The Assamese Community of North America mourns with rest of the world the passing away of Hemen Barooah, Assam’s illustrious son
Hemendra Prasad Barooah, the doyen of the State’s tea industry is no more (Assam Tribune, July 31, 2013).
Once late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika wrote, “Hemen—my close friend, a perfect synthesis of Eastern orientation and Western education. I can draw a parallel to our lives in more ways than one. He and I are products of the same era. Both of us were born in Assam in the same year, 1926, both had a very similar schooling and family up-bringing, both were exposed to University life outside Assam simultaneously, he at Calcutta Presidency College and me at the Benares Hindu University. Both of us went to the United States of America for higher education during the same period, entering prestigious Ivy League colleges, he at Harvard University, Boston for his MBA, me at Columbia University, New York for my Ph.D in Mass Communication. ………..”
After returning to India, Mr. Barooah quickly got involved with the family business and rapidly expanded his empire from two tea estates, producing 3 lakh kgs, to 10 estates as it stands today with 6 million kgs of production. His Company Barooah & Associates (B&A) Limited (erstwhile B&A Plantations & Industries Limited) was the first company owned by an Assamese to go public and be listed in the stock exchanges of Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati.
He diversified his product portfolio into other areas like tea broking with the incorporation of the first broking firm to be registered with Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - Assam Tea Brokers. Mr. Barooah played a pivotal role in the setting up of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre. He also set up the pioneering packaging unit of the country — B&A Packaging India Limited.
His more recent endeavors include Heritage North East, which provides a boutique heritage hospitality chain by stringing together four heritage properties. He also set up the Kaziranga Golf Resort at Jorhat, which was conceived as a premium, futuristic abode for spending a holiday in a colonial Tea environment.
Mr. Barooah instituted in 1980 The Kamal Kumari Barooah Foundation in memory of his mother Late Kamal Kumari Barooah. This foundation earned widespread acclamation for its charitable activities and it instituted annual national awards in the fields of science and technology and art and culture. It has also been conferring the Siva Prasad Barooah National Award for Journalism and the Amit Barooah Award for Young Artists in memory of Mr. Barooah’s father Late Siva Prasad Barooah and Mr. Barooah’s son Late Amit Barooah respectively.
Mr. Barooah held the post of director of the State Bank of India for 11 years. He also held the posts of director of the Assam Financial Corporation, chairman of the Tea Research Association, chairman of the Indian Tea Association, president, Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Director of the Indian Airlines, Director of Assam Industrial Development Corporation, Member Central Advisory Council for Industries, Government of India.
The North Eastern Tea Association presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to him in 2007 the Association also conferred the Tea Doyen title on him in the same year. The Confederation of Indian Industry conferred on him the Visionary Business Leader – Assam title in 2010, the KC Das Commerce College presented the National Achiever Award 2010 to him. In 2011, he was felicitated by the Tea Research Association and in 2012 the Assam Cultural Trust also felicitated him. That year, he was presented the Journalist Kamala Saikia Memorial Trust Award. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Science (Honorius Causa) the same year by the Assam Agricultural University. The Government of India conferred on him Padmashree in 2013.
Late Dr. Hemendra Prasad Barooah is first cousin of Mr. Nikhil Baruah, Columbus, OH. May his soul rest in peace!
Dr. Jawahar Barua: June 16, 1952 – September 13, 2012
Dr. Jawahar Barua of Plano, Texas passed away on September 13, 2012 at 11:50pm. He was the eldest son of the late Jyotirmoy & Savitra Barua.
Jawahar was born on June 16, 1952 in Jowai, Meghalaya. He spent his childhood in Shillong and attended St. Edmunds School. He was highly intelligent and committed to a lifetime of learning. This started at IIT Delhi where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, Jawahar joined Oil India Limited in Narangi. He married Antara Kakati in 1977 and moved to Duliajan where he started a family and worked for OIL until 1982.
Jawahar then brought his family to America and joined Stanford University for his Masters and then Doctorate program in Petroleum Engineering. He also went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989. During this time, he designed and developed a computer modeling software used for oil exploration. This engineering software is still being marketed today.
Soon after, he and his family moved from California to Carrollton, Texas. He spent the next 23 years in Carrollton and then Plano, Texas working for various engineering and IT companies, including IBM and American Airlines.
Jawahar enjoyed music and had a vast collection of records and CDs accumulated throughout his life. He attended many rock concerts and his favorite band was The Rolling Stones. He was also very enamored with the outdoors and had a boat in Texas which he would take out on the weekends with his family to go fishing. Another of his passions was anything to do with airplanes and flying – he made it a point to attend the Blue Angels or any other airplane show when they were in town.
Jawahar loved travelling and visited many parts of the US and the world with his family. He also visited India on a regular basis to keep in touch with other members of his family. Jawahar was a voracious reader, loved photography, and spent his downtime at home watching educational programming on the Discovery and History channels.
He is survived by his wife Urmi, son Kabir, daughter Karishma and younger brothers Amar, Shankar and Kumar.
We are deeply saddened at the untimely demise of Dr. Jawahar Barua. Please join us in praying to Almighty for the eternal peace of the departed soul. We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Urmi Barua and their children Kabir and Karishma. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.
For the Assamese Community of North America,
- The AANA Executive Board
In less than a month after Assam lost her beloved 'Son of the soil' Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, she lost another celebrated literary giant - this time a 'Daughter of the same soil' - Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami.
Dr. Indira Goswami, popularly known as Mamoni Raisom Goswami passed away in Guwahati on November 29th. She was the winner of India's highest literary award - the Jnyanpith Award, Sahitya Academy Award, Principal Prince Claus Laureate and many other awards and accolades. A prolific author, she wrote more than eight novels, short story collections, biography and translated many books.