Indian women have been playing an important role in the history of caste at various times, in the development of civilization. Indian women played an important role in the freedom struggle against British rule. In fact Indian women fought against the British with true patriotism and indomitable courage to get rid of foreign rule. Strong protests against British rule also started in different parts of India as well as in Assam. Irrespective of caste and creed, all the individuals participated in this freedom struggle. Women in Assam, parallel to men, also created an example by actively participating in India’s freedom struggle without being confined to the boundary of the four walls. Many died in this struggle and many others were injured forever. Kanaklata Barua is one of the brave women of Assam who fought against the British and laid down her life with indomitable courage.
Biography of Kanaklata Barua
|Date of Birth||December 22, 1924|
|Place of Birth||Barangabari, Gahpur, Darang district (now Sonitpur district)|
|Parents||Krishnakant Barua (Father), Kanakeshwari Barua (Mother)|
|Death||September 20, 1942|
In Barangabari village of Kalangpur Mouzar in Chayaduaar constituency of Darrang district British India Kanaklata Barua was born in 1924 in the Dolakasharia Barua dynasty. Born in a wealthy family, Kanaklata Barua’s father’s name was Krishnakant Barua and her mother’s name was Kanakeshwari Barua. Kanaklata Barua’s father Krishnakant Barua owns a leading figure in the society while her grandfather Ghanakanta Barua was a well-known hunter. Kanakalata Barua, who lost her mother at a very young age, grew up under the supervision of her grandfather and uncle. Kanaklata Barua’s brother and sister’s name was Rajanikanta Barua and Devabala Barua.
Importantly, women’s education was not very focused on that period in the early nineteenth century. At that time women were especially confined to the four boundary of the house. There was no spread and promotion of women’s education in the society. That is why Kanaklata Barua studied in primary school in the village till class III and did her education. Being a common personality Kanaklata Barua was engaged with works like sowing, cooking, weaving etc. Apart from being on the verge of doing everything, Kanaklata Barua was the favourite personality of her family as well as the neighbors.
Importantly, Kanaklata Barua’s uncle Devendra Nath Bora and Jaduram Bora were Congress leaders. For which Kanaklata Barua heard at a very young age about the Britishers who came across from the seven seas and thirteen rivers and how they tortured the Indians, and about the fighters who dispise dying fought for the country’s independence. The freedom movement started all over India under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi when Kanaklata Barua was in Ali-Domoja in her teenage. The freedom movement that started strongly against this British rule was able to touch the teenage Kanaklata Barua’s mind as well as she also became interested towards sacrifices and non-violent ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Also Read: Biography of Dipankar Bhattacharjee
Freedom Movement In The Backdrop of Assam
The Quit India Movement was launched all over India in 1942. The Quit India resolution was passed under the chairmanship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad at the Congress National Session held at Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay. Importantly, through this resolution, the British Government was warned that if they are not going to leave India, a Mass Movement or Social Movement would be formed all over the country. This struggle for India’s independence will be the last struggle. The key slogan to this struggle is to ‘Do or Die.’
On August 8, 1942, a proposal was made to leave India, but on August 9, 1942, the British government declared the Congress as illegal and in particular to Mahatma Gandhi arrested leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel etc. There was a response generated across all over India as well as Assam for arresting Congress leaders. A mass(Social) movement was formed in Assam as well. Especially the motto of this struggle ‘Do or Die’ was able to touch the hearts of the people of Assam. Top Congress leaders were arrested in Assam too after accepting the proposal of Quit India movement. Mohammad Tayyabulla, Gopinath Bordoloi and Siddhinath Sharma were also arrested by the British government. Leaders like Vishnuram Medhi, Deveshwar Sharma, Harekrishna Das, Pitambar Dev Goswami, Krishnadev Goswami were thrown into jail by the British government. The Assamese people resorted to violent methods against the repression policy of the British government. Various violence activities took place in different districts of Assam like Kamrup, Nagaon, Darang etc. The agitators were virtually involved in such a diplomatic manner as lifting railway lines, burning government offices, wasting government resources, disconnecting telephones. At that time, The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee formed The Assam Volunteer Force, but the British government declared the force, made up of more than a thousand peace armies, as illegal. Importantly they decided to take more stringent action against the agitators.
