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Eminent Singer Sudakshina Sarma Is No More

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GUWAHATI, July 3 (PTI): Noted singer Sudakshina Sarma died in Guwahati on Monday following prolonged age-related ailments, doctors said.

Sarma, the younger sister of Assam’s icon Bhupen Hazarika, was 89.

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She is survived by a daughter, while her singer husband Dilip Sarma and two sons had predeceased her.

Sarma was admitted to the ICU of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on June 23 as she was suffering from pneumonia and bed sores, its Superintendent Dr Abhijit Sharma said.

Her condition had improved and she was shifted to a cabin, but her condition deteriorated again on Sunday night and she passed away at 8.25 am on Monday, he said.

The eminent singer had donated her eyes and body for medical research, he added.

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Her body will be taken to her residence for her family and well-wishers to pay their last respects.

The formalities of handing over her body to GMCH will be held later in the day, the official said.

Condoling her death, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said she was a bright star in the state’s cultural world.

“She had enriched the world of music with some of her memorable renditions and her death is an immense loss to the state’s cultural and social sphere,” he said.

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He offered his prayers for the eternal peace of the departed soul and deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

Born as the fourth child in Assam’s musically-famed Hazarika family, Sarma began singing from an early age with her elder brother Bhupen Hazarika.

As a nine-year-old, she recorded four songs for gramophone records in Calcutta (now, Kolkata) under the supervision of Assam’s legendary cultural activist Bishnu Rava.

She sang “E Joy Raghur Nandan” during Mahatma Gandhi’s last visit to the state in 1946 who blessed her, and asked her to never stop singing.

Following Gandhi’s death, Hazarika had composed “Prithibir Shirot bajrapat porile” (A sudden devastation strikes the world), which Sudakshina sang when his ashes were immersed in the River Brahmaputra at Sukreswar Ghat here.

She lent her voice to playback singing in several Assamese films, including ‘Maniram Dewan’, ‘Chikmik Bijuli’, ‘Parghat’, ‘Abooj Bedona’ and ‘Hepah’, among others.

Married to eminent singer Dilip Sarma in Kolkata, the couple were known for their proficiency in Rabindra Sangeet and had devoted their lives to the various forms of music, including folk, classical, light classical and modern.

Besides modern Assamese songs, the eminent singer lent her voice to various genres of musical heritage of the state, which include ‘Borgeet’, ‘Kamrupi’, ‘Goalparia’, ‘Bongeet’, ‘Biyanam’ and ‘Bihunam’.

The couple became close to Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), Assam Branch Secretary Hemango Biswas in the 50s and became its active members till the end.

The couple travelled across the state and beyond, singing songs of love, war, brotherhood and harmony.

The duo regularly held workshops on the songs written by Assam’s cultural icon Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, which are popularly known as ‘Jyoti Sangeet’.

The couple was jointly awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2002.

An acclaimed artist of All India Radio, Sudakshina Sarma continued to teach music to children till a few years ago before she suffered from several old-age-related ailments, including dementia.

Both her deceased sons, Rituparna and Rishiraj, were also well-known singers with the latter passing away in May this year.

 

 

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