GUWAHATI, March 2 - Even though it has been four years since noted singer Khagen Mahanta passed away, confusion still prevails over the construction of a memorial honouring the �King of Bihu�.
Khagen Mahanta was one such prominent singer in the Assamese music industry who was not only an expounder of folk and traditional music, but his Bihu songs, Borgeet and other folk songs were very popular among the people of Assam. Hailing from Nagaon, the singer started performing at a very tender age and he was well received by the people of Assam.
The demise of the music maestro on the afternoon of June 12, 2014 sent shock waves across the State leaving everyone astounded. The State government then allotted a plot of land for cremation of the singer next to the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra and promised to convert the cremation spot into a memorial, honouring the legend. But nothing has been done so far and the State government is facing the wrath of both fans and the music fraternity.
The singer�s wife, Archana Mahanta, who is also a renowned singer in her own right, rued that the State government has not taken any measures regarding construction of the memorial yet. She said, �We want to transform the cremation spot into a garden and if the government does not do it, we are willing to construct it on our own, provided the government permits us to do so.�
She added, �We are not miffed that the government has shown this kind of attitude, but rather we are heartbroken for the disrespect and disgrace shown to an artiste of his calibre and standing. This kind of dishonour and discourtesy should not be meted out to any artiste. It is very humiliating and disheartening.�
�It is very depressing to watch the condition of the cremation spot as it looks more like a garbage lot, dumped with all sorts of odds and ends, junk and waste,� she said.
Regarding preservation of Mahanta�s songs, his wife believes that such a step is essential so that the coming generations get to know about the award-winning singer and his work. �The cultural ministry of the State has assured that the songs will be preserved and we are eagerly waiting for it,� she said.
Khagen Mahanta received many national and international awards for his contributions. He was also honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for folk and traditional music in 1992. He, along with his wife, captivated millions of music lovers for more than three decades.