With a heritage that goes back to more than a hundred years, Cotton College, one of the premier seats of higher education in Northeast India holds a special place in the heart of the people of this region. Established on 27 May 1901, Cotton College has not only stood the test of time but has also carved a niche for itself in the higher education scenario in the country. Let’s take a look at the glorious history of this institution which has also influenced and shaped up the culture of Assam since its inception.
The college came into existence through the untiring efforts of such noble and illustrious sons of the soil like Late Manik Chandra Barooah and Rai Bahadur Bhuban Ram Das, backed by the support of the intellectuals of the region of that time. However, the institution might not have seen the light of the day without the support and efforts of the then Chief Commissioner of the then Assam Province from 1896 to 1902, Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton, K.C.S.I. Because of this, the college was named after him.
The First Admission
The first admission in Cotton College took place on 17th June, 1901 with 37 students in the first year F.A. Class and 2 students in the second year of the same course. The faculty consisted of only five members including Prof Frederick William Südmersen (1871 – 1953), the first Principal of the college from 1901 to 1926. The other four faculty members were Prof Chunilal De, Prof Indu Bhusan Brahmachary, Prof Paresh Nath Lahiri and Prof Maulvi Abu Nasr Muhammad Oheed.
Cotton Becomes Co-Ed
Initially classes were held in the building which presently houses Chemistry Department of the College. However, no girl student was admitted to the course. It was only in 1933 that two girl students were admitted to the first year Intermediate (Science) class of the College for the first time thus marking the beginning of co-education in the history of higher learning in this part of the country.
Affiliation Under GU
Cotton College was first affiliated to Calcutta University, Kolkata. It was under this university itself that the institution developed into a full-fledged Degree College and barring Persian, secured affiliation for the Honours course too in all the subjects taught then. However, with the establishment of Gauhati University in 1948, it became one of its original constituent colleges. Although Post-Graduate classes in certain subjects like English, Economics and Botany were introduced in the College at different points of time under Calcutta University itself, such classes had to be finally discontinued as part of economy drive and also because of the establishment of Gauhati University.
Grooming the Best of Assam
Cotton College is the institution which has groomed some of the best brains of Assam over the years. Some of the most well known names are Tyagbir Hem Barua, Sudhakantha Bhupen Hazarika, authors Mamoni Raisom Goswami, Homen Borgohain, Nirupama Borgohain and Lakshminandan Borah, filmmaker Bhabendra Nath Saikia, former Chief Minister Sarat Chandra Sinha, current Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and actors Zerifa Wahid and Kopil Bora.