The role of women of Assam in Indian freedom struggle cannot be ignored. They took out processions, prabhat-pheris, (morning processions), picketed shops selling liquor and foreign cloth, boycotted government schools, colleges etc Of many great female freedom fighters, BasantaLata Hazarika holds a special place due to her participation in the freedom movement.

After Mahatma Gandhi launched Civil disobedience movement, the Assamese women aggressively participated with the young generations leading the baton. Basantalata Hazarika along with her associates Shrimati Swarnalata Barua, Raj Kumari Mohini Gohain established a women’s force Bahini in 1930-31. Barua along with her associates led many protest marches against opium and liquor trade which became a headache for British imperialists.


Cotton college protests

Amid growing apprehension over the participation of youth in Assam in light of civil disobedience movement, J.A. Cunninghum, the then Director of Public Instruction of Assam, promulgated a circular requiring all the parents and the guardians to give an undertaking in writing that all students would not participate in any protest. Given the arbitary nature of the circular, the women wing launched a picketing in front of Cotton college. Hazarika and her associates formed into an impenetrable barrio in front of the Cotton College, the Government dared not put them under arrest fearing that the situation might go beyond their control.

Note: As India celebrates 70 years of independence, we bring you stories of women who were part of the Indian Independence Struggle. You might have heard about some of them but most do not find a mention in our history books or popular memory. These were ordinary women from all walks of life who managed to make extraordinary contributions to the cause of freedom. This series is our tribute to these women and their exemplary work. Write to us, if you have any names to add to this list. Email: