A very minuscule presence was of Assamese people in the pre-independence Delhi. Desha Bhakta Tarunram Phukan, a member of Assam (undivided) Constituent Assembly probably was the first representative Assamese presence in the national capital in pre-independence period. Otherwise, there were a few Assamese here serving in various departments who often met informally on social occasions like the Bihu. Gradually Assamese presence in the city increased a bit and they began to feel the need of a formal association, a forum to celebrate the festivals of Assam. That urge in those Assamese minds away from their beloved homes germinated the sapling, Asom Sangha at the very dawn of Independence in 1947. Asom Sangha, under the president-ship of Late Mahendra Mohan Chaudhury and with Late Deven Pal Das as General Secretary owes its birth. The tender sapling derived healthy nourishment during its initial years from handful of founder members namely the then members of Parliament of undivided Assam, students of Pusa institute and Delhi University hailing from Assam, doctors, Assamese news readers of All India Radio and the Assamese serving in various departments. The temporary office of the sangha was in a small corner room of Assam House by the side of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Marg of Chanakyapuri.
Nurtured and led by a dedicated group the sangha got registered as Assam Association, Delhi with registration number 3414 on the 17th August in the year 1967 under the Societies Registration Act. In the year 1966 the association had given to itself a constitution in the form of a Memorandum of Association to rearrange their dreams into themes, the dreams to unite the diverse but immensely vibrant culture of the root state Assam in a common platform at the heart of the Motherland India, the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The front yard of the Assam House was the venue of all celebrations and a small side room of the Assam House was the registered office of this association. The Assam House became the nerve center of the Association.
Till 1976 two young parliamentarians Sri Tarun Gogoi and Late Dinesh Goswami were the Presidents of the association by turn. Under their guidance the Association became more vibrant. In the annals of Assam Association, Delhi the year 1975 was as it were, a watershed. Silver Jubilee of the Association was celebrated in that year with significant pomp and grandeur. On 16th December evening of 1975 the Auditorium of Mavalamkar Hall reverberated with throbbing rhythms and touching melodies of Assam’s traditional culture and the national capital city witnessed a glimpse of the varied and vibrant Assamese heritage. A young group of enthusiasts took up responsibilities of management to carry forward the cherished dreams of the association. They felt the need of a plot of its own land and its own hub built thereon. To chase this new dream they started a long journey, a firm forward march with passionately untiring efforts.
The association besides organizing socio-cultural events started to get engaged in philanthropic causes like disaster relief, blood donation, helping needy and infirm etc. Meanwhile the association started to build the fund accepting voluntary donations.
All along there have been efforts to obtain a plot of land for AAD. Way back in the seventies the association almost got a plot of land near the crossing of Rao Tularam Marg at Motibagh. The political changes in the country in 1977 came in its way. A fresh effort was made in then President of the association, Purna Narayan Sinha. President Commodore Purna Chandra Rajkhowa made another plan to construct a building in the name of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Sunil Dutta, a senior officer in Delhi Administration of that time tried to obtain a plot for the association in around 1980 in sector 9, R.K.Puram behind Sangam Cinema. None of the endeavours however materialized. Meanwhile, an application for a plot was placed in Central Ministry of Urban Development since Late Dinesh Chandra Goswami’s time as the president and it made its way through government files to reality.
The Delhi Development Authority (after apparently endless negotiation with the Central Ministry of Urban Development) allotted to the association a land of 835 squares Meter at Qutub Institutional Area on Satsang Vihar Marg on 8th December 1989 near Jawaharlal Nehru University. Praffulla Kumar Mahanta, Chief Minister of Assam at that tiome released Rupees Seven Lakh from the Lottery Fund to facilitate the construction of a building therein. Assam Association, Delhi formed a trust, Assam Association Cultural & Educational Trust (AACET) to construct the long desired building Srimanta Sankaradeva Bhawan.
Assam Association, Delhi organized a fund raising concert for its dreamed bhawan in 15th April, 1988, the Ecstasy of Music by Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan at Kamani Auditorium.
A later Team AAD with the leadership of then President Rabindra Chandra Baruah organized a cultural evening named as ‘Harmony’ at Siri Fort Auditorium on 11th April, 1992 again for fund raising. Besides enjoying fantastic sarod recital of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan the audience were overwhelmed with joy at the dance performance of Danseuse Bollywood actress Hemamalini.
The Association celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1976-77 and Golden Jubilee in 1998. North Eastern Council provided some financial support in the Golden Jubilee celebration which was celebrated as three day long program from 30th January to 1st February 1998 at Mavalankar Hall and at the premises of Constitution Club.
In the aid of Sankaradeva Bhawan AAD organized another unforgettable concert named as Ode to Heritage on 12th December 2003. Zakir Hussain at Tabla with Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash at Sarod had reverberated Sir Sankarlal Hall auditorium of Modern School with a soothing Jugalbandi.
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika blessed Assam Association, Delhi with his melodious numbers and inspirational messages whenever he had been in Delhi. A legend’s Nite, a musical journey from Brahmaputra to Mississippi , ‘Dil Hum Hum Kare’ was organized by AAD featuring legendary artiste, octogenarian Bhupen Hazarika for last Fund raising concert for Sankardeva Bhawan which was already almost completed excluding finer inner works.
One day the office house of Assam Association, Delhi got shifted to this present and permanent address, the dream come true Srimanta Sankaradeva Bhawan, the fruition of a relentless hardship of a chain of team AAD. In 2008-2009 AAD celebrated almost a year long festivity on the occasion of its Diamond Jubilee under the leadership of then president Group Captain (Retd) Atul Chandra Barua. The curtain raiser Concert was named as Strings for Peace and was convened at Sirifort Auditorium featuring again Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan along with his two sons Amaan and Aayan at sarod recital. A lecture series on various important topics were conducted featuring prominent orators like Lt. General S.K. Sinha, Sir Mark Tully and Sri Jahnu Baruah. An all India level essay competition on Srimanta Sankaradeva was successfully conducted in the advent of Diamond Jubilee. At the picturesque lawn of India Gate AAD organized ‘A bouquet of Eight Flowers’ folk cultural meet of all eight North Eastern states of our country and a fashion show featuring traditional attires of our colorful culture. For the theme song of the association a competition was conducted with legendary litterateur Dr. Indira Goswami (popularly known as Mamoni Roisom Goswami) as judge and finally the association found its theme song ‘Aai Bharatir Hridoy tholi Dillit’ penned by Dr. Bipul Kumar Baruah. It was first sung at the valedictory session of Diamond Jubilee at Sai International Center Auditorium with music composed by Devaa Prasanna Das. That session observed a nostalgic scenario due to the get together of members coming from different corners of our country and from abroad. The members of Assam Association, Delhi who had to leave Delhi and came back as delegates to the valedictory session of Diamond Jubilee of their beloved association were literally overwhelmed to find the tender sapling once they nurtured and had to left at the hand of the other compatriots in the form of a big tree. It’s really a saga, a home away from home, a journey rather than a tale of a community organization. A number of new pages will be attached to this background with the passage of time, but for this point of time this note has been concluded herein.