August is the month of India’s Independence. But India had two wars of Independence. The one that was meant to be non-violent and against Britain and ended in 1947. And the other that was very violent and alongside Britain and ended in 1945.
Britain does not have an Independence Day, despite Boris Johnson wanting June 23rd to be one, but the two nations are linked forever.
August a couple of years ago saw the release of a book which proves why Britain and India should be as close allies as America and Britain.
That book is Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima – The Epic Story of the Last Great Stand of Empire.
That book about Kohima reads, ‘ The epic story of one of the most savage battles of the Second World War. Kohima. In this remote Indian village near the border with Burma, a tiny force of British and Indian troops faced the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. Outnumbered ten to one, the defenders fought the Japanese hand to hand in a battle that was amongst the most savage in modern warfare.
A garrison of no more than 1,500 fighting men, desperately short of water and with the wounded compelled to lie in the open, faced a force of 15,000 Japanese. They held the pass and prevented a Japanese victory that would have proved disastrous for the British.
Another six weeks of bitter fighting followed as British and Indian reinforcements strove to drive the enemy out of India. When the battle was over, a Japanese army that had invaded India on a mission of imperial conquest had suffered the worst defeat in its history.
Thousands of men lay dead on a devastated landscape, while tens of thousands more Japanese starved in a catastrophic retreat eastward. They called the journey back to Burma the ‘Road of Bones’, as friends and comrades committed suicide or dropped dead from hunger along the jungle paths.’
This month, this on Indian Independence Day, we will remember that for us British and us Indians and so uniquely for us British Indians, for our tomorrow, they gave their today.
And so let it be said, we British Indians salute them. Our debt, is double.