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His Majesty’s Headhunters: The Siege Of Kohima That Shaped World History

 Format: Hardcover  Author: Mmhonlumo Kikon  Category: History, Story  Publisher: Vintage Books  Published: 2023  ISBN: 0670096830  ISBN-13: 978-0670096831  Pages: 256  Language: English  Amazon

Surprisingly little is known about the siege of Kohima, considered a game-changing event that altered the course of world history during the Second World War. His Majesty’s Headhunters adds to our understanding of this battle and shows how it redefined a whole era.

Providing a unique perspective of Nagaland and its warriors, this book uncovers the untold story of the siege, regarded as one of the more celebrated battles of D-Day and often referred to as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’ by Western scholars. Historians even believe that this was the last battle of the British Empire
and the first battle of the ‘New India’.

However, that is just the tale told so far by everyone except the Nagas. The real history of this battle―which involved the Japanese Army, led by Lieutenant General Sato, and the Allied forces―is yet to be recounted. As Lt Gen. Sato is said to have remarked, if it were not for the Naga people, the Allied forces would have been defeated in Kohima, and the Japanese Army would have easily secured the Dimapur railway station and moved victoriously towards Bengal via Assam, thus reversing the outcome of the war.

This rare and deeply researched historical account, drawing on records left by the officers and soldiers who fought in Kohima, is a page-turner. It brings to light the valour and spirit of the Naga ‘headhunters’, who made the supreme sacrifice to protect the honour of their people.

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Editorial Reviews

When Mmhonlümo Kikon quotes Simonides at the start, rather than the famous Edmonds epitaph from Kohima War Cemetery, one knows this is a book with a difference. It is a fascinating and well-researched account of the Kohima siege, divided into preliminaries and the actual battle, one that altered the region’s history. Many common beliefs are shattered and, as befits a poet, not only is the account engagingly written, it is sometimes lyrical. All too often, other parts of India don’t know enough about the region and its history. Kikon has produced a book that is an eye-opener. ― Bibek Debroy, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India

About the author

Mmhonlumo Kikon

Mmhonlumo Kikon is an Aspen Fellow and the author of two poetry collections: The Penmi Poems (2018) and The Village Empire (2019). He grew up in Kohima and has been writing for journals and newspapers since his college days. After...

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