Indian Coast Guard’s Kanaklata Barua

Context

What is the ship?

  • It is the fifth and last in a series of FPVs built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.
  • The other four are ICGS Priyadarshini (named after Indira Gandhi), ICGS Annie Besant, ICGS Kamala Devi (after Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay), and ICGS Amrit Kaur.
  • These FPVs are upgraded versions of the inshore patrol vessels with a modified form of the hull and can achieve a speed of 34 knots. Such vessels have also been delivered to Indian Navy by GRSE.
  • In the Coast Guard these FPVs and their earlier versions belong to the Rajashree class of patrol vessels.
  • The previous versions were named ICGS Rajashree, Rajtanag, Rajkiran, Rajkamal, Rajdoot, Rajveer etc; the modified versions are named after freedom fighters.
  • These are suited for patrolling, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching operations and also for fishery protection, and rescue and search missions.
  • These FPVs are medium-range surface vessels with a length of around 50 m, and a displacement of over 300 tonnes.

Who was Kanaklata Barua, after whom it is named?

  • One of the youngest martyrs of the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata Barua has iconic status in Assam.
  • Kanaklata Barua, then 17, led the Mukti Bahini, a procession of freedom fighters to unfurl the Tricolour at Gohpur police station on September 20, 1942.
  • When police did not let them move forward, an altercation led to firing, killing Barua at the head of the procession.
  • “She had joined the Mrityu Bahini just two days before the incident.
  • Another woman volunteer behind her — Mukunda Kakoty — came and held the flag, and she, too, was shot.
  • The fact that she was a young girl — that captured the national imagination of the time.
  • It was also a time where you saw a lot of women coming to the fore, leading processions, patriotic fervour was at its peak — and Kanaklata was a product of this time.
  • Today, there are schools named after her, there are two statues, there is a ship. While we see her as an icon now, people in her village hated her then — she was a rebel, who questioned patriarchy.

Source: Indian Express

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