Meet Dr Jaya Choudhury – The teacher who quit her job to promote Assamese jewellery
GUWAHATI: Known for her works in the field of teaching and research on traditional Assamese jewellery, Dr Jaya Choudhury is a multi-faceted personality hailing from the city of Guwahati, Assam. She recently completed her PhD on the topic ‘A Study on Commercial Viability on Traditional Assamese Jewellery Units’ from Gauhati University.
Jaya, who quit her job as the head of the department of management at Asian Institute of Management and Technology (AIMT) to complete her research, was recently bestowed with the role of Chief Advisor of Nikhil Assam Swarna Silpi Samiti (NASSS), one of the oldest jewellery associations of the state. Jaya also received the Jaycee Manavtha Rathna Puraskar for her immense contribution towards social cause on the occasion of World Women’s Day 2017 by Junior Chambers International, Guwahati.
Born in Guwahati to renowned elephant hunter and wildlife photographer Dinesh Choudhury and Kalpana Choudhury, Jaya started her schooling from Air Force School, Jorhat at the age of three. After studying there for a year, she moved back to Guwahati where she completed her matriculation from TC Girls’ Higher Secondary School. Jaya, who was always interested in knowing about the business environment, went on to study commerce from Gauhati Commerce College (GCC).
While pursuing BCom, she simultaneously cleared Chartered Accountancy (Foundation) examination which allowed her to pursue Chartered Accountancy Intermediate course simultaneously along with BCom. Further, Jaya did her post graduation in Commerce from GCC, Bachelor in Education (BEd) from Gauhati University and MPhil in Commerce from Vinayaka Missions University.
Inspired by her dad, Jaya decided to pursue a career in the field of education. Starting a full time career in teaching Accountancy and Finance in 2000, she spent the next 13 years teaching in various reputed colleges of the city including Pragjyotish College and Asian Institute of Management and Technology. She has also worked as a visiting faculty at North Eastern Regional Institute of Management (NERIM), Assam Institute of Management and Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship to name a few.
“While in class 10, I was fortunate to learn Mathematics from my father for a few months, who with his amazing teaching style, could transform my poor marks in Mathematics into letter marks in my matriculation exam. He has been my inspiration in the field of teaching,” recalled Jaya while speaking to G Plus.
It’s been over four years since Jaya quit her teaching job and embarked on the entrepreneurial journey. Not only has she started her own venture, she has also initiated the procedure for issuance of a police guideline to safeguard jewellery artisans in investigation of jewellery theft cases. Additionally, she has led a team of traditional Assamese jewellery artisans to participate in India International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in the years 2013 and 2014. She has organised an awareness camp on Geographical Indication (GI) at Ranthali, Nagaon in 2013 for spreading awareness of GI on traditional Assamese jewellery and she has coordinated a workshop conducted by Renate Golz, a German goldsmith, on traditional Assamese jewellery.
Speaking to G Plus about starting her journey as an entrepreneur, Jaya said, “My initial journey as an entrepreneur in traditional Assamese jewellery industry started with an objective to fulfil a research question of testing the commercial viability of units that deals with traditional Assamese jewellery items. This activity helped me in knowing about the costing methods as well as the pricing policies adopted by the artisans for the various Assamese jewellery products and so began the journey.”
Her association with the grass root level artisans of Assam’s handicraft sector led to the start of Integrated Community Development – an association for undertaking various activities for development of different communities.
Jaya is of the opinion that social media has brought in a new revolution in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. “Social media is extremely effective as a communication and marketing tool that allows entrepreneurs widen their customer base by enhancing their contacts with suppliers and clients.
Technological innovation has also done wonders in the field of entrepreneurship - with just a little device in hand and an innovative idea, every second person can be an entrepreneur in the present time,” said Jaya.
To all the women who aspire to become entrepreneurs, Jaya has a word of advice, “Get involved in a work that you actually care about. To make a significant impact in the entrepreneurial field, you need to move out of your comfort zones as womanhood can never be an impediment in the way of choosing the path of entrepreneurship.”