Chairman of Tea Board Prabhat K Bezboruah and Jorhat Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Nimbalkar jointly released the fifth Assamese edition and the second English edition of ‘Jorhat – From Establishment to Independence of India’ (1794-1947), written by industrialist Om Prakash Gattani here on Sunday.
Monoj Kumar Goswami, Grantha Sanskriti, Jorhat, publisher of the Assamese edition, said that the book, more than 12000 copies of which have been sold, was indicative of its popularity.
He further said that the book was one of the history books which had not received any negative feedback and the positive suggestions, comments and reviews Gattani had received.
DD Bagwani, Vishwanath Hindi Sahitya Parishad, New Delhi, publisher of the Hindi and English versions as well as another book written by Gattani, ‘Marward se Kamrup – Jorhat Marwari Samaj’, said that he was at first skeptical of the book whether it would be marketable but he was happy to have been proved wrong after being persuaded by Gattani to publish it.
Jul Khound, organising secretary of the central committee of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), said that after he had received a copy of the book and he had done a thorough check to find out whether it would generate controversy and found the book so interesting and devoid of conflicting statements that this book has been presented by AASU to those who have passed matriculation and higher secondary with distinction.
Jul Khound further said that nationalism and patriotism was lacking among the new generation as history and geography were no longer compulsory subjects in schools and books which covered the history of some place would arouse such feelings. He also praised the book for being full of snippets of information like the ‘Kokila Raax Utsav to Jorhat Sanmilani’ and Gymkhana Club to People’s Book Store in Gar-Ali.
Prabhat Bezboruah also praised Gattani for depicting the history of Jorhat from the time that the Ahom kings shifted their capital to Jorhat to Independence but warned that Jorhat, which has been portrayed as the second-most important city after Guwahati in Assam, was slowly losing its importance.
“This premier metropolis is under threat. After Independence, the leaders had developed Assam Agricultural University, Regional Research Laboratory, Jorhat Engineering College and the thriving tea industry had made Jorhat great but in the past 25 years, nothing much except for National Institute of Design had been given to Jorhat,” he said.
Bezboruah further said that all the projects worth about Rs 20000 crore like Bogibeel bridge, Dhola-Sadiya bridge and Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited, Plastic Park had been given to Dibrugarh and Tinsukia, districts.
Bezboruah said that the National Highway also would be going from Numaligarh to Gohpur through the North Bank to Lakhimpur and the road passing through Jorhat would be named as NH 715.
“We should awake, otherwise we will slip from second city to fifth and sixth city, ” he said.
Jorhat SP Nimbalkar began his speech by quoting a Sanskrit shloka and said that unless one knew one’s history there was a risk that history would repeat itself.
He also said that the present generation should read the history from books instead of believing most of the false information being spread through WhatsApp messages. He narrated the story of BRICS Amber Kar, who had lost three pieces of luggage on a voyage to UK during a storm and said that he had lost everything when informed about the third box being washed away, as that had contained all his books.
Several speakers Partha Sarathi Saikia, NC Karnany, Makhan Gattani, Runu Baruah, Sitaram Bahini and others spoke on the need for gifting this coffee table book like the one OP Gattani had written instead of flower bouquets which were usually thrown away, and how a businessman had taken to writing because of his passion for collecting coins especially of the Ahom era from which he had extracted the history especially pertaining to economy and societal changes.
Gattani has also opened a museum where his collection is displayed.
Jatindra Nath Baruah Tea Association of India chairman delivered the valedictory address.
A brief review of the book by a reader, Bikash Jalani, highlighted how Jorhat had been chronologically chronicled and some of the interesting facets regarding the origin of Neuville Road, Negheriting Dol, about the Jorha’s Bhut Bungalow which was actually a windowless Masonic Lodge, the Moamoriya revolution, and some of the important people.
“One can have the love towards one’s motherland only when you know it’s history and the book rightly begins with ‘Let the city you live in, live in your heart,” Jalani said.