Bhupen Hazarika’s son turns down Bharat Ratna

Written by Zamser Ali | Published on: February 12, 2019

Tez Bhupen Hazarika expressed his anguish over the Citizenship Amendment Bill and said that the centre awarded him as a display of short-lived cheap thrills.

 Bhupen Hazarika

Guwahati: At a time when the Citizenship Amendment Bill-2019 (CAB) is all set to be tabled and passed in Rajya Sabha, Tez Bhupen Hazarika, the son of legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika, has expressed his anguish against the bill.
Tez, in a statement from the USA, said, “The citizenship amendment bill is totally against Assam and North-East. In the present context, my father, if he would have been alive, would have never accepted the Bharat Ratna, which has been declared recently. It is a political tool to pacify the people of Assam and North-East to pass the citizenship amendment bill-2019, which is against the secular and democratic spirit of our constitution as well as people of Assam and North-East.”
Tez Bhupen Hazarika said spoke with the local media of Assam and responding to the question of accepting the Bharat Ratna, the teacher, publisher and writer said, “I have not received any formal letter from the government of India in this regard till now. So, I have no option to reject it in the present context. Still, I can say that my father exemplified the unity and integrity of people. If he had been alive, he would’ve have rejected it in the present political context.”
It may be mentioned that BJP leaders including prime minister Narendra Modi have been repeatedly using the declaration of Bharat Ratna award for legendary singer and artist Bhupen Hazarika as political mileage for the BJP. In this situation, the stand taken by Tez Bhupen Hazarika has jeopardized those efforts. Tez Bhupen Hazarika clarified his stand at a time when the BJP led NDA government have scheduled to table and pass the citizenship amendment bill-2019 in the agenda for Rajya Sabha on February 12, 2019.
Bhupen Hazarika was named for the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, along with former President Pranab Mukherjee and Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh on Republic Day.
"I go on record here to answer that A), I have not received any invitation so far there is nothing to reject, and B), how the centre moves on this matter far outweighs in importance the awarding and receiving of such national recognition - a display of short-lived cheap thrills,” Tez Hazarika said in his statement.
"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. It would, in reality, be in direct opposition to what Bhupenda believed in his heart of hearts," Tez Hazarika said.
The North-east has seen widespread protests against CAB ever since it was announced. Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram and Manipur, have seen protests ever since the controversial Bill with Imphal announcing a 36-hour Bandh recently. The Bill was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha in January. The inflow of illegal Bangladeshi migrants has historically been a huge social and political issue in Assam and tensions have soared in the region since the announcement.