NEW DELHI, Jan 25 - Eight years after he passed away, legendary singer and composer Dr Bhupen Hazarika was today honoured with the Bharat Ratna by the NDA government, fulfilling a long pending demand of the region.
The highest civilian award of the country, announced on the eve of Republic Day, has also been conferred on former President Pranab Mukherjee and Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously).
Dr Hazarika was in 2012 posthumously honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India�s second highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Shri in 1977, thereby making him a rare personality to have been awarded with all the top civilian awards of the country.
He was a playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet and filmmaker and had sung in many languages, including Bengali and Hindi. His songs, based on the themes of communal amity, universal justice and empathy, were popular among the people of Assam, besides West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is also acknowledged to have introduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast to Hindi cinema at the national level.
In 1975, he was honoured with the National Film Award for Best Music Direction and was the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987. He was awarded with Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1992, India's highest award in cinema and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008), the highest award of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Hazarika was also the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from December 1998 to December 2003.