Past simple, future perfect : The story of JB College

The idea of a college in upper Assam was first mooted at the 13th session of the Assam Students’ Conference held at Tezpur way back in 1928. Education doyen Tulsi Narayan Sharma pursued the fledgling concept to its fruition two years later. Under his initiative some citizens espousing the cause met at the Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan and resolved to start the ‘Upper Assam College’ in 1930. The name was subsequently changed to ‘Jorhat College’ by which the institution was known till June 25, 1938. After that date the college was named after Jagannath Barooah (1851-1907), the first graduate from upper Assam, whose maternal grandson Murulidhar Barooah, a philanthropist tea planter, had donated the ‘Borpatra Kutir’ (the present administrative building) and its adjoining campus to house the nascent college.

Despite public scepticism and lack of support from the Government in the initial years, the JB College stood its ground and grew from strength to strength. It has acquired its present status and proportions, “literally brick by brick” (a fact acknowledged in the brief overview of the college in its academic calendar).

Today with the changing times, the platinum jubilee college is throbbing with new ideas and buzzing with progressive activities. It continues to grow both physically and in terms of adding new courses of study to its curriculum. During an interaction with reporters, JB College principal Dr Noni Gopal Goswami had made a case for the grant of autonomy to the college. The college has already moved the Dibrugarh University which, in turn, will require to petition the University Grants Commission for the coveted status. “The immediate benefit that will accrue from the achievement of autonomy is that the college can take independent decisions in academic matters which will expedite the policy-making process,” Goswami pointed out. An internal quality assurance cell as well as an academic council have already been formed to pursue the matter, the principal added.

Echoing the same viewpoint, Surajit Sharma, lecturer in the Department of English, told The Sentinel that the autonomy arrangement will enable the college faculty to design and introduce job-oriented courses which are relevant to the times. The assessment of students, too, will be more meaningful and result-oriented once it is done within the college, he added.

Among the expansion plans of the college are the construction of a guesthouse for former students with funds from alumni based abroad, renovation of the boys’ hostels, development of a botanical garden and refurbishment of the administrative building. The college authorities are in touch with corporate houses for several infrastructural development activities. However, the major addition to the glory of the college will be the top-of-the-line computerized library which is nearing completion. It will be supported by the high-tech Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET in short), an autonomous body under the UGC, which will connect it to other university and college libraries in the country and outside. The software for it has already been acquired and installed. Once the software for university libraries (SOUL) becomes operational, the library will be fully automated.

Apart from BCA and DOEAC, three new certificate courses of one to two years’ duration have been introduced in the college curriculum under the advice of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). These include PC Hardware and Networking, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Composite Pisciculture. The three-day concluding ceremony of the platinum jubilee celebrations will start tomorrow. An alumni meet is the highlight of the day.

(The Sentinel,05/02/2006)