Guwahati, 29 January: A virtual programme was organized on 28 January 2022 to celebrate the life and work of doyen of feminist activism and Women's Studies, prolific writer and academician Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta(20 August 1946- 26 January 2022). It was organised collectively by the UGC Centre for Women's Studies, Dibrugarh University; Dept. of Women's Studies, Gauhati University; Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women's Studies, Tezpur University; and Centre for Women's Studies, Cotton University.
It was attended by academicians, activists, members of Women’s Studies fraternity, students, and family members of Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta. Prof. Madhurima Goswami, Director of the Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women's Studies, Tezpur University, in her introductory address spoke about the role played by Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta to Women’s Studies and women’s movement in Assam and her invaluable involvement in the establishment of the Centre for Women's Studies at Tezpur University.
Prof. Polly Vauquline, HOD, Dept. of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University proposed to celebrate the contributions of Prof. Mahanta and carry forward her work. Prof. Vibhuti Patel fondly remembered how they met for the first time and attended two of the initial conferences organized by the Indian Association for Women’s Studies in the 1980s. Prof. Archana Sharma shared the struggle and determination of Prof. Mahanta in establishing the Centre for Women’s Studies at Dibrugarh University and her coordination with various colleges in the formation of Women’s Cells.
Prof. Shiela Bora spoke how Prof. Aparna Mahanta formed women’s groups to work for various women’s issues within and outside Dibrugarh University. Prof. Ishita Mukhopadhyay remembered her association with Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta and read out the tribute message of Indian Association for Women’s Studies. Prof. Manorama Sharma shared her working experience with the visionary persona and requested everyone to rejoice her work and life.
Junu Bora talked about Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta’s outstanding work as a grassroot feminist worker, an educationist and a writer. Indu Agnihotri also emphasized that her contribution was not only limited to academics but was also in practice through involvement with grassroot women. Asmita Mansi Mahanta (daughter) and Kamalika Deka (daughter-in-law) talked about the spirit and determination of Prof. Aparna Mahanta and her support and contribution in their lives.
Debajanee Bora shared a brief note on the education and work journey of Prof. Aparna Dutta Mahanta and the instrumental role she played in establishing the Centre for Women’s Studies at Dibrugarh University. One minute of silence was observed in the memory of the notable feminist, writer, and academician to celebrate her life and work. The programme ended with Prof. Rakhee Kalita Moral reading out the condolence message written on behalf of the four organizing institutions.