Battle of Imphal

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Battlefield Guides

Yai on a Shenam Saddle Tour with three brothers from the UK (March 2015). Yai on a Shenam Saddle Tour with three brothers from the UK (March 2015).










































Yaiphaba Kangjam (‘Yai’)

Yai is passionate about Manipur and its rich history, and he has extensively researched the Battle of Imphal. It never ceases to fascinate him that the environs of his home-town, Imphal, were the setting for one of the greatest battles of all time during the Second World War. The more he learns, however, the more he realises how much more there is to discover – not just about Imphal, but also about its twin battle at Kohima in 1944 and indeed the entire Burma Campaign.

Besides Second World War-themed tours, Yai also organises more contemporary tours around Manipur through his personal venture Imphal Walks (www.imphalwalks.com). He holds a Master in Tourism Management degree. His master's thesis was on "Battlefield Tourism", with special reference to Manipur. Yai speaks a little Burmese and is trying to further improve his proficiency of the language.

Yai came on board Battle of Imphal Tours in 2014. He has since played a key role in organising and conducting these tours, and he has worked closely with Hemant (see below) in this regard. He now serves as the principal battlefield guide at Battle of Imphal Tours. 

Yai is based in Imphal.

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Hemant Singh Katoch


Hemant founded the Battle of Imphal Tours. He is of the firm belief that Manipur’s experience of the Second World War is truly extraordinary and that a lot more needs to be done to bring it to the world’s attention. From mid-2012 to the end of 2014, he researched, conceptualised, designed, and conducted these series of Second World War battlefield tours around Imphal and Kohima, the first of their kind themed on the war in India. At the time, he was motivated by the overarching aim of promoting and raising awareness about the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Imphal in 2014. He conceived of the original idea to commemorate this key anniversary and propagated this in private and publicly. As a then-member of the Manipur Tourism Forum, he helped organise the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Imphal from March to June 2014. He also conducted over 80 battlefield tours around Imphal and Kohima to mark the event.

Hemant was an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for North East Studies, Jamia Millia University, for the year 2013. He was also associated with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) - of which he is a Donor member - for his work in Manipur. In the past he has worked for several years for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva and has had stints with the United Nations in East Timor and with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Congo. He has published two books on Imphal: "The Battlefields of Imphal: The Second World War and North East India" (Routledge, 2016) and "Imphal 1944: The Japanese Invasion of India (Bloomsbury/Osprey, 2018). Since mid-2018, Hemant has taken on an essentially advisory role with regards to the tours.