Kanaklata Barua: The revolutionary woman from Assam!

MAJOR KULBIR SINGH. Dated: 9/13/2017 11:23:42 AM


‘Kanaklata was born in the
Borangabari village of the undivided Darrang district of Assam as the daughter of Krishna Kanta and Karneshwari Barua. Her grandfather Ghana Kanta Barua was a famous hunter in Darrang. Her ancestors were from the Dolakharia Barua kingdom of the erstwhile Ahom state who relinquished the
Dolakharia title and continued retaining Barua title’.
Major Kulbir Singh
Kanaklata Barua (22 December 1924 – 20 September 1942) also called Birbala and Shaheed (martyr) Kanaklata Barua was an Indian freedom fighter from Assam who was shot dead while leading a procession bearing the National Flag during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
Kanaklata was born in the Borangabari village of the undivided Darrang district of Assam as the daughter of Krishna Kanta and Karneshwari Barua. Her grandfather Ghana Kanta Barua was a famous hunter in Darrang. Her ancestors were from the Dolakharia Barua kingdom of the erstwhile Ahom state who relinquished the Dolakharia title and continued retaining Barua title. Her mother died when she was only five and her father, who remarried, died when she reached thirteen. She went to school till class three but then dropped out to take care of her younger siblings. During the Quit India Movement Kanaklata joined the Mrityu Bahini, a death squad comprising groups of youth from the Gohpur sub division of Assam. On 20 September 1942, the Bahini decided it would hoist the national flag at the local police station. A procession of unarmed villagers were led by Barua to do so. The police under Rebati Mahan Som the officer in-charge of the police station warned the procession of dire consequences if they proceeded with their plan. Undeterred by the police, the procession continued marching ahead when the police fired upon the procession. Kanaklata was shot and the flag she was carrying with her was taken up by Mukunda Kakoti who too was shot at. Both Kanaklata and Kakoti were killed in the police action. Kanaklata was only 17 years of age at the time of her martyrdom. The Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS Kanak Lata Barua of the Indian Coast Guard, commissioned in 1997, is named after Kanaklata. A life size statue of hers was unveiled at Gauripur in 2011. Her impassioned speech before her death, remains a source of inspiration for many. She laid down her life for the freedom of the country at the age of 17 years.
Her story was retold in director Chandra Mudoi’s film, Epaah Phulil Epaah Xoril. The Hindi version of the movie, titled Purab Ki Awaz, was also released to reach a wider audience.
Barangabari of Gohpur subdivision in Sonitpur district of Assam. She was born to Krishna Kanta Baruah and Korneswari Baruah. Her ancestors belonged to Dolakharia Barua kingdom of the erstwhile Ahom state. Her father was a farmer. She received her primary education from Barangbari School. She became orphan at the age of five and took up the responsibilities of her life and household from a very small age. It was perhaps due to her helpless position that she bore a responsible mind from her childhood and that mind later inspired her to dedicate her life for the cause of the nation. As such, Kanaklata Barua got an opportunity to fulfill her dream of serving the country.At the age of 17 she was motivated to join the freedom struggle of the country. She wanted to join the Azad Hind Fauz. But because of her being minor she could not succeed. She joined the Mrityu Bahini and was made the leader of the women cadres of the Bahini. The state of Assam saw the symbol of strength in the form of Kanaklata Baruah. Kanaklata Baruah was one of the greatest warriors of Assam who fought for the freedom of the country from alien forces. The Indian National Congress in Mumbai on August 9, 1942, resolved to “do or die” for independence of the country. Young boys and girls joined the movement. Kanaklata Baruah was among them from Assam. Joining the movement was an opportunity for her to fulfill her dream of serving her country.
Under the leadership of the revolutionary Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, in the darrang district, a resolution was taken to hoist the national flag at the court and police station, which were seen as symbols of British Empire. Kanaklata Barua got her name enrolled in the volunteers force organized for the purpose of hoisting the National Flag. She was joined by many other volunteers and their air was to hoist the National Flag at the British dominated police station following the Gandhiji’s principle of non violence. On September 20, 1942 the revolutionary camp of the Gohpur region decided to unfurl the national flag at the local police station. The Mrityu Bahini members proceeded towards the police station under the leadership of Kanaklata Baruah. Kanaklata Baruah was holding the national flag as the leader of the group and led the procession. They were warned by the police not to proceed further or they will face grave consequences. Undeterred the procession continued marching ahead.
The police fired at the continuing march. They fired at Kanaklata Baruah injuring her.
She kept on holding the flag till the time her companion Mukanda Kakati took it from her. Kanaklata Baruah succumbed to her injury. She attained martyrdom. Her heroic sacrifice is remembered with pride by the people of Assam.

 

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