Assam History – 10 Important Freedom Fighters from Northeast India

Ten freedom fighters from the Northeast that include three women, who are largely unfamiliar to the rest of the country, were honoured by the central government as part of the 70th Independence Day celebrations in 2016.

Union ministers have also visited the birth places of ‘forgotten heroes’ and sites of freedom struggle to honour the bravehearts.

  • Kanaklata Baruah, 17, was shot dead by the Britishers at Gohpur in Assam’s present-day Biswanath district while going to hoist the national flag at a local police station. On the same day, about 150 km away at Barhampur in state’s Nagaon district, Bhogeswari Phukanani, a 57-year-old mother of eight, was killed for the same reason by the British Police. Kanaklata was leading her group of unarmed villagers following Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement when she was shot dead at Borangabari near Gohpur.
  • Bhogeswari and her colleague Ratnamala were leading a procession at Barhampur when they came face-to-face with police officer Captain Finish, who snatched the flag from Ratnamala. Bhogeswari hit Captain Finish with the pole of the flag. A furious Captain Finish pulled out his revolver and fired at Bhogeswari, who succumbed to injuries.
  • Naga spiritual and political leader from Manipur Rani Gaidinliu will also be honoured as part of the “forgotten heroes” programme. Ranima, as she was popularly and affectionately called, was inspired by the Non Cooperation Movement of Mahatma Gandh,and has led a movement against the British colonialism in 1930s and the struggle soon turned into a battle to uproot British from Manipur and Nagaland. She was in jail for 14 years and was released from jail only when India got independence in 1947.
  • Kushal Konwar of Assam was hanged by the Britishers for derailment of a military train at Sarupathar in Golghat district in 1942.
  • Arunachal Pradesh’s freedom fighter Moje Riba will be honoured as he was the first person to hoist the tricolour at Dipa village in Arunachal Pradesh on August 15, 1947. Riba was arrested by British Police for participating in the Independence struggle and distributing pamphlets during the Quit India Movement.
  • Assam’s first Chief Minister Gopinath Bordoloi will be honoured as it was due to his continuous fight that Assam remained with India after he foiled the design of Muslim League to include the Hindu-dominated state into East Pakistan during “grouping” scheme.
  • Tirot Sing, one of the chiefs of the Khasi people in the early 18th century will also be honoured. Sing fought against British attempts to take over control of the Khasi hills. He died on July 17, 1835 under house arrest in Dhaka.
  • Shoorvir Pasaltha Khuangchera, the first Mizo leader to fight Britishers in 1890, will also be honoured. As the British invaded Lushai hills (Mizoram), Shoorvir died fighting them.
  • Matmur Jamoh was a freedom fighter from Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh who will be honoured. Jamoh had killed a British assistant political officer Noel Williamson in 1911 as he did not like the British interference of people’s day-to-day life while his followers killed another British officer Gregeorson. Jamoh was soon arrested and sent to Cellular jail in Andaman where he died in obscurity.
  • Freedom fighter from Assam’s Dimasa tribals Sambhudan Phonglo will also be honoured for his contribution during country’s freedom struggle.