We all know Kanaklata Baruah was an Assamese martyr who laid down her life for the cause of Indian Independence. But do you know today marks her 74th Death Anniversary. On her death anniversary we pay tribute to the lady who was also known as Birabala.
Kanaklata Baruah was born to Krishna Kanta Baruah and Karneswari Baruah on December 22, 1924 at village Barangabari of Gohpur sub-division of Sonitpur district. Her ancestors were from the Dolakharia Barua kingdom of the erstwhile Ahom state who relinquished the Dolakharia title and continued retaining Baruah title. Her father was a farmer. She lost her mother at the tender age of 5 years and her father later solemnised second marriage. Kanaklata Barua received her primary education from Barangbari School.
Joining Mrityu Bahini
After MK Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement on 8th August 1942 in Mumbai with the slogan ‘Do or Die’, there were widespread repercussions across the country. Assam also witnessed its ripple effects and many freedom fighters of the State joined hands to oust the oppressive British from India. The patriotic waves also motivated 17 year old Kanaklata to join Quit India Movement. Kanaklata wanted to join the Azad Hind Fauz, however being a minor she could not succeed. The sacrifice of contemporary freedom fighters like Kushal Konwar, also made indelible impression on the revolutionists of Gohpur subdivision. They decided to remove the British flag and unfurl the Indian National Flag at all prominent places. For carrying out such perilous patriotic acts demanding supreme sacrifice, only determined, courageous and dedicated youths were allowed to participate. This group was named Mrityu Bahini.
The group comprised hundreds of youths of above 18 years of age fighting the British together with one common goal in mind, India’s Independence. It is to be noted that Kanaklata Baruah who was 17, hence underaged, when she was granted membership of the group as an exceptional case owing to her uncompromising patriotic feelings. She was subsequently made the leader of the women cadres of Mrityu Bahini.
On September 20, 1942, the revolutionary camp of Gohpur region of undivided Darrang district decided to unfurl the National Flag at the local police station. However the police were already prepared to counter such measures by freedom fighters. Rebati Mohan Som was the officer incharge of the police station. As the Mrityu Bahini members in large numbers under the leadership of Kanaklata Barua approached the police station they were warned by the police not to proceed further or to face dire consequences. As the leader of the group, Kanaklata Barua was holding the Tricolour the leading the procession. Undeterred by the warning of the police, the procession continued marching ahead. On this, the despotic police fired at the leader Kanaklata Baruah injuring her who kept holding the Tricolour till the time Mukunda Kakoti took it from her after she succumbed to her injuries. Mukunda Kakoti was also fired upon and made the supreme sacrifice.
The heroic deeds of these two martyrs infuriated the freedom fighters and reinvigorated their patriotic feelings who ultimately unfurled the Tricolour at the police station. This historic and valiant act by Mrityu Bahini at Gohpur gave an impetus to Quit India Movement all across the country and made the movement successful which ultimately made the British to leave the country shortly and the country attained independence in 1947.