Standing tall areca palm trees amidst the never-ending stretch of tea gardens with the blue hills as a landscape or sometimes lush golden paddy fields-this is the cliché version of defining Assam. However, today’s Assam boasts of the real heroes who are at present the talk of the world.
In the past few months of this year, Mother Assam has witnessed histories created by her sons and daughters. These gems of people have carved their names in golden letters both in the national and international level. We as Assamese and also Indians are so proud of them. This piece is dedicated to these wonderful people and their journey to success.
1) RIMA DAS
Director Rima Das’s ‘VILLAGE ROCKSTARS” is India’s official entry in the ‘Foreign Language Film’ category for Oscars 2019. What a marvelous feat! Since the days of Mother India, Salaam Bombay, and Lagaan, India eagerly awaits for this announcement. And this year for the first time in the history of India an Assamese movie has made the cut.
The film which had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and India premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival 2018 is also the recipient of the National Award for the best feature film.
What sets this movie apart from everything else is the fact that the maker Rima Das emerged as a one-woman crew. She was in charge of writing, directing, producing, editing and shooting this film along with handling art direction and costume designing. The actors in this movie are non-actors, who hail from Das’s native village in Assam. And the actors are the one who filled colors into Rima’s black & white canvas. A rare ensemble, indeed!
After months of globetrotting, this aesthetically pleasing, soulfully written and beautifully enacted movie has hit the Indian theatres on September 28. And for the movie plot part, I leave it for you all to watch. Don’t give it a miss!
2) HIMA DAS
Football was her first love, but athletics transformed her life. Today Hima Das is one of India’s fastest women. Nicknamed as the “DHING EXPRESS” (born and brought up in Assam’s Dhing village) Hima is a three-time Asian Games medalist, an Arjuna Award awardee and the national record holder in 400m.
The year 2018 has truly been phenomenal for this rock star athlete. As a result of her exceptional success on the track, she is now the brand ambassador of Assam sports and also the face of German sports brand Adidas’s campaign to inspire young athletes in India.
Hima Das is a true champion both on the field and off the field. Apart from running like her life depends on it this golden girl is a socialist who dislike illegal things. A rare instance of her life tells us how Hima stood up against an illicit bootlegging business. In a village where electricity is at scarce and floods are frequent, Hima emerged as a rock-solid girl from a 17 member joint family to fulfill her dreams of flying on an airplane and visiting a foreign land. Not only did she visit a foreign land but she won a sport on that land bringing accolades to her country. Her now-famous catchphrase, “Mon Jai” which means “I feel like” is now a national symphony. It is so much more than just a hashtag. It is her fight against all odds. It signifies her brilliance against all hurdles. It is her ode to all the young and bright girls of Assam who dream of becoming a Hima someday soon.
Poverty couldn’t bring her down, being a lone woman in a different land couldn’t rip her apart, and speaking broken English couldn’t leave her flustered because what Hima Das achieved was truly a God’s work of art. Now we can’t wait for a biopic on her, can we?
3) RANJAN GOGOI
A man of firm and few words, Ranjan Gogoi, a judge of the Supreme Court of India took charge as the Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2018.
He is the first person from the northeast to have been appointed to the highest position in the judiciary.
Justice Gogoi was born in Dibrugarh, Assam. He is highly respected for his sense of deep conviction and strong words. In his career period, Gogoi has garnered the reputation for being a judge who speaks through his actions. He has always lived up to the saying, “he who has a big heart but thinks with his mind!”
Ranjan Gogoi is among the eleven of his colleagues at the Supreme Court who has made his list of assets public to keep up with the resolution of maintaining transparency in the top judiciary. On January 12, 2018, Gogoi along with four other senior judges of the Supreme Court came forth and released a letter they wrote to the incumbent Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, raising serious questions on the functioning of the topmost court in India. This incident is a first of its kind in the history of Indian Judiciary. Thus, the instance itself highlights Justice Gogoi’s fine work ethic. He is also known for his famous judgment forbidding the use of politicians’ photos in government advertisements. This immaculate judge is at present, hearing the sensitive case of National Register for Citizens (NRC) for Assam.
Let’s all take a moment to applaud Ranjan Gogoi who is all set to take a pledge to uncontaminate, arrange and filter Indian judiciary system.
Assam is a state which receives a minuscule of national attention only when the names of legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika and sensational Zubeen Garg pops up. But now with the likes of Hima, Rima, and Justice Gogoi, good things are here to stay. Definitely, general knowledge without knowing these names will be in vain.
JOI AI AKHOM!
An article by weekly contributor Sumona Chetia.