Umesh Chandra Sarma
GAUHATI COMMERCE COLLEGE, a leading institution of higher education in Assam and North East region imparting Commerce education or business education came into existence on September 10, 1962. Jagannath Barooah College of Jorhat was the pioneering institution of Commerce education in Assam and North East India that started the commerce Department in 1944. Thereafter, in 1948 after the establishment of Gauhati University Under Graduate and Post Graduate studies in Commerce education started under the able leadership of Dr Krishna Kanta Handique, the Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University. In the early sixties Gauhati University decided to abolish Under Graduate Studies. Pandit Prabar late Tirthanath Sarma, principal of Pragjyotish College started the Intermediate Commerce College and later on decided to abolish the Commerce Department. There was a vacuum in higher studies in greater Guwahati. The intermediate courses of commerce education was being imparted in B Barooah College and Aryavidyapith College.
Realising the importance of Commerce education in degree and intermediate courses, some educationists, scholars and social workers convened a public meeting at Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall in the early part of 1961 to start a full-fledged commerce college. The meeting was attended by a number of scholars, educationists and social workers, namely Pandit Prabar late Trithanath Sarma, Pandit late Giridhar Sarma, late Kadermal Brahmin, late Surendra Mohan Das, late Satish Chandra Kakoty, late Naranarayan Goswami, late Liladhar Bora, justice Khagendra Nath Saikia, Dr Anil Kumar Sarma, late Golap Chandra Chowdhury, late Hemanta Chowdhury, late Bhabananda Deka and Dr Rohimi Kumar Baruah. The meeting was presided over by late Trithanath Sarma and an ad-hoc committee was formed headed by late Tirthanath Sarma as president and late Dr Bhagaban Chandra Lahkar as secretary.
In September that year, another public meeting was held at Kamrup Academy HS School and a permanent governing body was formed. Late Dr Birinchi Kumar Barooah was selected as president and late Bhagaban Chandra Lahkar as secretary. The meeting also decided to start the college and named as Gauhati Commerce College from the following academic session in 1962. As per governing body appeal to then Education Minister late Debakanta Baruah to start classes in the new Arts building of Cotton College in the evening shift, the Minister subsequently accorded his permission.
September 10, 1962 was a red letter day for Gauhati Commerce College. On that day it started functioning in the evening shift in the New Arts Building of Cotton College. Prof late Badan Chandra Baruah took the first class. The college got affiliation for intermediate course of Commerce in 1963.
The course of Commerce in 1963, and thereafter got affiliation of B Com (Degree College) in 1964 from Gauhati University and also the Government, besides concurrence in 1965. After getting the affiliation and Govt concurrence, the next important step was to make the college a deficit college. For this a college must have its own land and building. Principal/Secretary Dr Bhagaban Chandra Lahkar approached the Govt for getting land for the college. His untiring effort become successful when the Govt of Assam allotted 17 bighas of land at the present site at Chandmari. Out of this 17 bighas of land, only 5 to 6 bighas of land was suitable for building construction as the rest is marshy land.
Sincere thanks one due to M/s India Carbon Limited and to its then executive officer, PC Goenka for their construction of two big classrooms (40´ X 40´) each and four small classrooms. These two big rooms are now converted to college auditorium. As soon as the problem regarding the classrooms and land was partially over, the college shifted to its permanent site at Chandmari in 1966 and the Govt of Assam was kind enough to bring the college under grant-in-aid (deficit system) in the year 1966. It was a remarkable achievement for the college.
From 1966 onwards Gauhati Commerce College did not look back. The college got UGC grant for the construction of RCC double-storied building for boys’ hostel. Some portion of the highland was purchased by the college authority from late Narahari Burabhakat and late Rameswar Kalita and late Binod Bora. The two-storied (RCC) building of Boys Hostel and the superintendent’s quarter was constructed in between 1968 and 1970 Dr Lahkar took all initiative to construct the library building for the college, and with the grant received from the UGC. The library of the college was named after Dr Birinchi Kumar Baruah. Late Bhuban Chandra Mahanta was founder Librarian of the College. Now the college has more than 30,000 books and journals with modern equipment and electronic media besides internet facility.
During the 1973-1974 session, the college got permission to open Honours course in Business Management in the Degree course. Gauhati University and AICTE accorded the permission.
