70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Imphal (WWII)
Manipur Tourism Forum and 2nd World War Imphal Campaign Foundation will be organising the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Imphal (WWII) from March to June 2014. This is the period when the Second World War (WWII) was fought in the soil of Manipur 70 years ago. We feel that such a commemoration will allow us to remember and pay our respects to all those who fell, were injured or affected by the events of 1944. It will also help to shine a much-needed spotlight on what is otherwise a forgotten, yet important, chapter of Manipur’s, India’s and the world’s history.
We are pleased and honoured to announce that the Honourable Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri O. Ibobi Singh, has agreed to be the Chief Patron of the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Imphal. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to him for agreeing to take on this role, which will enable Manipur to successfully commemorate this historic event.
The year 2014 is the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Imphal of 1944. It was seventy years ago that Manipur was witness to an epic battle between the British-led Allies and the Japanese and the Indian National Army (INA). From March to July of that year, over 200,000 Japanese, Britons, Indians, Gurkhas and men from several other nations clashed in the hills and valley of Manipur in what has since been described as one of the greatest battles of the Second World War. Indeed, on 20 April 2013, the combined battle of Imphal/Kohima was named as Britain’s Greatest Battle by the National Army Museum of the United Kingdom.
The Battle of Imphal is also significant from a national perspective. It saw Indian soldiers fighting on both sides in the Second World War – together with the Japanese as part of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s INA and with the British as part of the British-Indian Army. The area surrounding the Moreh Road is the only place in India where more than 6,000 men of the INA’s 1st Division was deployed and fought during the War. The INA flag was also hoisted for the first time in the country at Moirang on 14 April 1944.
For Manipur and its people, the Battle of Imphal in particular and the Second World War in general, was a period of no less importance. The year 1944 saw destruction and fighting take place on an unprecedented scale across Manipur. Many thousands were displaced. It was also for the first time that the land saw such a diverse gathering of nationalities and people from around the country and the world. Indeed, it would be hard to find a household in Manipur today that was not affected in one way or another by the dramatic happenings of 1944 and the Second World War.
Following is a proposed programme for the 70th Anniversary. It involves organising a series of events to mark and commemorate key dates from the Battle of Imphal:
23 March 2014: Inauguration (Tentative)
26 March 2014: Battle of Sangshak
28 March 2014: Start of Imphal Siege (Kangpokpi)
4 April 2014: Battle of Kameng
7 April 2014: Battle of Kanglatombi
13 April 2014: Battle of Nungshigum
14 April 2014: INA flag hoisting in Moirang
19 April 2014: Battle of Tengnoupal
19 May 2014: Battle of Torbung
29 May 2014: Observation at Red Hill/ Maibam LokpaChing
7 June 2014: Battle of Motbung
12 June 2014: Battle of Bishenpur
22 June 2014: Lift of Imphal Siege/ Milestone 109
25 June 2014: Fighting on the Silchar Track
28 June 2014: Closing Ceremony
Further the observation of such annual events will help in bringing the veterans and the family of the officers and soldiers who laid their life fighting the war to our state and extend them with a platform to pay homage. We also hope the commemoration will help in promoting Manipur as a Second World War Tourism destination.