GUWAHATI, Dec 21: Eminent Assamese singer Dipali Barthakur, known as ‘the Nightingale of Assam’, passed away on Friday following a prolonged illness in a hospital here.
She was 77 and is survived by her husband painter Neelpaban Baruah.
Barthakur was suffering from pneumonia. The Padma Shri awardee was afflicted by a debilitating motor neuron disease in 1969, due to which she was gradually losing her voice. She was initially confined to wheelchair and was bedridden for the past several years.
A leading singer of the All India Radio, she had lent her voice to several popular film sings in the 1950s and 60s. Some of her Assamese songs which are still popular are ‘Sonor Kharu Nalage Muk’, ‘Jundhone Junalite’, ‘Konmana Boroxire Sip’, ‘Senai Moi Jau Dei’, ‘O Bondhu Somoi Pale Amar Phale’ among many others.
She sang her last song ‘Luito Nejabi boi’ in 1969, after which the motor neuron disease left her crippled. The acclaimed singer received the Padma Shri award in 1998 and the state government honoured her with ‘Silpi Bota’ in 2010.
Assam government had given an aid of Rs one lakh earlier this year to the ailing singer. She will be cremated with full state honours on Saturday.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi mourned the death of Borthakur and said, “Known as the Nightingale of Assam, the state has lost an able daughter with her death. She was an asset and her death is an irreparable loss for the society”. Started her singing at the tender age, Dipali Borthakur contributed immensely for the enrichment of culture of the state. “Such was the talent Dipali Borthakur, lent her voice to some timeless melodies which made us sing even today,” he said.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal condoled the demise of Borthakur and said, “Dipali Borthakur enriched Assamese culture through her invaluable contributions. Her scintillating voice enthralled generations of music lovers and her death is an irreparable loss to the society. I am deeply saddened by her demise and pray for eternal peace of the departed soul”. He also offered his heartfelt condolences to her bereaved family.
The chief minister also directed the chief secretary to take necessary steps for performing last rites of the eminent singer with full state honours.
Media advisor to the chief minister Hrishikesh Goswami also condoled the death of the celebrated singer. In his condolence message, Goswami said that her death brought an end to an era in the musical field of Assam. He also said that her mesmerising voice would continue to live in the hearts of the people of the State.
Industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary has deeply condoled the demise of legendary singer Dipali Borthakur and said, “Dipali Borthakur, through her soul stirring voice, enthralled the music lovers of the state.”
“Her demise is an irreparable loss to the music scenario of Assam,” he said.
Minister of state for panchayat and rural development Naba Kumar Doley condoled the death
Assam Pradesh congress committee (APCC) president and MP Ripun Bora also condoled the death of Borthakur and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members. He also prayed almighty God for eternal peace of the departed soul.