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Documentary on ex-ULFA activist screened at Delhi International Film Festival

Rebellion Bejewelled“, a documentary on the life of a former ULFA militant who later devoted his life to community development, was screened at the fourth Delhi International Film Festival here on Monday.

Directed by Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, additional director general of Assam Police, “Rebellion Bejewelled” is based on the grit, determination and integrity of Monimanik Gogoi, who was once a rebel with allegiance to the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

A man who has always had dreams of a better life for his people, Monimanik Gogoi at an impressionable age found in the ULFA a platform he thought would help meet his goals.

Gogoi hails from Salmari Digholia village of Tingkhang, a suburban area of Dibrugarh district in upper Assam.

Though he joined the ULFA with a zeal to bring about a transformation in the society he was part of, he was soon disillusioned with the ways of the outfit.

Over the years, the ULFA saw several upheavals within. That, along with a sustained and determined state action coupled with the outfit’s dwindling international network, the ULFA is now a pale shadow of itself.

Rejecting its terror tactics and doubtful integrity, its erstwhile constituency of the Assamese people also have withdrawn their support to the organisation.

When Gogoi was released from jail, unlike most of his comrades, he did not surrender for financial gains nor did he go back to the organisation.

Instead, he chose a third path. He did not take to arms but only focussed on work on community organisation, drives for gainful employment of the youth and women, and projects for amity among social groups.

The districts of upper Assam, particularly Dibrugarh, are rich in natural resources with some of the biggest production centres of tea and petroleum in India.

Oil India Ltd. (OIL) with its headquarters in Duliajan, about 40 km from Tingkhang, and the government machinery have come to repose great trust in Gogoi as a “community consultant”.

With tremendous work ethics, display of integrity and a deep concern for justice and fair play, Gogoi not only could rally the community around his vision but also facilitate a paradigm shift in the approach of the industry and government machinery to take the people along as primary stakeholders.

The documentary has a foreword by ULFA chairman Arabindra Rajkhowa and so-called foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury about the organisation along with inputs from senior journalists of Assam.

Interacting with viewers after Monday’s screening here, director Mahanta said that politics has been deliberately kept out of the documentary.

“Monimanik’s way of life is very simple,” Mahanta said.

“He has never shown any inclination for politics. If there is one Monimanik in every district of Assam, you will not even need a government to run the state,” he said.

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