Easterine Kire brings to life for the first time the authentic voice of the Naga people amidst the horror of the war that overwhelmed their mountaintop home in 1944. It is a voice which has for too long been silent. In her vibrant telling of the story, Easterine shows just what it meant for Nagas to be refugees in their own homeland, their homes and livelihoods around them crushed by the weight of conflict and bloodshed, their families split up and separated forever.’
– Robert Lyman, military historian
‘Even if you haven’t read about or heard of the Battle of Kohima, which stopped the Japanese march into India, you will never forget the battle after reading this book. It is based on Mari’s living memory and a diary she kept during and after the war. Vic, Mari and Pat show by example that it is by living passionately and loving unreservedly that we give depth and meaning to the scattered events and accidents of our lives. Mari and the people around her love deeply, and that sees them through life and death.’ – Paulus Pimomo, Professor of English & Co-Director, African and Black Studies, Central Washington University
‘Easterine’s writings are pivoted on her yearning for truth and grace, enveloped at the same time in the existential human predicament. Her writings are aimed at all categories of readers: young and old, traditional and modern.’ – Dr A.J. Sebastian, Head, Department of English, Nagaland University
I open the diary slowly. The childish scrawl of a young girl fills its pages, and as I read on, I am almost that girl again. Carefree, innocent, and oblivious to the way in which the war would change my life forever. I am drawn once again, irresistibly, into that mad whirl of living, dying and loving. That was the war I knew. I had thought then that life began at seventeen. And that life began in spring. And the world was green with the young green of new plants, the hills bathed with thin mist every evening and the nights velvet with the songs of Bing Crosby. How little I knew of life then.
Kohima. 1944. The Japanese invade India, life changes overnight, and seventeen-year-old Mari O’Leary and her young sisters are evacuated from their home and separated from the rest of their family.
Even as she pines for her fiancé Vic, a soldier in the British army, Mari and her sisters are forced to run from village to village, camping in fields, eating herbs for food, seeking shelter or a trustworthy friend, until the madness has passed.
A sensitive recounting of a true story, Mari is also the story of Kohima and its people. Easterine Kire brings alive a simpler time in a forgotten place that was ravaged by war before it was noticed by the rest of the world.
ALL ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE OF THE WORLD WAR HAS BEEN SOURCED FROM YOUTUBE. THIS VIDEO IS INTENDED FOR PERSONAL USE AND HAS NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSE.