GUWAHATI, June 9 - �In the 21st century, the field of English studies has become multi-cultural and multi-coloured and the lighthouse of white splendour has to share its space with black, brown and yellow shades. English studies have undergone a paradigm shift from the well-known racial binary of superiority and inferiority, and is no longer about the language, culture and literature of the white races. All the English studies are now of rainbow hue.�
Delivering the Birinchi Kumar Barua Memorial Lecture, 2019, on the topic �English Literature Studies in India, Past Present and Future� on Sunday, distinguished academician Prof Dr Sanjukta Dasgupta made the above remarks on the expansion of English studies and creation of local literature in English language.
The lecture, organised by the Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua Memorial Trust, was held at the auditorium of the Vivekananda Kendra at Uzanbazar.
Dr Dasgupta, formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Head of the Department of English at Calcutta University, is the convener of the English Language Board, General Council, Sahitya Akademi. Also a poet, short story writer, critic and translator, she has been invited to teach at a number of prestigious universities in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and Poland.
The event was organised in the memory of Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua, a renowned scholar, administrator, novelist, educationist, historian and folklorist, who was well known for his scholarly and creative pursuits. His widely acclaimed novels Jeevanar Batot and Seuji Pataar Kahini are considered milestones of Assamese literature.
Lauding the role of Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua for taking up research work on Assam�s cultural heritage way back in 1947 under London University, Dr Dasgupta said it was no ordinary work to take up studies in local culture in the colonial era. The same thesis was later published as A Cultural History of Assam.
A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award (posthumously) for his book Asomar Loka Sanskriti, Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua was also responsible for the establishment of Gauhati University at Jalukbari in 1955.
Delivering the welcome speech, Prof Nagen Saikia, president of the memorial trust, said it was important for the people of Assam to reminisce the memories of stalwarts like Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua, without whose contributions, the Assamese community cannot stand proud as a sub-nationality.
Justice DN Choudhury released the English translation of Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua�s Aghoni Bai, named as Aghoni Bai and Other Stories, which has been translated by writer and columnist Mitra Phukan. The book is a collection of five stories highlighting the injustice meted out to the underprivileged, especially women.