The Tale to Tell: Kanaklata Barua
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Many are surprised to find that in the small pockets of Assam, there had arisen young girls - inside of whom raged the battle to win freedom for the country.
People may only vaguely remember 12-year old Tileswari Barua who was shot down during the Quit-India Movement; or somewhat recall Kanaklata Barua, the 17-year old who led an army of such bravehearts aptly termed "Mrityu Bahini"; but historians and Government of Assam are making sure that these crucial sacrifices are not forgotten so easily.
So this year, we need to walk that that memory lane and briefly visit on who that girl was whose passion and patriotism inspires people everywhere even today.
This is the story of the leader of the pack, Kanaklata Barua:
Born to Krishna Kanta Barua and Korneshwari Barua on 22nd December, 1924 at Barangabari village of Gohpur sub-division of Sonitpur district, Kanaklata Barua was the youngest freedom fighter from Assam. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India movement, seventeen-year-old Kanaklata joined the movement.
An undeterred spirit and a patriotism like no other, she despite her young age went on and to join Mrityu Bahini- a death/suicide squad!
At this nascent age when she joined Mrityu Bahini, her rebellious demeanour and strength of ideology reflected her zeal in serving the country she was born in and fighting for the deserved freedom of the people she called her own. She was granted membership because of this zeal, and was subsequently made the leader of the women cadres of Mrityu Bahini.
Kanaklata, with the National flag in her hand, led the procession with the members of Mrityu Bahini. They were warned by the police not to proceed further or face grave consequences. When the officer threatened her that they would start firing if she moves forward, she told him to do his duty and she would carry on with hers.
Undeterred by the warning, the procession continued to move forward and police started firing at them. As a leader, Kanaklata was holding the flag, she was shot and still holding the flag making sure that the flag does not fall on the ground till Mukunda Kakoti, another member from the group took it from her.
The heroic and decidedly supreme sacrifice did not go in vain as the tricolour was eventually unfurled at the police station, adding more fuel to the freedom movement.
A valiant act such as this, screaming of utter resilience strengthened India’s resolve to dethrone and further weaken England’s grip on the country before eventually country gaining independence on the 15th of August, 1947.
Her story is slowly but surely finding historians to narrate the valour and courage that she displayed in her teens, for she remains an inspiration for many. And will remain so for times to come.
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