New Delhi, January 2022: Penguin Random House India announces the acquisition of a rare historical account of the significance of Kohima, tentatively titled His Majesty’s Head Hunters, by Aspen Fellow and Naga poet, Mmhonlumo Kikon. This new book will be published under Penguin’s flagship imprint Viking and will be released in late 2022.
Providing a unique viewpoint, this book uncovers the untold story of how Kohima went from being a nondescript small hillock to becoming the political and administrative headquarters of the British Government and inadvertently ending up as a site of the world-changing war. The battle of Kohima is often referred to as the Stalingrad of the East by Western scholars. Historians even say that this was the last real battle of the British Empire and the first battle of the new India. However, the real history left behind by the Japanese army led by Lieutenant General Sato and the allied forces remains to be told.
Commenting on the upcoming book, poet turned author, Kikon says, ‘I am delighted that Penguin Random House will be publishing my first book of nonfiction. The dialogue with our past must continue in the light of the present and be constantly reviewed by revisiting history, and that is what I will be doing in the upcoming book. The Empire manifests itself in many aspects of our policies and we must keep exploring these as new vistas of history get written. Penguin Random House, besides being the most prestigious publishing firm, has been publishing excellent titles every year and I hope that my work will add to the body of existing work. It is an opportune moment to explore the various dimensions of the events which shaped world history and which situates current discourse within a new spectrum. I am particularly excited to publish under the Viking imprint of Penguin Random House.’
Associate Publisher at Penguin, Premanka Goswami, who also commissioned the book says, ‘Mmhonlumo Kikon’s forthcoming book tentatively titled His Majesty’s Head Hunters will open a window to the ultimate sacrifice of the Naga community, which completely changed the fate of World War II and significantly impacted the course of world history. We’re thrilled to have Mmhonlumo on board and we sincerely feel that the book will not only interest a wide spectrum of readers in India but also the enthusiastic readers throughout the world.’
About the author
Mmhonlumo Kikon is an Aspen Fellow and the author of three poetry collections: Slingstones (2021), The Village Empire (2019) and The Penmi Poems (2018). He grew up in Kohima and has been writing for journals and newspapers since his college days. After completing his master’s in English literature from Delhi University, he pursued development studies with various organizations and was actively associated with social service and community welfare. An MLA in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Kikon is a BJP National Spokesperson. An ardent footballer, he played for his college team and regularly promotes the sport in his home state. He lives in Kohima with his wife, two daughters and son.