field here, where his glass-encased body has been kept for public viewing.
“The cremation was to have been today (Tuesday). Bowing to the people’s demand, we have decided to defer it till Wednesday morning (7am),” said chief minister Tarun Gogoi after meeting Hazarika’s son Tez Bhupen at their residence at Nizarapar here. Tez arrived with his wife from New York for the last rites.
Among those who converged at Judges’ Field was an 80-member team from Bangladesh, film actors and singers form Assam, West Bengal and Mumbai. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were represented by DoNER minister Pawan Singh Ghatowar, the BJP leadership was represented by senior leader Sushma Swaraj.
“It is overwhelming to see the outpouring of love for my dad,” said Tez, admitting there had been a disconnect with his father. “I met him two months ago but he was too weak to speak. His lips quivered as if to say he was sorry he could not spend enough time with us.”
Hazarika’s estranged wife Priyamvada Patel could not make it from Toronto because of ill-health.
The music legend’s last rites would be performed on the Gauhati University campus. The site would be turned into a museum in his honour.