Manipur, July 10, 2023: A Tangkhul Naga man from Manipur, who played roles in both the British and Japanese armies during World War II, has died in Ukhrul district due to age-related ailments, according to his family.
Yangmaso A Shishak, aged 93, is survived by his wife, son, and five daughters.
At the age of 13, Shishak began his work as a runner, delivering letters between different posts for the British Indian Army until the Japanese forces liberated parts of northeastern India. Following the liberation, led by the Japanese Imperial Army and the Indian National Army (INA) under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Shishak served as a porter for the liberating forces, as per his son Shaingam’s account to PTI.
Shaingam shared that after the war ended, an elderly man in Kangkhui village entrusted his father with an INA flag that was discovered in the area. The flag, which was originally raised on a nearby hillock during the war, held sentimental value for Shishak. However, last year, an Assam Rifles officer stationed in Shangshak village borrowed the flag but failed to return it despite repeated reminders. Sadly, Shishak passed away earlier this week without his cherished INA flag being returned.
In memory of the 350 soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Shangshak, the Assam Rifles constructed a war memorial near Shishak’s house in 2002. The memorial houses various World War II artifacts, including a Japanese sword, helmets, and other items. Additionally, the village still contains bunkers from the WWII era, as mentioned by Shaingam.
Each year in March, the village of Shangshak observes Shangshak Battle Day, featuring cultural performances by the locals, as a tribute to the significant historical event.