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ইংৰাজী প্ৰবন্ধ, Gopinath Bordoloi, the first Chief Minister of Assam, ৪ৰ্থ বছৰ ১ম সংখ্যা,

 Gopinath Bordoloi, the first Chief Minister of Assam

Gopinath Bordoloi was born on June 6, 1890 at Raha in Assam. His father was Buddheswar Bordoloi and his mother was Praneswari Bordoloi. His father was a medical practitioner. Since his childhood, Bordoloi tried to understand the needs of people. He took his father’s profession to understand the social needs of patients. He lost his mother when he was only 12 years old. He married Surabala Devi in the year 1910.  He got admitted in Cotton College  after passing matriculation in 1907. He passed I.A. in 1st Div. In 1909 and took admission in the renowned Scottish Church College  and graduated in 1911. He then passed M.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1914. He studied Law for three years but came back to Guwahati without sitting in the final examination. Then on request of Tarun Ram Phukan, he took up the temporary job as Headmaster of Sonaram High School. During that period, he passed  Law examination and started practising in 1917 in Guwahati. He took his last breath on August 5, 1950.
      Gopinath Bordoloi was the first Chief  Minister of Assam. He was the first and the only person from the Northeastern region to be  awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country by Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999. The award came half a century after his demise in 1950.  A life-size statue of Bordoloi was unveiled on 1 October 2002 in the Parliament House by the President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He was a follower of the Gandhian principle of non-violence as a political tool. It was due to Bordoloi’s unselfish dedication towards Assam and its people, the then Governor of Assam Jayram Das Doulatram conferred him with the title “Lokapriya” which means 'to be loved by all' . He was an eminent freedom fighter both at the national and state level. He is the prime architect of modern polity of Assam. 
        Assam Congress was formed in 1921 as a branch of the Indian National Congress. Gopinath Bordoloi's political life started when he joined the Indian National Congress as a volunteer in that year. The Assam Association was the only political organisation of Assam in that period.  He actively participated in the fight for independence. He was arrested in 1922 due to his active participation in the Non-cooperation movement and was put in jail for a year. When the movement was called off following the Chauri Chaura incident, he went back to practise law. From 1930 to 1933, he kept himself away from all political activity and got involved in various social works after becoming member of Guwahati Municipal Board and Local Board. In addition, he was constantly demanding a separate University and High Court for Assam.
      In 1935 Government of India Act was articulated with a view to form British India. Congress decided to participate in the Regional Assembly election in 1936. They won 38 seats and became the party with majority in Assembly, but due to a dubious law meant to reduce the power of Ministers and the Cabinet, they decided to remain as opposition party instead of forming the government. Gopinath Bordoloi was elected as the leader of the opposition party. With the support of other parties apart from Congress, Md. Sadulla formed the Cabinet of Ministers. The Congress party was gaining people’s support as the government remained unaware of the basic problems of Assam. The Md. Sadulla Cabinet Ministers resigned in September 1938. The Governor then invited Gopinath Bordoloi to form the government and accordingly they took oath on 21 September.The reasons of Gopinath Bordoloi becoming Chief Minister of undivided Assam were his political powers, superb personality, truthfulness and behaviour which attracted not only his colleagues but also people of various communities. Congress got recognition as a powerful political party in Assam by virtue of his ability and intelligence. His contributions as Chief Minister were mainly to stop Land Tax, stop giving lands to migrant Muslims to secure the right of indigenous people etc.
    He was the first Congress Chief Minister of undivided Assam. He played an important role in opening up the North east for the Congress. Under Bordoloi’s courageous and competent leadership, the entire people of Assam could save themselves from the Cabinet mission’s plan. Bordoloi saved the entire Northeast from the sinister design of “Crown colony”.
       The new government did not last long as World War II began in 1939. Gopinath Bordoloi's Cabinet resigned in 1940 following an appeal by M.K. Gandhi. He was arrested again in December 1940. However, he was released before completing one year in jail due to ill health. When Quit India movement was launched in August 1942, the Congress party was declared outlawed and all leaders were arrested.
     In the meantime, Md. Sadulla formed the government with the promise to help British in World War II and indulged again in communal activities. Gopinath Bordoloi was released from jail in 1944 and he straightaway started opposing the government with the help of other leaders. Md. Sadullah then offered to discuss the matters. An agreement was reached which included immediate release of all political prisoners, removing the ban on procession or meeting, correcting the process of rehabilitation of migrant Muslims, etc.
      In July 1945, the British announced their decision to form a new constitution for India after holding the central and regional election. Congress too participated in the election in 1946 and they became the major party in Assembly with 61 seats out of 108. They formed the Government and Gopinath Bordoloi was made Chief Minister unanimously.
    He did not rise much as a freedom fighter, but his dedication to the national freedom movement was shown during the time period between 1946-1947. This was the time when a majority of the muslim political leaders from Bengal most of them under the mislim league, wanted to include the Hindu dominated Assam into East Pakistan. He also worked closely with Sardar Vallabhai Patel to secure sovereignty of Assam against China and East Pakistan. 
     He also helped to organize rehabilitation of millions of Hindu refugees who had fled from East Pakistan. He was instrumental in establishing Guwahati High court, Assam Medical College ,Gauhati university, Assam Veterinary College etc. Bordoloi’s chief ministership in Assam saw the rapid development of the state. 
    Bordoloi’s freedom struggle was influenced by Rabindranath Tagore, SC Bose, Surendranath Banerjee etc .Gopinath Bordoloi was also a good writer. He wrote several books which included “Buddhadeb”, “Annaskaktiyog”, “Hajrat Mohammad” and “Shreeramachandra”.

Syed Jiyaur Rahman , 

Assistant teacher ,
Kanikuchi Nizborigog High School
Block : Rangia ,

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