Demystifying Bhupen Hazarika

Envisioning Education for India •
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika

ISBN: 9781-887276-62-7 • $ 14.95

Includes a complete reproduction of his 1952 doctoral thesis from Columbia University titled: Proposal for Preparing India’s Basic Educators to use Audio-Visual Techniques in Adult Education •

Edited by Tej Hazarika • Countries do well that give priority to the education of their people. In the course of India’s economic expansion she encountered the rise of fierce competition, eroding wealth creation and jobs. With exclusivity and boom slipping away, India’s need for a broad educational reform became even more acute. Sixty year ago Dr. Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011), a gifted Indian singer song-writer and film-maker, envisioned and wrote his own recommendations to speed up education in India.

In Demystifying Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s Answer:  Lessons from the renowned singer’s thesis and its application to education in modern India. In his own words,

On The Free Flow of Ideas

Since one of the fundamental purposes of education is to transmit culture,  educators have a solemn duty to explore all the channels for transmitting it.  As raising the intellectual level of the masses is one of the primary obligations of the democratic constitution, the time has come to utilize all the possible media of communicating significant ideas to India’s teeming millions who are devoid of letters”.

—Bhupendra Kumar Hazarika (from the dissertation)


Excerpt from the introduction by Tej Hazarika

I believe a reading of the dissertation allows us to formulate a more informed appreciation of the choices and contributions he made in his creative and public life. For example, from his perspective as a film director, we see his ambition and passion to follow in the footsteps of experimental and revolutionary filmmakers. Readers who have followed his writing will enjoy this tour of Bhupen Hazarika’s ideology and world-view in his own words—at a promethean stage of his life—as we see him ‘stealing the fire’ of audio-visual education (from the gods) in order to free Indian masses from the blight of illiteracy and ignorance. In his thesis titled—Proposal for Preparing India’s Basic Educators to use Audio-Visual Techniques in Adult Education—he was adding his voice and vision to the passionate, reasoned and penetrating recommendations that were already surfacing to push India to bring knowledge quickly to those most in need. The existing educational system, considered inadequate by leading thinkers of the new Indian democracy, was to be transformed to include everyone on the upward climb to a better quality of life. In that regard, Bhupen Hazarika’s choice of subject can be seen as an answer to that call in India to find a way to reduce widespread illiteracy. Significantly, Adult education was seen as part of the reform.