Freedom struggle in Assam
has a unique character of its own. The people of Assam made remarkable
contributions at every stage of the freedom movement since 1920 to 1947.
The visit of Mahatma Gandhi to the State in 1921 gave fillip to the freedom
movement which had already gathered momentum in both valleys of Assam.
Kanak Lata Barua, a girl of fifteen years became the first martyr of 1942
revolution. Others who lost their lives for the freedom of the country
include - Kushal Konwar, Kamala Miri, Maniram Dewan, Bhogeshwari Phukanani
and many others. Some of the notable freedom fighters ,who are still living,
deserve recollection by the nation in the 50 years of India’s Independence.
Pushpalata Das a revolutionary from her childhood, organised "Mrityu Bahini" and "Santi Bahini" in Tezpur which pledged for supreme sacrifice in fighting for India's Independence.
Smt.Das was only six (1921) when she joined "Banar Sena" to popularise khadi among the people and organised "Charkha Sangha". Even her father, a Government employee, was compelled by his little daughter to wear only khadi. Inspired by her mother ,she took the pledge for freedom and never looked back. By coming into contact with several frontline leaders of freedom movement, she converted herself to a pure Gandhian.
She was selected by Gandhiji for Individual Satyagraha and remained in jail for two and half months as an under trial. In 1942, she was arrested under Defence of India Rule and was kept in solitary confinement for three and half years. As she fell ill in the jail, the Government requested her to go on parole, but she refused.
When offered "Tamra Patra" by the Government she
refused to accept it and wrote to the then Chief Minister of Assam, Shri
Sarat Chandra Sinha, "With all my profound sense of gratitude to the well
wishes of the Government, I would like to say humbly that, I did not take
part in the India's freedom movement with an intention to get something
in return. That was complete by itself with joy - so, I would not like
to accept your honour... Let the beauty of service remain animated". These
words, perhaps, can rightly reflect her feelings and thoughts of sacrifice.
She was also a member of Rajya Sabha from 1951 to 1961.
Shri Satis Chandra Kakati
Shri Satis Chandra Kakati left school during his childhood in protest against the Cunningham circular of the Assam Government in 1930 by which the students were prohibited from participating in political activities associated with the freedom movement. He joined the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930, and was arrested and sentenced to 3 months' rigorous imprisonment for picketing before foreign clothes shops.
On release, Shri Kakati resumed his education in
the Kamrup Academy High School in Guwahati, the first nationalist school
in Assam for those students who had left Government schools and participated
in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Shri Kakati graduated from Cotton College,
Guwahati in 1936. He did not seek any Government job but started his journalism
career and became the editor of the Assam Tribune. Simultaneously, he was
also the editor of the Assam Weekly, Assam Bani. In recognition of his
services to journalism the Government of India conferred Padma Shri on
Shri Kakati in 1991.
Lakshyadhar Choudhury (Born in 1915 at Rangmahal, North Guwahati, Assam) is in his own words a pedestrian of the alleys of mind. To be specific, he roams the inner world of those seemingly ordinary people who are otherwise extraordinarily endowed with basic human values.
After his graduation from Cotton College, he started teaching in a school at North Guwahati.
It was during those inspiring days of 1942 that he
entered the real struggle of the freedom movement in active association
with stalwarts like Jayprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Achyut Pattawardhan,
Aruna Ashaf Ali and Acharya Narendra Dev. After Independence, he joined
the socialist forces of the country and entered into regional politics.
Later, he was also elected to the most prestigious office of the president,
Asom Sahitya Sabha, an outstanding State literary organisation of Assam
Navadwip Ranjan Patgiri
Shri Navadwip Ranjan Patgiri, at the age of eighteen, enrolled himself in a 'Santi Sena' as envisaged by the Assam Provincial Congress Committee, and after receiving training, he was appointed 'Adhi Nayak' by the Barpeta District Congress Committee to impart Santi Sena Training in the Barnagar Tehsil area within the jurisdiction of Sarbhog Police Station and raised a corps of fifteen hundred strong well trained Santi Sena.
The Santi Sena Bahini launched a vigorous picketing to stop local supply of materials like bamboo, thatch, sand, gravel, along with vehicles, bullock carts and labourers to check the progress of the war preparation of British Government.
Ultimately, on August 26, 1942 the aerodrome under construction with all the materials, the military barracks, newly constructed M.E.S. offices, the Sarbhog Police Station building and the Inspection Banglow of Sarbhog town were torched to ashes by the Santi Senas.
All together 276 suspects were arrested in this connection and Navadwip Ranjan Patgiri was convicted for five years rigorous imprisonment, along with two others who were convicted for seven years, each, while the other four accused were acquitted.
Shri Patgiri got involved in several social organisations
and presently, he is the president of the Assam State Freedom Fighters'
Association, since the last five years.
Pabindra Nath Sarma
Shri Pabindra Nath Sarma, a true Gandhian, joined the Freedom Movement in 1932 leaving his law studies. He travelled extensively throughout the whole of Assam propagating the messages of Gandhiji among the rural people. He organised a volunteer force from villages of picketing in District Headquarters. He also preached about ill effects of ganja, liquor and organised dharna in front of the shops. In 1941, he was selected to offer individual Satyagraha and was the only man to offer individual Satyagraha for the longest time. He played active role in the Quit India Movement and suffered imprisonment. He was a revolutionary and started a parallel government in Barkuriha Ganga Pukhuri High School in Nalbari district and arrested Government servants for crimes against the country. He along with the other youths destroyed official documents.
Later, he was arrested under the Defence of India
Rules and sent to Guwahati jail as security prisoner without trial. In
1944, his mother died and he was released but was interned at Guwahati
for one year. A true Gandhian, Shri Sarmah wrote several books on Gandhiji.
He was offered Tamra Patra by the Government.
Bipin Pal Das
Shri Bipin Pal Das, jumped into Quit India Movement of 1942. He concentrated on spreading the message of complete Non-Cooperation with the British War efforts among the rural masses in Kamrup district, Assam. This campaign was quite successful and a large number of rural youths came forward to carry on the agitation. In the course of this campaign, Shri Das along with four local youth leaders was arrested in 1942.
Shri Das was released from the Guwahati jail after an imprisonment of three months. After being released from the jail Shri Das engaged himself in underground works. In 1946,he joined the Congress Socialist Party.
In March 1970, he was selected to Rajya Sabha as an independent candidate, and joined the Congress Party in January 1971. In the same year, Shri Das was asked by the then Prime Minister Smt.Indira Gandhi to join the Indian Delegation to the U.N.O. In 1974, Shri Das was appointed Deputy Minister of the Ministry of External Affairs.He was re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 1976 as a Congress candidate for the second term.
With the sincere efforts of the above mentioned distinguished
leaders and many others, Assam played a pivotal role in India's freedom