TODAY -

World's Greatest British Battle in Kohima-Imphal and things unanswered
- Part 1 -

Oken Jeet Sandham *

II World War Cemetry, Imphal
II World War Cemetry, Imphal :: Pix - Robert Lourembam Ningthouja



The people of the Northeast India particularly living in Manipur and Nagaland had mix-feelings and prides when they got the news that the Second World War, which were fought between the British Army and the Japanese Army in the Imphal and Kohima sectors in 1944, was declared as the "Greatest British Battle" in the world. And when this news flashed from London, it hit the headlines here in the region of north east India.

Noted war historians presented their papers on the past British wars fought across the globe. They were given 40 minutes to present their papers. This was conducted under the Britain's National Army Museum to identify "Britain's Greatest Battle." And finally, the two victories over the Japanese, which took place in the same region of the north east India over the same period in 1944, were voted on Saturday as the "Greatest ever battle involving British forces."

Taken as a single victory, Imphal-Kohima was on a shortlist of five battles which topped a public poll and on Saturday, they were selected as the ultimate winner by an audience of more than 100 guests at a special event at the museum, in Chelsea, west London. Imphal-Kohima, a distance of 145 kilometers and connected through a National Highway 39 (now 2), received almost half of all votes. This remarkable presentation on "Second World War fought in Imphal and Kohima sectors" was done by Dr Robert Lyman, an author and fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Although people living in the northeastern part of India bordering Burma (now Myanmar) borne the brunt of this Second World War, they still have the pride of telling the stories of these historic and great wars fought in this part of the world. I have come across many grand old men and women who are now in their 80s and 90s could vividly tell the stories of the Second World War. Many of them experienced of being "Forced labor" by the British Army and also used to spy against the Japanese soldiers. Even the British Army who stationed in the Chakhesang and Angami areas also experienced untold miseries at the hands of the British Armies and also the Japanese. The British soldiers even burnt down their granaries with the intention to starve the advancing Japanese soldiers.

The Japanese army coming from the Homatin side of western Burma successfully pushed the British army and occupied the Jessami ridge. When the Japanese were trying to push back the British armies from the Jessami position, there were heavy exchange of fires and both sides suffered heavy causalities. The Japanese also shot down British fighter planes in many Chakhesang areas. After about a week of fierce gun battle; the British soldiers could no longer withstand the onslaught of the Japanese attacks. They had to retreat.

The villagers were so simple that they ran out to see whenever fighter planes flew overhead and enthusiastically watching the explosions of the bombs. They hardly realized that the bomb explosions would hurt them. In fact, many of them got hurt and the British jawans had tough time warning the villagers against coming out while fighter planes were coming and bombing. They even taught them how to dig trenches so that they would use them during bombings and even during gun fights between the British and Japanese soldiers.

They instructed the villagers how to dig trenches in "V" shape for hiding themselves during bombings and serious gun fights. But the villagers didn't pay any heed to such advices; instead they were enjoying digging trenches for the Japanese troops. So many villagers became victims as they didn't take advices of the British.

The British soldiers were well-equipped and well-versed of the areas, besides more associated with the locals as they had been ruling the Indian sub-continent for years together. On the other hand, the Japanese soldiers coming from their homeland thousands of miles away from these areas of north east India were neither familiar with the locals nor area environment.

On one side, they had to fight the British armies. On the other, they faced a lot of hardships as they had to cope with the locals and area environment. They had to depend on the locals for not only fighting against the British but also for their sustenance. Without the support of the locals, it was almost impossible to fight against the British. The British armies knew very well of this. They told the locals in advance that the advancing Japanese armies would come in different forms to extract the information of them (British armies).

Like the British army, the Japanese army too had their own intelligent armies who would mobilize information of the British army movement and their activities by using the services of the locals. Unfortunately, the ones mostly used by the British armies before the Japanese arrived at, would be again used by the Japanese to extract more information. Such trend became major threats on the lives of many innocent villagers.

In fact when the Japanese was about to be defeated, they even tried to kill many villagers as they thought they would be reused as spies by the British against them. But on many occasions, they faced strong resistance from the villagers.

Kohima, present capital of Nagaland state, was a place where one of the fiercest battles between the Japanese troops and the British troops took place in the history of the Second World War. These memorable battles at Kohima started from April 1944 and ended in June 1944. Japan was literally responsible for pushing Asia into full scale war. But most of the people in this part of the world in the 40s were not aware of that. The Japanese, in fact, attacked almost all the Asian nations and captured them. Their invasions of the Asian nations had prompted the Allies to specifically target their bases and even to the extent of dropping atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Kohima siege and the casualties caused to both the Japanese troops and the Allies during the Second World War in Kohima and Imphal sectors were unimaginable. The wars at Kohima and Imphal claimed the lives of 65,000 Japanese troops and 18,000 British and Indian soldiers.

There are three Second World War Cemeteries; one is at Kohima, the capital of India's present state of Nagaland, while other two at Imphal, the capital of the India's present state of Manipur. The upkeep of these Second World War Cemeteries here at Kohima and Imphal is under the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The Commission is responsible for the continued commemoration of 1.69 million deceased Commonwealth military service members in 150 countries. Since its inception, the Commission has constructed approximately 2,500 war cemeteries and numerous memorials. The Commission is currently responsible for the care of war dead at over 23,000 separate burial sites and the maintenance of more than 200 memorials worldwide.

