From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Kanaklata Barua
Mains level : Role of women in Indian National Movement
A Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) named ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday, in Kolkata. It is named after a teenage freedom fighter who was shot dead in Assam during the Quit India Movement.
Who was Kanaklata Barua ?
- One of the youngest martyrs of the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata Barua has iconic status in Assam. Barua.
- Then 17, led the Mukti Bahini, a procession of freedom fighters to unfurl the Tricolour at Gohpur police station on September 20, 1942. When police did not let them move forward, an altercation led to firing, killing Barua at the head of the procession.
- She had joined the Mrityu Bahini [a kind of a suicide squad] just two days before the incident. The squad strictly admitted members aged 18 and above but Kanaklata was an exception. She wanted to lead the procession and after much persuasion she was allowed to.
- Even as Barua fell to bullets, she did not let go of the flag. She did not want it to touch the ground. Another woman volunteer behind her — Mukunda Kakoty — came and held the flag, and she, too, was shot.
How important is her legacy ?
- 1940’s was a time where you saw a lot of women coming to the fore, leading processions, patriotic fervour was at its peak — and Kanaklata was a product of this time.
- There are schools named after her, there are two statues, there is a ship. While we see her as an icon now, people in her village hated her then — she was a rebel, who questioned patriarchy.