Independence Day 2022: Women Freedom Fighters from Northeast India
Women freedom fighters from Northeast India

In today’s India, we have seen how several women across all fields have time and again broken gender stereotypes. History is proof of how women freedom fighters have given their blood and sweat to free our country from British rule and fight for the injustice that existed back then.

On this Independence day 2022, we remember those women freedom fighters who valiantly fought the British and shaped the freedom movement from within.

Meet these incredible women freedom fighters from North-East India who helped in India’s freedom struggle.

Kanaklata Baruah

Lost in the pages of Assamese history, Kanaklata Barua is considered to be the youngest freedom fighter from Assam. She was born to Krishna Kanta Barua and Korneshwari Barua on 22nd December 1924 at Barangabari village of Gohpur sub-division of Sonitpur district. Initially, she wanted to join the Azad Hind Fauz, however, being a minor she was not allowed to join. But, it did not deter the brave heart from joining India’s freedom movement. Her path-breaking ideas and valorous feats were a striking departure from most women leaders of her generation. Subsequently, she became an active organiser and member of Mrityu Bahini.

Kanaklata Baruah was shot dead by the British police at Gohpur on September 20, 1942, while going to hoist the national flag during the Quit India Movement.

Chandraprabha Saikiani

Born to the daughter of Gaonburha (headman) Daisingari in Assam’s Kamrup district, the 20th-century woman was way ahead of her time with a very independent outlook. As a social activist, she dedicated her entire life to fighting to give women the rights they deserved, but alongside, led a tumultuous life that shaped her larger battle. She was just 13 years old when she brought many young girls under her wing to establish a girls’ school in Akaya village and imparted whatever knowledge she gathered from attending school herself.

Later in 1921, she took active participation in the non-cooperation movement and worked to mobilise women from Assam to do the same. Eventually, this paved the way for the establishment of the Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samity, known to be Assam’s first organised women’s movement.

Rebati Lahon

Born in Teok, Rebati Lahon was an active participant and one of the core members of the Quit India Movement. In 1942, she was imprisoned and due to the poor living condition in jail, she suffered from pneumonia. Soon after she came out of jail, she died.

Dariki Dasi Baruah 

Born in the Golaghat district of Assam, Daariki Das Baruah played a vital role in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Besides that, she was one of the leading members of the anti-opium campaign. On February 1, 1932, she was arrested for six months on the charge of anti- opium picketing. It is to be noted that the brave woman was pregnant at the time of imprisonment. On April 26, 1932, she fell sick and passed away in jail.

Bhogeswari Phukanani

Hidden in the pages of history, the mother of eight, Bhogeswari Phukanani had a strong conviction for the cause of nationalism. She played an active role in the Quit India Movement in the Nagaon district of Assam. She also helped in setting up offices for the Indian National Congress. On 1930, she participated in a nonviolent march as an act of civil disobedience against the Britishers and was arrested for picketing.

Later, she was shot by Captain Finch when she tried to hit him with the pole of the National Flag enraged by the humiliation shown by the Captain towards the National Flag. Three days after she succumbed to her injuries on 20th September 1942. 

Tileswari Barua

Known to be one of India’s youngest freedom fighters, Tileswari Barua belonged to Dhekiajuli, Assam. The unsung hero took active participation in Quit India Movement. The 12 years took a bullet while attempting to unfurl the Tricolour on September 20, 1920. 

Golapi Chutiani

Born in Assam’s Dhekiajuli, Golapi Chutiani played an active role in the 1942 movement. The police officials resorted to firing and lathi charges to block the revolters. While trying to protect the dignity of our motherland, she was wounded severely in the lathi attack and eventually succumbed to her injuries. 

Lila Neogoni

She played an active role in 1942’s revolt. She was severely beaten by the police officials at Lakhimpur while participating in a parade against them. After two months, She succumbed to her injuries

Rani Gaidinliu

Born in the Tamenglong district of Manipur, Rani Gaidinliu was Naga’s spiritual and political leader. She led an armed uprising against the British authorities in Manipur, Nagaland, and Assam. She, along with her cousin Haipou Jadonang, was an active member of the Heraka movement, which aimed to a revival of the Naga tribal religion and establish self-rule of the Nagas (Naga Raj) ending the imperialist’s rule.

She was just 16 years old when she was sentenced to life imprisonment by the British colonials. After being released in 1947, she dedicated her work to the betterment of the community.

Nehru regarded her as the “daughter of the hills” and he titled her ‘Rani’ for her bravery. It is to be mentioned that she was awarded a Padma Bhushan.

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Malati Mem

Malati Mem also known as Mungri, a woman labourer in the Lalmati tea garden of Tezpur was also one of the leading members of the anti-opium campaign in tea gardens. She helped the volunteers carry out the prohibition work among the tea garden people. She is considered to be the first woman martyr of Assam in the freedom struggle. But she was finally killed in a police encounter in 1921. 

Helen Lepcha

Born in a small village in Sangbong located in South Sikkim, Helen Lepcha is arguably Sikkim’s lone crusader in India’s struggle for freedom. She is one of the most famous freedom fighters from the hills of Sikkim. She played an integral part in Gandhiji Non- Cooperation Movement. Also known as Sabitri Devi, she belonged to the indigenous Lepcha Community and was passionate about ending British rule.

Braving all hazards, the women from North-east India fought relentlessly fought in every phase of the freedom struggle in India. Several other women martyrs shaped India’s freedom struggle. On this 75th Independence day, let’s remember their courage, valour, and patriotism that shall inspire us every day. 

Also Read | Manipur: Tricolour hoisted at India’s eastern-most end along Myanmar

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