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Imphal War Museum, most visited stall in Sangai Festival

Laishram Ranbir
Introducing one of the most important events in the history of mankind, Imphal War museum brings out the lost history of both I and II World War at the ongoing Sangai Festival at Hapta Kangjeibung Ground, Palace Compound, Imphal.
Imphal War Museum showcases many historic relics and antiques of World War –I and II. Thousands of visitors throng the stall every day to have a glimpse of the items which were collected by World War-II Imphal Campaign Foundation.
In this year Sangai festival, one can witness rare items like Statue of a Manipuri soldier who serve during I World War, vehicles, rare equipments, arms, ammunition, a warplane engine, barrels of rare Arisaka guns and bullets, a radio compass of a Dakota aircraft, artillery shells, Allied khaki shirts, war manuals, type 97 Japanese grenade, type 91 Japanese grenade, oxygen cylinders used by aircraft pilots, aircraft pilot seat, ammunition box, original maps, documents  and other war weapons which were used by both Japanese and British forces during both the World War.
Newly assign V. Shanmuganathan, Governor Manipur, O Ibobi, Chief Minister of Manipur and other High Officials of the State including Officials of Manipur Tourism Department has visited the War Museum stall on the very first (opening) day of Sangai Festival, one of the biggest festivals of the State. They were mesmerize after seeing all the relics and antiques which they could not have imagine in their entire life that such things were already during the I and II World War.
Isomata San, Economics Minister of Japan and Sensho San, First Secretary Japanese Embassy also visited the stall and were amazed and speechless to see things which their country, their forefathers have use during the World War II were kept accurately just like it was during the war time.
Among the foreign delegates, visitors from Japan were also throng the War Museum Stall. Tears were witness in the eyes of the Japanese visitors the moment when they first put their feet inside the stall. One of the Japanese almost breaks down while going through the pictures of the War which is displayed. Family members of the Japanese soldier who fought and lost their lives during the War were also visited the stall and comments they are pleased to see their forefathers’ pictures, relics and antiques in an unexpected place like Manipur which they could not even think of.
Yumnam Rajeshwor of World War-II Imphal Campaign Foundation said during the World War II, the fierce battles were fought between the forces of these two world powers in Imphal and adjoining areas in 1945 and “Battle of Imphal-1944” was one of them.
Yumnam Rajeshwor said the relics and antiques shown at the stall were collected through excavation at different places of the State where the battle were fought between the Japanese and British forces while some were handed over by different individuals.

He further said that one can not only imagine how fiercely British and Japanese soldiers fought in Manipur after seeing the relics and antiques but also assume the fact that the State was a major battle ground during World War-II which continued from 1939 to 1945.    

Few months back 87 graves of Manipuri who serve during the I World War at the Indian Labour Coy as Indian Labour Corps were also discovered and expecting to discover many other graves of those Manipuri who could not return back to their homeland, he added.
World War-II Imphal Campaign Foundation which collected the artifacts of the war by excavating different areas was set up by Yumnam Rajeshwor and Arambam Angamba Singh and the Museum is set up at the residence of Arambam Angamba Singh at Tera Amudon Leirak, Imphal-West.
Items being displayed by the War Museum were not for sales, it was only for public viewing but the visitors were so excited that they even asked for the price of the items which are being displayed as they are so eager to have it. Stall staffs were having a hard time reminding the visitors from taking of pictures and touching of the displayed items which were strictly prohibited and against the rule of Museum.
Imphal War Museum stall open from 10:30 am of the morning till 7:00 pm of the evening. Many visitors who do not have any idea about the closing time of the stall use to throng only just to have a glimpse of the items even after the stall gate has been close. Many return with a disappointed face and many stayed at the stall gate expecting the gate might be open even if it were just for a few minutes.
Among the displayed items, the item which attracts the eye of the visitors was the BSA Bike which was used by the British forces during II World War.
More visitors and more foreign delegates are expected at the War Museum stall till the end of Sangai Festival, 2015.

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