GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - When we talk about the old Bengalee residents of Guwahati, we must first name Babu Gopal Krishna Dey of Jorpukhuripar locality. Dey was born and brought up in Gauhati. He was not only the first librarian of the Curzon Hall (now Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall), but also a pioneer in writing original Assamese stage plays. To accomplish that feat, he had teamed up with renowned novelist late Rajani Kanta Bordoloi and renowned historian late Kanaklal Barooah, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika.
Dey also moved a proposal at the 1924 Gauhati session of the Asam Sahitya Sabha held at the Judges� Field, that memorial columns of prominent persons should be erected at their residential complexes, as there was a fear that their residential complexes would not be preserved for eternity. The Sahitya Sabha session was presided over by Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa.
Following this resolution, the memorial column of Bhasar Ojah Hem Chandra Barooah was erected at the Uzanbazar residence complex of the renowned lexicographer on the crossing of Fatik Chandra Road and Hem Chandra Road.
Dey�s father, who was a good singer, came to Gauhati from Srihatta district of undivided Assam, in the mid-19 th century. Dey stayed at Gauhati after his retirement from the Curzon Hall till he was brutally murdered in front of the then Gauhati European Club (now the old complex of the Gauhati High Court) by some miscreants in 1925. The miscreants slit his throat. But none of them was arrested, nor was the cause behind the murder ascertained.
Late Hem Chandra Sen, a retired headmaster of Cotton Collegiate School, moulded the academic careers of many leading personalities of Assam. His residence � Sen Kutir, was located to the west of New Field.
In the early 20th century, there sprang up a Bengalee locality in Chatribari area on the north bank of the present-day Barsola Beel. The distinguished residents of the Chatribari Professor Para included � Upen Dutta, an ex-principal of Cotton College, renowned botanist Professor Atul Chandra Dutta and ex-Deputy Mayor of Guwahati Saroj Sengupta (Mona Sen) and his brother Dr Salil Sengupta (Bhola Sen).
Saroj Sengupta was a prominent RCPI leader. Prof Atul Dutta was a very good cricketer. He initiated scientific cricket coaching in Gauhati.
Mamath Mitra�s family, the founder of Phansi (Fancy) Bazar Mitra & Co, were also residents of Chatribari Professor Para.
Another prominent headmaster Chandra Mohan Goswami of many Assam high schools, was also an old Bengali resident of Gauhati. For some time, he stayed in Panbazar CK Road locality, near Hari Sabha. Late Goswami was the teacher of Anundoram Borooah, Sahityarathi Bezbaroa and Padmanath Gohain Barua, among others, who later became dazzling personalities in the socio-literary sphere of the State.
Babu Nanigopal Banerjee of Panbazar was another prominent personality of Gauhati. He donated a plot of land for setting up the first public garden of Gauhati, which was named the Jubilee Garden, to preserve the memory of the golden jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria�s reign. This garden has now been replaced by the water treatment plants of the Gauhati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and Public Health Engineering (PHE) department.
Gopal Banerjee of Panbazar BN Dey & Co, who was a member of the Gauhati Municipal Board for several years, proposed restoration of the original name of Fancy Bazar, that is, Phansi Bazar. Officially the name Phansi Bazar still exists, despite the name Fancy Bazar still remaining popular.
Umesh Chandra Deb of Paltanbazar area, who was the father of noted painter Ashu Deb, served Pandit Hem Chandra Goswami as his personal assistant. He had written a biography of Srimanta Sankardeva in Assamese.
The Chatribari Ramkrishna Mission campus was founded by three Bengalee gentlemen. Two of them � Nanigopal Dutta and Binoy Dutta � were brothers and they lived in the Panbazar-Noonmati (now GNB) Road area. They teamed up with Tarini Dutta of Chatribari to found the Mission campus. Nanigopal and Binoy Dutta�s father Sashi Bhusan Dutta was a teacher of Bishnu Ram Medhi, the first Assamese, who rose to the post of Governor.
Nanigopal Dutta was a school teacher-turned-timber merchant. Former (1977) Janata Party MLA from East Guwahati constituency and prominent social worker Ajay Dutta is his son, said Hazarika.