GUWAHATI, June 12 � Governor JB Patnaik has condoled the death of music maestro Khagen Mahanta. In his condolence message, the Governor said that in Mahanta�s death, the State had lost a music legend. He also conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also mourned Mahanta�s death, saying that the great singer enriched Assamese music. He also conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.
The artiste fraternity was unanimous in terming the music maestro�s death as an irreparable loss for the State.
Music director Ramen Baruah, recollecting his association with Mahanta since the 1960s, said he had the making of a legend right from the days in the early 1960s when he was invited to sing at a Cotton College function in the presence of stalwarts like Bishnu Rabha. �He never looked back since and established himself as the father of folk songs in Assam,� he said.
Music director Ramen Choudhury who was a close associate of Mahanta, said the maestro had given a lot to the State. �I have been with him since 1966, performing alongside him on stages. He has given so much to the State. The greatest homage will be paid to him only when we preserve and promote his works for posterity,� he added.
Artiste-critic Loknath Goswami said artistes like Khagen Mahanta never die. �A complete artiste, he belongs to a rare breed who continue to inspire generations even after their physical death,� he said.
Singer Pulak Banerjee said the maestro had tremendous grasp over diction � something new-generation singers are often found to be wanting in. �He taught me the nuances of pronunciation, among other things,� he said. Singer Manisha Hazarika termed Mahanta as a rare legend. �After Bhupen Hazarika, Khagenda was the only doyen of Assamese music,� she added.
Music director Bhupen Uzir too reminisced about his long association with Mahanta, saying he took Assam�s Bihu and folk music to the world stage. Singer Tarali Sarma said the void created by the death of the great singer would never be filled. Actor Pranjal Saikia said Mahanta was the only singer who could even make his team members dance to his numbers.
Actress Moloya Goswami expressed shock at the untimely death of the artiste. �I had met him 12 days back at an ICCR meeting. He was so energetic. His death is an irreparable loss,� she added.
Singer Jitul Sonowal said Mahanta�s songs were subject oriented. �He was a mass singer with roots connected to tradition,� he said. Singer Dikhyu, while mourning Mahanta�s death, said he had learnt a lot simply by hearing his songs and watching him perform.
Mahanta�s residence at Nigaji Pam was thronged by people following the news of his death. Those who were there to pay their last respects to him included members from socio-cultural and literary fronts, music lovers and his fans.
Various organisations, including Asam Sahitya Sabha, Bodo Sahitya Sabha, AASU, KMSS, AJYCP, Asam Krira Sanskritik Utsav Samiti and Asom Silpi Sanmilan have condoled Mahanta�s death. APCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Cultural Affairs Minister Pranati Phukan, Information and Broadcasting Minister Basanta Das, among others, also condoled his death.