Gallantry medals were restored to the descendants of 43 Naga veterans on Thursday

Kohima: Marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima, gallantry award medals were restored to the descendants of 43 Naga war veterans, of the 69 who were identified, in Kohima, Nagaland on Thursday.

At a formal ceremony organised by the Kohima Educational Society (KES) and Kohima Educational Trust (KET) at Hotel Vivor, Naga Gallantry Awards were restored to descendants of 43 Naga veterans under six categories. The medals were presented by Temjen Toy, chief secretary, and Bob Cook, curator of Kohima Museum, New York.

Dr P Ngully, chairman, KES, in his welcome note acknowledged how the “British veterans remember their Naga counterparts” in gratitude and honour by upholding it as a “debt of honour” but expressed regret of failing to recognise and remember their “deeds” in “our own home front”.

Ngully further added, “The least that we can do is to restore the gallantry award bestowed upon them for the exceptional endeavour in the line of their duties.”

The year-long commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima began on April 4 under the theme “Remembrance, Reconciliation, Rebirth”.

The number of awards presented categorically are: (4) Order of the British Empire (OBE) & Member of the British Empire (MBE); (12) British Empire Medal (BEM); (3) Military Cross (MC); (4) Military Medal (MM); Mention in Despatches (MiD) with certificate-A (2), with certificate-B (5) and without certificates (5); and (1) Indian Distinguished Services Medal (IDSM)-only certificate.

Addressing on the occasion, Charles Chasie, president KES, recalled how the “seed was planted to record the experiences of the Naga veterans who were still alive” and that by late 2015, “research for a book and documentary film on the Naga experience of the 2nd world war began”.

Earlier on April 9, Kohima Educational Society (KES) has conferred the 1st Gordon Graham Prize for Naga Literature to Easterine Kire and Kethoser Kevichüsa for fiction and non-fiction respectively, commemorating the 75th Battle of Kohima.

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