TODAY -

2014 The 70th Anniversary year of the Battle of Imphal

Hemant Singh Katoch *

On Imphal front, Sikh signaller operates wireless for British officers, listening to patrols reporting Japanese positions.
On Imphal front, Sikh signaller operates wireless for British officers, listening to patrols reporting Japanese positions :: Pix - wikipedia



2014 is the 70th Anniversary year of the Battle of Imphal. At this time seven decades ago, some 200,000 Japanese, Britons, Indians, Gurkhas, and men from several other nationalities were preparing themselves to face off in Manipur. From March to July of 1944, they clashed in the hills and valley in what is now seen as one of the greatest battles of the Second World War.

The word 'greatest' has not been used here carelessly. If you care to look, there are many similar quotes and descriptions that underline the importance of what happened in Manipur in 1944. For example, in an essay in History Todayin 1995, the American author Peter Heehswrites, "Imphal was one of the greatest Allied victories of the war".

In their book Imphal, Geoffrey Evans and Antony Brett-James describe Imphal as "the greatest defeat on land ever suffered by the Japanese in the course of their history." And if any further confirmation of its import was needed, the combined Battle of Imphal/Kohima was in 2013 named 'Britain's Greatest Battle' by the UK's National Army Museum.

So what then should Manipur make of 2014, the 70th Anniversary year of the Battle of Imphal? Simply put, it should see this year as a terrific opportunity for itself on many counts. For one, it should use the 70th Anniversary to generate interest among audiences in the country and abroad in its Second World War experience, epitomised by the Battle of Imphal (but by no means limited to it).The designation in 2013 as 'Britain's Greatest Battle' should help make this a much easier task than before.

Second, the 70th Anniversary should be used as a platform to boost battlefield tourism in Manipur. This needs to move beyond what currently passes for battlefield or remembrance tourism in the state: perfunctory visits to the two Second World War cemeteries in Imphal or the Japanese War Memorial / India Peace Memorial in Maibam or the INA Memorial Complex in Moirang.

This is not nearly enough as it completely leaves out of the picturepeaks (such as Laimaton, Nungshigum), villages (such as Shangshak, Ningthoukhong), and even airfields (such as Koirengei, Kakching) around Manipur which are directly linked to the events of 1944. Ways must be found to weave these into the narrative of the Battle of Imphal and the Second World War for any visitor.

Third, and closely related to the previous point, Manipur shouldresolve from 2014 onwards to take much greater care of its Second World War attractions and heritage. This could include a range of measures, such as ensuring the cleanliness of the surroundings of existing sites, with the two Second World War cemeteries in Imphal being an easy example.

Equally, and perhaps much more importantly, steps should be taken to secure and preserve any trenches, bunkers, dugouts and other reminders of the War that continue to be discovered across Manipur to this day. These are sites of immeasurable value which help us understand and imagine the fighting and conditions during the War as perhaps no spoken word can.

Fourth, the year 2014 should be used as an opportunity to better educate and inform Manipur's own people about what happened here during the War and of its importance to Manipur itself. A perfect place to start would be with school children, many of whom spend hours learning about what happened during the War in Europe and elsewhere, but tragically have little idea of events in their own backyard.

As an aside, for interested adults, one would recommend reading if you can get your hands on it an excellent 30-odd page booklet written by Prof. N. Lokendra, the current Registrar of Manipur University, and brought out by the Manipur State Archives in November 1993. Titled "Manipur during World War II (1941-45) Socioeconomic Change and Local Responses", this brief document is a treasure trove of meticulously researched material on the impact of the War on Manipur.

Fifth, 2014 should be seen as an occasion to learn. The lessons learnt from any events organised to commemorate the 70th Anniversary should be incorporated into future plans, such as marking the 75th Anniversary in particular, and the development of battlefield tourism in Manipur in general. We should also observe how Europe and the West marks the 100th Anniversary of the First World War this year to see how best to make such commemorative events more meaningful for the people of Manipur and external visitors.

To conclude, 2014 as the 70th Anniversary year of the Battle of Imphal is indeed an opportunity for Manipur - to realise, share and promote its Second World War experience with the wider world like never before. Whether this opportunity gets translated into meaningful action or not will depend on the initiative taken by the people and authorities of the state.


* Hemant Singh Katoch wrote this article for The Sangai Express. the writer founded a website in 2012 dedicated to the Battle of Imphal and Manipur's Second World War experience (www.battleofimphal.com). He currently researches, designs and conducts tours around the Battle of Imphal.
This article was posted on January 04, 2014.


