Kamalalaya Kakaty
 
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KAMALALAYA KAKATY

(1894 -1946)

Kamalalaya Kakaty was the first daughter of Raibahadur Kaliprasad Chaliha who came of a famous family of Sibsagar. Her mother’s name was Nikunjalata Chaliha. The probable date of her birth was 1894. She was married to Kamal Chandra Kakaty when he was serving in Dibrugarh. At the time of her marriage Kamalalaya Kakaty was only fourteen years old. Her first child Sharat Kakaty was born in 1909.

Unfortunately, her marriage life was not a peaceful one. Her husband made preparation for the second marriage and so she returned home taking her child. In the mean time her brother Tara Prasad Chaliha came back from England .He saw in England how women were struggling for the establishment of their identity. Coming home he saw his own sister suffering due to her male counterpart. He felt the need of starting an awareness program for women .He inspired his wife Kanaklata Chaliha and sister Kamalalaya to work for women’s empowerment and they established a women organization named ‘Mahila Sanmilani’ is inspired by Tara Prasad Chaliha. Kamalalaya’s mother was also benefited and helped by her advice and inspiration.

Radhika Sharma, with the help of the women of aristocratic family of Sibsagar, celebrated the festival of Jaimaty in the campus of ‘Jaidal’ in 1913. At that time Kamalalaya Kakaty and Kanak Lata Chaliha was the joint secretary of the Mahila Sanmilan and celebrated this festival through Sanmilani from that time onward. They made the children to perform dance, music and drama.

Kanaklata Chaliha and Kamalalaya Kakaty published the first woman magazine Gharjeuti in their joint editorship. She published articles on various problems of society. The story, article and poems of almost all the writers of Assam were published in Gharjeuti. Articles on Women education, widow remarriage, prohibition of dowry system, self reliance of women, formation of children’s character and various problems of women etc were published in the magazine. Of course after a few years, the publication of the periodical was discontinued. But its contribution for the development of women is immense. Madhuri Kalita wrote in the sixth edition of Lekhika: ‘Gharjeuti was published in a critical juncture of our country. With the shackle of bondage, the women could show the example of independent thinking because of Gharjeuti _ So it is the mile stone on the way to independent thinking in the life of bondage’_ The objective of Gharjeuti was mentioned in one of its edition thus: ‘Our chief objective is to inspire the women writer. It is our firm belief that enthusiasm for education will be awakened by it. They will be aware of the happenings of the contemporary world along with the works of women both inside and outside the country. By reading the writings of various writers; their interest on education will be enhanced and thereby they can serve the motherland in a better way’.

Kamalalaya Kakaty contributed many articles to Gharjeuty. The presidential speech delivered in the women conference of Konwarpur has a sufficient literary value. She said, ‘Today there is a worldwide awakening of women. Being deprived and trampled in a patriarchal society for a long time, the women now-a-days realize their legitimate dues and rights. Women today are not happy with kitchen and loom. They have their right on the traditionally men dominated fields like society, education and literature. They are lodging their struggle to prove their proficiency in these fields. You have heard the call for the struggle for women’s rights. I am happy to see that you are ready to work according to the call’.

Kamalalaya had engaged herself in the service of the motherland since 1914. She had her education at home as there was no separate school for girls and an English lady was her teacher. Kamalalaya was also an expert weaver and spinner. She had interest in gardening too. She taught the lesson of discipline to the little children. The annual conference of’ ‘Mahila sanmilani’ was held in Sibsagar Poly -technique school during her tenure as joint secretary. The women from all region of Assam including Chandraprabha Saikiani joined this conference. An exhibition was also organized in the Sanmilon.

Kamalalaya Kakaty and Nikunjalata Chaliha built a thatched hut and established a centre for weavers’ .Training of weaving, spinning and cooking was given to women in that centre. They conducted the centre very successfully for many years. Kamalaya Kakaty actively took part in non- cooperation movement of 1921. But she lost her mental balance at the death of her youngest son and sudden death of her sister Hiranya Prabha and companion of her mission Kanaklata Chaliha. Her only son Sarat Chandra Kakaty took her to his residence, but she could not be happy there. She left this earthly abode in 24 June, 1946 encircled by her husband and son. The women of Assam sustained a great loss at the death of a sincere and talented worker.

Kamalalaya Kakaty Girls’ School has been established in the name of the mother of Sharat Chandra Kakaty with the donation donated by him. Even her two grandsons donated a huge amount to managing committee of school for constructing school building. We offer our reverence to the departed soul.

 

 
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