Memories of Moirang
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Script - Amrit Bhattacharjee
Voice Over - Shreyasi Pal
Edits - Rounak & Rajdeep
Our flag, the tricolour, regardless of the symbol within, has flown several times in the land, we laud proudly as "Bharat". People have suffered bloodshed for this flag. However, the mainstream Indian mass celebrates 15th August with more pomp and show than 21st October, which marks the foundation of the Provisional Government of Free India. We celebrate, being a republic and sovereign nation, but rarely remember the day when the flag of our identity flew tranquil for the first time on the Independent soil of Moirang.
Moirang, a heaven within the hills, is a rather quiet place. This was once a strong strategic point of the British Army. Known now for the world's only floating national park, the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the lesser-known history reminds veterans of war and victory, a story told and heard by a few individuals circulating around Netaji, Socialism-Nationalism-Subhasism and a few patrons of the INA or the current Indian Army.
On the dawn of 14th April 1944, the Azad Hind Fauj captured Moirang in Manipur and half of Nagaland from the clutches of the British Empire. It was a fierce battle, a direct and brutal challenge to the British forces in India, as admitted by The British themselves.
Col. Shaukat Ali Malik of the Azad Hind Fauj marched into Moirang along with his soldiers and hoisted the national flag on 14th April 1944. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, himself also hoisted the Tricolour flag of Indian Independence on 30 December 1943 in Gymkhana Club Port Blair. This was during a time when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the commander-in-chief of the INA and also the Hon. President of Indian Government which was recognized by 18 countries.
The brief of the day is as follows -
The INA had task to surround Imphal from all sides. Southern gates to Imphal were Palel and Moirang. Palel was tasked for Gandhi brigade, Moirang for Bahadur Group. The Brigade Commander for Bahadur Group was Colonel Shaukat Ali Malik (Bahawalpur State Forces). His Deputy Brigade Commander was Lt. Colonel Kunwar Bahadur Sharma who served in 5th Maratha Light Infantry Regiment of British Indian Army with Gen. J.K. Bhonsle before joining INA. In the North and North West, Shahnawaz Khan 's brigade was looking after the task. The Imphal Kohima campaign had 3 divisions of Japan - 31 division under Gen Sato in Kohima, 33 division under Gen Yanagida Genzo was tasked for Imphal from South and 15th division under Gen Yamauchi from East towards Imphal.
Apart from these three divisions, one INA division was launched in the campaign. 1st division was commanded by Major General Zaman Kiani. It had three brigades -
1st, Guerrilla Regiment under Col. Shahnawaz Khan (later Major General)
2nd, Guerrilla Regiment under Col Inayat Kiani (Gandhi brigade)
3rd, Guerrilla Regiment under Col. Gulzara Singh (Azad Brigade)
Apart from this, Bahadur Brigade which were SPL forces of INA were used under the command of Colonel Shaukat Ali Malik with Deputy Brigade Commander as Lt. Colonel Kunwar Bahadur Sharma. The Corps Commander of japanese army was Lt. Gen. Mutaguchi of the 15th Japanese army.
On this auspicious day, Forward Media Group pays humble tribute to the valliant of the Azad Hind Fauj, without whom we had not been where we are today.