Legendary Assamese Singer Khagen Mahanta – popularly known as the King of Bihu – died of heart attack at his residence at 3:30PM on Thursday, June 12, 2014.
He was 72 and is survived by his singer wife Archana Mahanta, son Angaraag Papon Mahanta, a popular singer and daughter Kingkini Mahanta.
At the time of Mahanta’s death, his son Angaraag Mahanta – a National level & Bollywood Singer cum Music Composer – was in Mumbai and reached Guwahati today morning.
Khagen Mahanta was born to Harendra Nath Mahanta and Laxmipriya Devi in Nagaon district of Assam on August 17, 1942. He displayed musical talent from an early age and performed in concerts from the age of 15. At the age of only fifteen he started performing in the music concerts in Shillong. He voice was very much accepted by the audience.
In 1958, Khagen Mahanta gained attention from Delhi Doordarshan Center which was established the very year and got the opportunity to perform. His program was much appreciated by the viewers.
During the Bhasha Andonlon (language movement) in 1960, Khagen Mahanta got actively involved in it under the leadership of personalities like Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Hemanga Biswas, Jugal Das. He was member of the group called Harmony and popularized human values with his melodious voice and compositions.
In 1961, Mahanta’s first gramophone recorded song was broadcast from Guwahati All India Radio Center. He also participated in the World Peace festival in Calcutta. He was recognized as A grade artist in All India Radio and contributed in almost all genres of Assamese music like Lokageet, Okoni Geet, musicals, dramas.
Khagen Mahanta has been felicitated numerous times nationally, internationally for his contributions. He was also awarded Sangeet Natak Academy award for folk and traditional music in 1992.
Late Mahanta’s funeral is expected today. Govt of Assam declared official Half Holiday as condolence of Mahanta’s death.
Banned outfit United Liberation Front of Asom[Independent] i.e. ULFA[I] also offered condolence through an email Press Release on Khagen Mahanta’s sudden demise.