Role of Darrang in the Freedom Movement of India

Colonial History of Assam : History of Darrang District during Freedom Movement of India

Hello, aspirants are you preparing for APSC Prelims and Mains exam as well as other Assam Govt exams? If yes, then you must be aware of the most important colonial history of Assam for the upcoming Assam competitive exam preparation. Therefore every aspirants need to know the detail information of History of Assam for Assam Govt exams. In this regard "World_Polity" decides to provide you the most important topic of colonial history of Assam the Role of Darrang in the Freedom Movement of India for APSC Mains exam. Infact the Colonial History of Assam & the Role of Darrang will be a key topic in the Assam history section for the upcoming exams.

Role of Darrang in the Freedom Movement of India

History of Darrang District

Colonial History of Assam : History of Darrang District during Freedom Movement of India

In this article we have provided you the most important Assam History note on Colonial History of Assam : History of Darrang District during Freedom Movement of India. So, read this most important article on Assam History for Competitive Exams. This Colonial History of Assam is extremely important and should be a part of your preparation. Infacf the History of Darrang District during Freedom Movement of India is very important for any upcoming Assam govt exams.

Assam History Questions And Answers

In order to succeed in the prestigious competitive examination, it is important that the aspirant has access to the Assam History notes & materials. Specially the toppers of APSC or other Assam govt exams recommend that aspirant start their preparation with the Assam GK topics such as Assam History questions and answers on major rulling dynasties of Assam for the upcoming exams.

Role of Darrang in the Freedom Movement of India

The Freedom Movement or Independence Movement of India is an important upcharge in the history of Modern India. The ways of movement adopted by the people of India under the guidance of Gandhi had created an exemplary example for the whole world.

The success of the freedom movement of India had yet again established the might of common people and Indian philosophy. The people of Darrang have a long history of struggle for their rights and freedom. The people had raised their voice against unlawful taxes imposed by the British Government in the form of Patharughat revolt in 1894. From the early part of twentieth century the people of the district started to recognize their entity through the Indian struggle for freedom under the leadership of Gandhi.

A good number of people of Darrang had actively and selflessly participated in the freedom movement of India. But the story of people’s sacrifice for the independence of India has seldom able to occupy a space in the pages of history. Digging out the stories of extreme sacrifices of the people of this region can give an opportunity to the new generation to realize the true meaning of hard earned freedom of India.KeywordsDarrang, Freedom Fighter, Sacrifice.

Introduction :

The freedom movement of India under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was undoubtedly one of the biggest mass movements in the history of the world. Gandhi primarily launched three movements against the British rule in India from 1919 to 1947. These are the Non Cooperation Movement of 1921, the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930 and the Quit India Movement of 1942.

Gandhi’s Satragraha movement had largely convinced the people of Assam in general and the people of Darrang in particular. People started to recognize their entity through their participation in the freedom movement of India under the banner of Indian National Congress. Generally the activities and sacrifices of the frontline national leaders who led the movement are remembered and homage is paid to them. But there are a number of freedom fighters in local areas who are seldom remembered. In fact, the contribution of the frontline leaders as well as the grassroot level local workers was equally important for the success of the movement.

On the occasion of 75th Independence of India, this research paper is meant for those known and unknown freedom fighters of present Darrang district whose scarifies made people proud to stand below India’s national try colour flag with dignity. This paper will largely deal with the stories of the freedom fighters belonging to present Darrang and Udalguri district. This paper based on historical research method with empirical study.

Aim of studyThe aims of this paper is to highlight the stories of the freedom fighters belonging to present day Darrang and Udalguri district and to place them in the national scenario.

