By- Biswajit Chakrabarty
When the Cotton College State University Bill was introduced, it was assumed naturally that the Cotton College, along with its history, glory, teachers, staff, students, all assets and properties together would upgrade itself to a university. What is going to happen in reality?
What will be lost – forever?
Cotton College State University would be created and the existing Cotton College would become its obvious part. Instead of a natural upgradation, Cotton College would have to give away all its land, the century old memory ridden buildings, hostels, library, laboratories,- everything would be sacrificed for the glorious start of the new university.
The untiring efforts taken by the legendary teachers throughout the last century which had paved the way for the post graduation courses in Cotton College would be all be lost and a new start will take place. The laboratories which had given birth to the first Doctorate of Gauhati University would be lost. The efforts of legendary icons like Professor Atul Dutta and Gobinda Deka would be lost as well. All UGC accredited qualified teachers would be lost as well!
The cost of so much loss – is it really worth it?
At such a high cost, what will be Cotton College gain from its new “ruler” Cotton College State University? It will go back 50 years in to the past and become a mere Graduate level college with nothing left apart from a glorious past. Just a fading institution “Who has nothing left but had everything in the past”.
Our education minister has claimed that this is just a technical arrangement for the job security of those who do not have UGC accredited qualification! The “Unqualified” ones would be kept back in the Cotton College, while the “Qualified” lot will have to re-apply for positions in the new university and get posted!
This it proves the vast difference between Cotton College and new Cotton College State University.
The Unanswered questions
In the year 2001, Cotton College celebrated its glorious centenary celebrations. In year 2051, when Cotton College celebrates 150 years of glorious existence, would it the responsibility of Cotton College or Cotton College State University? Will Cotton College State University claim its foundation year as 1901 or 2011?
In the last 110 years, whoever has prided himself as a Cottonian or as a teacher of Cotton College, the above questions are very important. Not for the ones though, who do not understand or learn from history. For them, emotions should come in progression.
With emotions kept aside
Keeping emotions aside, let us give away Cotton College along with all its assets to the new university for the sake of the new education revolution that this university would bring, as per words of our education minister.
Now, can our education minister answer us if for his dream university, the present size and campus of Cotton College enough? We have always realized that for progression of Cotton College, one of the drawbacks always faced was its lack of space and land. So would it end up in a situation that after losing our beloved Cotton College, the new university too is of limited strength and limited size?
Those whose life is dedicated to teaching, those who regards overall progression and development more than political profitability have always been ignored by the education department while brining any changes in all levels,- elementary to higher levels. When there was protest against blind following of the CBSE curriculum in schools of Assam, the education department did not allow the past teachers of Cotton College to meet the officials to discuss the issue, in spite of requests put. There is no surprise now when this same lot has taken a dictatorial decision for Cotton College.
To the Education Minister
In a news channel, you have used the word technically every time you spoke about the issue of Cotton College State University. Whatever you meant, for us it is clear that you are adamant to destroy our beloved Cotton College both legally and technically. The history of Cotton College will see this chapter written in black, not golden.
Just a request to our honorable Education minister, – please do not try to fool us anymore by speaking about upgradation of Cotton College. No one would stand against your will and your effort to create an international level university though, may your efforts be successful.
Writer Biswajit Chakrabarty is a retired professor of Cotton College.
Translated by Priyankan Goswami from the writer’s original article in Assamese with his kind permission.