Abalume ba Soldier, Babomba ku KOHIMA Barracks ku Kabwe! This is History of Kohima! Kohima /koʊˈhiːmə/ is the hilly capital of India’s north eastern border state of Nagaland which shares its borders with Burma/ Remember Burma Baracks, Market and Road in Lusaka?? Kohima lies in Kohima District and is one of the three Nagaland towns with Municipal council status along with Dimapur and Mokokchung. Kohima is the land of the Angami Naga tribe. The name, Kohima, was officially given by the British as they could not pronounce the Angami name Kewhima or Kewhira (Tenyidie for “the land where the flower Kewhi grows”). It is called after the wild flowering plant Kewhi, found in the mountains. Earlier, Kohima was also known as Thigoma. Kohima is located south of Kohima District. The town of Kohima is located on the top of a high ridge and the town serpentines along the top of the mountain ranges as is typical of most Naga settlements. The British incursions into the Naga territory, beginning in the 1840s, met with stiff resistance from the independence-loving Nagas, who had never been conquered by any empire before. The stiffness of the resistance can be gauged by the fact that it took nearly four decades for the British to conquer a territory that is less than 10,000 square kilometres (the eastern region was left free). Kohima was the first seat of modern administration as the Headquarters of Naga Hills District. When Nagaland became a full fledged state on 1 December 1963, Kohima was christened as the state capital. In 1944 during World War II the Battle of Kohima was the turning point in the Burma Campaign. For the first time in South-East Asia the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies which they then retained until the end of the war. This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese from gaining a high base from which they might next roll across the extensive flatlands of India like a juggernaut. Unfortunately, Zambian galant men and women who fougt the war in Kohima and Burma also perished. Kohima has a large cemetery for the Allied war dead maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner’s tennis court which was the scene of intense fighting, the Battle of the Tennis Court. The epitaph carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery“ When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”. This has become world famous as the KOHIMA POEM! The Verse resonates in The late Stephen Mpashi wrote about this encounter in his BOOK, “Chekesoni Aingila ubu Soldier”. He was there!
Published by Kunda Kalaba
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