Doomdooma College situated in the easternmost part of the State in Tinsukia district has completed its 50 years of existence and it is celebrating its golden jubilee this year with a year-long programme.
This higher seat of learning is the time-enduring fruit of the concerted efforts of many a generous, selfless and dedicated social workers and educated enlightened persons, who had sacrificed their time, toil, patience and energy in order to translate into reality a long-cherished dream of the public for the establishment of a college in this socio-culturally backward area. With this end in view, a firm resolution was adopted in a large public meeting held on November 30, 1966 under the president ship of Late Dr Atul Ch Baruah - the then medical officer of Bokpara Tea Estate. For effective implementation of the public resolution, a steering committee was also formed and the committee in its maiden sitting, held on 11.12.1966 resolved to apply to the Government of Assam for allotment of a suitable plot of land for a permanent college campus. Subsequently the Doomdooma India Ltd - a British-owned tea company had, by way of exchange, allotted a plot of land at Rupai Siding adjacent to the railway track and NH 37 at a distance of 1.5 km away from the main Doomdooma town.
The steering committee spared no pains in motivating the public for generous financial aid and active cooperation for raising funds for the infrastructural development of the college. Under the competent stewardship of Late Jogendra Nath Deka � a local timber merchant and chairman of the Doomdooma Town Committee, the college started functioning from July 4, 1967 with four lecturers being appointed by a sub-committee. Late Prof Saroj Kr Dutta � the HoD of English, Tinsukia College came, on lien to join as the first Principal of the college. The hallowed memory of Malia Tanti, Late JN Deka, Nagendra Narayan Deka, Rajyamalla Deka, Harihar Chowdhury, Hema Barkakaty, Chenikantha Barpatra Gohain, Rupeswar Gogoi, Jadav Sharma, Abeidul Haque, Abdul Hoque Chowdhury, Devicharan Borborah, Lalchand Agarwalla, Shyama Prasad Medhi, Satya Narayan Budia and many others still burns bright in our heart, for these social workers, had, at the initial stage of growth and development of this temple of learning, formed an integrated group and explored every viable corner for collection of funds for the college. Moreover they had left no stone unturned in creating a most conducive academic environment for students' admission in the college.
Late Jogendra Nath Deka � a grey haired gentleman was, indeed a son of the soil, who by virtue of his tenacity of will, robust mental health, foresight, sagacious workmanship and active social relations with the public was the pioneer and the steering wheel behind the college. Under his guidance, the teachers, students and even the honourable members of the then governing body, all in one unified force, started collecting funds for the college even from the distant villages and tea gardens. This enthusiastic college team, with a sincere solemn pledge to build up a golden temple of learning, had invited theatrical troupes such as �Mina Varieties� from Kolkata, Kahinoor and Awahon from Assam and had gone to the extent of arranging �College Husori Party� at the time of Rongali Bihu in order to raise funds for the college. The College Husori Party � a unique jocund company at that time, had covered a wide area from Makum to Saikhowa Ghat to Tangana Gaon. The old and the young alike, had joined this husori party and without rest, went on performing traditional Bihu husori till the small hours of the day and thus had endeavoured to enrich the college fund. Here too, the Late JN Deka had stolen the limelight by virtue of his strong organising and leadership qualities.
On expiry of one year lien, Prof SK Dutta had left his job and resumed his old assignment at Tinsukia College. Prof Raihan Shah, a retired HoD of English, Cotton College was appointed as the Principal of the college on 14.11.1968. The college still recalls with pride and gratitude the dedicated and distinguished services of these two great men of letters who were capable of and responsible for giving a definite shape to the institution in its infancy by their efficient administration and guardianship qualities. Meanwhile, Late Robin Chowdhury came all the way from Kolkata leaving his job at the British Information Service and joined as a lecturer in the Department of Assamese and later on became the Vice-Principal and Principal of the college.
With only a few students, most of whom were employees, the college started its morning session at Hoonlal HS School and due to heavy public pressure for enrolment of students in the subsequent period, the college authority had extended permission for an evening shift at Doomdooma Girls� High School. As the founder secretary of the first ad-hoc governing body, Late JN Deka with his untiring efforts and competent organising capacity had persevered to earn public support and active cooperation from all and sundry for this noble cause. He believed with his courage and conviction that public welfare could only be possible through public participation and support. That is why under his able stewardship, people from all walks of life, had, with a sportsmanship spirit, explored every corner and knocked every door � poor or rich, to beg alms for the greater interest of the college. Mixed with anguish and ecstasy, he and his steadfast co-workers in the field, had ultimately become successful in their sincere and selfless endeavour in bringing rapid growth and progress of the college. But for the steadfast efforts and stewardship of Late JN Deka, the long-cherished dream for such a temple of knowledge, could possibly have never been a reality. Gradually generous financial aids poured in for various infrastructural development. The greatest contribution in this regard, came from the Williamson Magor group which had donated the main administrative building of the college. With the passage of time, the college received grants from the Tea Board for a hostel, big class rooms and halls from Late Gopi Ram Agrawal of Phillobari, Sankerlal Bahety of Rupai, Doomdooma zone of ABITA, Ariabari Tea Company, a library-cum-reading room from Late Dr Dipali Dutta and Sita Ram Patowari and his brothers and two classrooms from the Assam Frontier Tea Company Ltd.
With such generous public donations, the college at the initial stage of its growth, was able to accommodate students of Arts, Commerce and Science streams in the undergraduate courses. The college came under the deficit grant-in-aid system in 1975. Since then, the UGC and the State Government have sanctioned financial aids for various needs of the college.
Presently the college accommodates more than 3000 students in all the three streams under the guidance of the present Principal and more than 80 qualified teachers have been imparting education in the college. Through various stages of development, Doomdooma College has completed 50 years of its existence and the college authority is celebrating the golden jubilee with various socio-cultural and academic programmes at hand.
The establishment of a higher seat of learning in this socio-culturally backward region, surrounded by tea gardens and various ethnic tribes was indeed a very arduous task. The illiterate masses and the enlightened few � all in one unified force, once, resolved to create an atmosphere congenial for the birth, growth and progress of a higher seat of learning. Let this burning candle of knowledge shine brighter ever more in the days to come.
(The writer is a former Principal of Doomdooma College)