The Quit India Movement has taken a big turn in the entire Assam as well as in Darang district. In all areas like Gahpur, Kalabari, Barangabari, Dhekiajuli, Jamuguri, Chetia, etc. In all regions, irrespective of race, caste, religion, gender, age, everyone came out to participate in the movement that triggered the revolt against the British. Pushpalata Das and Jyotiprasad Agarwal led the movement. Importantly, the fighters who came out for the country’s independence were divided into two parties. a) Peace Forces b) Death Force.
Those who joined the peace force participated in the struggle in constructive work and participated in the struggle by keeping peace and order intact. On the other hand various people were included in the death force by setting a limit of 18 to 50 years. Proper training was also arranged for those who joined the peace force and death force. Importantly, only those who are ready to make all sacrifices were included in the death force.
Kanakalata Barua and Freedom Movement
Importantly, Kanaklata Barua was only seventeen years old at that time. Kanaklata Barua who stepped into the Ali – domoja of adolescence had a potentially colorful future ahead. But Kanaklata Barua expressed her responsibility towards the country as opposed to a dream of a colorful future around the colorful surroundings at that time. She joined the Death Force(Mrityu Bahini) at a young age because of her determination, courage and love for the country. The agitators in the intense to Quit India movement decided to hoist the National flag at all police stations and Kasari houses on September 20. A meeting was held on September 8,1942 at the Namghar(Temple) of Jaranial Satra to properly implement the programme of the movement. Importantly, the agitators decided that everyone should participate in the programme in procession and the members of the Death Force(Mrityu Bahini) would be at the forefront of the procession.
All the fighters were geared up for the Flag Hoisting Programme on September 20 as planned. It was decided to hoist the flag by Pushpalata Das who led the agitation at Gahpur police station. But teenager Kanakalata Baruah wants to bear the responsibility of hoisting the flag at Gahpur police station, and later she was subsequently entrusted with the responsibility.
Hundreds of thousands of people from Hawajan, Helem, Kalabari, Balijan, Burai etc. came out along with Congress leaders, like Jonaram Bhuyan, Thaneswar Mahanta, Meenaram Barua, Jitin Bora etc. to hoist the National flag at Gahpur police station. Hundreds of women including Someswari, Punyaprabha Baruah, Jonaki Gogoi, Bhugilla Bora, Devalata Baruah, Maichena Baruah also participated in the movement. Seventeen-year-old Kanaklata Barua led the rally to hoist the national flag towards Gahpur police station, shaking the sky with the slogan of ‘Jai Mahatma Gandhi Jai’, ‘Swaraj our birth rights’, ‘Britishers leave India’ etc.
But an armed police team led by Gahpur police station in-charge Revatimohan Som stopped the agitators. But the fighters led by Kanaklata Barua who did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the mother land were not afraid of death even after the police warned them. For which the agitating party who were all set to hoist the National flag at the police station was directed by in-charge Revatimohan Som to shoot. As a result Kanaklata Barua sacrificed her life, she was killed by Assistant police officer Bagai konch’s bullet(fire). Mukunda Kakati who catched the flag that was about to fall out of the hands of Kanaklata Barua who fell down with all blood on her body was also shot dead by the police. Hemkanta Baruah, Bagai Kachari, Thuleshwar Rajkhowa, Khargeshwar Baruah were also seriously injured who were also in the same row. However, in the midst of this tensed atmosphere, Rampati Rajkhowa of Kalabari managed to get up from behind and hoist the flag at Gahpur police station.
In the history of India’s freedom struggle, Kanaklata Barua, wrote her name in golden letters, the 17 year old girl, dedicated her life to the country with a smile. Kanaklata Barua is the another name for courage. She is the first female martyr of the Indian freedom struggle. Presently, the Government of Assam in the memory of this martyr, The civil hospital in Tezpur has been dedicated to commemorate the martyr.
1. When and where was Kanaklata Barua born?
Ans: Kanklata Barua was born in December 22, 1924 at Barangabari, Gahpur, Darang district (now Sonitpur district).
2. Who is Kanaklata Barua?
Ans: She was the first female martyr of Indian Freedom Struggle from Assam.
3. When was Quit India Movement launched all over India?
Ans: Quit India Movement was launched all over India in 1942.
4. At what age Kanaklata Barua joined the Death Force(Mrityu Bahini)?
Ans: She joined the Death Force(Mrityu Bahini) only when she was seventeen years old because of her determination, courage and love for the country.
5. When and in what age did Kanaklata Barua died?
Ans: Kanaklata Barua died in September 20, 1942 at the age of seventeen.
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