Manipur man who worked both for British, Japanese armies in WWII dies at 93

Imphal: Assam Rifles officer fails to return YA Shishak’s beloved INA flag that he borrowed in 2022

BY | Sunday, 9 July, 2023
Yangmaso A Shishak with the INA flag

A Tangkhul Naga, who worked both for the British and the Japanese armies in WW II in Manipur, has died in Ukhrul district due to old age ailments, his family said.

He was 93, and is survived by his wife, son and five daughters.

Yangmaso A Shishak was 13 when he first worked as a runner, delivering letters from one post to another for the British Indian Army, before the Japanese liberated parts of northeastern India.

After the Japanese Imperial Army, along with the Indian National Army (INA) headed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, liberated parts of Nagaland and Manipur in 1944, Shishak was employed as a porter for the liberating force, his son Shaingam told PTI.

“After the end of the war, my father received an INA flag from an elderly who had found it fallen in Kangkhui village. It used to be hoisted at a nearby hillock during the war,” Shaingam said.

“The elderly man had asked my father to keep the INA flag safely. However, last year, an Assam Rifles officer posted at Shangshak village had borrowed the flag from him but despite several reminders, he did not return it and now, he has been posted in some other place. My father died with a heavy heart earlier this week without getting his cherished INA flag back,” the 60-year-old said.

To commemorate the death of 350 soldiers in the Battle of Shangshak, the Assam Rifles constructed a war memorial next to the house of Shishak in 2002.

“The memorial has a large number of WW II artifacts including a Japanese sword, helmets, among other items,” he said.

There are also WW II-era bunkers in the village, Shaingam said.

In March every year, Shangshak Battle Day is observed in the picturesque village, during which cultural performances are put up by locals.

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