HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, ERSTWHILE ASSAM AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE
The erstwhile Assam Agricultural College started its functioning on 16th August, 1948. This was possible due to the efforts of some leading citizens of Jorhat and the then Prime Minister of Assam Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi. According to a reliable source, sometime in 1945, an informal meeting was held at the residence of Late Rajmohan Nath, Executive Engineer, Jorhat where Kuladhar Chaliha, Gunjanan Barua, Rajmohan Nath, Agricultural Inspector Kamini Kumar Dey and Mr. Mill (?) were present. In that meeting, Mr. Mill proposed that there should be an Agricultural college at Jorhat. His proposal was unanimously accepted and the members of the meeting met a leading citizen of Jorhat Late Sashi Barua. Late Barua immediately agreed and was willing to donate Rs.40000.00 for the noble cause. Afterwards, a meeting was convened where the plan and already prepared estimate for establishing the Agriculture College were discussed at length. Accordingly, the proposal was sent to the government. The Agriculture Minister of Assam of that time was Late Rupram Brahma while Mr. R. C. Woodford was the Director. Mr. Woodford rejected the proposal on the ground that Assam is a small state and the Agriculture department was too small where only a few gazetted officers were required to run the department hence there was no need for an Agriculture College in Assam. Then the committee convened a joint meeting with the government. Mr. Woodford agreed to come to Jorhat for the discussion. In that meeting, Rajmohan Nath was the spokesperson from the committee side. The committee’s argument in favour of an Agriculture college was convincing enough to get the green signal from the Director. This gave the committee the required impetus to start collecting donations from well-wishers. In the meantime, there was a movement for the establishment of a university at Gauhati (now Guwahati) and Gopinath Bordoloi came to Jorhat for the collection of funds for that purpose. He was very pleased to know the efforts of the people of Jorhat for the establishment of an Agriculture College. He assured the Committee members that “If Gauhati University is established, definitely there should be an Agriculture college.” He requested them not to collect funds for the Agriculture College which might hinder his collection drive for Gauhati University and suggested that they should explore other avenues for achieving the goal of establishing the Agriculture College.
Assam Agricultural College was inaugurated after one year of independence i.e. on 16th August, 1948. This was possible due to the concerted efforts made by the prominent citizens of Jorhat and then Chief Minister (Prime Minister) of Assam Gopinath Bordoloi. The college was proposed to be established in an abandoned military barrack near the Government Sugarcane Experimental Station at Borbheta Chapori. Approximately 120 acres of land was available in that area which was full of shelters, pucca plinths, stones, trenches and mounds. Practically there was no building worth the name. The college was temporarily housed in that barrack (Now Hostel No.1). The barrack was reconstructed, partitioned into classrooms, laboratories, offices etc. Practical classes of Chemistry and Physics were temporarily held in the Departmental Research Laboratory which was located nearby. Another military barrack situated at a distance of about 2 KM at Rongai Habi (Rowriah) was acquired by the Government and used as a hostel for the students. Apart from these, two departmental buildings were provided to the college to be used as the residence of the Principal and staff respectively.
The foundation of the college was laid by the then Governor of Assam Sir Akbar Hydari. Gauhati University was also established in 1948 and for the first five years, the Assam Agricultural College was under the affiliation of Gauhati University. The affiliation of the college was shifted to Dibrugarh University after its establishment in 1965. The affiliation remained under this University till the establishment of Assam Agricultural University on 1st April, 1969.
The first Principal of the college was Rev. B. M. Pugh, a Khasi gentleman from Shillong. He left the college (July, 1949) after one year and Dr. M. C. Das took over the charge of the Principal. A renowned educationist of Assam of that time, Dr. Das joined as Principal in 1949 and rendered his service for a long 17 years (Up to Feb., 1966). He was the foster father of the college and led from the front. He was the main architect who converted the abandoned barrack into fine buildings with required infrastructures. He obtained his Ph. D. degree from Edinburg. Before joining the Assam Agricultural College, he was a lecturer at Cotton College, Guwahati and Murarichand College of East Bengal (Now Bangladesh).
Some of the founder teachers along with Principal Rev. B. M. Pugh were M. N. Bora (Agronomy), D. K. Goswami (Agril. Engineering), H. N. Paul (Agril. Chemistry), D. Pathak (Physics and Meteorology), D. C. Barua (Animal Husbandry), Md. Sharifullah (Zoology and Entomology), U. D. Adhikari (Horticulture), H. G. Sarmah (Agril. Economics). Few more teachers joined in and after 1950 which included Ms. Tilottama Gogoi as Professor and A.K.Sarmah as a lecturer in Botany and T. C. Pathak as a lecturer in Agri. Engineering. During the next two years, some prominent teachers joined the college which included N. N. Mazumdar, K. C. Mahanta, N. Z. Ahmed, A. M. Das, S. Roychoudhury, P. C. Goswami, D. N. Borthakur, J. N. Borthakur. Dr. Kumudabhiram Das, Dr. Kumud Bora etc. Later, Dr. K. C.Mahanta served as Principal of Assam Agricultural College from Aug. 1967 to Sept. 1968).
The college was started with 30 students in the roll of the first year class. The first batch passed out in 1952. In that year, 14 students passed out which included Abidur Rahman, Narendra Nath Kakati, Purna Chandra Doloi, Badan Chandra Borthakur, Nalindra Chandra Chakrabarty, Sahabuddin Ahmed, Ennamual Haque Barbhuiyan, Himendra Chandra Das, Jogen Chandra Duarah, Jogen Shyam, Moheswar Saikia and Murulidhar Sarmah. Later on, all of them hold prestigious positions in different capacities. Eight other students of the first batch obtained their Bachelor’s Degrees in 1953 which included Birendra Nath Saikia, Dhirendra Nath Gohain, Dhirendra Nath Kalita, Hnamte Vantherama, Jyotish Sarma, Manibhusan Chakravarty, Mohendra Nath Dutta and Pachuau Saidinga.
In 1969 (1st April) Assam Agricultural University was established and Assam Agricultural College was affiliated to this university as College of Agriculture. The college has celebrated Silver Jubilee (In 1973), Golden Jubilee (In 1998) and now it is completing 75 years and all are ready to celebrate its Platinum Jubilee Year from 16th August, 2022 to 16th August, 2023. During these 75 glorious years, the College has produced thousands of graduates and many of them have brought laurels to this prestigious institute.
(The information are collected from the articles published in the Souvenir of Golden Jubilee Celebration of College of Agriculture)