To mark 75 years of Indian Independence, a National Conference on ‘Lesser-Known Freedom Fighters of Assam’ was held at Tezpur University on August 22, 2022, under the nationwide celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”. The inaugural session of the conference began at 10 AM with the welcome address of Dr. Subrata Jyoti Neog, president of the organizing committee. Dr. Mandakini Barua, Assistant Professor, Department of Cultural Studies explained the rationale of the event in her follow-up speech. The inaugural address was delivered by Prof D. K. Bhattacharyya, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University. Prof. Bhattacharyya spoke on the importance of organizing such conferences. Registrar of the University, Dr. Biren Das, who was also present at the inaugural session, in his speech discussed the major role of Chandranath Sharma and Padmanath Gohainbaruah in the Indian freedom struggle. The keynote address of the conference was delivered by Dr. Chandan Kumar Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of History, Dibrugarh University. Prof Sheila Bora, Hon. Advisor, Department of History, Royal Global University, in her speech highlighted the role of Assamese women in the freedom struggle. In his address, Dr. Sharma especially highlighted the need of a dialogue with the common folk about the lesser known freedom fighters which has been done otherwise by films and textbooks. In the inaugural session, a book titled ‘Literature, Society and Literary Theory’ by Dr. Juri Dutta, Assistant Professor, Department of Assamese, Tezpur University was released. The inaugural session of the conference ended with the vote of thanks by Jyotishman Das, coordinator of the conference and Assistant Professor of the Department of Assamese, Tezpur University.
In the first session of the conference, conducted by renowned historian of Assam, Prof Sheila Bora, Dr. Dhanmoni Kalita, Dr. Tarun Gogoi and Dr. Sanjib Sahoo presented their papers. Prof Bora presented the paper titled ‘Role of Assam Mahila Samiti as a catalyst for women’s participation in the freedom struggle’, 1921-47. Dr Kalita talked about ‘The relationship between Maniram Dewan and the British Raj’. Dr. Gogoi highlighted the ‘Role of Lokasewak Haladhar Bhuyan in the Freedom Struggle’. Dr. Sahu delivered a fascinating presentation on the history of Assam’s participation in INA based on the autobiography of Sridam Chandra Mahanta ‘Aai En Er Asamiya Sainikar Aatmakaha (The Autobiography of an Assamese Soldier in INA)’.
Dr. Debabrata Sharma, a lexicographer, historian and Principal of Jorhat College took over as the director of the second session of the conference. Dr. Sharma gave an insightful presentation on the ‘Adivasi, Dalit, Minority and Women Freedom Fighters of Assam’ who did not come into the limelight at all. Dr. Sanjib Deka and Dr. Juri Dutta also presented papers in this conference. Dr. Deka gave a presentation on the topic ‘Local Publications, Different Trends and History: The Revolt of The Farmers of Pushparam Kahar and Loshima’. Dr. Dutta read out a paper on the issues of the freedom fighters of the little-known Dhakuakhana sub-division of the state.
The last session of the conference was conducted by historian Dr. Chandan Kumar Sharma, Associate Professor, Dibrugarh University. Research papers by Kishore Goswami, Dr. Madhurima Goswami and Ruhi Kashyap were presented in this session. Kishore Goswami talked about the ‘Role of women in Jorhat in the Freedom Struggle’. Dr. Madhurima Goswami and Ruhi Kashyap presented papers on the role of women of Tezpur in the freedom struggle. Two budding researchers were also given an opportunity to present their papers in this conference. Bornil Jonak Phukan, PhD scholar, Department of Cultural Studies, Tezpur University and Shabnam Richa Sonowal, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Dimou College participated in the conference.
Sushanta Rajkhowa, Guest Faculty at the Department of Assamese, Tezpur University summed up the 12 unique papers presented in the conference. At the end of the session, a documentary produced by Dr. Sajib Pol Deka, titled ‘Chaulkhowa 1883’ was screened at the conference. According to Jyotishman Das, coordinator of the conference, arrangements will be made to publish the research papers presented in the conference at the earliest.