Interview with Dr. Birinchi Kumar Das
Dr. Birinchi Kumar Das
Principal, B.H.B. College, Sarupeta
District Barpeta, Assam
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey?
I didn’t have a smooth going so far as my educational journey is concerned. When I was appearing in the High School Leaving Certificate Examination in 1984, my family members and some of my teachers hoped to see my name among the rank holders; but I finally happened to be much below the last rank holder’s marks that year, because my mother’s serious illness before my examination put hindrance to my studies. I started studying science at the Higher Secondary level.
Very soon, my mother succumbed to her illness, the hindrance to my studies continued, and in the Higher Secondary Examination too, my result was much below expectation. Then I decided to switch over to the arts stream at the undergraduate level, and as I had been very much interested in literature since my childhood, I still am, I decided to take English as the major subject in the B.A.
But unfortunately, this time it was my father’s turn to be seriously ill, and after several months of suffering, he breathed his last. To look after my two younger sisters and myself, I had to join the job of a clerk at the government office where my father had worked. Hence, I had no other option but to pursue my study in the B. A. and the M.A. privately.
I passed the B.A. with major in English in 1990, and then, the M.A. in English in 1993 from Gauhati University. In 2004, I got admitted to the Department of Foreign Languages, Gauhati University as a part-time Research Scholar pursuing the Ph.D. Degree, and in 2010, I got my Ph.D. Degree on the topic of ‘Socialist Realism in Mikhail Sholokhov’s Novels: A Cross-Cultural Study’.
To speak about my professional life, after working for six years as a clerk in the Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Assam since 1988 when I was a B.A. student as mentioned above, I was selected to join the Department of Audit (Local Fund), Govt. of Assam as an Assistant Audit Officer in 1994.
I started my teaching career as a lecturer (later came to be known as Assistant Professor) in English in Madhab Choudhury College, Barpeta, Assam, a provincialised college, in 1995. Then in 2011, I was upgraded to the position of Associate Professor. In 2018, I joined as the Principal in Bhawanipur Hastinapur Bijni (B.H.B.) College, Sarupeta, another provincialised college, in the District Barpeta of Assam, and I am still working there.
Q2. What did attract you towards teaching instead of any corporate job?
Teaching had remained my dream profession since childhood. I wanted to pursue my academic life even after being in a profession, and with the experiences I had had while doing two other jobs before being a teacher I realized that it was only the teaching profession that could provide me with the necessary opportunities to pursue an academic life even while in service in a much better way. This was the thing that attracted me to teaching.
Q3. What kind of hurdles did you face in your journey?
The major hurdle that I faced, and have still been facing, in my journey in the path of teaching is not personal but social. In both the colleges that I have worked so far, a majority of the students come from economically disadvantaged families, and often their poverty puts a strong barrier on my path by depriving me and other teachers too, of the required cooperation from them as to their study.
What appears to be more problematic is the kind of certain intellectual barrenness that is eating up a sizable portion of our society, badly demoralizing our student folk and this puts hurdle to achieving the coveted goal in respect of education.
Q4. What is your goal as a Principal for your college?
Being a college situated at a rural area, our college, like most other rural colleges of the state, has to face many hurdles, among which financial constraints occupy the topmost position, to often put obstacles on the way of the development the college dreams of achieving.
Still as the Principal of the college, I want to see my college shining brighter as regards the academic pursuits, with the optimum utilization of the facilities and resources it has already got and also it has the scope to achieve in the coming days.
I have set my goal for my college as its Principal to be fully capable of imparting quality education to our students in conformity with the need of the hour. I want to shape my college in such a way that it is fully prepared to widen the mental horizon of the students, providing them the required scope for attainment of up-to-date knowledge and skill.
Q5. How do you make students excel in their academic pursuits and career?
It is my earnest desire to see my students emerge finally as successful citizens of the country, contributing to the development of the remote places they have come from, the state, and finally the country. Therefore, my goal is to introduce them to better educational avenues, to give them what is the most appropriate for them.
I want to instil in them the belief that in spite of belonging to a rural, disadvantaged place, they have the ability to soar high, and therefore, it is necessary for them to open up and identify the directions that can lead their potentials to the state of proper growth.
I want to make them achieve up-to-date knowledge and skill in such a way that they can stand strong on their feet. To help students in excelling in their academic pursuits and career, the first thing I want to do is to motivate them, to make them believe that it is necessary to widen their mental horizon. Moreover, I think that so far as the students’ academic pursuits and careers are concerned, it is my duty to introduce them to the wide-ranging opportunities open for them in accordance with their talent and potential.
Q6. Which one thing do you want to change in yourself and why?
I think if I can change anything in me that should be my inability to maintain strict professionalism all the time in the true sense of the term. Sometimes my dealings with works as well as people at my workplace become too emotional while I should have maintained a total professional attitude in such cases. Emotions are good at works to some extent, because they imbue us with a kind of enthusiasm we desperately need, and this is very important.
But being too emotional at workplace sometimes causes many damages, particularly when you’re the leader of the team. As the head of a provincialised educational institution, we have to cope with different kinds of people with different attitudes, temperament, interests and ethics, and to keep a balance while dealing with all these people, a strong professionalism is very much necessary.
Q7. What kind of problems have you faced in your college and how did you remove it?
The first important problem that I faced, and is still facing, is financial. As I have already stated, like most of the rural provincialised colleges of Assam, my college has also been suffering from financial difficulties for a long time, since much before my arrival.
So, I have adopted austerity measures, counting every penny, from the very beginning so that we can save a little bit of money for inevitable expenditure. The second problem that I faced is decrease in the number of students in our institution, which is a burning problem for many provincialised institutions at present.
It has so happened because the parents of many good students, and sometimes the students themselves, have started losing trust in the government institutions and thought that private institutions could deliver in a better way. To overcome this problem, I have started to reach out to people and tried to win their faith with different new co-curricular and extra-curricular activities so that they can believe we can also deliver as per their expectations.
Q8. Which one skill do you like the most about yourself?
The one thing I like the most about myself is my skill at official works. This gives me a strong sense of confidence and also makes me free from being too much dependent on others. This also helps me in clearing works at a faster way.
Q9. What do you want to achieve in your life?
I want to find myself being established as a person to reckon with in the academic field as well as in the creative pursuits. I want to write a few more books associated with my areas of study.
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