Jayanta Hazarika: A Life In Music
A life lived to the fullest, with great richness and variety in the kind of work done, is something aptly represented by the distinguished musician, Jayanta Hazarika. Youngest among ten siblings, with Dr. Bhupen Hazarika being the eldest, Jayanta Hazarika contributed immensely to Assamese music in a very short span of time. With all his siblings being actively associated with music, he naturally instilled a sense of it from a very early age. At the age of just nine he composed the tune for a song written by Nripen Hazarika, his elder brother.
Though he started out under the wings of his brothers, Jayanta Hazarika established himself as a musical genius par excellence. In his very short lifespan and music career, he created the kind of music that got registered in the Assamese music scene and etched itself in the minds of the listeners then, and continues to do so even today. He had a special way of infusing new sounds and techniques in his compositions. For instance he combined traditional Assamese tunes with western musical forms and pioneered the use of western instruments in his creations. His songs render themselves beautifully to the guitar and are still found particularly engaging by those who play the instrument. Although Jayanta Hazarika was highly influenced by western music and amalgamated elements of it in his works, his compositions remained innately Assamese in flavour.
Jayanta Hazarika’s gamut of work included playback singing for movies like Maniram Dewan, Chikmik Bijuli and several others, and music direction for movies like Banaria Phul, Notun Asha, and Niyoti, among others. He also directed music for stage plays of eminent dramatists like Phani Sarma and Prafulla Bora and composed music for a number of documentaries as well.
During his short life, Rana or Rana Da, as Jayanta Hazarika was popularly addressed, not only composed music, sang songs, acted in two movies but was also actively involved in social work with his group, 'Xur Bahini'. Rana da formed this association to help those in distress, especially during natural calamities. This group went out singing in the streets to raise funds for the needy. He composed eight songs for Xur Bahini, including “Luitor Boliya Baan”, “Bhoy nai Bhoy”, and “Obhijatri Duroir Raati”.
Rana Da left for his heavenly abode at the very young age of thirty four, leaving behind many beautiful musical creations and some unfinished works. His songs still sound fresh and appeal even to those who are not musically inclined. An invaluable part of the Assamese music scene, who made several groundbreaking contributions to it, Jayanta Hazarika ultimately came "out to sing on the streets", with his Xur Bahini attempting to "prevent the rise of evil with melodies and songs". A life well lived, indeed.