* 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
  • My Memories of Imphal #15 : Download
  • Q&A with Babloo Loitongbam at Netherlands
  • Job Vacancy @ Makok Tech, Bishnupur
  • Drought :: Poem
  • Law as a career choice
  • COVID-19 Status 25 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Day 2 : Punjab students' tour to Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Sajibu Cheirao-chingkaba : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Central Univ Punjab exposure tour to Manipur
  • Question of Survival
  • lived without love, not one without water
  • World Tuberculosis Day at Arunachal
  • Pulling out of SoO pact with 3 groups
  • Legal hurdles in nailing drug peddlers
  • Sangai Fest: Moyon Dance : Gallery
  • Will lessons from COVID vaccine rollout ...
  • Of water scarcity: Beyond class room teaching
  • COVID-19 Status 23 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Univ to host students from Punjab
  • Mangrove, the magical tree
  • Ban plastics or set up recycling plants
  • Enforcing ban on single use plastic
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Tri-Nation International Football Tournament
  • Modern Cancer Treatment in Manipur
  • International conference on Natural farming
  • Importance of farm pond for agriculture
  • Drowned :: Poem
  • Poireiton Khunthok (Abridged Translation) #1
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year) : Book
  • COVID-19 Status 21 March : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Implement NRC must precede delimitation'
  • Yuva Samvad - India@2047 organized
  • Serum for hair
  • As you sail through the noises
  • Seizure of PDS rice amid erratic distribution
  • Studying with a purpose in mind
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Liquor prohibition in Manipur
  • Lifting Bhagyachandra and elephant
  • COVID-19 Status 20 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Bishnupur Cricket Association meeting
  • Fake News & Disinformation New Challenges
  • Prospect, feasibility of natural farming in state
  • Manipur and water crisis
  • Lamta Thangja @Kangla Gate : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Oil and gas scenario in Manipur
  • NPF's 'Gandhigiri' gestures towards NDPP
  • Spreading happiness as a career choice
  • Afforestation campaign: Test of Govt resilience
  • Poppy plantation & agents of desertification
  • My Memories of Imphal #14 : Download
  • Imphal Turel condition [18 Mar] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Seminar on Awareness about lifestyle diseases
  • Pole Star :: Poem
  • Blunting of AIDS epidemic: zero-complacency
  • Conduct of election to Municipal in Nagaland
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel, a yearlong tourist's destination
  • COVID-19 Status 17 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Her Struggle
  • In Nagaland, NDPP rises & NPF falls
  • Dream Zone - School of Creative Studies
  • Sluggish project works abetting water crisis
  • Taking the NRC call to Delhi : Unifying factor
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #2
  • Highways of Life :: Movie Review
  • COVID-19 Status 16 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Farewell Maharashtra student : Gallery
  • How healthy is your relationship ?
  • G20: Driving women-led development
  • Yogini Temple of Hirapur, Odisha
  • Holistic laws must to cleanse rot in exam
  • All thunder & lightening but no rain
  • Bora Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Deepika Mayanglambam : Felicitated by Y20
  • COVID-19 Status 15 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Will shorter TB regimen reach those in need
  • From a student, Dear Dhanamanjuri University
  • An inspiring story of a fish farmer journey
  • British Council announces STEM scholarship
  • State's reputation at stake as drug...
  • Briefing Union Home Minister
  • Thabal Competition #1 : Gallery
  • International River day at Lairouching
  • COVID-19 Status 14 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lembi Leima : Film Premeire at Melbourne
  • Ballad For Gloom :: Poem
  • Dialectics of identity & development #2
  • Patriarchy opting for Gender Equality
  • Demand for NRC, panel testifies restive state
  • All set for HSLC 2023 exams
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Railways acts as engine of development
  • The Book of Ichigo Ichie :: Review
  • Platform for women to re-start their careers
  • The rising threat of forest fires
  • Land allotment scam amid uproar over eviction
  • Noting stand of Forest Minister
  • English Pronouncing Skills : Book Download
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Representation to PM seeking appointment
  • Condemnation of CM N Biren's interview
  • Eco-friendly management of fall armyworm
  • Honesty is the worst privacy
  • Resistance to Govt efforts to protect forests
  • Tough times call for tough decisions
  • My Memories of Imphal #13 : Download
  • Day 4: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Why COVID-19 continues to be a pandemic?
  • International Women's Day
  • 'Electricity collaboration' diplomacy in BBIN
