Kakching World War-II Memorial Run-2018, Manipur
Dedicated to The Valient Soldiers of Allied and Japanese Forces, Azad Hind Fauj & Common People of Manipur, 1944
9th September, 2018
Supported By Assam Riffles
Media Partner: Manipur Times
RUN into Yonder History
Along the Battle Zone of World War II
PILGRIMAGE the Holy Battle fields of Azad Hind Fauj Martyrs
Who Gave Their Today for Our Tomorrow
PAY Homage to the Brave Hearts of Allied and Japanese Forces
Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice on this Sacred Land
SALUTE to the Common People of Manipur 1944
Who Were Compelled and Endure the War in silence
RUN Below the Blue Skies,
Once Abode of the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Nakajima, Kawasaki and Mitsubishi Fighters.
TREAD Amidst the Lush Green Fields
Along the Blue Woody Mountain Slopes.
DRIFT in the Lap of Mother Nature
Float Along with the Mountain Fragrance and Fresh Air
EXPERIENCE the Salubrious Weather and Beauty of Manipur
Warm up Your Hearts and Soothe Your Souls
COME ONE, COME ALL, COME AND EXPERIENCE KAKCHING
Check out the latest pictures of the marathon! (provided by Manipur Times)
Reports about the marathon. Thanking the runners, participants, volunteers and locals for helping to make this marathon a huge success!
About the run
The RUN is dedicated to the sacrifices of Azad Hind Fauj under Netaji Subash Chandra Bose who fought for the Independence of India, to the peace loving common people of Manipur 1944 on whom war was thrust upon and suffered silently, to the valiant soldiers of Imperial Japanese, Allied forces who made the supreme sacrifice on this sacred land of Manipur, to show our heartfelt solidarity to all those Mothers, Fathers, Spouses, Sons, Daughters, Brothers and Sisters for enduring the irreparable loss of their loved ones and their lives shattered forever. The Run is also aimed to preserve and showcase the rich cultural, historical heritage of Manipur, to promote sports, adventure, health, and nature tourism in the state.
MANIPUR WORLD WAR II -1944
Before the Second World War, Manipur was a quiet place on the north-eastern corner of the British India with minimal links with the outside world. People lived with their age old traditional agro based peaceful lifestyle. However, the turn of the events in the world since early 1940s, played havoc and brought in thousands of people from around the world to kill each other on this sacred land.
On 07 December 1941, Japan attacked US Naval Base at Pearl Harbour in the Pacific Hawaiian islands and declared war on the United States and Britain. They advanced very rapidly in the Far East and South East Asia, invaded Hongkong, Malaya, Singapore and by early 1942, took over Burma. Their next plan was to invade India. INA of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose sided with Imperial Japanese forces with a dream to gain Indian Independence by military means.
Over one lakh civilian refugees fled Burma followed by fighting retreat of British Burma Army and Allied Forces through Manipur in 1942. The first bombs fell at Imphal on 10 and 16 May 1942. This changed everything for Manipur. Imphal became a very important strategic forward base for Allied defence and counterattack. War infrastructures, airfields, roads, supply dumps, encampments were built at a pace never seen before.
On 08 March 1944, the Japanese crossed the Chindwin River and launched Operation U-GO along with the Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. By 29 Mar 1944, Japanese cut the Imphal Kohima road and effectively laid seize to Imphal. Air transport then became the only link with outside. It was a fierce, do or die battle for both sides. Despite heavy losses, the war saw some of the finest display of military valour, tenacity, human perseverance. The Allied forces were kept supplied by Transport Aircraft while the Japanese eventually ran out of supply. On 22 June 1944, Imphal – Kohima – Dimapur road was cleared and the seize of Imphal was over. Japan ordered to break off the offensive on 03 Jul 2018 and a complete withdrawal beyond Chindwin was approved on 18 Jul 1944. During its long and arduous withdrawal, many more Japanese soldiers died due to disease, starvation and exhaustion. Till then, it was the worst chronicled Japanese defeat in its history. The battle of Imphal and Kohima has also been declared as the Britain’s greatest battle. Later on, Allied forces recovered all its lost colonies.
The War was thrust upon on the common people of Manipur. Most were too simple or illiterate to comprehend the purpose and reasoning of the war. Normal life was thrown astray. People evacuated their homes and stayed in bomb shelters. After the War, there was a near famine situation as no proper cultivation was possible for nearly two years. Many died due to an outbreak of Cholera.