Review of Literature :

In the context of provincial level, a number of works have been carried out by different scholars on the role of Assam in the freedom movement of India. Keshab Narayan Dutta’s Landmarks of the Freedom Struggle in Assam(1958), Amalendu Guha’s Planter-raj to Swaraj: Freedom Struggle & Electoral Politics in Assam(1977), S. L. Baruah’s A Comprehensive History of Assam(1985), Anuradha Dutta’s Assam in the Freedom Movement(1991), Arun Bhattacharjee’s Assam in Indian Independence(1993), Dipti Sharma’s Assamese Women in the Freedom Struggle(1993), H. K. Barpujari’s The Comprehensive History of Assam(1993), A. C. Bhuyan’s Political History of Assam(1999), Anil Kumar Sharma’s Quit India Movement in Assam(2007), Priyam Goswami’s The History of Assam: from Yandabo to partition, 1826-1947 (2012),Sanjay Sen’s History of Modern Assam (1826-1947), (2021) and a few articles published in North East India History Association’s annual proceedings are important to understand Assam’s position in the freedom movement of India. But most of these works except Sanjay Sen’s one failed to justify the role of the people of present Darrang district.

Apart from above works, few important publications in regional levels in both English and Assamese languages are Omeo Kumar Das’s Ashohoyog Andolanat Asam (1969) and Jiban-Smriti (1983), S. Kakati’s Role of Women of Gohpur Sub-Division, Assam in the Quit India Movement(2014), Samudra Gupta Kashyap’s Dhekiajuli 1942: The Untold Story (2022), Dineswar Sarma’s Mangaldai Buranji(1961), Satyanath Barua’s Bharatar Mukti Sangramat Mangaldoi (1974), Assam Govt’s Biyallishar Bharat Tyag Andolanat Asomor Bhumika (1993), Hem Chandra Sarma’s Smaranika(1994), Phulendra Nath Saharia’s Mangaldoi Mihir Bipin Chandra Medhi (2012)  Kumud Chandra Deka’s Darrangiya Mukti Jujarur Jeevani Kosh (2013), Binoy Ranjan Sarma’s Smaranika (2014).

These regional books are useful for understanding the position of present Darrang district in the freedom struggle of India but authentication of sources is important.

Freedom Movement :

Emergence of Gandhi in the Indian National Congress brought a radical change in Assam politics. Leaders like Tarun Ram Phookan, Nabin Chandra Bardoloi, Prasanna Kumar Barua, Chandranath Sarma strongly advocated for active participation of Assam in the national movement and urged that the Assam Association  should identify itself with the aims and methods of the Indian National Congress.

The Assam Association in its annual session at Tezpur, December 1920, resolved to adopt the programme of non-cooperation as outlined by Nagpur session of the Indian National Congress. This was followed by the merger of the Assam Association with the newly formed Assam Provincial Congress Committee in 1921. The Tezpur session was attended by Dineswar Sarma, Loknath Goswami and Krishna Kanta Mahanta representing Darrang.

Non-cooperation Movement :

The non-cooperation movement was launched on 5th September, 1920 by the Indian National Congress. Gandhi issued a manifesto declaring a doctrine of the non-violent non-cooperation movement. Gandhi’s ten days provincial tour to Assam from 18th August 1921. It had enormous impact on public consciousness for the non-cooperation movement in Assam. Despite official opposition, all the meetings that Gandhi addressed in the major towns of Assam namely Guwahati, Tezpur, Nogaon, Jorhat, dibrugarh, Silchar and Sylhet were attended by all sections of the society. When Gandhi reached Guwahati, about a group of two hundred and fifty volunteers under Loknath Goswami marched to Guwahati from Bhabadeu Satra to welcome Gandhi.

The women volunteers group was led by Ashradha Devi. She presented a shawl to Gandhi spin by herself, and welcomed Gandhi with one Bargeet. Volunteers from Darrang also participated in bonfire of foreign goods that was presided by Gandhi at Bharalumukh.

The non-cooperation movement got a new momentum in the district with picketing in markets and government wine and opium shops against foreign goods and opium. It was a proud moment for the people of Darrang that before Gandhi left Guwahati to Tezpur, he had a sitting with volunteers from Darrang at Nabin Chandra Bordoloi’s house. Gandhi expressed his satisfaction at the performance of the district and cleared the doubts of local leaders on the concept of Satyagraha. Gandhi advised volunteers to tolerate the atrocities of police and go to jail if police arrest them. On his way to Tezpur from Guwahati, Gandhi stayed for a moment in Kharupetia Steamer ghat and his visit brought a new impetus to the district.

