1942. The Do or Die call of Mahatma Gandhi towards total independence resonated across the country. In the remote village of Barangabari in Assam, a frail girl in her early teens was stirred by this clarion call. The story of Kanaklata Barua (1924-1942) is one of the most inspiring episodes in the history of India's freedom struggle. Kanaklata was only seventeen when she fell to the bullets of brutal police firing while trying to hoist the tricolour at the Gohpur Police Station, a symbol of British power. In bringing to light this little known yet significant sacrifice of Kanaklata, the book look at the whole hearted participation of women in the freedom movement who broke through the barriers of patriarchy, caste, traditions and customs. It is also a narrative of the socio-political and cultural history of Assam and its major role in shaping India's modern history. 


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The saga of Kanaklata is one of intense patriotism, of extreme courage and of unanswering determination. It is the stuff of folklores. Yet even in the land of her birth her story has remained largely untold, her life not celebrated, her example remaining only as a distant memory to future generations rather than being the guiding star and constant source of inspiration.



It was a herculean task assigned to me to prepare a monograph on Kanaklata Barua within a short notice of twenty days. Except for the fact that Kanaklata sacrificed her life while unfurling the tricolour atop the Gohpur police station in September 1942, not much information was available about her even in the history text books.

National Awakening and the Political Ferment


The twentieth century in India was a period of continuous upheavals that shook time-worn beliefs and pulled down social barriers particularly those that came in the way of women's progress. Perhaps it would be appropriate to call it the century of Indian women because of the ordeals they had to face in their relentless struggle to secure their due place in society.

Kanaklata's Childhood


Kanakaklata Barua, also referred to as Shahid or 'martyr' and Birbala, was born on 22 December, 1924 in the village of Brangabari, under Kalangpur Mauza of Gohpur subdivision in Sonitpur district of Assam. She was born in an age and at a time when Indian women enjoyed few rights and were denied the opportunity for education, self expression and self fulfilment.

The Ryot Sabha at Gomiri, 1931


Following the final suspension of Gandhi's Civil Disobedience Movement the social and political activities were channelized into new directions. The eleven-point charter of demands that Gandhi had raised in the 1930s also included a demand for a 50 per cent reduction in land revenue rates.

The Making of Joymati: Its Impact


Jyoti Prasad Agarwala's creative spirit stemmed from his love of the nation and its culture. A multifaceted personality, Agarwal was a poet, a playwright, a composer, a lyricist and above all a staunch freedom fighter.

Quit India Movement at Gohpur


Gandhi's declaration that "we would win the war by fighting" and the announcement of his motto "Do or Die" had a profound effect on the masses of the country. On August 9, 1942, the Indian National Congress held in Mumbai resolved to 'Do or Die' for the Independence of the country. They started an agitation with the slogan of 'Quit India' against the British regime.



For several decades a large group of people belonging to different regions and different timeless had dreamt the same dream, that of the attainment of India's independence from the colonial regime of the British invaders. Amongst these people, millions were women, some known and others uncelebrated.



It is believed that as many as two hundred or more youth below thirty years of age have been executed/hanged by British Government.

More Details about kanaklata Barua

General Information  
Author(s)Shiela Bora
PublisherNational Book Trust
Edition1st Edition 2016
Publish YearApril 2016