Guwahati: The 117-year-old historic Cotton College in Guwahati on Thursday merged with Cotton College State University to form Cotton University. Assam Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma unveiled the new identity of the institute during a renaming ceremony.
Though the renaming ceremony was held amid protests by Cottonians, the Cotton College Teachers’ Association (CCTA) welcomed the decision and announcement of the state government to upgrade Cotton College to a university with effect from today. Sarma at the ceremony said he wanted the new university to be not only a centre of excellence of the North East region but a front ranking university of South East Asia.
The Cotton College had observed its last foundation day on May 27. It marked the end of the journey in the north eastern region of India that began 117 years ago in 1901. The Assam government had proclaimed Cotton College, the premier college of Assam and eastern India, as a full-fledged university under the name Cotton University in January 2017 by an Act and merged Cotton College and Cotton College State University together.
The year 2011 saw the declaration of the historic Act of the Government of Assam whereby the institution was upgraded to Cotton College State University (CCSU) with Cotton College as its sole constituent college. Cotton College was also declared as a Special Heritage College in 2015.
The journey of higher education in the north eastern region had begun in 1901 with prominent public figure of the state Manick Chandra Barooah strongly advocating for setting up of a college in Guwahati with suitable boarding facilities. Students of the province had to go to Kolkata (Calcutta) for higher studies then.
According to historical records, Manick Chandra in his letter (1899) to the British government had stated that Assam was the only province without a college and it would be cheaper for people of Upper Assam to stay at Guwahati than in Calcutta (Kolkata). On November 3, 1899 in Guwahati, the then Assam province Chief Commissioner Sir Henry Cotton made the announcement to establish a college in Assam, the records state.
In a meeting, the public here had decided to name the newly established college after the then Chief Commissioner Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton. He had formally declared Cotton College open under Calcutta University at a public meeting here on May 27, 1901.
Prof Fredrick William Sudmersen then arrived at Guwahati on that day to take charge as the first principal of the college. After establishment of Gauhahi University in 1948 as the first university of the province, the affiliation of Cotton College was transferred from Calcutta University to Gauhati University in the same year.
All departments of Cotton College were offering post graduate courses since 1994. (PTI)