Guwahati, Jan. 28: Academician and former vice-chancellor of Gauhati University, Debo Prasad Barooah, died at International Hospital at 4pm today.
He was 83.
Barooah was admitted to a city nursing home on January 23 Following a cardiac arrest. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to International Hospital the next day and since then he had been on ventilation.
Barooah, who was an ideologue of the anti-foreigner movement in Assam, was the vice-chancellor of GU from January 26, 1986, to January 25, 1991. Before that, he was the head of the political science department and dean of the faculty of arts of the university.
Barooah was born to Taraprasad Barooah and Jibankumari Devi on October 1, 1930, at Bharalumukh. He passed Class X from Golaghat Government Higher Secondary School, graduated with first class in 1954 and got masters from Gauhati University in 1956. He joined Gauhati University as a faculty in 1957. He did his PhD in 1969.
When Operation Rhino was launched for the first time in Assam, Barooah called up the then governor Loknath Mishra, urging him to take an initiative so that security personnel did not harass the students of the university.
“I met him for the first time in 1984 at AASU’s first national convention in the auditorium of Agricultural University in Jorhat. Barooah was one of the main persons behind finalising the resolutions of the convention,” writer Hrishikesh Goswami said.
Barooah played a role in organising the first political convention of the AGP in Golag-hat in October 1985. But he stayed away from direct involvement with any political party.
“He was like a living encyclopaedia for us. Whenever we had any problem we rushed to him,” said Dinesh Baroowa, who was the registrar of Gauhati University when Debo Prasad Barooah was its vice-chancellor.
Gaokhonor Pora Jogotkhonoi and Swadesh aru Swajatir Dostabej are two of the books written by Barooah.
AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said, “He was with us since the days of the Assam Movement. He gave us suggestions whenever we approached him. Today, we have lost a good adviser.”
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi condoled his demise.