Life Sketch of Dr. S. K. Bhuyan:

Suryya Kumar Bhuyan was born in January 1894 at Fauzdaripatti in the town of Nowgong.Suryya Kumar Bhuyan’s father was Rabilal Bhuyan (1878 – 1939), then a junior official in the local district court. His mother was Bhubeneshwari Bhuyan, who died of Kalaazar when he was very young. His father Srijut Rabilal Bhuyan rose to be the Head of the Districts Magistrate’s office, Nowgong,and retired in 1927 after having served the Government for 36 years.

Dr.Suryya Kr Bhuyan

Suryya Kumar Bhuyan had his early education in the Government High School Nowgong (1901 – 1904) and at Shillong (Shillong Government high School) 1904 – 1909. He passed the Entrance Examination, Calcutta University in 1909 in the First Division and received a junior scholarship and Victoria Memorial Gold Medal. He enrolled himself as a student in Cotton College ( 1909 – 1911) Gauhati. In 1911 he appeared in the Intermediate Arts Examination of Calcutta University and stood 19th among the successful candidates and secured the 1st Grade Senior Scholarship and the Diparu Medhi and the Anundoram Barooah Memorial Prize for the year. Already he had become known as a literary figure by the dint of the appearance of his Ahomor Din , several poems and other pieces in Padmanath Gohain Barua’s monthly Usha. He then proceeded to join Presidency College ,Calcutta , which opened vast literary horizons for him. He passed the BA Examination in 1913 from Presidency College with Honours in English and secured the Assam Governments Postgraduate Scholarship and the Bishnupriya Devi Prize . He then continued his studies in Presidency College as Post Graduate Student in English Literature and Law in the Calcutta University Law College.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Bhuyan made some verses in the trochaic meter of Tennyson’s "Locksley Hill", These verses, "Ye Sons of England" appeared in the Century Review and was widely acclaimed as a poetical performance. Calcutta gave Bhuyan the opportunity to nurture the dream of becoming a Professor and the facilities for the compilation of Anundoram Barooah’s biography. He took the MA degree in English 1916 and was placed 5th in the Second Class (also 5th on the whole among 200 students who took the exams that year), while his Law studies were a bit checkered he could take the B.L Degree only in 1924 securing a First Class, although he completed the course between 1913 and 1916.He also had his interest in Sanskrit Studies and the Jorhat Baligram Sanskrit Tol conferred on him the title of Vidyavinod in January 1917

As Cotton College was the only place at that time, which could absorb the talents of the young scholars as a Professor of English. Bhuyan had to wait for 18 months to finally find his place in the prestigious college. In the meanwhile he however worked as a teacher in English at Bezbaruah High School for a few month till the end of 1916 and the Jorhat Baptist Mission High School from February 1917 to March 1918.

He married Lakheswari,daughter of Binodchandra Bhyan of North Lakhimpur on February 14,1917.On July 4th 1918 he joined the post of Professor of English at Cotton College. He was the first Assamese to be appointed to the permanent post in the divisional College.

A poet of no mean degree,he published in 1918 a collection of his beautiful lyrics Nirmali,to be followed in 1920 by the historical narrative Jaymati – upakhyana in the diction of Vishanava poetry. He was the member of the Kamrup Anushandhan Samiti (Assam Research Society) and became the Honarary Secretary 1921 – 22 and 1926 – 29.

In May – June 1930 he was attached to the Assam Secretariat where he examined old official records and submitted a report on their conservation and utilization . He advocated the cause of the setting up of the Asiatic Society for Assam so the vast historical resources lying unutlilised in the State could be properly exploited. He impressed upon the enthusiastic Director of Public Instruction of Assam, Mr. J. R. Cunningham with his manuscript Early British Relations with Assam .who realized the vast possibility of the a Government organization for the furtherance of research work. This effort bore fruit and the Government Department of Historical and Antiquarian Studies (DHAS) was established in 1928. Bhuyan was made the Honorary Assistant Director under the stewardship of Mr. A.H.W Bentinck as the Departments Honorary Director. He became the life and soul of the Department by putting in all the spare time of a college teacher into its work. He became the Honorary Provincial Director when Bentinck left Assam in 1933 . The Department collected a large mass of raw material – literary and religious works, chronicles and other historical writings, works on astrology and traditional medicine etc. Professor Bhuyan took up the task of editing some of the important Assamese chronicles with exhaustive introductions in Assamese and English. His excellent services were soon recognized by the Government who awarded a Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935 and conferred on him the title of Rai Bahadur on the New Year’s Day of 1936

In the middle of 1936 Bhuyan's childhood dream was fulfilled when he left for England where he took up research and studies in history in the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University under the tutorship of H H Dodwell, Professor of Indian History at the University. He obtained the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in July 1938 on the thesis, East India Company’s Relations with Assam, 1771 – 1826, which was later published in 194 in a book form as Anglo Assamese Relations, 1771- 1826, which forms his magnum opus .At the University he acted as the Additional Lecturer in Assamese apart from working with the old Assam Records,administrative and others at the India Office Library. He was elected the member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 1936.On his return to India he re joined Cotton College and also served the Government from time to time in various other capacities.-

Special University Officer attached to the Assam Scretratiat at Shillong - 1940 – 1941,1947-1947
Inspector of Schools, Assam Valley Division – Oct 1941 to Feb 1942
Professor and Head of Department English at Cotton College – 1942
Joint Provincial Organizer of the National War Front – June 1942 – April 1943 Professor at Cotton College – 1943
Part-time publicity Officer under the Director of Publicity and Recruitment, Government of India. June – November 1943
Provincial Publicity Officer – November 1943 – October 1945
Officiating Principal of Cotton College , July 22 – August 15 1946
Whole time salaried Director of D.H.A.S – 1947

He was awarded the decoration of M.B.E (Member of the British Empire) on the occasion of the birthday of his Majesty the King Emperor in June 1946. Dr.Bhuyan retired from Government Services on March 31st 1949.

After his retirement he published Lachit Barphukan and His Times, a history of the Assam Mogul conflict of 1661 - 1. Annals of Delhi Badshahate, Anglo Assameses Relations1771 - 1826 and Kowar – vidroha,being a history of the revolts of Assam’s Princes during the reign of Raja Lakshmisimha 1769-80.

He was awarded the D.Lit degree in History in July 1951 by his Alma Mater, London University. He was the only person to get the Degree that year from the School of Oriental and African Studies. He presided over the Modern History Section of the Indian History Congress Session held at Gwalior in December 1952 and over the Local History Section of the Congress Session held at Gauhati in December 1959.

He was nominated as the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) by the Congress in 1952 – 54. He was elected the President of the Assam Sahitya Sabha for its session held at Shillong .

Government of India showed their sense of appreciation of Dr. Bhuyan’s achievements’ in various fields by conferring on him the honour of Padmashree in 1956 on the Republic Day.

He was elected by the Gauhati University Court to be the Vice Chancellor of the University in 1958, and he steered the activities of its executive council for a full term of three years.

Dr. Suryya Kumar Bhuyan passed away on the 5th of July 1964 at the American Baptist Mission Hospital at Chatribari,aged 70 years. He was survived by his wife Lakheswari Bhuyan,his 3 sons Parvati,Bhabani,Bejoy and three daughters Suala,Kirim and Kamali and a host of grandchildren.