National schools were set up at Guwahati, Nalbari, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Nowgaon, Karimganj, Rajnagar and Maulvibazar. These served not only as study centres but also as publicity and training centres for congress volunteers.

At Mangaldai town one similar National School was started by a few local residents namely, Kumudram Bora, Tapeswar Sarma, Loknath Goswami, Dr. Sashi Kanta Sarma, Maulabi Fajlul Rahman, Bhabendra Chandra Das, Satram Sarma and Prafulla Barua. At the guidance of teachers of the school, the students paid visit to the neighbouring villages to collect information about the prevalence of opium addiction among the villagers. 

The students also regularly picketed shops selling excisable articles. Students and teachers moved from village to village propagating the massage of non-cooperation and explaining to the people the evil effects of opium-eating.

Responding the boycott call of Gandhi, teachers, lawyers and other government officials of the district had left their jobs and took up organizational work at various levels. Dineswar Sarma was the first person in the district who resigned from his teaching job in 1921.  Lawyers who had resigned their practice at the bar and joined in the organizational works were Kumud Ram Bora, Tapeswar Sarma and Loknath Goswami.

A large numbers of students left their schools and actively participated in organizational works. Few names are Rajani Kanta Barua, Sitanath Barua, Santiram Bora, Padma Bhagawati, Gudamram Das, Mahi Kanta Das, Dharma Kanta Deka, Bharalu Deka, Bipin Chandra Medhi and others. As the agitation gained momentum, people stopped to register complain in the court and Panchayats were instituted at the village level to settle local disputes.

Of the various areas of the constructive programme, the temperance movement and the propagation of Khadi were among the most successful in Assam. The concept of Khadi  received new enthusiasm where the tradition of spinning and weaving was already strongly entrenched.

Mangaldai national school became a centre for Khadi  spinning. Since cotton production in the region was limited to individual households, cotton growers of Kamrupa and Darrang were especially given subsidies by the Congress to encourage production on a large scale. Volunteers regularly visited villages and trained-up people on spinning. Initiative was so effective that people sung, ‘ghuni ghuni kato, ghuni ghuni kato, ghun ghunir pak lagil, volunteeyarok mato.’ (Spinning in reel, spinning in reel, reel got twisted, call volunteers).  

Gandhi’s fervent advice ‘to make Assam free from opium’ had a stirring effect. The vigorous anti-opium drive by Congress workers saw a fall in the consumption of abkari opium from 1615 maunds in 1920-21 to 884 maunds in 1922-23.

Volunteers from Darrang started to organize meetings and picketing at village level against the use of opium, liquor, foreign goods and cloths. It resulted to a drastic reduction in the consumption of opium and liquor in the district. Almost all opium shops got closed. Government adopted a firm stand against the movement.

Md. M. Tayyebulla, a leading non-cooperator, wrote, ‘A great expedition has begun against opium during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921-22. When hundreds of Congress volunteers started picketing at opium shops (wine shops too), the movement has taken a new turn throughout the length and breadth of Assam. Within short time the opium movement became so strong that the Government started arresting Congress workers in large numbers and sent them to prison in other to protect the excise revenue.’

At Sipajhar, government appointed Tanuram Saharia, Minai Deka and Dineswar Sarma as special police to inform the government about the activities of volunteers. Dineswar Sarma declined the government order and he was sent to jail for fifteen days. On the expiry of fifteen days, government asked him to give a written assurance for not indulging in any anti-government activity. On his refusal, he was again imprisoned for a term of three and half months.

For participating in picketing Khagendra nath Sarma, Hangshadhar Sarma, Dadhiram Bora, Taher Ali, Siddik Ali, Jogendra Nath Bhuyan, Dr. Sashi Kanta Sarma, Jagat Chandra Chaudhury, Bhabendra Chandra Das, Prafulla Barua and others were sent to jail from three months to two years imprisonment terms.