  • Day 3: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports: Yubi Lakpi at Khongman
  • COVID-19 Status 10 March : Govt of Manipur
  • UNHHRC access to Mizoram & Manipur
  • Govt to withdraw from SOO agreement
  • 4 Filmmakers invited for Indie8 Fest
  • Dialectics of identity & development #1
  • Thabal Chongba @Mongsangei #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #1: Gallery
  • International Women's Day 2023
  • COVID-19 Status 09 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Sports at Khongman
  • International Women's Day at IBSD, Imphal
  • Nakatheng Chatpa @Kakwa : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Sports item distributed at Bishnupur
  • Parents :: Poem
  • Call for world peace & harmony
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Nabadwip : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang : Nostalgia, tradition & identity
  • GOI pressure on CM Rio to deliver solution
  • Update gun license otherwise
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS #1 : Gallery
  • NE Convention on Indigenous Peoples Land
  • COVID-19 Status 06 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang (Holi) Festival :: Book
  • Railways: Engine of new growth in NE India
  • Precautionary measures during Yaoshang
  • Persons suffering from Sickle cell disease
  • Training on mushroom at Khangabok
  • Floodlight boon for state's sportspersons
  • Act not think for the future of Meiteis
  • Yaoshang Sen Khaiba : Gallery
  • Students Tour to Nagpur #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lampak is calling
  • North East endorses Modi but with conditions
  • Elephanta Caves
  • After village chief, anti-poppy vow by legislator
  • The good & the bad of Yaoshang
  • My Memories of Imphal #12 : Download
  • Sangai Fest: Khutpak Chatkoi #2 : Gallery
  • 538th Birth Anniv of Cheitanya Mahaprabhu
  • COVID-19 Status 04 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Gender gap in STEM: Its impact & solution
  • On Rethinking Corruption
  • How sports help in development of women
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Water use during water crisis: Hunphun/Ukhrul
  • COVID-19 Status 03 March : Govt of Manipur
  • World Wildlife Day : Awareness Cycle Rally
  • Farewell to students from Maharashtra
  • Bodoland International Knowledge Festival
  • Startups & NE India connect
  • Minister Biswajit's anti-poppy stand
  • Show no leniency to poppy growers
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Surpriya Hawaibam: Ophthalmology Award
  • Time to get back to basics to end TB
  • In light of reintroducing Damodar Swami
  • Can Myanmar-Bangladesh promote ASEAN
  • Play organic Holi with natural colors
  • Must prepare to derive benefit of border trade
  • ST demand has come a long way
  • Likon Sanaba @Ningthoukhong #2 : Gallery
  • State Project Co-ordinator for Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 01 March : Govt of Manipur
  • National Science Day at Lilong
  • Lessons from the inferno @Sainik School
  • Messi -- The Name Is Enough -III
  • Tourism is a cross cutting industry
  • Spike in electricity demand
  • Lungnila : Long wait for justice
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #4 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Owner of Translucent Umbrella :: Poem
  • Scope of Pentatomidae as bio-control
  • Water shortage, sip on the rocks
  • 'Nagaland Poll- voter turnout of 85%'
  • Challenges to fruition of rice procurement
  • State needs Old Cachar Rd & more highways
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #1
  • March Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Indigenous Peoples & Forest Rights
  • MPSC Civil Services Aspirants concerns
  • Bridal Beauty Sustainable Show @ Delhi
  • Student delegates from Maharashtra
  • Perennial apathy hallmark of Imp-Jiri road
  • Irrigation & agricultural productivity
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • The delimitation issues of Manipur
  • Smoking rates decline in Cambodia but...
  • Plenty of money; Famine of leadership
  • Leader versus Boss
  • Fermentation tech of Beauveria Bassiana #2
  • Ugly side of competitive exams comes to fore
  • Economic development & investment
  • My Memories of Imphal #11 : Download
  • Sangai Fest: Cherry Blossom @Mao : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • The drunken 'Nagaland'
  • Who made who
  • Phone pe Panchayat
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #1 :: Gallery
  • Singarei :: Poem
  • Singju Festival @Heingang #1 :: Gallery
  • Students Tour to Nagpur #1 :: Gallery
  • 6th Intl Women's Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Lui-ngai-ni Fest @ Chandel #1 :: Gallery
  • Mangani Leihun of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri :: Gallery
  • 74th Republic Day @ Kangla #5 :: Gallery
  • Jiribam Keithel [June 2022] #2 :: Gallery
  • MK Binodini's centenary - oral literature
  • Aribam Syam Sharma :: Filmography
  • Chinese New Year @Bangkok 2023 :: Gallery
  • Olympians & National awardees of Manipur
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023