It was indeed a dream come true for thousands of people of Assam who had relentlessly agitated for decades for an institute of higher education in the province when Gauhati University was established on 26 January, 1948.
For a long time, the only university in the entire eastern region was at Calcutta. This university catered to the needs not only of the students from Bengal but also of those from Bihar, Orissa and Assam. Naturally, therefore, seats for students from Assam were extremely limited and very often even meritorious students found themselves ousted in the fray. Over the years, this had caused resentment among the educated Assamese youth and the necessity of a separate university began to be acutely felt.
Soon after the capital shifted to Delhi in 1911, Bihar and Orissa acquired their own Universities and it was then that Assam, too, put forward her claim to the Government for a separate University. The first public demand was made at the annual session of the Assam Association held at Sivasagar in 1917 when Satyanath Bora made a fervent plea in his Presidential speech for a separate University. He forcefully stated that apart from other reasons, Assam deserved an independent University for the simple reason that the Senate and Syndicate of the Calcutta University had little link with the people of Assam and as such could never identify themselves with the hopes and aspirations of the Assamese people. Satyanath Bora’s powerful speech had a tremendous impact on the Assamese intelligentsia and it was followed up by a petition to the Calcutta University Commission headed by Michael Sadler. From then onwards till 1928, representation and petitions to the Government for a separate university were presented from time to time…
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