GUWAHATI, Nov 30 � Former and present teachers and students of centurion Cotton College today paid rich tributes to their former Principal Harshanath Sen and his five colleagues, who saved the college from being extinct during the Second World War, between 1942 and 1946, at a function held at the Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha Auditorium of the College.
A souvenir titled � Dwitiya Bishwa Yuddha, Cotton College Aru Itihash � was released on the occasion by Amal Chandra Hazarika (Bhaimon Hazarika), a 92-year-old alumnus of the College, who knew Harshanath Sen personally.
Principal Sen and his colleagues � Phanidhar Dutta (Mathematics), Birinchi Kumar Barua (Assamese), Dandeswar Gogoi (Economics), Chandra Kanta Das (Physics) and Abdul Hai (Philosophy), continued the academic activities of the college, going against the wishes of the colonial authorities during the Second World War.
The colonial powers wanted to use the Cotton College campus for sheltering the troops of the Allied Forces and to facilitate it they desired to shift the students and the teachers to other colleges of the province.
Principal Sen and his above named colleagues arranged for makeshift thatched roof structures and rented houses to run the classes of the college and its hostels. They even paid from their own pockets the rents of the class rooms and hostels whenever the situation so demanded.
Sen�s youngest son, 70-year-old Piyus Kumar Sen said in his address to the gathering that he was overwhelmed by the gesture shown by the past and present teachers and students of Cotton College in commemorating the contributions made seven decades back by his father and five of his colleagues.
�This function was organised at a time when even his own family members are about to forget Principal Sen. The function has highlighted the extraordinary qualities of Principal Sen,� he said.
However, he reminded, it would have been impossible for his father to accomplish the feat had there not been some noble persons like Phanidhar Dutta and Dandeswar Gogoi ready to extend their wholehearted support to him.
Noted economist Partha Sen, a grandson of Principal Sen, said that because of the greatness of Cotton College as an institution, such a function could be held in the presence of the veteran teachers and the students who had left the college long back. This is a rare thing in today�s world, he observed.
Organising committee president Dr Tarakeswar Choudhury narrated the whole story of HN Sen and his five colleagues� bid to keep the flag of Cotton College flying. The story has much relevance for the present day Cotton College, which is passing through a critical phase, following the establishment of the Cotton College State University.
The college has now been robbed of its class rooms, library, laboratories and even the hostels. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will have to stammer in determining the grade of Cotton College today under such a situation, he asserted.
Members of the families of Phanidhar Dutta, Dandeswar Gogoi and Birinchi Kumar Barua also spoke on the occasion. The function was also addressed by Cotton College Principal Nirada Devi and its assistant professor of economics Suresh Nath.