For participating in non-payment of land tax drive, property of Nanda Bora was auctioned. Property of Bhupendra Narayan Dev, prince of Darrangi kingdom, was confiscated along with Anirudha Sarma, Apati Saikia and Ghanashyam Sarma Mahanta for non-payment of land tax. 

For actively participating in non-payment of tax, Bhabendra Devnath, Ramakanta Deka and others were sent to jail. In the district, non-payment of tax movement was led by Loknath Goswami, Nabin Chandra Medhi, Maulabi Abdul Khalek, Fajlul Rahman, Saru Ram Ojha, Tapeswar Sarma, Kumud Ram Bora. Most of them were sent to jail.

Gandhi’s call for women had an immense effect. As there was no material weaponry involved in the Gandhiyan programme, made women equal, or perhaps even better fighters and they participated wholeheartedly in the campaigns, protests and fasts and donated generously to the cause of freedom. In spite of conservatism in the society a good numbers of women came out and actively participated in the district.

In the early part, Ashradha Devi and Jagati Devi had played a pioneering role in organizing women volunteers in the district. The scenario of long procession of women picketers and spreading the massage of freedom in the district was eye-catching.

The 41st session of the Indian National Congress was held at Pandu in 1926. The people of Mangaldai extended all possible financial and physical support for the success of the session. The session laid stress on Khadi  and constructive programme. By 1927 spinning and weaving of Khadi  remarkably persuaded by almost each and every family of Darrang.

Civil Disobedience Movement :

The spirit of the Indian National Movement became slow after the suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement and was revived only with the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement. In 1928, Simon Commission visited India in spite of boycott by the Indian National Congress. Everywhere Commission was opposed with demonstration and black flag.

Mahatma Gandhi started his Civil Disobedience campaign with his famous march to Dandi, March 12, 1930. The people of Darrang had also join hands in the movement by organizing village level meetings and demonstrations. For organizing picketing and meetings Congress volunteers Ratneswar Sarma and Tangkeswar Sarma  along with a host of volunteers both male and female like Mahananda Bora, Nemsing Deka, Dineswar Sarma, Laghanu Boro, Madhab Chaudhury, Danpati Choudhury, Nidhiram Das, Ratnamala Devi, Tapeswari Devi and many others were arrested and sent to jail. Mauzadar Krishna Kanta Mahnta, continued his support to the movement. Few more names of active volunteers of disobedience movement were Gopi Kanta Mahanta, Golok Chandra Mahanta, Kiranbala Mahanta, Kabiram Deka, Soneswari Devi. 

In 1933, Gandhi started the Harijan Movement against untouchability and made a drive for fund collection. During his tour he holds for a moment at Tangla Rail station in 1934. People of the district lavishly donated for the cause of untouchability. Ganghiji’s visit for Harijan uplift brought a new momentum in the constructive programme in the district under the guidance of Dineswar Sarma and Mukta Nanda Goswami.

In 1939, Second World War started. British made India a party of the war. Gandhi adopted a specified approach of agitation in the form of Ekak Satyagraha in protest of involving India without people’s consent. Bipin Chandra Medhi, member of legislative assembly was first to observed Ekak Satyagraha at Tangla and he was imprisoned for 9 months.

In 1941, some recognized grass-root level workers of the district allowed participating in the Satyagraha and most of them faced imprisonments of different tenures. Because of observance of Satyagraha Tankeswar Sarma, Ratneswar Sarma, Kuksheswar Sarma, Satyanath Barua and Mahenda Bora were imprisoned for 6 months, Krishna Kanta Mahanta 8 months, Candra Narayan Konwar 4 months. Jiuram Deka, Mahat Chandra Deka, Dubhagi devi and haliram Mahajan did not face arrest.

