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Subhas Bose and the battle of Kohima, 1944
K.Puroh :    22 Apr. 2017 1:59 AM IST

Some months ago during a consultative meeting of the apex body of my community I cautioned the audience that in the present society unfounded arguments are presented even by people considered to be highly educated, and in suited and booted. We need to be very careful.
    About two years ago, a local author published a book that made mention of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose having visited and camped at Kikrüma village during the Second World War. It alarmed the whole village as its history and its people only saw the Japanese, not the Indian National Army (INA) during the war. No sooner, the Village Council convened a meeting that was attended by all frontal organizations, senior citizens, and intellectuals. In the meeting those who lived through the Second World War shared what they saw. Two points were agreed upon unanimously. First, the Japanese forces were comprised of Japanese people only whereas the British forces mostly consisted out Mainland Indians, barring a couple of officers from British origins. Secondly, the Japanese soldiers could only speak their own language and communicated with the help of a few interpreters whereas those in the British forces mostly spoke Hindi. Therefore, the Village decided to convey its decision to the said Local author that in future edition of his book, the part that deals with Subhas Bose visits to Kikrüma be deleted.
 It is believed that some top Japanese army officers, including Lieutenant General Kotuku Sato, who led the 31st Japanese Division stayed at Kikrüma. The village, after all, is only 19 miles away from the southeast of Kohima, and therefore was a strategic location as far as the Kohima battle was concerned.  Subhas Bose, the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of roughly ‘30,000 INA soldiers’ was not seen in Kikrüma, or for that matter in surrounding villages. However, as per the conventions of war, and him being the Commander-in-Chief, he was in any case unlikely to move around in an area very different from where his division was. If at all Subhas Bose had been to this area, Dzülha to Kikrüma, then it would have been swamped by INA soldiers. However, in ground zero it was nothing like that. At Chazouba the Japanese fought against the Britishers, hence a place there called Japan Riba, which translates as the ‘Battle of Japan’; also there is a high school named after the place, Japan Riba Govt. High School, Chazouba; and from Cheswezu to Kikrüma it was reported and witnessed that only the Japanese  fought  the Allied forces
    Going by the oral histories and the testimonies of the living witnesses of the local, the presence of the INA was never seen or felt during the war. The main entry point of the Japanese forces into the area was the village of Jessami. History tells us that it was with great difficulty that the Japanese forces fought themselves a way through Jessami, which was defended by British-led forces. The issue of Subhas Bose having come to Nagaland emerged only after a photo (poster) of him in an INA uniform spread across Nagaland during the 1970s and 80s with his uniform being somewhat resembling the Japanese uniforms. From that moment, some impulsive individuals claimed that Subhas Bose had come to their village. But except for such rumors, there exists no record of Subhas Bose having come to this region.
 Besides those who fell during the battle of Kohima, many Japanese died and some were murdered during their retreat. However, in that case too, not a single case of an INA soldier was recorded or reported. Since history cannot be changed, distorted or simplified, it is expected that everyone, but especially the government, should not be carried away by baseless utterances of some uninformed individuals, like the person from my village who told the local author about his own make up story of Subhas Bose’ visit to Kikrüma. The government, while formulating policies towards documenting important historical events, should carry out proper studies through its competent agencies and only thereafter should recognition be given. One cannot go by the writings of amateur scholars whose work may lack scientific research methodology and adequate levels of objectivity. I am writing this not to malign any particular individual but to avoid confusion in the near, and not so near, future and to stop those who are misleading the historical consciousness of younger generations.


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