Sabha bid to globalise culture

The foundation stone of Assam Cultural University laid in Guwahati
Writer Mamoni Raisom Goswami lays the foundation stone of Assam Cultural University at Chachal on Monday. Picture by Eastern Projections
Guwahati, Feb 10 : The foundation stone of the proposed Assam Cultural University was laid here today as part of the Asam Sahitya Sabha’s initiative to take the rich and diverse Assamese culture to a global audience.
Litterateur Mamoni Raisom Goswami laid the foundation stone of the university on behalf of music legend Bhupen Hazarika, who could not attend the ceremony, as he was not well.
The university, set up under the Assam Private Universities Act, 2007, would come up on a 50-bigha plot at Chachal on the new VIP Road linking Narengi and Six Mile here.
Modelled on similar universities in China, the university would initially impart courses in arts, humanities and social sciences.
In his speech, which was read out by Sabha president Kanak Sen Deka, Hazarika said the university would fulfil a long-cherished dream of the Sabha of which he himself is a past president.
“I was associated with the Sabha since my primary school days. Whatever I am today is because of it. How could I forget the blessings of the doyen of Assamese literature, Lakshminath Bezboruah, during my association with the Sabha in my childhood? I am extremely happy and over-optimistic that the Assam Cultural University would make the entire world aware of the rich Assamese literature and culture,” Hazarika said.
“I have travelled to many parts of the globe. But I was pained to find the rich and diverse culture of Assam not being known to the world. A large number of ethnic tribes with their own cultures and literatures are living peacefully in Assam and that is really unique, which the rest of the world must know at a time when the human race is witnessing conflicts and intolerance,” writer Goswami said.
Sabha president Sen Deka said when the Sabha conceived the idea of a cultural university there was cynicism from different quarters about the success of the project. He, however, said the state government really helped the Sabha to go ahead with the project.
“The Sabha would like to thank the education minister and the principal secretary of revenue department, V.K. Pipersenia, for their individual efforts to set up the university,” Deka said.
Suresh Garodia, the convenor of the project, said the Assam government has asked the Sabha to go ahead with the project and the formal letter of permission would be received within this month.
He said the university would start functioning within six months from the date of receiving the formal letter.
“We are exploring various funding sources to set up the permanent campus of the university at Chachal. The entire campus will be ready within five years. Besides offering various courses the university would go for comprehensive research projects on Assamese culture and literature. It will collaborate with foreign universities and invite foreign scholars for research on the state’s culture,” Garodia added.
State education minister Gautam Bora said the laying of the foundation stone for the university was a historic occasion for the people of Assam.
“The university would go a long way in protecting and preserving the diverse Assamese culture and literature in the face of globalisation. It would be a role model for the younger generation, which is blindly following Western culture. 
“The government will fully back the university,” the minister added. 
Ramani Barman, the joint registrar of Gauhati University, while speaking on the occasion, said the Assam Cultural University should be world class and must convert itself into a hub of study of culture and literature of Asia. 
He said funds should not be a constraint in running the university, as there are several people who want to pursue culture and literature seriously.