Guwahati, Jan 13 (IANS): Two months after his death, it appears that music maestro Bhupen Hazarika's last wish of getting his funeral rites performed by a select few individuals was not met, with the executors of his will keeping his desire a secret.
"It appears to me that apart from near and dear ones, various persons might claim the right over my funeral," the legendary 85-year-old singer had said in a registered will, a copy of which is available with IANS.
The will, signed on February 17, 2011, had the names of five people that the maestro said should perform the funeral rites - Kalpana Lajmi, Sunil Nath, Manjula Hazarika, Pranabhiram Baruah and Nomal Bora.
The last rites were, however, performed by Bhupen Hazarika's son Tej Hazarika in the presence of a multitude of people.
The last of India's well-known balladeers and one of the country's oldest performing singers died at a Mumbai hospital following prolonged illness Nov 5, 2011.
"In order to avoid any conflicts or disputes over my funeral rites, I am desirous of restricting the duties, responsibilities and formalities of my funeral rites to the following persons," the will read.
While Lajmi was described in the will as his 'business partner since 1977', Sunil Nath was mentioned as one who had 'supported me in my old days like my son', and Manjula Hazarika as 'like my own daughter'.
"My old and good friend Pranabhiram Baruah (he expired in September last year after the will was signed) has stood by my side in many good and bad times...and my well wisher Dr. Nomal Bora to perform my last rites after my death being my close aides," the will read.
Sunil Nath is one of the two executors of the will (the second executor is Partha Dutta, an advocate).
"Apart from these above mentioned persons desired and authorized by me no other persons close, related or near and dear ones to me should take part in my funeral rites after my death and this may be considered as part of my last will and testament," Hazarika wrote in his will.
While Pranabhiram Baruah died before Hazarika, it was not known why the maestro's wish of getting his funeral performed by the people he wanted was not carried out.
At least one person mentioned in the will claimed he was not aware about Hazarika's wish until the will's content was made known to him. "I am getting emotional when I came to know from the media that my name was among those whom Bhupen Hazarika wanted to perform the last rites. It was his magnanimity and showed his love and trust in me," Bora, a well-know neurosurgeon in Guwahati, said. "But having said that, I am happy his biological son performed the funeral rites."
The Dadasaheb Phalke award winner has bequeathed a major portion of his properties and assets to long time companion Lajmi, giving her sole credit for the rise in his career graph.
"Kalpana Lajmi is my business partner since 1977 and she took the entire and whole responsibility for my tremendous career rise and prior to her joining me I was penniless and had only Rs 35 in hand," the will read.
"She (Kalpana) has looked after me sincerely and carefully since 1977 during my illness by supporting me financially and with emotional and moral support and in distressed condition, mentally depressed condition, which no one else has done."
There is no formal confirmation about the two having got married. There is an age gap of about 28 years between the two.
Among the movable and immovable assets bequeathed to Lajmi are film and television companies, bank accounts and personal company accounts, investments, cash, gold, jewellery and properties in both India and the rest of the world.
"I could not have emerged unscathed from my distressed and bad times without the sincere help and cooperation of Kalpana Lajmi and as such after my death she will be the sole owner of both my movable and immovable properties as well as those which will be purchased in future," Hazarika's will read.
"I hereby revoke all the wills, codicils and other testamentary disposition made by me hereto and declare this to be my last will and testament."
The will, however, also mentions some joint properties shared among his brothers and sisters, besides some assets willed to New York-based Punnag Tej Hazarika, his 60-year-old son from his estranged wife Priyamvada Patel Hazarika now settled in Canada.
The internationally acclaimed singer, lyricist, filmmaker and one of India's best-known balladeers had composed soulful music for films like "Rudaali", "Saaz" and "Gajagamini".