The Centenary Celebration of Cottonian – an annual journal published by the student community of Cotton University (erstwhile Cotton College) – concluded with a closing ceremony at the Varsity premise today. Noted social scientist and Andy Matsui Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, Asian University for Women, Bangladesh, Prof. Sanjib Baruah graced the occasion as the invited speaker. He spoke on ‘The Year of the Apollo Moon Landing in Cotton College: Memories and Reflections’.
Prof. Baruah had served as the editor of Cottonian during 1968-69, the year that humans first walked on the moon. He recalled how the historic event was also featured on the cover of his issue of the magazine. He shared how his editorial column reflected on French students’ movement, American students’ movement and a range of other issues that were pertinent during that time. “Memories are always complicated. Who decides what is of historical significance? This has always made me curious. It is this curiosity that has made me do what I have done”, he shared.
During his deliberation, he reflected back on a range of issues, drawing on his experiences of life in Assam and the United States of America. In the question and answer session that followed, Prof. Baruah interacted with faculty members and students. He stressed that the purpose of education should be to create bold spaces that allow people to discuss, deliberate as well as challenge existing histories and thought processes. He appealed to the students to develop curiosity and challenge perspectives of what is significant and what is not.
During his welcome address, Vice Chancellor of Cotton University Prof. Ramesh Chandra Deka said, “Cottonian magazine started in the year 1922. This is perhaps the only students’ magazine or one of the few magazines in the history of Assam to have completed 100 years. The magazine has served as a catalyst for intellectual discourse, a canvas for artistic expression and a mirror reflecting the ever-changing landscape of the society”.
Head of the Centre for Women Studies Prof. Rakhee Kalita Moral, while introducing the speaker said, “Prof. Baruah is one of the most preeminent voices from Northeast India, speaking not only to the country but to the entire world. It is quite impossible for researchers and scholars of literature, history, politics, anthropology and other disciples to navigate the terrain of Northeast India studies without reading Prof. Baruah’s work”.
The programme was attended by former Editors of Cottonian, alumni, officials, faculty members and students. The programme was organized by the University in association with the Cotton University Students’ Union (CUSU) and was hosted by Editor of Cottonian (2023-24) Srinjana Sarma. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by General Secretary of CUSU Javed Akhtar.