The Final Goodbye: Notable people we lost in 2018
2018 was an emotional year of saying goodbye as it marked the loss of several inspiring and hard-working individuals from Assam belonging to the worlds of entertainment, literature, journalism and politics. As the year comes to an end, G Plus remembers the famous faces of Guwahati who passed away this year and looks back at their lives, careers and the lasting memories they left behind.
1. Munin Barua - Veteran Assamese filmmaker Munin Barua died in Guwahati on April 7 at the age of 72. The award-winning director’s credits include Hiya Diya Niya (2000), Nayak (2001), and Dinabandhoo (2004). He is survived by his wife Manjula, son Manash, and daughter Mayurakshi.
Born in 1947 in Golaghat district in Assam, Barua set out as a scriptwriter and assistant director in the 1970s in such films as Ghar Sansar, Sonmoina, and Bowari, among others.
He made his directorial debut with the 1987 movie Pratima. He then went on to direct television serials, including Papu Nikur Xongbad, and a tele-film titled Rudra. Popularly known as Bhaimon Da, Barua wrote scripts for at least 21 films in his career.
Barua received the State award for Best Director for his romantic drama Nayak. His film Dinabandhoo also won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Assamese.
2. Simanta Bhagawati - City-based journalist, Simanta Bhagawati, who suffered a stroke on April 19, passed away on April 21.
Bhagawati, who was working as a senior editor with The Assam Tribune until a few months ahead of his death, was also an excellent tennis player.
Bhagawati suffered a stroke while playing recreational tennis at India Club, and was immediately rushed to the hospital and put on ventilator.
Very coincidentally, Simanta Bhagawati’s father Late Biren Bhagawati, who was a former state champion in table tennis, also died of a heart attack right after a game of tennis at the same India Club.
Bhagawati is survived by his wife, Banashree Bhagawati and a college-going daughter.
3. Sukracharjya Rabha - An eminent theatre personality and founder of ‘Under The Sal Tree Festival’, Sukracharjya Rabha passed away on June 9 after suffering a massive stroke.
Rabha was known for regularly organizing workshops for rural artists and the very successful theatre festival ‘Under The Sal Tree Festival’ annually with his group, Badungduppa (1998).
Rabha used forests and bamboo groves as his stage and toured various places with their innovative drama that required no light, sound or music. He had directed 12 plays in Rabha, Bodo and Nepali languages. Some of the plays were Tikhar, Changkoy, Rupalim, Hati aru Fandi, Lovita, To'Poidom, Madaiah Muchi, Dangai and Damukchi and these were performed widely.
Sukracharjya Rabha was awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2009 for his notable talent in the field of theatre direction.
4. Kishour Giri - Assamese singer and music director Kishour Giri, who lent his voice to various social issues, passed away on October 7 at his residence in Guwahati. The eminent activist was 63 and is survived by wife and two daughters.
He suffered a heart attack and breathed his last at his Kharghuli residence, his family said.
Giri, who could play a number of musical instruments, including the guitar, violin and mandolin, composed music for a few Assamese films and television serials.
Like the legendary Bhupen Hazarika, Giri, too, believed that the society needs 'gaan' (songs) instead of gun. He was often seen on the streets of Guwahati, strumming a guitar and singing or raising his voice against the many evils that plague the society.
5. Chandan Kumar Sarkar - Former Assam minister and senior Congress leader Chandan Kumar Sarkar died on November 19 following a cardiac arrest at Bongaigaon. Sarkar was 65 and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Chandan Sarkar was elected to the legislative assembly thrice in 1991, 2001 and 2011 from Abhayapuri South constituency and served as the irrigation minister in the third term of the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government.
6. Giasuddin Ahmed - Noted theatre director and novelist, Giasuddin Ahmed, who was also a leading organiser of the amateur theatre movement of the state, died in a city hospital on November 30 following liver-related complications at the age of 56. He was suffering from non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
Also known for his stage direction, short stories and novels, Ahmed was the founder general secretary of the Natasurya Phani Sarma Sowarani Samiti, Assam (Natasurya Memorial Celebration Committee). Ahmed was the main pillar of the Natasurya Phani Sarma Sowarani Samiti, which has been organising a week-long drama festival in the memory of the Natasurya every year for the past 23 years since 1995.
He was also a trade unionist and led the NE Regional Central Bank Employees’ Union as its president since its inception in 1989. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter and a host of relatives.
7. Dipali Borthakur - Assam’s eminent vocalist, Padmashree Dipali Borthakur, passed away on December 21 at the age of 77 at Nemcare Hospital, Guwahati after a prolonged illness. She is survived by her husband, eminent painter Neel Pawan Baruah.
Popularly known as the "Nightingale of Assam", Borthakur's death has left a vacuum in the state's cultural circle. A Padma Shri awardee, Borthakur has lent her voice to several popular Assamese songs.
Born in 1940, Borthakur started her musical career in 1958. She sang her first song when she was a student of class IX.
- Munin Barua
- Simanta Bhagawati
- Sukracharjya Rabha
- Kishour Giri
- Chandan Kumar Sarkar
- Giasuddin Ahmed
- Dipali Borthakur
- Notable people