Post Mortem

A saint of our time

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/7/2019 11:19:27 AM IST

 The second world war battle of Kohima which was fought from March to June of 1944 is so very significant not just for Britain and India, but equally so for the Nagas. It is only in recent times that any importance is being given to this great battle because the Indain National Congress (INC) which took power in India then, had trouble reckoning with who the winner and the loser was.  

On the one side were Indian soldiers, known as the Indian Army, fighting under the British flag, and on the other side were also Indian soldiers from the same pool of the Indian Army who had joined Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) after the defeat of the British in Singapore, along with the Japanese, fighting the British in the hope of liberating India from British rule.
ZA Phizo was exiled by the British and was there in Burma when war reached it in 1942. He was asked by the INA and the Japanese to assist them and in return was promised the recognition of Nagaland as an independent sovereign state. Phizo and his brother, Kevi Yallay, therefore rendered all possible help to the INA and the Japanese forces, who all, after all, were of the same mongoloid stock and looked very much like the Nagas.
In the battle of Kohima, the Indian Army won, and the Indian National Army lost. Whose victory was it finally? After the war the INA trails were held and the soldiers were pronounced guilty. The trail of the INA soldiers led to unrest in the ranks, triggering off a severe mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy. This mutiny forced the British to leave India as early as in 1947.
It is on record that the British never intended to give complete independence to India, and even if push came to shove, to not leave India before 1960. It was only because of the mutiny over the INA trails that compelled the British to pack early. The INA, therefore, is directly responsible for India’s independence in 1947, but the ruling Indian National Congress did not care to recognize and honor the INA. The Indian National Congress simply wanted all the credit to itself. 
As much as the Congress party failed to give due credit to Subhas Chandra Bose, the Naga people too have failed to give due credit to Phizo. By actively helping the INA, Phizo was the one Naga who spearheaded the fight to throw out the British from Nagaland and, on a larger scale, the Indian subcontinent. It is the height of ungratefulness on the part of us, the Naga people, that due recognition has not been given to Phizo till date.
What if the INA had won the battle of Kohima? The INA and the Japanese would have secured a solid foothold in India, and Indian soldiers in the Royal British Army, Navy and the Air Force would have defected in droves to the INA. Irrespective of the final outcome of the world war, the British would have been forced out of India and Phizo would have realized the vision which he had dreamt of an independent Naga homeland. 
(To be concluded)
Benito Z. Swu

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