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
  • Mission XI football @ Andro :: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @ Mahabali :: Gallery
  • Blood Donation for 13 August:: Gallery
  • Mahabali Temple , Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • Graphic & plastic arts of Zeliangrong #3
  • Silence :: Poem
  • Sport Univ: Promises kept but corruption?
  • Job requirements at SKY Hospital
  • Jobs @ National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • I-Day Celebration at BJP State Office
  • Celebrations amid militant boycott call
  • 3 Manipur terrorists arrested in Delhi
  • NSCN/GPRN condemns raid
  • NSCN-K signing hinges on cross-border..
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata :: Gallery
  • 26th NAMA Convention Report, Houston, TX
  • Forming Plurals in Manipuri Language
  • Mammography and frequently ask question
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • NPF Office Bearers reaffirm support
  • DAN Co-ordination Meeting Resolutions
  • India and China: From rivalry to enmity
  • For better tomorrows
  • Security forces round up NSCN (IM) cadres
  • Survey 'finds' jumbos in Manipur
  • Kirti Chakra for brave major
  • President medal for IPS officer- Robin Hibu
  • 13 August @Hicham Yaichampat :: Gallery
  • Achingliu, Haokhulan, Hiyaichenbi: eMing
  • Patriots' Day @ Hojai, Assam :: Gallery
  • Protest: malpractices of MPSC :: Gallery
  • On MPSC scam & people defending it
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Delhi
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Hojai
  • Lajong U-12 to represent India in BRICS
  • Learn something from 2015 experience
  • The district creation headache
  • State Thang-Ta Competition :: Gallery
  • Search operation [Aug 12] :: Gallery
  • 13 August Patriots' Day : Read all about it
  • Thangal General : The Patriot
  • Proxy examination and Wrong politics
  • Women should not live in fear ....
  • Summer Thoughts :: Poem
  • NPF Youth serve Ultimatum to Rio
  • A slap on the face of Christianity
  • U-Morok @ Shirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Dangers of 'Trial by Media' & the MPSC
  • Is Culture of insensible activism taking root
  • Meiteilon never been Tibeto-Burman
  • Mechanized threshing of foodgrains #2
  • ZSUB Foundation Day, Fresher's Meeting
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Natural Body Building #3 :: Gallery
  • National Handloom Day @ GHY :: Gallery
  • Chirom Indira shine in hearts of NE Weavers
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Investigate killings as ordered by SC
  • MSTC CMD met with CM of Manipur
  • Conspiracy behind the toppling game
  • Armed groups attack..a human right abuse
  • Drawing Competition at Khengjoi, Chandel
  • Govt firm on protecting indigenous people
  • Suspension of Operation term extended
  • Rs 100 cr allotted to study NE floods
  • Save the indigenous people cry : Valley..
  • A matter need to ponder
  • Earthen wares of Ningthemcha Karong
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #2 :: Gallery
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #3 :: 360 ° View
  • XXVIII State Thang-Ta Competition 2017
  • India's HLPF review of SDGs & Manipur
  • Robotics as career options
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Rejoinder Issued By Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Hard facts of political crisis (Nagaland)
  • Kuki talks interlocutor appointed
  • Viewing through one's community
  • Darkening shadows of doubt
  • Ziumi village, Maram Landscape:: Gallery
  • Inter School Handball Tournament :: Gallery
  • The Proud Bamboo Tree :: Folk Tale
  • Populated Attitudes :: Poem
  • Marijuana, Mahadev and Maneka
  • Notice for MSc Biochemistry Admissions
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Assam edition of NE India Fashion Week
  • Kipgen pledges 'Zero Tolerance' crimes..
