Using the backdrop of the Battle of Kohima from WW2, it explores the despair and desperation that comes in the heat of a brutal battle.
Most wars have great historical significance, but rarely does a soldier’s perspective ever come out. Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava talks about the plethora of emotions, from panic to despair, that a soldier goes through when he’s at war through his song Kohima, set in the context of the battle in the North East of India during World War II. Incidentally, the Kohima War is also termed as ‘The Battle That Saved India.’
As the Japanese offensive clashed with Indian troops, many of whom were local Naga and East Indian soldiers, some of the most horrific confrontations across the entire world war took place in Kohima, including a battle in a tennis court (which coincidentally was the first title of the song) in which the combatants were tossing grenades across a few meters at each other (referenced in the lyrics “The clouds were raining metal”) and even fighting hand-to-hand.
Saahil Bhargava’s song talks about the soldier’s day at war – the sheer horror, desperation and the bleak conditions that bear him down, all while he is only thinking about surviving and returning home. It is not about the glory of victory or fighting for a greater cause. Instead, it focuses on this one soldier’s perspective on the ground and the thoughts going through his head.
Talking about the song, Saahil says, “I just thought it was an interesting perspective to the narrative of war that we’ve all grown up with. I just imagined a soldier within the war who was not driven by winning the war or bringing glory to his people – he just wanted to survive. And that is what the core of this song is all about. This soldier’s desire to get back home, somehow.”