Popular singer and music composer Zubeen Garg was stopped abruptly from performing when the singer was presenting a Hindi song at the Noonmati Bihu function in Guwahati on Friday night.
High drama ensured — live on Television and in front of thousands of fans — as the Bihu organizing committee members went on the stage when Zubeen was performing one of his popular Hindi songs Dil Tu Hi Bataa from Krrish 3. The singer was stopped abruptly and was asked not to sing any Hindi songs further. Ironically, the diktat was in tune with the banned United Liberation Front of Assam’s ban on Hindi songs at Bihu functions.
“You can’t dictate terms on me…I have sung more than 16,000 songs in 25 years…I know what to sing and what not,” the singer said. “I don’t need your money. I love the audience and respect them. I am leaving now,” the iconic singer added before leaving the stage.
While the committee members said that the Noonmati function “upholds Assamese culture” and they can’t ruin their “tradition by letting the singer perform Hindi songs”; many questioned the motive of the organizers. “…then why the committee members push non-Assamese people for Bihu donations…” and “why they took advertisements from companies like Ponds, Amul and displayed them at the Bihu stages? This isn’t part of Assamese culture”… were some of the voices heard on the social media.
Singer Padmanav Bordoloi, of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa fame, fully supported Zubeen Garg in a strongly worded Facebook post. “Totally support Zubeen Garg and music. Non Assamese brands buror kuti tokar sponsors loi Bihu ayujoke lakh lakh lunthon kore Bihur namot and ejon xilpir geet beleg bhakhat gabole badha diya totally we condemn. Where is freedom of expression? Hypocrisy at its best. Music is itself a religion and language; please stop politicization of music,” the singer wrote.
“Music has no language and that’s what the entire universe agrees to… then why does some disgusting people keeps on annoying Zubeen Garg every Bihu. I think your thoughts & vision has got stuck somewhere midway, plz grow up & move on. Stop irritating artists every now & then. Our Assamese culture has never taught us to disrespect other cultures/languages. Stop discriminating, don’t forget we all are Indians. Also first organise a ‘Bihu Function’ entirely from your pocket, without collecting any funds from the Non- Assamese people & then claim to be an Assamese. It’s my request to my people, all actual Assamese people, plz wake up & raise your voices & don’t let some hypocrites dictate, dominate & defame our culture in front of the world,” singer Zublee Baruah wrote on Instagram.
Among the strong supporters of the Hindi-songs ban, the Paresh Baruah faction of Ulfa had been warning Assam singers from singing Hindi songs in the Bihu functions. The group had asked the organisers to desist from holding dances set to Bollywood songs.
Rongali Bihu, one of the three Bihu festivals of Assam, celebrates the state’s New Year with cultural festivals in both rural and urban areas. Ironically, unlike the traditions, the modern day Bihu has moved on to the stage as such functions grab maximum eyeballs.