Kanaklata’s journey began in a household deeply rooted in the struggle for freedom. Her father, Krishnakant Barua, was a valiant freedom fighter associated with the Swadeshi movement. Tragedy struck early in Kanaklata’s life; at five, she lost her mother, and by twelve, her father had also passed away. Raised in her grandmother’s home in Gameri village, the torch of freedom lit by her father continued to burn brightly.
The backdrop of Kanaklata’s upbringing was immersed in the ethos of the freedom struggle. Her early exposure to meetings and conferences related to the movement fueled her passion for independence. At seven, she attended a meeting in Gameri village, awakening her social consciousness. The imprisonment of participants in this meeting triggered a wave of protests, igniting the spirit of revolution across Assam.
The year 1942 marked a turning point in India’s fight for independence. The Quit India movement echoed across the nation, and Assam found itself in the throes of change. With most leaders incarcerated, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of individuals like Jyoti Prasad Aggarwala, who assumed leadership and steered the movement in a new direction.
In the midst of this tumultuous period, Kanaklata found herself leading a self-sacrificing group with a daring mission – to hoist the tricolour flag at the Gohpur Police Station on September 20, 1942. Undeterred by the surrounding police presence, Kanaklata, carrying the flag, confronted the police station in-charge. Despite warnings and gunfire, she stood resolute, taking a bullet to the chest and sacrificing her life for the cause. Her bravery didn’t falter, even in the face of adversity.
Kanaklata’s sacrifice bore fruit, as India eventually gained independence. The Gohpur police station, witness to her courageous act, saw the tricolour flutter in the winds of freedom. In 1997, the Indian Coast Guard honoured her memory by naming a Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS after her. Additionally, a life-size statue in Gauripur in 2011 serves as a permanent tribute to her indomitable spirit.
Kanaklata Barua’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the undying spirit of freedom. Her sacrifice remains etched in the annals of India’s struggle for independence, an inspiration for generations to come.