Kohima has a large
cemetery for the Allied war dead maintained by the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission. The cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison
Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner's tennis court
which was the scene of intense fighting, the Battle
of the Tennis Court. The epitaph
carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery.
The British incursions into the Naga territory
beginning in the 1840s met with stiff resistance from the
independence loving Nagas who had never been conquered by any
empire before. The stiffness of the resistance can be gauged by
the fact that it took nearly four decades for the British to
conquer a territory that is less than 10,000 square kilometres
(the eastern region was left free).
Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"
has become world-famous as the Kohima poem. The
verse is attributed to John
Maxwell Edmonds (1875–1958), and is thought to have been
inspired by the
epitaph written by Simonides
to honour the Greek who fell at the Battle
of Thermopylae in 480 BC.