‘Straight Road’ to Mohuramukh

About seven km beyond Numaligarh Tiniali towards Jorhat on NH-37, you can off-road to enter a straight stretch of road flanked on both sides by lush green paddy fields. Driving down this perfectly ‘stretch of straightness’ that takes you to Mohuramukh, you experience a length of history. Built in 1939 by the first woman contractor of Assam, Mohini Rajkumari, the five-km-long Silpi Mohini Rajkumari Path — commonly known as Mohura-Ali — is a monumental expression of women empowerment.

Best remembered as one of the lead actors in Joymoti, the first-ever Assamese film, it was Mohini Rajkumari’s tenacity of purpose that convinced the British government in 1939 to award her a contract to build the road from Mohuramukh to NH37 for a sum of Rs 1,800/-. Today, driving along Mohura-Ali, soaking in the beauty of the beautiful landscape, the mind cannot help go back to 1934, when Berlin-returned filmmaker Jyotiprasad Agarwalla came here, looking for women of royal lineage to act in his maiden cinematic venture, Joymoti.

At the Mohuramukh Rajbari, he found Mohini Rajkumari to act as Rajmao, the king’s mother, and her sister Brateswari Rajkumari to be a lady-in-waiting. Aideo Handique, an aunt of Mohini and Brateswari, who spent most of her time at the Rajbari, was chosen for the eponymous role.

Today, a small residential museum in the name of Mohini Rajkumari, built by the family at Rajbari, proudly preserves the legacy of the three remarkable women. Another institution that stands with pride is the Mohini Rajkumari Weaving Co-operative, a school that Mohini Rajkumari had established in 1939 to empower women to earn and thus alleviate their poverty.

Beyond the Rajbari, spaces are as charming. Goroimari beel, situated a mere kilometre away, is a beautiful wetland that is rich in avifauna. And, in the nearby village of Bongkual, you can experience Mising culture — simple quotidian life, exquisite handloom, fishing and farming, and best of all (if you would like) a delightful meal of rice, boiled vegetables, fish, and pork. Rest assured, you will not want to miss a thing.

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