Dimapur, April 18 (EMN): In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the WWII Battle of Kohima (1944-2019) a community nongovernmental organisation conducted a “gallantry award ceremony” on April 18 in Kohima. War veterans were honoured with gallantry awards, which were received by their descendants, updates informed.
The ceremony was organised by the Kohima Educational Trust and Kohima Educational Society, updates on Thursday from the government publicity agency, the Information and Public Relations (IPR), stated.
The IPR did not specify but Chief Secretary Temjen Toy was understood to have addressed the event.
“We are gathered here today because of the war, specifically the Battle of Kohima, the battle which was not ours, but the battle which was fought in our land and that has brought changed in the history of Nagas forever and the world as well,” Toy was quoted as having said during the programme.
The state government of Nagaland has decided to make the 75th anniversary a yearlong commemoration by organizing a number of activities as a remembrance for those who took part in, or lost their lives during World War II, he said.
Another objective, according to the government official, was to make the event a platform ‘for reconciliation and to look for a bright future.’
Toy paid tributes to “those who were involved in the fierce battle and those suffered immensely during the war.”
Further, the chief secretary welcomed veterans and visitors from the UK to be a part of the commemorative event.
He thanked the Kohima Educational trust and Kohima Educational society on behalf of the state government ‘for organizing the function in a befitting manner,’ according to the IPR.
The IPR also mentioned a Charles Chasie, who was stated to have spoken during the event. He spoke about the history of the “gallantry award medals.” The IP quoted him as having said that the “history of discovering the Naga gallantry award winners” and recovery of documents and medals was a long and interesting journey. The process was something that was started ‘without any proper focus on it,’ the IPR stated.
During the observation of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima in 2014, the seed was planted to record the experiences of Naga veterans who were still alive, the updates stated.
The citizen, Chasie, was stated to have said that 69 gallantry awards won by “Naga soldiers” during the Second World War were traced and that he hoped to uncover more of those who won gallantry awards.
During the programme descendants of the awardees gave brief accounts on their grandfathers during the World War II. “They shared about the struggles faced by them,” the IPR stated.
Chief Secretary Temjen Toy and Curator of the Kohima Museum of York, Bob Cook, presented the gallantry awards to 43 personnel in honour of them for their exploits in “different categories,” according to the IPR.
The “categories” according to the updates, were the Order of the British Empire, Member of the British Empire, British Empire Medal, Imperial Service Medal, Military Cross, Military Medal, Indian Distinguished Services Medal and the Indian Police Medal.
The Battle of Kohima
The Battle of Kohima is referred by some sources as the turning point of the Japanese offensive into India in 1944 during the Second World War. The battle was fought in three stages from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in Nagaland in northeast India.
From 3 to 16 April, the Japanese attempted to capture Kohima ridge, a feature which dominated the road by which the besieged British and Indian troops of the IV Corps at Imphal in Manipur were supplied.
By mid-April, the small British and Indian force at Kohima was relieved. From 18 April to 13 May, British and Indian reinforcements counter-attacked to drive the Japanese from the positions they had captured.
The Japanese abandoned the ridge at this point but continued to block the Kohima-Imphal road. From 16 May to 22 June, the British and Indian troops pursued the retreating Japanese and reopened the road.
The battle ended on 22 June when British and Indian troops from Kohima and Imphal met at Milestone 109, ending the Siege of Imphal.
The battle is often referred to as the “Stalingrad of the East”. In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Imphal and Kohima to be “Britain’s Greatest Battle.”