GUWAHATI: A controversy has erupted in Assam over the “missing” Bharat Ratna award conferred posthumously on legendary singer-musician Bhupen Hazarika last week.
The award was received by Hazarika’s only son, Tez, who lives in Canada, on behalf of the family. After receiving it, he told journalists that he would keep the award in Assam so that the people of the state could have a glimpse of it.
“It has to be protected so that the Assamese people can see it. I am happy that the government chose him to give this high honour,” Tez had said.
However, according to Hazarika’s family members in Guwahati, Tez has already left the country but has not handed the award to any.
All that Hazarika had achieved including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, etc have been kept preserved at the Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Museum at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Manisha Hazarika, Hazarika’s sister-in-law, said Tez should have done what he had promised.
“I had no contact with Tez in this regard. Today, I came to know that he has left the country. I checked with family members. Nobody knows where the award is,” Manisha said, adding, “Bhupenda had clearly told us that everything should be preserved at the museum. Tez should have talked to the state government and kept the award at the museum”.
The Bhupen Hazarika Cultural Trust also expressed ignorance in this regard.
“We do not know where it has been kept. He should have shown it to the Assamese people. It was their demand,” a member of the Trust said.
On May 23, 2007, Hazarika had made a legal declaration that the museum would be the legal custodian of his intellectual property – all awards, gifts, recognitions etc would be kept here.