KAKCHING AND THE WAR
Kakching (Palel) airfield is one of the only two all-weather bitumen surfaced runways, amongst the six airfields constructed in Manipur. Two RAF Squadrons No 34 and 42, flying the legendary Hawker Hurricane Mk IV, accredited with the maximum number of Luftwaffe aircraft shot down during the Battle of Britain, were stationed here in the bomber role. The hillock east of the airfield had camouflaged aircraft shelters. There was a metalled taxiway all around the hillock and up to the airfield. The eastern side of airfield had an ATC tower around halfway and two taxy track loops with blast pens. No 5 Squadron of RAF flying the hurricanes and No 136 Squadron flying the Spitfire interceptors operated from Sapam Airfield, few miles North of Kakching. There were another airstrip at Wangjing, few miles further north.
Kakching village is situated 2 kms off the Tamu Imphal road and lies approximately 40 kms south of Imphal. The Kakching Khullen area east of Theigong (irrigation canal) was evacuated and occupied by allied forces as residents cum offices. The “Laipham Loknung” (Gorges of the Gods) at “Mamang Ching” (eastern hills) of Kakching had many encampments and dugouts all along. Vehicle depot workshops were at “Irum Ningthou Ikoufam”(water abode of ancestral God Irum Ningthou) area. At Turel Wangma (western side of Sengmai River) area, a large supply dump was set up. As per elders, it stored clothing, barbed wires, vehicles spares, fuel cans, armoured vehicle and tanks, mules, arms, ammunition etc. It also served as a sort of transit station. Often there would be a large concentration of men, material and mules only to find it all gone the next morning. Once the residents of Turel Wangma were made to vacate for a few days to cater to the arrival of men and supplies. Further west, between Wabagai and Thongjao, north of the road to Sugnu, a pukka building was constructed as a residential cum office.
The 20th Indian Division at Tamu, withdrew to Shenam Saddle, few miles south of Kakching and prevented further advance of the Japanese Yamamoto forces. It is a conglomerate of five hill tops between Shenam and Tengnoupal, overlooking the only metalled road suitable to bring in Japanese tanks and heavy artillery. From 08 to 22 April 1944, these hill tops were fiercely contested. There were intense fighting with heavy losses on both sides, especially for the control of Scraggy Hill top.
Propaganda by infiltrating behind enemy the lines and using leaflets were carried out by Azad Hind Fauj. Having failed to breakthrough to use the Tamu road, the Gandhi Brigade of Azad Hind Fauj led by Inayat Kiyani, bypassed the enemy positions and attacked Kakching (Palel) airfield on the night of 28 Apr 1944. Short of rations, they pulled back and suffered 250 casualties to shellfire. In early July 1944, when the Japanese withdrawal became eminent, they carried out two more desperate but successful daring attacks at the airfield destroying many parked aircraft.
There were frequent whaling of air raid sirens, bombings, rattling of anti-aircraft artillery and aerial dogfights at Kakching. As per elders, at least two Japanese aircraft, referred locally as “Satumbi (sleek body)” fell down at Kakching Nongjubi Chingol (westen hills) Area.
The residents Kakching Khullen had to vacate their homes. People crammed up in school grounds, Temple mandaps or wherever they could manage, stayed in Komjaos (makeshift bomb shelters dug in a zig zag arrowhead shape). This is known as Lanjenba (dislocation due to war), and lasted approximately 2 to 3 years. There were general shortage of food. During the frequent whaling of air raid sirens, people snubbed their Podons (primitive kerosene wick lamps), pine wood fire lamps, kitchen fires, left whatever they were doing and ran for safety to Komjaos. In one such bombing raid at the northern end of the airfield, few residents of Kakching were killed and wounded.
Years Ago - Still Afresh
Since 1944, seventy four years have passed and next year it would be a platinum Jubilee anniversary. However, still many lessons are yet to be learnt and the dust of the war is yet to settle. The war had left a deep scar on the minds of the people of Manipur. Many surviving elders, saw the war in their early youth and has vivid memories of those horrific years. Every household has some stories connected to the war. Kakching Runners sincerely pray and hope that such days should never return for anyone.