In 1940, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee organized a one month Provincial Sewadal Sibir at Golaghat. Satyanath Barua and Kuksheswar Sarma from Mangaldai Sub-division joined in the Sibir. After completion of training they organized a camp at Tangla and trained up about 50 volunteers of both male and female.

Meanwhile, after release from jail, Gopinath Bordoloi along with Dr. Bhubaneswar Barua and Rabindra Navis visited Mangaldai, Khairabari and Tangla to inspire for constructive programme and collection of fund for Santi Sena. The people of the district whole heartedly supported the initiatives of Gopinath Bardoloi. The district had organized four constructive programme centres at Kakalbhangi under the supervision of Paniram Das, Batabari under Jiuram Deka, Bejpara under Satyanath Barua and Sipajhar under Kuksheswar Sarma. The main duties of these centres were to emphasize on the use of khadi, collection of Santi-Sena volunteers and training.

Quit India Movement :

At a special session of the AICC held at Bombay on 7 and 8 August 1942, the historic ‘Quit India’ resolution was adopted. In Assam, the Quit India Movement started with Gandhian non-violence approach of protests like hartal, procession, demonstration, picketing and hoisting of the Congress flag on government buildings. Md. M. Tayyabullah, the APCC president wrote, ‘The mass-uprising in my province, Assam, absolutely leader-less, that brought glory to her sons with their magnificent record in the revolution and strictest order was unparalleled.’

As the movement progressed and brutality of police increased, there was a general atmosphere of rebellion. The motto of ‘Do or Die’ accentuated patriotic impulse in the hearts of people. The chief secretary apprised that Nogaon and Darrang were the two most disturbed districts where officers were assaulted, shops gutted and government buildings regularly attacked.

In Darrang district leads for Quit India movement were taken by Tangkeswar Sarma, Paniram Das, Jiuram Deka, Satyanath Barua, Kuksheswar Sarma, Haliram Mahajan, Chandra Narayan Konwar, Bidyaram Hazarika, Kabiram Hazarika, Dobhagi Devi, Daneswari Devi and Snehalata Medhi. Student leaders were Kamaleswar Sarma, Bangshidhar Sarma, Jitendranath Sarma, Joyram Das, Kshito Das, Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, Padmaram Pathak, Sonaram Sarma, Laksheswar Deka, Surath Chandra Bordoloi and others.

Santi Bahini and Mrityu Bahini were organized in the district. To disrupt military supply people set fire in many bridges in the district. Members of Mrityu Bahini in spite of strict police checking burnt down the Mangaldai Sub-divisional Magistrate office. Police let loose atrocities in places like Rangamati, Maneighat, Thekerabari etc. As the Indian National Congress was declared illegal, volunteers started to organize secret meetings at different parts of the district to carry on the movement. A good number of leaders were arrested during the Quit India Movement. 

On 9th September 1942, a women procession was taken out in Mangaldai town in support of the Quit India Resolution. A group of women picked in front of the Mangaldai sub-divisional court building. The S.D.O. accompanied with police men arrived at the venue and misbehaved with the women picketers. Then two brave young girls, Jonai and Urmila, went inside the office and dragged S.D.O. out of his office for behaving badly with the women.

The women of Mangaldai took the responsibility of providing the Santi Senas with food and shelter. Jasoda Keotani is an example of one such woman who was caught by the police while supplying food to the Santi Senas and she was badly assaulted. Many women of Darrang were arrested during the course of the Quit India Movement.

The Cabinet Mission’s proposal to ‘group’ Assam with Bengal was strongly resented by the people as it was intended towards creating a predominantly Muslim zone in Eastern India. Gandhi also mentioned that Assam would be finished if Assam failed to maintain her stand. The 5th June, 1946 was observed as ‘anti-grouping day’ and people organized meetings and processions in the district together with other parts of Assam. Lawyers, students, women and youths came out in support of APCC’s call for opposition to the Cabinet Mission’s grouping plan.

