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KANAKLATA BARUA (1924-1942)


Kanaklata Barua was a freedom fighter and martyr. Her parents were Krishna Kanta Barua and Karneshwari Barua of Barangabari in Assam. Her grandfather Ghana Kanta Barua was famous for his hunting skills and was called Gahana Chikari or Ghana the Hunter. She lost her mother at the age of five; her father remarried, but she lost him also when she was thirteen. She was able to go to school up to class 3 but then had to drop out and look after her younger brothers and sisters. In 1942 when the Non Cooperation Movement was at its height, Kanaklata was in Tezpur. A huge camp for revolutionaries had been set up there. Kanaklata joined it and became involved with the setting up of the secret Death Squads (Mrityu Bahini). On 20 September 1942, just a few months short of her eighteenth birthday, she completed her housework and left as if on a routine social visit, but in actual fact she joined the column of protesters with a tricolour flag in her hand. She was shot in the chest while trying to hoist the national flag at the Gohpur police station as part of the Death Squad programme. She died instantly. Kanaklata immediately became an icon for the freedom fighters of India.
 
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