Struggle and Education: Agitation: Gauhati University's own Freedom
It was indeed a dream come true for thousands of people of Assam who had relentlessly agitated for decades for an institute of higher education in the province when Gauhati University was established on 26 January, 1948.
For a long time, the only university in the entire eastern region was at Calcutta. This university catered to the needs not only of the students from Bengal but also of those from Bihar, Orissa and Assam.
Time and again, the Government came out with the same excuses: there was no fund to sustain a university in Assam and the number of local students was too small to justify the establishment of a separate university.
These excuses however, did not deter the Assamese intelligentsia from continuing with their agitation. On 30 April, 1935, at an all party meet at the Curzon Hall, organized by the Assam Association and Sangrakhini Sabha and presided over by Gopinath Bardoloi,
In spite of the prevailing political situation, the agitation for a university continued. In October 1944, a huge Convention, presided over by Benudhar Rajkhowa, was held at the Kali Prasad Memorial Hall at Sivasagar. This Convention,
“The enthusiasm and spontaneity with which people from all over the state came forward with their contributions to the Trust fund in response to the appeal was simply amazing. The campaign for a university had turned into a people’s movement”.
In fact, by the time the university was actually established, the money at its disposal was Rs. 22,39,605. This was a rare example of a university being established with donations, small and large, collected from the people of the region.
Gauhati University was incorporated by an Act of 1947.
The objective of the University is to bring about social, economic, cultural, moral and spiritual upliftment of the people of Assam. As stated in the Objects and Reasons appended to the Gauhati University Bill, 1947:
“Assam offers great opportunities of study in many fields-linguistic, historical, ethnological, archaeological, geological, scientific and agricultural …..It will be the aim of the proposed University to intensify the study of the age long spirit of Assamese life and character, and to bring in them the necessary adjustments in relation to Indian civilization and to the different and new impulses of the West”.
The desire of seeing the University “illumine the banks of the Luit” is reflected in the university anthem, Jilikaba Luitare Par, composed by Bhupen Hazarika. This was just one of the #shadesoffreedom story that inspire the Assamese even today. Like this content? Share and comment. Tag us @ManuheManuhorbabe1 on Twitter and on Facebook.