The ‘Grow More Food Policy’ of the British and the initiatives of Syed Mohammad Saadulla to promote the inflow of Muslims into this territory affected badly some areas of the Brahmaputra valley chiefly Kamrup, Darrang, Lakhimpur and Goalpara districts. On 16th August, 1946, Muhammad Ali Jinnah called upon the Muslims to observe the so-called ‘Direct Action Day’. 

In the name of making the Indian Muslims conscious about their vital role in politics there had been widespread killing of innocent people all over the country. In the apprehension of large-scale communal clashes in both the valley of Brahmaputra and Barak, Gopinath Bordoloi, the then Chief Minister of Assam, issued strict instructions to district and sub-divisional officers. For the same, local peace committees were formed. The immigrants Muslims of Darrang attempted to prepare the ground for communal riots in different parts of Darrang particularly in Punia, Monitari, Rangamati, Bathan and even in the Mangaldai town. 

Local leaders like Dineswar Sarma, Ratneswar Sarma and Paniram Das immediately apprehended the threat. They met revenue Minister Bishnuram Medhi and at his intervention the sub-divisional officer came into action. Local leaders organized Mangaldai Rakshya Committee and Mangaldai Rakshya Sibir to train-up volunteers with defense measures. Among them ‘Barbari’ was the famous camp and trained up about five hundred ‘Santi Sena’.[32] This Barbari camp was supervised by Paniram Das, Bhadrakanta Sarma and Dandiram Bora. Other camps were at Tokankat under Sitanath Barua, Mudaibari under Gathia Kalita and Nidhiram Saharia, Bamunjhar under Gopikanta Mahanta.

These camps produced a new enthusiasm among all community people of present Darrang and Udalguri districts right from Orang to Dumuni Chowki and Bhutan hills to Brahmaputra. All villages had organized village defense committees and kept them ready to come out in a single call of their leaders against any anti-nation elements. Timely cautious measures of local leaders saved the district from an impending communal riot. Tea garden workers of the district had also extended their cooperation on that occasion.

Findings :

1. The emergence of Mahatma Gandhi had a tremendous effect on Assam in general and Darrang in particular.

2. Gandhi's call ‘to make Assam free from opium’ had a stirring effect.

3. Khadi and Sarkha florished in the district to a record.

4. The women and students of the district had played a commendable role and became the core force behind igniting the spirit of freedom.

5. People's response towards the movement was very high irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and social status.

Conclusion :

In the whole phases of Freedom Movement from 1921 to 1947, the people of Darrang took a significant part. At that time Darrang district had covered the present Sonitpur, Biswanath, Darrang and Udalguri districts of Assam. The people of Tezpur, as district headquarter, had often taken the lead. Parallel to that, the people of the then Mangaldoi Sub-division or present Darrang and Udalguri in the same way had contributed a lot and able to show their undaunted spirit for freedom. 

People of Darrang had vehemently opposed the Cabinet Mission’s grouping design. Likewise, because of farsightedness of the local leaders, this area remained safe from communal riots. It is worth to mention here that the women and students of the district had played a commendable role and became the core force behind igniting the spirit of freedom. Another area to observe here is the unity and solidarity shown by the people of the district irrespective of their caste, creed and religion. 

The effort of this paper is to highlight the unfold stories of the freedom fighters as well as the area and to try to justify the importance of studies of the local history of freedom movement of India. The history of India’s freedom struggle will only be completed as and when we will give proper emphasis on the study of regional or local contributions.

Must visit :: Chutiya Kingdom of Assam

Now World_Polity is on every platform you can connect with us by just clicking the below social media links. Thank You. 

• Subscribe our Youtube channel

• Join our Facebook Page

• Join our telegram Channel

* Recent Top Most Searches :

• Bir Chilarai-The Great Warrior of Koch Kingdom

• Ahom-Mughal Conflicts : The History of Assam

Well if you like the article on Colonial History of Assam : History of Darrang District during Freedom Movement of India for APSC Mains, do comment & show your support by sharing it to the other aspirants and if there is any query you are welcome to ask.

Post a Comment