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Executive Editor, Penguin Random House India

Date & Time

Saturday Sat, 24 Feb 2024


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

Surprisingly little is known about the siege of Kohima, considered a game-changing event that altered the course of world history during the Second World War. His Majesty’ s Headhunters adds to our understanding of this battle and shows how it redefined a whole era.

Providing a unique perspective of Nagaland and its warriors, His Majesty’s Headhunters uncovers the untold story of the siege, regarded as one of the more celebrated battles of D-Day and often referred to as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’ by Western scholars. Historians even believe that this was the last battle of the British Empire and the first battle of the ‘ New India’.

However, that is just the tale told so far by everyone except the Nagas. The real history of this battle— which involved the Japanese Army, led by Lieutenant General Sato, and the Allied forces— is yet to be recounted. As Lt Gen. Sato is said to have remarked, if it were not for the Naga people, the Allied forces would have been defeated in Kohima, and the Japanese Army would have easily secured the Dimapur railway station and moved victoriously towards Bengal via Assam, thus reversing the outcome of the war.

This historical account, drawing on records left by the officers and soldiers who fought in Kohima brings to light the valour and spirit of the Naga ‘headhunters’, who made the supreme sacrifice to protect the honour of their people.

The author, Mmhonlümo Kikon will be in conversation with Editor, Karthik Venkatesh.


Mmhonlümo Kikon


Mmhonlümo Kikon was born in Kohima and studied literature at the University of Delhi. He is the author of three book of poems, namely, The Penmi Poems, 2018, The Village Empire, 2019, and Slingstones, 2021. Mmhonlümo was a legislator in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly for two terms from 2013-2023.

Karthik Venkatesh

Executive Editor, Penguin Random House India

Karthik Venkatesh is Executive Editor with Penguin Random House India where he commissions and edits non-fiction and fiction. Besides being an editor, he is also a writer and his articles have featured in several publications like The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Deccan Herald, The Federal and several other publications. His first book entitled ’10 Indian Languages and How They Came to Be’, meant for young adults, has just been published by Duckbill (an imprint of Penguin Random House).