Popular Bengali folk singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya passed away in a road accident at Palsit in West Bengal’s Burdwan district on Tuesday. Born in Silchar in Assam, Bhattacharya made a name for himself in the Bengali music industry by popularising rural folk traditions. Over the years he had done a significant amount of research on folk songs of Eastern India and delved into the socio-economic context in which they evolved.
Bhattacharya identified some features of rural and industrial folk songs which he believed was specific to the feudal and contractual system under which the composers worked. He was particularly interested in the songs originating from tea plantations in Assam, collieries of Raniganj in West Bengal and factories of Jamshedpur.
Apart from being a folk singer, Bhattacharya was also an esteemed radio artist. More recently, he had also lent his voice to popular Bengali like Bhuban Majhi (2017), Jaatishwar (2014) and Moner Manush (2010). He was also part of a folk band called Dohar, which had as its objective the popularisation of the rustic songs of Bangal and North East India among the urban masses.
Bhattacharya was travelling with four other members of his band when his car was hit by a truck on NH2, resulting in it falling into a water body. He was on his way to a school function in Birbhum when the accident occurred at 9 30 am. His death has been widely mourned by members of the music industry.