Sunday, 6 November 2011

In memory of a jajabor

I was saddened to read of Bhupen Hazarika's death this morning. This blog is to celebrate his music, though my limited knowledge of Assamese means that there may be many gems that I do not know about. His "Moi eti Jajabor" is a masterpiece.

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The Hindi version has Gulzar speaking of the difficulty of translating the word 'jajabor'. The Hindi version seems a bit forced, but helps me understand the Assamese and Bangla versions. I love the idea of a world traveller, seeing and searching the world, who "quotes Gorky at Twain's cemetery". Ultimately, there is no other destination apart from being-in-motion. The mention of rivers makes it especially fascinating, since I've recently fallen in love with reading ancient and medieval history. Rivers are where human civilisations begin, and look where living together in clusters near sources of water and developing language has brought us.

There are so many wonderful Hazarika songs that I could post here. There is "Ganga", "Manush manusher Jonene" and of course as composer there are the songs of Rudali, the wonderful Dil Hoom Hoom Kare and Jhoothi Moothi Mitwa Aawan Bole. However, the one other Hazarika song I would like to share here is Dola.

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The song is about 'doli-carriers', those who carry people on their shoulders. Again, the Hindi version helps me understand the lyrics of the Bengali one. The line "Zindagi Kahar ki, chadte pahar ki' is so evocative, though the Bengali version's pace gives it an urgency missing in the Hindi version. There are very few songs about poor people anymore. After all, India is a rich country now and there are no more poor people left. At least, not where you can see or hear them.