English translation of books on Naga Labour Corps experiences released

English translation of books on Naga Labour Corps experiences released

Morung Express News
Mokokchung | July 17


The English translations of two books – Wabong Senkalemba Ao BEM: An Account of his Life and Havildar Watingangshi Ao: Off the Coast of Tunis, 1917 – were released by noted senior citizen M. Bendangnükshi Longkümer today at Penli Ward, Mokokchung in commemoration of the 100th birth anniversary of Late W. Chubanungba Ao, an educationist and a writer. The two books were written by Late W. Chubanungba Ao and translated into English by his youngest daughter Aoyangla Imchen.


The first book is a narrative about the life of Senkalemba, one of the prominent Naga Interpreters (Dobashi) during the British era in the Excluded District of Naga Hills. In his youth, he left for France during World War I as a member of the 21st Naga Labour Corps and later participated in the consultations among Nagas in Kohima representing the Ao tribe when the Simon Commission was to arrive in India for effecting reforms.


When World War II broke out, engulfing even the remote northeast region of British India, the Dobashis dug in when Japanese forces advanced on them and defended the Naga Hills Sub-Divisional Headquarters in Mokokchung along with their British superiors. Senkalemba was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his exemplary services. The book includes a number of traditional compositions, songs about the exploits of their forefathers and also songs of eulogy for him.


The second book is about the life of Havildar Watingangshi Ao, a veteran of eleven British military expeditions in the frontier areas of the north-eastern part of British India and also in World War I. It brings out the firsthand account of the experiences of 37th Company of the 21st Naga Labour Corps during World War I. The author himself, a first generation educated Naga, had numerous conversations with his father spread over the years about their lineage history, the Ao Naga polity and village life that had just emerged from a head-hunting warrior culture. It is interspersed with a number of traditional songs. It also discusses the early formal education introduced by American Baptist Missionaries.


The books can be ordered from the publishers through email ordergalaxybooks@gmail and will be available at Students Book Centre, Mokokchung.


The writer, Late W. Chubanungba Ao, was the son of ‘Havildar’ Watingangshi Ao, who married Bendangsenla Longkumer, now 87, daughter of Senkalemba Ao. The writer is survived by his wife, 8 children, 25 grand children and 8 great grand children.

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