On the occasion of the seventh foundation day celebration of the Centre for Assamese Studies (CAS), Tezpur University (TU), a glittering programme was organized at the screening hall of the Department of Mass Communication & Journalism, TU on Thursday.
A talk on ‘A century of Assamese studies’ was also organised on the occasion.
Prof Ranjit Kr Dev Goswami, noted academician and former Srimanta Sankardeva Chair & Head, CAS briefly narrated how the students from Assam studied Assamese in Calcutta University in 1919 as there was no higher learning institution in Assam during that time.
“Thanks to Sir Asutosh Mookerjee (the prolific Bengali educator and second Indian Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta), who had envisioned the study of multiple literatures in colonial India as a means of bridging the differences among languages, identities, people and started the Department of Indian Languages at Calcutta University in 1919 where Assamese was also studied,” Prof Goswami said.
Later, the study in Assamese was shifted from Calcutta to Assam with establishment of institutes of higher learning (Cotton College – 1901) and Gauhati University (1948).
Revisiting the 19th century Assamese studies, Prof Goswami emphasized that although study of the 19th century Assamese literature is must for understanding modern Assamese studies, the significance of the 17th and 18th centuries is equally important.
“Studying 19th century Assamese literature is the doorway to the modern Assamese studies, but the 19th century is incomplete without studying 18th century,” Prof Goswami observed.
Prof Goswami, a noted linguist also elaborated what exactly is ‘Assamese studies’. Assamese Studies is the study of ‘Bhasha (language), Sanskriti (tradition) and sahitya (literature)”.
Advising the young faculty members and researchers, Prof Goswami said, “One needs to learn at least English and Sanskrit before venturing into the world of Assamese studies. A few more language skills are an additional asset.”
Speaking on the occasion, Prof VK Jain, VC, Tezpur University, particularly mentioned Dr Bhabendra Nath Saikia’s contributions to the Assamese society and praised him as a multidimensional and versatile person modeled into one.
“He (Dr Bhabendra Nath Saikia) was an artiste, writer, filmmaker and poet,” Jain said. Prof Jain also said efforts would be given to transform the CAS into a department.
A novel ‘Kocharethi: The Araya Woman’ by Malayalam writer Narayan translated into Assamese by Dr Juri Dutta, assistant professor, CAS, was also released on the occasion.
The original Malayalam novel was published in 1998. The same was translated into English by Catharine Thankamma and published by Oxford University Press in 2011. An art exhibition of Siddhant Medhi, research scholar, CAS, was also exhibited at the venue.
The programme was also attended by Prof Madan M Sarma, senior faculty member, Department of English & Foreign Languages, Prof PK Das, Dean, Humanities & Social Sciences, Dr Satish Ch Bhattacharya, noted academician, apart from other faculty members and staff members of the university.