The very name conjures up a man with a neat appearance, sweet smile, thick-rimmed glasses and eyes beneath twinkling every moment of his waking hours. It is my belief that his eyes are twinkling even now in his eternal sleep.
He walked into the classroom on the ground floor of the Administrative Building, Cotton College one day in the summer of 1991 and left me and my classmates in awe. That was the beginning. Ever since that day we made it a point not to miss any of his classes. There used to be more students in his class than desks and benches. As for me, I used to jostle with the first benchers for a seat because it was so necessary that there could be no one between his lecture and myself! The entire unruly class would maintain pin drop silence and listen to each and every word that he uttered. Neither had he to scold, nor to shout to bring the class to order. One glance and a sweet smile were enough to do the trick. That was the persona of Sir and each time I’m faced with an unruly class of students, I have remembered Sir. Power and force to control them or a sweet smile and powerful teaching technique to not only make them participate in an active learning process but at the same time endear himself forever in the hearts of the students. He not only taught me the basics of Economics, but also the art of class room teaching.
The entire scene floats in front of my eyes even now, his lectures resonate in my ears… very short, short, long period…haven’t had to study these again from books ever since. His diagrams with different coloured chalks…and then with his mystic smile, twinkle in his eyes he would show a pair of scissors in the air with his fingers. “So as both the blades of a scissor are needed for cutting, both demand and supply is needed to determine price.” And he would repeat the same exactly in Assamese. In this way, in a single class we would have explanations twice. What could be more and that too in a voice which keeps serenading in the recesses of one’s mind years after even now!
When I left Cotton College, it was a recurring dream for me to have been sitting and attending to his lectures. So I used to follow any news on him very closely. It was much later when he wrote in the editorial page of The Assam Tribune that I came to know that he was a student of Professor Amartya Sen. Just as DKB Sir preserved his class notes of Amartya Sen’s classes, I too kept his class notes. Those notes are testimony of his humorous nature as well. In between the class notes we used to pen down the witty phrases and lines of songs that he used to throw up which were relevant to that day’s topic. He used to boil down everything to basics and make us understand concepts and help us with memory tricks as well. Apart from being an academician, with a series of books to his credit, DKB Sir is popularly known as the Quiz Master of Assam.
When I met him for the last time two years back in the UGC Academic Staff College, Gauhati University, I was happy to find him just the way he was in 1993. I told him that I’m making my living from whatever I learned from him in class. He gave his unique twinkling smile and blessed me.
May you always keep twinkling up there, Sir.