This episode delves into the history of 19th August exploring events such as Octavian’s election as Consul in 43 BCE and Louis Daguerre’s revelation of daguerreotypes in 1839. It then shifts focus to the commemoration of Prof Bhabananda Deka on his birth anniversary. He was an eminent figure in Assamese literature, economics, and culture. The article highlights his prolific contributions, his impact on various fields, and his enduring legacy.
History of 19th August takes us to the year 43 BCE when on this day Octavian, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul. The rule of Augustus marked the beginning of both an imperial cult and a period linked with imperial harmony, known as the Pax Romana or Pax Augusta. During this time, the Roman realm experienced a significant reduction in armed conflicts, except for wars driven by territorial expansion and the events of the Year of the Four Emperors. The system of imperial governance, known as the Principate, implemented by Augustus, persisted until the onset of the Crisis of the Third Century.
Moving on with the history of 19th August we come to the year 1839 when on this day Louis Daguerre reveals the secrets of making daguerreotypes to a waiting world. The pioneering photographic process was an instant hit.
With this we come to the feature story from the history of 19th August.
Remembering Prof Bhabananda Deka on his birth Annioversary
In the annals of Assamese literature and academia, the name Prof Bhabananda Deka stands as a beacon of intellect, dedication, and cultural fervor. A trailblazer in both economics and literature, he devoted his life to scholarly pursuits while tirelessly advocating for the upliftment of his homeland and native tongue beyond the borders of Assam. Prof Deka’s impact spanned over half a century, leaving an indelible mark on Assamese culture, language, and education.
A Man of Many Feathers
Prof Bhabananda Deka was a true Renaissance figure, having authored an impressive 116 books that spanned a remarkable range of topics. His works encompassed economics, ancient Assamese literature, Vaisnavism, heritage, politics, education, social issues, philosophy, mythology, poetry, plays, and biography. Notably, his book “Assamese Language & Literature & Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa” held a significant honor as the first book in his mother tongue to be launched by the President of India in 1968.
His literary contributions extended beyond writing; he embarked on extensive research into the works and philosophies of Assamese Vaisnavite saints and social reformers, including Srimanta Sankardev, Madhabdev, Damodardev, Haridev, and Bhattadev. His profound understanding of these figures translated into numerous enlightening books, revealing his commitment to preserving Assam’s rich cultural heritage.
Swan Song and Lasting Legacy
Just before his passing on December 4, 2006, Prof Bhabananda Deka completed his magnum opus – the first prose translation of the timeless Assamese literary classic, ‘Kirtan Ghosa’ by Srimanta Sankardev. A decade later, in 2016, this monumental work was published, earning accolades from esteemed scholar Dr Hiren Gohain during its launch. His commitment extended to native Assamese tribes as well; he ventured into their villages, compiling invaluable works on the Hajong, Karbi, and Tiwa communities.
A Luminary in Economics
Prof Deka was not only a literary maestro but also a pioneering economist. He held the distinction of being the first Assamese economist to delve into Assam-specific research on the local economy and social aspects spanning five centuries. His meticulous studies encompassed periods as diverse as Srimanta Sankardev’s era in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the dynasties of Ahom and Koch, the British colonial period, and the pre- and post-independence eras of Assam up to the end of the twentieth century.
One of his most celebrated works, “Asomor Arthaniti,” reached its fiftieth golden jubilee edition, attaining cult status. Additionally, his contributions extended to the realm of education, with the creation of a Comprehensive English-Assamese Dictionary of Economics and Commerce titled “Bhabananda Arthakosh,” poised to illuminate the field once it sees the light of day.
A Visionary for Education and Culture
Prof Bhabananda Deka’s tireless efforts extended to spreading the light of education among the impoverished villages of the Brahmaputra valley. His role as Principal in six colleges across Assam, including Pragjyotish College in Guwahati, highlighted his commitment to cultivating higher learning and empowering his fellow citizens.
His cultural impact was equally profound. He served as the last President of the undivided Kamrup District Sahitya Sabha and received the Assam government Literary Award on the golden jubilee of Indian Independence in 1997, along with Literary Pension in 2004.
A Global Ambassador
Beyond the borders of India, Prof Deka’s influence reached international shores. He facilitated the production of a documentary film that showcased his research on Assam-centric subjects. This film, a collaboration spanning Europe, North America, and Asia, underscored his global reach and impact.
A Lasting Legacy
On December 4, 2006, Prof Bhabananda Deka left the mortal realm, but his contributions continue to reverberate through Assamese culture. His death anniversary, observed as Artha Divas or Day of Economics, is a testament to his enduring legacy. His life story, detailed in the novel “Bhaba Ananda Sambad,” continues to inspire scholars and researchers, with his love for his homeland and mother tongue serving as an eternal flame of motivation.
As we commemorate the twelfth anniversary of his passing, we honor the memory of this silent giant of Assamese literature, heritage, and economics. His remarkable journey encourages us to dedicate ourselves to our own land and its people, carrying forward his unwavering zeal and devotion. Prof Bhabananda Deka’s contributions are not just a part of history; they are the living embodiment of a profound dedication to knowledge, culture, and progress.
That’s all from the history of 19th August.