BARANGABARI (GOHPUR), March 13 – Martyrs Kanaklata Barua and Mukunda Kakati are yet to receive due recognition till date even though they had played a pivotal role in 1942 Quit India Movement by sacrifing their lives. They are known to all in Assam, but they are still to be recognised at the national level because of the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned. This was observed on Monday by Brigadier Ananta Bhuyan, Commander, 77 Mountain Brigade, here. The army official was addressing a mammoth gathering at a commemoration programme organised here at Kanaklata Model girls’ High School, by 44 Assam Rifles and in association with the 77 Mountain Brigade and the local people.
It is to be stated here that the programme was specially organised to pay homage to Kanaklata Barua, an eminent freedom fighter from village Barangabari of Gohpur subdivision, in Sonitpur District to highlight her sacrifice and unmatched contribution of Kanaklata Barua during Quit India Movement and subsequent freedom struggles for India’s independence. Brigadier Ananta Bhuyan in his speech further stated that the ceremony was a step towards making the other parts of the country aware of Kanaklata Barua’s supreme sacrifice which motivated her contemporary freedom fighters and spread the wave of nationalism all across the nation.
Martyr Kanaklata Baruah was born to Krishna Kanta Baruah and Korneswari Barua 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 Barua 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.
The patriotic waves of 1942 motivated 17 year old Kanaklata Barua to join Quit India Movement. Kanaklata wanted to join the Azad Hind Fauz, however as she was a minor she could not succeed. The sacrifice of contemporary freedom fighters like Kushal Konwar, the then president of the local Congress committee who was hanged by implicating him for derailing a train, led the revolutionists of Gohpur subdivision 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 members of Mrityu Bahini were allowed to participate. Hundreds of youths of above 18 years of age the minimum age for joining the group, joined the Mrityu Bahini. However, Kanaklata Barua who was below 18 years of age was granted membership of the group as an exceptional case owing to her inexorable 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 which was already prepared for such action by freedom fighters under Rebati Mahan Som, officer incharge of the police station. As the Mirtyu 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 grave 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 Barua injuring her who kept holding the Tricolour till the time Mukunda Kakoti took it from her. Kanaklata Barua succumbed to her injuries and attained martyrdom. Mukunda Kakoti was also fired upon and made the supreme sacrifice. The heroic deeds of these two martyrs infuriated the freedom fighters reinvigorating 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.
Deputy Commissioner Sonitpur, Tapan Chandra Sharma, SP Sonitpur, AP Tewary, Ex- Minister and prominent social worker of the area Ram Chandra Sharma, literary worker of the area Khagen Goswami were the distinguished guests of the programme who spoke on the unmatched contribution of the Kanaklata Barua and the subsequent martyrs of the district towards India’s freedom struggle.
Prior to beginning of the programme renovation of the memorials at Bargang were carried out. Brigadier Ananta Bhuyan, Commander, Chindits Brigade, TC Sarmah, ACS, DC Sonitpur, Colonel RS Thakur, Commandant, 44 Assam Rifles, AP Tiwari, SP Sonitpur and a number of prominent civil dignitaries of the area laid wreath at Kanaklata Memorial followed by Guard of Honour and Shok Shashtra by immaculately turned out and drilled troops of No Fear Battalion. To make the programme more interesting and attract the younger generation, a cultural programme having regional touch was organised at Kanaklata Model Girls High School ground. Large number of people flocked from the surrounding area to pay homage to great martyr which enthralled the people.