Honoris Causa

28th Convocation, Gauhati University

Monday, 24th February, 2020
Venue : 
Sports Complex, Gauhati University 

D. Litt. (Honoris Causa)


Sri Arup Kumar Dutta

Arup Kumar Dutta is a prolific Indian writer and journalist based in Guwahati. Assam. With significant contributions towards youth and adult literature- both fiction and non-fiction, Shri Dutta was conferred the prestigious Padmashri award in the year 2018. 

Born on 2 July 1946, Shri Dutta spent his early life in Jorhat (Assam). Sri Dutta earned his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1962 from Lawrence School, Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh. Sri Dutta completed his bachelor of arts and Master degree in English Literature from Ramjas College under the University of Delhi in the year 1966 and 1969 respectively. He returned back to Assam to teach English at Jagannath Baruah College in Jorhat when he simultaneously started his journalistic career, writing freelance satirical columns and short stories for numerous Indian magazines and newspapers. In the course of few years he established himself as a journalist of repute at the national level. After one and half decades he left his teaching career to dedicate himself as a full time writer. His writings featured in journals such as The Illustrated Weekly of India, Caravan, Femina, JS and Eve’s Weekly etc. He was a prominent writer in the famous Indian satirical magazine, Shankar's Weekly.

His longer works of fiction include The Anagarika’s Swansong, The Bag, Red Camellia - Green and The Ahoms, the last being an imaginative account of a dynasty which ruled the Brahmaputra Valley for six hundred years. His novels have received critical acclaim both at home and abroad. Based as they are on meticulous, investigative research and documentation, his non-fiction books for adults exhibit the true journalistic ethos and also testify to his scholarship and erudition. These include The Brahmaputra (published by the National Book Trust, India and formally released by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at New Delhi), Unicornis – The Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros (formally released by animal-activist Smt. Maneka Gandhi in New Delhi), The Final Frontier, The Roving Minstrel, Cha-Garam, Hammer Blow, Pothorughat, Gauhati High Court- History and Heritage, etc.

Shri Dutta also writes for young adults and is one of the biggest names in India in this genre. His 17 adventure novels for young people include The Kaziranga Trail, The Blind Witness, Smack, Trouble at Kolongjan, Revenge, Lure of Zangrila, Footprints in the Sand, The Boy who became King, A Story About Tea, The Crystal Cave, The Counterfeit Treasure, Oh, Deer, Save the Pool etc. His books have been translated to many Indian languages as well as foreign languages such as German, Japanese, Russian, Czech, Hungarian etc.

His writings have world wide acclaim. Two of his books are featured in the ‘Literature of the World’ series brought out by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun in October 2, 2001 along with those of Satyajit Ray and Ruskin Bond and his Kaziranga Trail is one of the three entries from India included in the New York publication 1001 Book You Must Read Before You Grow Up edited by Julia Eccleshare.

In 2004 the Government of India appointed him Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Centre, Jakarta, and Indian Cultural Centre, Bali, with the rank of a Counselor, the Embassy of India, Jakarta, Indonesia, a post he held for four years. In his five decade career as an author Shri Dutta has received numerous awards, being the first recipient of the Shankar’s Award in 1979. He has also been given the Journalist Welfare Foundation, New Delhi Award (1982), The Kamal Kumari National Award for Journalism (2004), The Lifetime Achievement Honour by Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, New Delhi, the Indian chapter of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) etc. In 2018 he was conferred a D. Litt (honoris causa) by the University of Dibrugarh.

Ph. D. (Honoris Causa)

Sri Biren Singha at work

Sri Biren Singha is a noted artist and sculptor from the Northeastern region and the son of the soil of Assam. His works exude extraordinary craftsmanship and acumen and his contributions to the preservation of art and culture of various tribes and communities in the Northeast needs no introduction.

Born on 13th April in 1951 at Chaigaon, Sri Singha's hard earned success and fame did not come easily. . A self-taught achiever, Sri Singha had to do many odd jobs to support his family and during one such instance, he arrived at Guwahati, spending many a night at railway platforms. Sri Singha's childhood saw privation and hardship. The hardship and drudgery that he experienced in life paved the way for him to become an artist, which he began by expressing his emotions with colours on canvasses. His philosophy of life is his work and Sri Singha, in true sense, is a karma yogi.

Some of his most important works include the sculptures of Lachit Borphukan, Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Bhupen Hazarika and Protima Pande Baruah installed at various places in the city of Guwahati. His sculptures can also be seen in other parts of Assam and the Northeast and particularly his contributions to preserve the culture and history of the Karbi people (of Karbi Anglong district, Assam) through sculpting is highly praised. He has been a pioneer in visually documenting the Karbi life in its entirety from day to day mundane life to the depiction of myth and cultural allegories. He is currently involved in a project of sculpting and installing statues which will showcase the rich culture and heritage of the Tai Khamti and Singpho communities of Arunachal Pradesh.

At this 28th Convocation of GU, Sri Biren Singha will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Honoris Causa, as a tribute to his excellent work.