- By Maung Khine Mar (Athet Min Hla)
Time flies by for a span of (71) year on 4 January 2019 since we regained our independence from the British imperialists, where independence and sovereignty intertwined together at all time.
Sovereignty is permanent, exclusive, comprehensive, inalienable, absolute and unified. In order to be a sovereign nation people need independence.
Golden Palace turns into firewood
The chronicle of Myanmar had recorded that Beikthano Pyu City State, Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) City State, Tharay Kittarar Pyu City State, Hanlin Pyu City State, Waytarlee Kingdom, Bagan (Pagan) Dynasty, Pinya Dynasty, Sagaing Dynasty, Innwa Dynasty, Bago / Hantharwaddy Dynasty, Kone Baung Dynasty or Alaungpaya Dynasty, and Kone Baung Dynasty that had past glories of own Kings and golden palaces with high and impressed cultures with people enjoying life with prosperity.
During different time and era when the nation fallen apart and shattered, the First Burmese Empire, the Second Burmese Empire, and the Third Burmese Empire were rebuilt into strong nation with well-built defence by King Anawrahta, King Bayint Naung, and King Alaungphaya.
However, at some stage in the reign of 11th Kone Baung Dynasty, the strong tide of British imperialism overwhelmed the country through three aggressive wars namely the First Anglo-Myanmar War (1824-1826), the Second Anglo-Myanmar War (April 1852- December 1852), and the Third Anglo-Myanmar War (1885).
The First Anglo-Myanmar War broke out during the reign of King Bagyidaw, and conceded Rakhine, Tanintharyi and Assam through the Treaty of Yandabo (24-2-1826).
During the reign of King Pagan Min, the Second Anglo-Myanmar War broke out and that Bago and Mottama regions of lower Myanmar up to Myay Htai (Aunglan Township) were conceded.
Ugly and worst episode was seen at the Third Anglo-Myanmar War (29-11-1885), when King Thibaw Min was dethroned, and the whole of Myanmar was annexed.
Governor-General of India Lord Dufferin on 1 January 1886 announced that Upper Myanmar was the land of British Empire, and therefore, it was resulted that the golden palace had been turned into firewood.
Dethroning the Myanmar King was easy; however, confronting and fighting back the resistance of all nationalities from flat landscapes to hilly regions were not smooth. It took ten years in calming down the flat lands and plains, while it took fifteen years in pacifying hilly regions.
The British could grip the whole country around 1900, but, 10 May 1906 saw the emergence of YMBA, a form of anti-imperialist association. In 1920, the association transformed into GCBA (General Council of Burmese Association), and the year saw the first student strike.
On 12 June 1922, the Burma Reform Bills was approved and the Dyarchy Administration was put into force on 1 July 1922. At that juncture, the GCBA had split into two due to differing idea whether to merge or remain separate with India. Whatever it may be, the people remained united.
1930 witnessed the farmers’ revolt spearheaded by Sayar San, leader of the anti-British rebellion, and in the same year the Dobama Asiayone had been formed.
1937 ushered in with the (91) Departments Administration, and curved out of India. The 1938 strikes, also known by its Burma era year as the 1300 people’s upheaval saw the merger of oilfield workers and the farmers. Thakin Aung San left the country on 8 August 1940, followed by the Thirty Comrades being trained with warfare in Japan.
Myanmar saw many episodes such as that of the fight and revolt against the British by the combined forces of Japan and BIA; that of the Japanese handing over bogus and fake independence to Myanmar on 1 August 1943; that of the ill treatment and cruelty of Japanese troops to the people; that of the formation of anti-fascists groups and revolts; that of the resistance against Japanese on 27 March 1945; that of the Nay Thu Rein Conference and the formation of AFPFL; that of the people’s support to the leadership of AFPFL.
Preparation for Independence
On 8 November 1946, the AFPFL demanded certain agreements from the British Government, and therefore, Bogyoke Aung San was invited to Britain in November 1946 for negotiation. Later, Sir Gilbert Laithwaite was sent to Myanmar and arranged talks with AFPFL leaders.