The enrolment of students was steadily increasing from the sixties. It was 1000 and moved to 1500 in the seventies and to 2000 in the eighties. The nineties witnessed a strength of 3000 students enrolled in HS, TDC and M Com classes.
The result of the college has been uniformly brilliant in HS, TDC and Post Graduate (M.Com). Near about 85 per cent to 95 per cent students passed out from the college with highest marks in honours under GU and rank holders in AHSE Examination.
In 1984, late Dr BC Lahkar left the college (on lien) as he was appointed as the founder chairman of the newly formed Assam Higher Secondary Education Council. He resigned the chairmanship in 1985.
After late Dr BC Lahkar left the college, late Dr Purnanda Saikia, a noted vaishnavite scholar of Assam became the principal of the college. He translated the Namghosa from Assamese to English, which is appreciated by the elite class. During his short span of time in the college as principal, along with the regular routine work, he guided the college on the academic front.
In 1986, late Dr BC Lahkar returned to the college as principal and again initiated some developmental activities with the UGC grant he constructed the Assam-type building on the 1st floor of the library building. In 1993 the college got the permission to open Post Graduate classes (MCom) from Gauhati University. In fact Gauhati Commerce College is the first institution imparting Business education from Higher Secondary level up to Degree level and Post Graduate level.
On October 1, 1996 Prof Umesh Chandra Sarma became the Principal of the college and he took bold steps for infrastructure work.
The old congested dilapidated Assam-type administrative building was dismantled and a new two-storied RCC administrative building was constructed and named after Horeswar Goswami. The Assam-type teachers’ common room was broken down and new Faculty House was constructed. The dilapidated main Assam-type building was dismantled and the new two-storied RCC classrooms were constructed to accommodate the ever-growing student population and to give a modern look to the college. The Faculty House was inaugurated by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, then Chief Minister of Assam. He praised the college authority for the construction of the Faculty House.
The Girl’s common room was much needed due to the increasing number of girl students. A RCC building with modern sanitation and toilet facilities was constructed to meet the requirements of girl students from the grants received from the Chandmall Sarawgi Trust.
The modern outlook of the college was possible only because of the fund received from UGC and MP Local Area Development Fund of Dr Monmohan Singh, Prime Minister and then MP of Rajya Sabha from Assam and Ms Basanti Devi, MP of Rajya Sabha from Assam. Our gratitude goes to Dr Monmohan Singh for his kind visit to the college. He inaugurated the building along with Pankaj Bora, MLA, East Guwahati Constituency on September 4, 2001.
In 1999, the college started classes of Company Secretary course organized by North Eastern Chapter of Company Secretaries. It was a great hope to the students who desired to be a Company Secretary. Computer education in the college was started in 2001 from the grant received from Oil India Limited and Indramoni Bora, MP Rajya Sabha from Assam. Binoy Brata Sarma, MD of Oil India Limited and Indramoni Bora stood behind this noble cause of computer education. We extend our heartiest thanks to them. The Computer Education course was inaugurated by Dr Nirmal Choudhury, Vice Chancellor of GU. In his speech he asked the students to take up Computer Education seriously to become good business professionals in future.
The college has more than 3000 students, but there was no playground and other recreation facilities. Realising this problem, the marshy land of the college was developed with municipal garbage and hill soil and a playground of 10 bighas was reclaimed.
The college organised the release of namghosa translated from Assamese to English by late Dr Purnanda Saika, ex-principal of Gauhati Commerce College. Late LN Mishra, Governor of Assam released the English Version of Namghosa on May 23, 1997 in the college auditorium. This translation achieved national recognition.
Dr Ranjita Choudhury translated Sahitya Rathi Rasaraj Lakshminath Bezbaruah’s Koka Deuta aru Nati Lora in English, which not only enriched children’s literature, but also achieved national recognition.
I feel proud to add here that the thesis of Dr Tora Mahanta, faculty member, Department of English of Gauhati Commerce College, (TE Hulme: A study of his Poetry, Criticism and Influence, 2010) has been internationally published by the German Publisher VDM Verlag Dr Muller Aktiengesellescha St d Co KG Seabrucken, Germany. This is the first international publication by the faculty members of Gauhati Commerce College.
It is earnestly hoped that Dr Devdas Bharali, president of the governing body and Principal Dr Ghanasyam Nath will be able to keep up the tradition that has been built up by their predecessors.