‘19th century Assamese literature doorway to modern literature’

‘19th century Assamese literature doorway  to modern literature’

A Correspondent

Tezpur, June 8: On the occasion of seventh foundation day of the Centre for Assamese Studies (CAS), Tezpur University (TU), Centre for Assamese Studies organised a glittering programme at the screening hall of Mass Communication & journalism, TU. The programme started with an invocation of ‘Byas gowa Ojapali’ performed by Lopa Das, research scholar of the department and her group. A talk titled ‘A century of Assamese Studies’ was organised on the occasion. Ranjit Kr Dev Goswami, noted academician and former Srimanta Sankardeva Chair professor & Head, CAS briefly narrated how Assamese was first studied in Calcutta University in 1919, as there was no higher learning institution in Assam during that time.

“Thanks to 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. Department of Indian Languages started at Calcutta University in 1919, where Assamese was also being studied, Goswami told the audience.

Later, when Assam had Cotton College (established in 1901) and Gauhati University (established in 1948) the study shifted from Calcutta to Assam, he added. Revisiting the 19th century Assamese studies, Goswami emphasized that although the 19th Century Assamese studies is must for understanding modern Assamese studies, the significance of the 17th and 18th centuries is equally important. “Studying 19th Century literature is the doorway to the modern Assamese studies, but 19th century is incomplete without studying 18th century,” Goswami observed.

Advising the young faculty members and researchers, Goswami said, “One need to learn at least English and Sanskrit before venturing into the world of Assamese studies. A few more language skill is an additional asset,” he added.

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