By Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja, Sithu
Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt
There are five mass classes, namely 1. Buddhist Sangha 2. Peasants 3. Workers 4. Students 5. Army. They are recruited from Myanmar ethnic nationalities. Each of them has its own Day. Sangha Day is many such as Abedama Day, Damahsetjar Day, Mettasuta Day etc.
Peasants Day which was chosen on March 2nd, Workers’ Day on May 1st which is International Workers’ Day (May Day). Students’ Day chosen on 10th Waning Moon of Tazaungmoung, Amyotha Aung Pwe Day (National Victory Day) and Army Tatmadaw Day celebrated on March 27th.
General Ne Win had coup d’etat on March 2nd 1962. He did not want to mark a day for his coup d’etat. So he marked it as Peasants Day which we had not yet have.
Peasants’ revolution in Myanmar was interaction of home and foreing politics. It was the result of economic depression, recession and reaction aboard.
Myanmar was well known as the rice bowl of Asia. In addition to staple paddy other agricultural crops such as wheat, corn, millet etc. produce enormous production. Big surplus were sold out especially to India, Europe and America. When the Suez Canal was opened, Myanmar Agricultural export boomed. But Myanmar Peasants never got their rightful share in the profit. Because there were forieng capitalist companies such as Steel Brothers and other three similar companies formed Bullinger Pool. Sold out Myanmar agricultural products making an enormous profit for themselves without any consideration for the welfare of the Myanmar Peasants. In addition, there were Chettiars money lenders from India who lend money to the Myanmar Peasants at high interest. There were also local Chinese retail shops from where Myanmar Peasants bought their daily needs on credit. Therefore, Myanmar Peasants were head over heel in debt. The Peasants revolts were chain effect of economic depression in 1920. Wall Street in America became bankrupt due to crash of stock and share. That is called economic depression. There was a complete recession of trade in agricultural products. This produced reactions across the world. It hit hard Myanmar Peasants. Companies refused to buy their agricultural products. So they had no money to pay the debt to Chettiar, money lender Chettiar and Chinese retail shops. These Chettiars confiscated their agricultural products as well as their agricultural animals and tools. In some cases, young daughters of the Peasants were taken away. They were driven out of their villages. Where did they have to go? Myanmar was their land, the villages were their habitat. No food to eat. No place to go out.
That was the time many uprisings broke out especially in Thayarwaddy District.
By now, the new generation of Myanmar Patriots appeared and formed political organization GCBA (General Council of Burmese Association) on the model of YMCA. Sayar San was a member of GCBA. He was sent out to Thayarwaddy District to find out the real situation there. Sayar San discovered evidence of Peasants revolts and when he returned he made a report to the GCBA suggesting that unless immediate action was taken, the situation would get worse but GCBA was very slow in taken action. So Sayar San led a Peasants Revolution.
Alchemy precursor of Chemistry was very popular across Myanmar. Practiced by monks and laymen, four types of creations 1. Turning base metal into gold by means of philosopher stone (mercury ball). 2. The power of immunity from any arms including guns and bullets. 3. The power of making invisible. 4. The power of longevity of life.
Sayar San being an Alchemist, assumed Supanaka Garuda Raja. Garuda is the very big powerful bird which can carry elephant. It eats all snakes and negars. Myanmar regarded British descendants from snakes and Nagars. So Garuda will catch snakes and Nagars to eat.
There is a belief that King Thibaw was not the last King in Konbaung Dynasty. His successor will appear at opportune moment and therefore Sayar San could be successor to King Thibaw. People in Thayarwaddy District followed Sayar San and formed Galon Army with any arms available. And he held a coronation ceremony on the hill range in Thayarwaddy. When this matter was reported to the British Government, the British Government thought it was a strom in the tea cup. But when their Police Outposts were attacked in the day time and Sayar San army escaped in the midst of gun bullets. It is said that Sayar San wore amulet on his neck.
In Mandalay, he was worshiping Mahar Muni Pagoda and it was reported to the English Police. When they came to the spot, they could not find Sayar San. That proved invisibility of Sayar San. Then Sayar San went to Shan State to form more Galon armies. The British sent out the warrant to anyone to catch Sayar San alive or death with the handsome money rewards. Then one of Sayar San followers betrayed when Sayar San was asleep, he stole amulet from his neck so Sayar San was caught alive. Sayar San never said he revolted against the British Colony Government. He was law-abiding citizen. He only worked for the Peasants.
News of the Sayar San rebellion spread across the world. Many media men and historians came to Myanmar to see Sayar San when Sayar San was sentenced to death by hanging. Sayar San yelled out “ I am not a rebel. I am the liberator of the Peasants from heavy debt. In my next existences I shall do the same noble duty. So he was hung.
Does history repeat? It does. Because history repeats itself. Because there are historical similarities.
History does not repeat because there are no historical identities. Time, place and circumstances always change. The law of change does not change.