Today, it has become a history in this part of the world as to how the allied soldiers valiantly fought against the aggressive Japanese troops as Kohima siege. The Kohima War Cemetery which lies at the heart of Kohima City has today become a living testimony. There are over 1000 grave markers and every tourist visiting this war cemetery will still have visualized how they had fought against the Japanese troops during those 13 days of Kohima siege. They gave their lives for freedom. And one of the famous inscriptions which everyone will remember throughout their lives is:
"When you go home
Tell them of us, and say
For their tomorrow
We gave our today
."

To be continued ....


* Oken Jeet Sandham wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at nepsonline(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on April 25, 2013.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Ngayaising Jagoi : Conquered Mt Everest
  • Shirui Lily Festival, Ukhrul #3 :: Gallery
  • Working Of Panchayats In Manipur #1
  • Media & Contemporary Manipuri Society #3
  • Campus Talk 2.0: Interaction Prog at MU
  • International Biodiversity Day
  • Sendra Park & Resort #1 :: 360 ° View
  • Sibilong & Phaitol rejects Oil Exploration
  • 1st JCRE Alumni Meet
  • Vacancies post in NEC, Shillong
  • Lecturer required at Ajmal College, Hojai
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • The complaint caveat
  • Kanchan Soibam :: eRang Photos
  • Handloom @Temporary Market #2:: Gallery
  • Ahing Ama : Book (short story) review
  • Seminar on 'Life of Gangmumei Kamei' #3
  • Oil happy in Manipur
  • Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2017 at Imphal
  • NE students hail Higher Education initiative
  • Forced Displacement of Chin Civilians
  • National Robotic- 'Escalade 6.0' @IIT Ghy
  • Winners take it all : BJP on a roll
  • Opportunity towards progress
  • NEROCA, 2nd Div League winner:: Gallery
  • Thounaojam Loiyangamba :: Gallery
  • Nachom Arts Residency #1 :: Gallery
  • Bombing of a bridge in 1944 during WWII
  • Road side hawker culture in Khwairamband
  • Maharaja Bodhachandra Samadhi :: 360 °
  • Jadhav case: Return to India will need more
  • Admission Counselling in NE, Delhi
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Letting professionals run DIPR
  • Articulating freedom of speech
  • HSE 2017 : Toppers in Science :: Gallery
  • CCpur victims laid to rest :: Gallery
  • Class XII result announced :: Gallery
  • 2nd Startup Weekend Imphal
  • Interdependence is key to #endTB
  • Urban flood effective mgmt strategies #2
  • Public Meet resolves No Oil Exploration
  • UG admission info for Delhi University 2017
  • College Principals' Conference at NEHU
  • Mortal remains of CCpur victims laid to rest
  • Redefining Manipuri Hindu
  • Last rites of CCpur bodies performed
  • Private tuition : Financial burden on parents
  • Nungbi Chaphu - Ukhrul Pottery :: Gallery
  • International Yoga Day #1 :: Gallery
  • New Government, New Hope #2
  • Auditorium of High Court of Manipur :: 360 °
  • Book publishing as a career option
  • Simplifying the pursuit of happiness
  • Shirui festival: Let us not go with words..
  • Count pigeons around you
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Hill dists : Lagging in Science stream
  • The lesser truth of National media
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Science Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Arts Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Commerce Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Science Stream
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Arts Stream
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Commerce Stream
  • Barak Spring Festival @Senapati :: Gallery
  • Phalneilhing, Sinchui :: eMing
  • Incarnations of Goddess Nongthang Leima
  • Ebudhou Thanjing Laishang #1 :: 360 °
  • Media & Contemporary Manipuri Society #2
  • Cleaning up the air we breathe
  • 'Maj Rati Keteki', an author's insight
  • SC notices in Biren son case
  • Army act extended by six months
  • Timely acted, but need to rethink...
  • Lamkang Cultural Day @Chandel :: Gallery
  • Ambassador Of Japan with CM :: Gallery
  • JNIMS Ortho scripts history
  • Indigenous people are ST, so are Meeteis
  • Grooming security experts in admin service
  • Parents are supposed to be cheer leaders ..
  • Applauds CM for Building Peace & Harmony
  • 2 trucks carrying logs seized
  • Japan to invite 25 people from Manipur
  • Bomb blasts rock border town in Manipur
  • Shirui Lily Festival, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • 73rd anniv of Battle of Imphal :: Gallery
  • Nachom Arts : Encouraging Artists
  • Manipur: In the waiting room of justice
  • Cheiraoba Ching Kaba :: 360 ° View
  • Of storms, flying saucers & lazy thoughts
  • Anti-Terrorism day observed
  • Ex-Servicemen Meet organised
  • Managing natural resources
  • Ksh Bhaktakumar- Mr India 2017:: Gallery
  • Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Effort To Bridge The Hills And Valley
  • Colloquium: Japanese Culture & Nationalism
  • Meet rejects oil exploration at Khaidem
  • Training on Service Marketing in Healthcare
  • Illegal migrant detection with 1951 cut-off
  • Ghost of 2010 continues to haunt
  • Brahmacharimayum Roji - Actress :: eRang
  • Handloom @Temporary Market #1:: Gallery
  • New Government, New Hope #1
  • Nightmares of event management
  • Big data for big impact
  • Free Counselling & Awareness Program
  • One belt one road
  • Jobs: Counseller for Family Court, Ukhrul
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Total shutdown against blast in Moreh
  • Tribals reject MoU signed- govt, JACAATB
  • Naga Hoho appeals NIA over arrests
  • First visible step to check corruption
  • International Dance Day :: Gallery
  • Gudui Ngai @Majorkhul #2 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Children Club:: 360 ° View
  • Take smart choice before admissions
  • Love one another ... for living together
  • Shirui Lily Fest off to a grand start
  • On Shirui festival
  • Shirui Lily Fest @Shirui, Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • Civil Service Tennis Tournament :: Gallery
  • Barak(Spring) Festival at Senapati
  • When will India cashless island go cashless
  • The winsomeness of human mind
  • Jobs at NIELIT centers
  • Aadhar Registration & Distribution Program
  • Work starts on Trilateral Highway in Myanmar
  • AI plans NE expansion, to inject more flights
  • People's Day Bridging the gap
  • Reality bite - something seems fishy
  • Meeyamgi Numit hosted by CM :: Gallery
  • Andro AMMA FC : Winner of Doon Cup 2017
  • How great is my mother's love for me
  • Boat House, Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • Pinch of love :: Poem
  • Fingerprint & Iris code for Aadhaar
  • Sharmila solidarity with Africans
  • Trust deficit in Framework Agreement
  • Equality in place of majoritarianism
  • A hope for better Manipur
  • Kangleipak Kang Trophy #3:: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #2 :: Gallery
  • Gudui Ngai : Festival of Zeliangrong
  • Fishery as an agenda for Barak Festival
  • Supermom :: Poem
  • 2nd Startup Weekend Imphal
  • May Day #2 :: Essay
  • For inclusion of Meitei in ST category
  • Hands that rock the cradle rule the world
  • Film Personalities #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Handicrafts of the Zeliangrong #2
  • High Court of Manipur :: 360 ° View
  • From head-hunters into money-hunters
  • Importance of dialectic in Philosophy
  • Binalakshmi Nepram threatened by Police
  • Cleanliness drive conducted at CCpur
  • Gudui Ngai @Majorkhul #1 :: Gallery
  • Bringing TB out of the shadows
  • Women are the salt of the earth
  • Superstition and its side-effects
  • Temples of learning
  • Guidelines of play schools
  • Bucket of cold water after a hot shower
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Lai Lamthokpa @Yaiskul #2 :: Gallery
  • MIMS (MU) - ManFete #4 :: Gallery
  • Impact of October Revolution Manipur #2
  • Bir Tikendrajit Park :: 360 °
  • Nurses are heart beat of healthcare
  • Go to the hill districts too
  • Beginning of a new era; but ...
  • Seminar on 'Life of Gangmumei Kamei' #1
  • OORJA football Closing ceremony :: Gallery
  • May 10, 1942: first bomb hit Imphal in WW2
  • Manipur killings: Amicus Curiae on Army...
  • A white paper on good governance
  • Butterfly a living parable of resurrection
  • Global Manipuri Mega Photo Contest
  • Inquiry on "School Van accident"
  • Inking an MoU with CCpur JAC
  • Calls for human security
  • Laishram Lalitabi - Actress :: eRang
  • Manipur & Nagaland CMs :: Gallery
  • Cheirao Ching Kaba #1 :: 360 ° Photo
  • MLA - defection politics in Manipur
  • Japan interest to develop Education in NE
  • CM floral tribute to Martyred Jawans
  • More than a 'courtesy call'
  • Development & security matters
  • Thongjao potters adapt to modern reqt
  • Prize Distribution- MU Sports :: Gallery
  • Handicrafts of the Zeliangrong #1
  • Imphal Intl Airport : How International?
  • The mystery of nine :: Poem
  • RIST popular talk 29 - Molecular Electronics
  • 122nd rank in the list of cleanliness
  • Consumers' rights
  • Sagol Kangjei Exhibition :: Gallery
  • Musuem, Kangla :: 360 ° photo
  • Landscape of Manipur #6: Wallpaper
  • Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon #1 :: Gallery
  • Arbind Soibam - Emerging Singer :: eRang
  • Traditional Thabal @Pourabi :: Gallery
  • Arambai show #2:: Gallery
  • Shakuhachi meets Pena, Manipur & Japan
  • Laishram Birendrakumar recieve Padmashri
  • 'Nura Pakhang'(Video) @Portugal:: Gallery
  • Mr India 2017- Ksh Bhaktakumar :: Gallery
  • Purul, Senapati :: 360 View Panorama
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #4 : Ooba
  • Nungshiba Khongel @Sylhet :: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • SPONSORED ADS