Shangshak War Memorial, Shangshak Village, Manipur

Considered to be the first site of combat to take place in India during World War II, the Battle of Shangshak took place in March 1944 in the mountainous surrounds of the village of Shangshak, located in the state of Manipur. With Japanese forces advancing to Imphal and Kohima, various divisions of the British Indian Army had been stationed in and around Shangshak, a village situated on one of the roads to Kohima. On the 20th of March (or 21st according to some sources) Japanese forces arrived in Shangshak, resulting in a week of fierce and bloody fighting between the two sides. Although the Japanese were able to forge ahead to Kohima, the delay of one week meant the Allied forces had already received reinforcements at Kohima before the Japanese arrived and as a result, the Japanese were forced to retreat.

To commemorate the role of those who fought in the Battle of Shangshak, along with the locals who supported the troops, the Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force of India, constructed the Shangshak War Memorial in 2002. On March 26th 2013, ‘Shangshak Day’ was celebrated – a commemorative day that acknowledged the role of the Allied forces and local villagers in the Battle of Shangshak. A number of senior members of the Assam Rifles attended, as well as the descendants of the local villagers who lived throughout the Second World War.