Carrying Forward a Legacy: A Tribute To Tilak Hazarika

Carrying Forward a Legacy: A Tribute To Tilak Hazarika

His pen was prolific and his mind was clear. Tilak Hazarika was a highly respected journalist in Assam and was hailed as a "giant" of the industry. A scribe of repute, an editor of commitment, and an author with humor, Tilak Hazarika's life revolved around pen and paper, but most importantly, the contemporary issues of Assam.

Born on October 3, 1921, at Silghat Sonari village in Koliabor, Hazarika started his career with a stint as a teacher in Kuwaritol High school. He also participated in the freedom movement.

In 1949, he joined 'Natun Asomiya' under eminent poet Debokanta Baruah as a sub-editor, from where his journalistic career took off. He was elevated to the post of editor in 1951. Later, he joined 'Asom Bani', published by the Assam Tribune group in 1957 as an editor.

Finally, he joined 'Sadin' of the Pratidintime group, which started its publication in 1989 under his chief editorship and continued serving till his death (28 years). During Assam Andolan (Assam movement), the role of newspaper was pivotal and Hazarika, who was in support of the movement, garnered respect and accolades for his influential column, 'Prasangik'.

His command over the Assamese language and his thought process earned him admiration from everyone. Print was his first love and his adherence to value-based journalism was widely respected. He was always adventurous, but content with what he had. He was modest but brave in his humble surroundings.

Hazarika was considered as the spirit and soul of 'Sadin-Pratidin' group. He was into journalism for more than six decades and set a trend in the field of journalism in Assam. Many senior journalists have also learned under his umbrella.

He was fearless in his journalism, a freedom fighter, and a social crusader.

Hazarika also authored many books and translated a number of them from different languages. His prose writing was very simple and acceptable to all. His satirical writing was particularly very impressive.

His literary work includes Adda (1958), Koto Kahini (1960), Ityadi (1984), Sihote Amak Gaan Gabo Nidiye (1999) and Abelir Sha (2000). In 1996, he was conferred the Sahitya Akademi for his translation work 'Phanishwar Nath Renur Shrestha Kahini.

On October 22, 2016, Hazarika passed away following a cerebral stroke. He was admitted to Guwahati's GNRC Hospital for over a month. He was 96.

He is survived by his wife and his only daughter.

The cremation was held amidst the presence of many prominent personalities, leaders of various organizations, journalists, litterateurs, and others.

The then Assam Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, had expressed condolences over the death of the veteran journalist.

"Tilak Hazarika was a legend in Assamese journalism and his death would create a void in the journalistic world which would be hard to fill. His contributions to the world of journalism will always be a source of inspiration to the younger generations," he said.

Former Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal also condoled the death of the veteran journalist. In a message, he said: "Late Hazarika analyzed every problem afflicting Assam with reasons and presented it in a scientific way. His contributions will remain alive forever. His translation works have also enriched the Assamese literature. His demise is a loss for the social life in Assam."

Former Assam Chief Minister Late Tarun Gogoi, while condoling the death of Tilak Hazarika, said: "In the death of Tilak Chandra Hazarika not only the journalistic world in Assam, the entire State has lost a competent guardian and guide. Hazarika did try to find out all-acceptable solutions to all problems in the State."

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