Kohima: Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s anniversary is being celebrated across the country. But there is something special about the celebrations which took place in a small village in Phek district of Nagaland.
In a first of its kind, Chesezu Village under Phek district commemorated the birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on Saturday. It is claimed that Netaji camped at Chesezu for almost two months from April-May during the Second World War in 1944.
To make the special occasion, 43 locals attended a small ceremony held in the village. Vesezo Ringa, a member of the committee on Netaji heritage at Chesezu told EastMojo that a short ceremony was held where the legacy of the Netaji and his visit to the village was vividly remembered.
While a drawing competition for all ages on the theme “Netaji in Chesezu” was conducted, nonagenarian Vezo Swuro, who was associated with Netaji during his stay in the village, shared the historical accounts when Netaji camped in the village.
According to Ringa, many reasons prove why Netaji might have stayed back in the village. Ringa told EastMojo that as per the oral accounts, Netaji reached the village through the route from Manipur—Jessami —Phek —Thuvopisu—Runguzu—Chesezu. He said that villagers have Netaji riding a horse. “As per their description, Netaji had a red belt, a pistol, and a grenade,” he said. Ringa added that Netaji is believed to have entered the village through the mule tracks.
He also said that as the village is at a higher altitude, even higher than Kohima, it is believed that Netaji visited a viewpoint (watchtower) in the village to monitor the battle that took place in Kohima. “Vezo Swuro used Netaji’s binoculars, but it seems it was a blurry vision as he did not know how to use it,” Ringa said about the nonagenarian.
He goes on to say that at the time, Chesezu village was one of the strongest villages and 27 villages were under it. He said that these 27 villages paid tax to Chesezu village every year and required permission to sow seeds for cultivation. “The village was economically and politically stable at that time. So, that may be one reason why Netaji chose to come to the village,” he said.
According to Ringa, it is also believed that Netaji’s clarion call ‘Delhi challo’ last camp was in the village. He further added that he chose a thick bamboo grove at the village to camp as the site was not visible from above. A pond where Netaji fetched water during his stay in Chesezu is preserved as a historical site.
Vezo Swuro, 93, is the only surviving associate of Netaji from the village related his personal accounts with Netaji. Rapra Swuro and Theyeveyi Nyekha presented a folk song telling the story of Netaji and the Japanese at Chesezu.
Another song which told the story of Netaji and his legacy at Chesezu was sung by Nuvetalu Nyekha and Nukhrutalu Nyekha during the ceremony.
On the occasion, Muleyi Khesoh, former chairman of the Chesezu Village Council acknowledged the India Tourism for choosing the village to observe the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji. He also urged the younger generation to carry forward the legacies and history of Netaji.
Kejaroko Pieru, a tour operator by profession and proprietor of Pier Tours, in his address to the locals expressed that Chesezu village has the potential of becoming an eco-tourism destination and further expressed his willingness to support the village in the years to come.