With the assistance of Governor of British Burma Sir Hubert Rance, Myanmar delegation headed by Bogyoke Aung San left for London, and arrived London on 9 January, and that meetings were held for many days from 13 to 26 of January 1947.
Subsequently on 27 January 1947, the historic Aung San – Atlee Agreement was signed.
Following the signing of the agreement, the Burma Communist Party Politburo member Comrade Ba Tin (a) H.N. Goshal heavily criticized Bogyoke Aung San in an open letter in the Communist mouthpiece magazine, by name calling and condemning for kneeing down to right wing camp.
Moreover, Politburo Member Thakin Than Myaing on 3 February 1947 strongly criticized the London negotiations.
In fact, the Aung San – Atlee Agreement had guaranteed for impendence as well as the holding of election, and that the AFPFL had reaped with landslide victory with (95.3) per cent in the election.
Following the election, the AFPFL Conference was held at the Yangon Jubilee Hall from 19-23 May 1947, where (14) point terms had been agreed to be incorporated in the draft Constitution, and that it also covered the agenda on the handing over of state power. Moreover, Thakin Nu and team were sent to Britain on 23 June 1947 for detailed informal discussion.
In the backdrop of messy and complicated situation, Bogyoke Aung San and his collogues were assassinated on 19 July 1947 and that was a great loss to the nation.
However, the AFPFL Government headed by Thakin Nu continued the work plan in drafting the Constitution in order to declare Independence. The second conference of the Parliament was convened from 16 to 29 August 1947, and subsequently on 29 August 1947 signed the 1947 Let Ya – Freeman Agreement in the context and framework of the Aung San – Atlee Agreement.
The Third Conference of the Parliament was convened from 15 to 24 September 1947 and approved the Constitution, and Speaker of the Chamber of Nationalities Nyaungshwe Saw Bwa Shan Chief Sao Shwe Thaik was appointed as temporary President and Thakin Nu was appointed as Prime Minister of temporary government.
Finally, the significant Nu – Atlee Agreement was signed on17 October 1947, and eventually, the Burma Independent Bill was submitted at the Lower House of the British Government which was approved by the majority and the British Parliament approved on 10 December 1947.
Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence was conducted in grandeur with the attendance of temporary President Sao Shwe Thaik, temporary Prime Minister Thakin Nu, Ministers, temporary Hluttaw Speaker Pyaw Bwe U Mya, foreign diplomats, AFPFL representatives, departmental heads and specially invited guests.
Exactly at 4:20 am, the British warship HMS Birmingham at Yangon jetty released shots of cannon balls as celebration, and the Union Jack flag was lowered at the Parliament Building and the flag of the Union of Myanmar was raised on the pennant pole.
Programs such as that of the acceptance of Presidential post, that of the adoption of the Constitution, that of the silent mourning memory to the fallen leaders for independence, that of the declaration on the independence, that of the singing of state independence song, that of the acceptance of post by the Prime Minister, that of the delivery of Independence speech of the Prime Minster, that of the swearing in of the ministers, and that of the successful closing down of the event.
For perpetuity of national heritage
The writer of this article has taken time in elaborating the detailed events of independence for the benefit of the upcoming young generation in sharing the valuable lessons that of the significance of independence struggle, that of the significance of the patriots who scarified their lives for independence, that of the desire to impart the patriotic spirit to the young generation in preserving and protecting the independence. Moreover, the writer is desirous to convey the notion that the independence is indeed very hard to achieve, but losing the liberty is a matter of disunity and lack of patriotism for which the new generation is to draw lessons from history.
In wrapping up the piece, the author of this article would like to draw the attention that the image of Myanmar on the world map is adorable which is the outcome and result that stand out as national heritage through the sacrifices with flesh, blood and bone of our ancestors.
It is our duty to protect and preserve the nation for posterity, which is our historical duty and obligation.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)