Datta-Barua Dives into Humble ISD Trustee Election


By Jawahar Malhotra

FALLCREEK: In the Golden Years of life, one might imagine taking it easy and pursuing the idyllic activities that come with having more time on your hands. But, some of us just can’t lie back and see the days go by if there is a chance to help the environment we live in, especially if you are passionate about education and how it can open doors up for the young and disadvantaged.

For Dr. Lohit Datta-Barua, the lesson of a good primary education has led to a lifetime pursuit of knowledge and its application in industry. Originally from Guwahati, Assam, Datta-Barua grew up in a poor family which saw education as the only vehicle out for their kids. He came to the US in 1973 with $7 in his pocket and a dream to get an advanced engineering degree at the University of Houston. After he received his Masters in Electrical Engineering, he did not stop, but went on to get his PhD in Engineering with focus on Ocean Engineering. His wife Manjula also got her Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and as Datta-Barua will tell you, his brother, sister-in-law, older daughter and son-in-law all have advanced degrees and are professors at universities.

Datta-Barua has personally experienced the benefits of an enlightened mind through a good education, and how it allowed him to contribute to the growth of the country through work and leadership roles in the oil and gas industry.

From his poor background, he was able to lay the foundation for his personal growth and success as well as for his family, all thanks to access to education as a child and his motivation and willingness to sacrifice and achieve a dream.

For the past 35 years, the Datta-Baruas have made their home in the Kingwood/Atascocita area where their two daughters Seebany and Indrany grew up and went to school. The Datta-Baruas worked in Houston – she at Reliant Energy and he in private E&C companies with projects all around the globe. The Datta-Baruas experienced first-hand the discrepancies in the Humble ISD where they lived and the differences between the schools in the district that encompasses Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Summerwood, Fallcreek and neighboring areas with an enrollment of over 40,000 students. And now that Lohit has more time on his hands, he has decided to toss his hat into the ring and run for a vacant seat for Trustee on the HISD Board.

“Kingwood HS is ranked high, Humble HS is ranked low.  The average Kingwood area students’ family income is twice as high as the Humble area students’ family.  There must be a strong effort to enhance the low ranking schools,” said Datta-Barua as he planned his election strategy. “All schools must provide the same learning environment for students to reach their intellectual capacity. Peer pressure should be for academic excellence. Schools must create that environment. Our school districts must provide the same, but customized learning environment, same opportunity and access to each student.” It’s a quandary that many school districts across the state of Texas are facing compounded by a lack of competitive zeal among many students.

Datta-Barua realizes that he faces an uphill battle in the election as he has low name recognition and for that he is counting on the support of the south-Asian population in the district in addition to all other groups. The current Board of trustees does not adequately represent the diverse population of the area which is a mix of Black, Hispanic, Chinese, Vietnamese, South Asian, and Anglo in Humble area with mostly Anglo in Kingwood.

“The need of the day is unconventional learning that is appropriate for a changing environment, that is employment oriented, would reduce economic divide, that encourages questions and ideas. No question, no idea should be ignored,” reflected Datta-Barua.

The Humble ISD election is set for May 6 with early voting set for April 24 to May 2. Datta-Barua is seeking campaign donations and all the support he can get. He can be contacted at 832-273-6122 or ldattabarua@gmail.com