GUWAHATI: Days after the Bharat Ratna was conferred posthumously on Assamese cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika, his son Tej Hazarika on Monday said that he does not reject the country's highest civillian honour but is unhappy how the NDA government plans to pass the "painfully unpopular" Citizenship bill which was against his father's beliefs and position.
The US-based Hazarika's clarification came after some local media channels in Assam flashed the news that he had declined to accept the Bharat Ratna for his father.
"As the son of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, one of the most popular and loved cultural and socio-political figures for the people of Assam and it's neighbouring sister states of India's great Northeast, I believe that my father's name and words are being invoked and celebrated publicly while plans are afoot to pass a painfully unpopular bill regarding citizenship that is actually undermining his documented position," he told IANS in a social media message.
"It would, in reality, be in direct opposition to what Bupenda believed in his heart of hearts," he added.
"For his fans - a vast majority of people of the Northeast - and India's great diversity including all indigenous populations of India, he would never have endorsed what appears, quite transparently, to be an underhanded way of pushing a law against the will and benefit of the majority in a manner that also seems to be grossly un-constitutional, un-democratic and un-Indian.
"Adopting any form of this bill at this point in the manner in which it is being proffered, now or in the future, will ultimately have the sad and undesirable effect of not only disrupting the quality of life, language, identity and power balance of the region, but that of undermining my father's position - by delivering a wrecking blow to the harmony, inner integrity and unity of the secular and democratic Republic of India," Tej Hazarika said.
"Bharat Ratnas and longest bridges (the Dhala Sadiya bridge), while necessary, will not promote the peace and prosperity of the citizens of India. Only just, popular laws and foresight on the part of leadership will. Numerous journalists are now asking me whether or not I will accept the Bharat Ratna for my father.
"I go on record here to anwer that A), I have not received any invitation so far there is nothing to reject, and B), how the center moves on this matter far outweighs in importance the awarding and receiving of such national recognition - a display of short lived cheap thrills," he said.
Addressing a rally near Guwahati on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed the Congress governments at the Centre and the state for delaying the conferring of Bharat Ratna to the legendary musician, who died in 2011.