  • NTC reaffirms inclusive Naga settlement
  • Being different from Cong Govt
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Hanuba-hanubi paan thaba :: Funga Wari
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #1 :: Gallery
  • Need to bust racket running inside MPSC
  • Will PM Modi betray Assam in No ST, no rest
  • State Level Essay Writing Competition
  • RIST Condolence Function at MU
  • When we stumble and fall
  • Customer Care Executive @ basicP, Imphal
  • Petition for Disqualification of 10 MLAs
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Rape of small newspaper
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Jhulon Nupi Pala Phamsak :: Gallery
  • TR is CM by technicality sans Legality
  • One Day in Heaven :: Poem
  • Libraries Vs Google: Are we heading there
  • ..for electrical distribution rearrangement
  • Plea to PM for 'inclusive solution'
  • Review call for Loktak power project
  • Lessons to learn from CCpur: public hygiene
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The dawn of cricket in Manipur
  • Lumbini Leikolda Shat-houba Leirang
  • Workshop on MU Reservations held
  • Job posting at C-DAC Silchar
  • Lafikul murdered to stir communal tension
  • Wayward rules of law
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #1 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #4 :: 360 °
  • Admission for B.Ed at Manipur University
  • The Evening Blues :: Poem
  • A village called Nbena :: Book Review
  • Employment Generating Hands on Skill
  • Unnatural death of Sainik School student
  • Condemns killing of KNO/KNLF leader
  • AR conducts Pre Recruitment Training
  • Makeshift sheds at Lamphel
  • For a clean future generation
  • Mr Maipak Body Building #2:: Gallery
  • CM referring to ST Comm is ultra vires
  • VIP culture out, VVVIP culture in
  • Be an unchained raindrop :: Poem
  • Holistic education : Trends & challenges
  • Jobs - Going Officers Pamjei
  • Providing Various Health Benefit Plans
  • larification to Tokheho's recollections
  • Taxation check posts on NHs removed
  • Reveal Framework Agreement to public..
  • SoO groups in the news for wrong reasons
  • Confession
  • Nongbrang, bank of Thoubal River :: Gallery
  • Pukpha Fest @Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at UN, NYC : 1 Aug
  • Free Computer Course by KEN @ Imphal
  • Where is the justice in mob justice
  • Ishu : Feature Film in Assamese :: Review
  • Flood: State efforts are too little too late
  • Crisis within NPF unfortunate : KG Kenye
  • decision-making body of NPF resolve: 2 Aug
  • NPF Legislature Party Statement : 2 Aug
  • ..honoring martyrs by raising Tri-colour
  • ..strong Opposition: Cong MLA striving hard
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #3
  • Khongjom War Memorial #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Oops! They've Done It Again!
  • Photography: Career through lenses
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Chemical Ecology: Info for college/Univs
  • Jobs - Nursing Aides in Singapore
  • NPF responds to MLAs' demand
  • Manipur protests detention of trucks
  • Overlooking one's own Cabinet decision
  • Potential of our state
  • Drinking joints in a dry State : Liquor tragedy
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #2:: Gallery
  • Meetei bears more tribal characters ...
  • The slumbering Beauty :: Poem
  • Selected to Global Shapers Imphal Hub
  • NPF Legislature Party Meeting on 31st July
  • Indo Myanmar Post Level Meeting at Onzia
  • Notice: Employment Exchange Imphal East
  • The unintended windfall
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #2:: Gallery
  • Hepatitis C is upto 95 pc curable
  • Sit-in-Demand : ST Demand Committee
  • NE lured into life of modern day slavery
  • Public Behavior; Hard Nut for New Rulers
  • Have you seen the Cacti :: Poem
  • NPF suspend and dissolves
  • Police na maheiroi singda kahenba..
  • PM likely to visit Manipur next month
  • Fishing community..sustainable livelihood
  • In the news... CCpur at the epicentre
  • Mr Maipak Body Building #1:: Gallery
  • Manung Kangjeibung, Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • My visit to Shri Lanka #4
  • 4 years is a long time in politics
  • North East imbroglio fleeting opportunity
  • Aviation Network between NE & BCLMV
  • Press Park to come up soon in Manipur
  • India-Myanmar rail project yet to be ..
  • AFSPA in the House
  • 1st Mao Market day @Nagamapal:: Gallery
  • Sentence Particles in Manipuri Language
  • ILP : Students protest [27 July] :: Gallery
  • Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon #2 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #3 :: 360 °
  • Nomination for State Journalist Awards
  • Loktak Lake & Manipur in ecological disaster
  • Modi: Man who oils digital India :: Poem
  • Recruitment at IP Infotech, Waheng Leikai
  • ..after 20 years: No justice in 'mob justice'
  • Good governance perspectives
  • Rare historical stone inscription #1
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #1:: Gallery
  • Huidrom Kirankr- Fellowhsip for Thang-Ta
  • Noises of the Silence #2
  • RIST popular talk 30- Electronic structure
  • Nutrition & dietetics as career options
  • In the Good Old Days :: Poem
  • NPF Presidential Address : 25th July 2017
  • Bid to find haven for ponies
  • Mao Market in Imphal! More than trading
  • Assembly reveals activities of past govt
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #2 :: 360 ° View
  • To the Mosquito :: Poem
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #1:: Gallery
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • NH-102 (Maram road) landslide :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • Landslide at Jiribam Highway #2 :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Sapam Robinhood #2 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS