Hailing 71st Anniversary Independence Day
- By Shwe Taing Lwin
4th of January is the Independence Day of Myanmar, and we are relieved from the subjugation of the British rule and now celebrating the 71st Anniversary in 2019.
Indeed, the Independence is fragile beauty of a nation that could lose easily, but regaining back was undeniably very difficult. With the collective struggle and fight of our ancestors sacrificing their lives, we got it back with many sacrifices.
First Anglo-Myanmar War broke out on 5 March 1824 during the reign of King Bagyidaw in Myanmar, where we lost the fertile lands of Rakhine and Tanintharyi. Again, we had loss Lower Myanmar up to Myayhtai Township in central region following the Second Anglo-Myanmar War on 5 April 1852 during the reign of King Bagan. The Third Anglo-Myanmar War saw the annexation of the whole of Myanmar on 11 November 1885 during the rule of King Thibaw.
Spearheaded by U Ba Pe, MA U Maung Gyi and Dr. U Ba Yin, the YMBA (The Young Men’s Buddhist Association) was formed on 11 February 1906, where the educated young men joined the team, eventually activated in the political activities within the bind of the then existing laws.
Speeding up the movement, the sixth meeting of the YMBA was held in Pyay Township in September 1920 and unanimously adopted the objective “To accelerate and expand the political movements”, and then switched into the formation of GCBA (The General Council of Burmese Association).
Start of Student Strike
Changing into the new system, the British Government had combined the Rangoon College and Judson College and elevated into University of Rangoon by enacting the University of Rangoon Act (Burma Act, 1920), where the affordable students of the well off families were allocated only at the hostel in limited number, sidelining the ordinary and poor students from the university.
With the growing sense of political and national fervor in the whole country, anti-imperialist sentiments were heightened, leading to the student strike. The boycott ignited on 5 December 1920 (10 Waning Day of Tazaungmone 1282 Myanmar Era), and eventually the day had been designated as National Victory Day of the country.
Struggle of independence had added momentum with the active and strong participation of respected Sayardaw U Ottama and venerable Sayardaw U Wisara.
British Parliament in 1922 approved the Dyarchy Administration (also spelled diarchy), however, the special meeting of GCBA held in Thayet Township demanded for the “Home Rule” system of self administration.
On 17 June, a large meeting was held at the Jubilee Hall in Yangon and decided to boycott in protest on the election of Legislative Council of Burma under the Dyarchy Administration.
On 30 May 1930, the Dobama Asiayone (We Burmans Association), commonly known as the Thakins and had nationalist concept nature, had been formed, and then demanded for total Independence.
Dobama Asiayone made the slogan as follows.
Total Independence First;
Total Independence Second;
Total Independence Third.
During the struggle, the Dobama Asiayone was separated into two due to ideological diversity, one group by Thakin Kodaw Hmine and the other by Thakin Ba Sein and Thakin Tun Oke. The University students under the care of Thakin Aung San joined the Dobama Asiayone of Thakin Kodaw Hmine. At that time, Thakin Aung San shouldered the General Secretary post, and organized the youth and prepared for the fight in the anti- imperialist with nationalist movement. Anti-British movement waves rolled on in many parts of the country.
Formation of Burma Revolution Pary
As the strike of the oilfield workers started to drum up in 1938, (1300 Myanmar Era) the forces at Yenan-chaung stood on the center stage making the momentum high in Myanmar, and that 3 September 1939 ignited the Second World War pushing the British into tight situation.
At that juncture, Thakin Mya and Thakin Aung San had formed the BRP party secretly with the intention to train and nurture the patriotic revolutionary warriors in rooting out the British Government. Next, the political groups were rallied and formed Bama Hwet Yat Group in October 1939.
The Thirty Comrades
On 16 January 1941, the Minami Kikan (Minami Organ) was formed by Colonel Suzuki Keiji under the directive of Imperial General Headquarters of Japan. Dobama Asiayone of Thakin Kodaw Hmine and Dobamar Asiayone of Thakin Ba Sein made contact with the Japanese side to receive military training and warfare, and later dispatched (30) Myanmar youth to Hainan Island. This was the embryo of the Thirty Comrades.
On 10 March 1941, the first batch of four members; the second batch of seven members; the third batch of three members; and the fourth batch of eleven members were dispatched secretly and received the military trainings.
The BIA was formed in Bangkok of Thailand on 26 December 1941, and subsequently the BIA had conquered back Yangon in its hold on 8 March 1942, and that Upper Myanmar was yet to conquer at that juncture.
Later in July 1942, the BIA was disbanded and formed a smaller Burma Defense Army (BDA), and eventually on 15 September 1943, the Japanese Government handed over the bogus and fake independence of Myanmar to the Burma National Army (also known as the Burma Independence Army).
When the Fascists did not keep their own words on the terms of independence in Myanmar, and moreover, when they ill-treat and torture the people, Bogyoke Aung San and the people rallied around and grouped together and revolt the Fascists.
Bogyoke Aung San led the secret formation of Anti-Fascists Organization (AFO) in August 1944 which was a resistant movement against the Japanese occupation in Myanmar.
It also formed the Peoples’ Revolutionary Party in October 1944, and that 27 March 1945 witnessed the start of the revolt against the Fascists Japanese. It was the result of the discussion and agreement between Bogyoke Aung San and General Slim in May 1945 in Meiktila to officially join hand in the attack against the Japanese.
Signing of Aung San – Atlee Agreement
On 20 June 1945, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten and Bogyoke Aung San met and discussed in Yangon, and subsequently agreed that the Burma Army was to be reorganized as permanent military force in the country. On 16-18 August 1945, the AFPFL convened its fourth meeting and all the leaders of political parties attended the gathering. A public meeting was called on 19 August 1945 at Nay Thu Rein Hall near Kan Daw Gyi Lake in Bahan Township, where the demand of the public had been confirmed such as that of (a) Ending the military rule at the earliest; (b) Recognizing the Burma National Army and the guerrilla group, and then integrating into the Myanmar Army; (c) Formation of temporary national government; (d) During the administration period of temporary government, the polling were to be held for the election of lawmakers.
On 27 January 1947, the historical Aung San – Atlee Agreement was signed.
In February 1947, preparations were made to hold Panglong Meeting, and subsequently the national leaders headed by Bogyoke Aung San and the ethnic leaders from the hilly regions met on 11 February and discussed until late afternoon to demand and acquire the independence as a collective force. Next day on 12 February, Bogyoke Aung San and ethnic national leaders of Kachin, Chin, and Shan had decided to reside as one in the land with equal opportunities, and signed the Panglong Agreement.
At the Panglong Conference, (23) representatives had signed the agreement.
Option for Independence Day
In the election held on 9 April 1947, the AFPFL won a landslide victory with (95) per cent of votes, followed by the successful drafting of the Constitution during the conference in May 1947 at Yangon Jubilee Hall.
Myanmar’s First Parliament began its session on 10 June, 1947, and unanimously approved the Constitution on 24 September the same year. The Constitution came into force on 4 January, 1947.
Future tasks and changes to be implemented in the process of handing over the sovereignty of the nation had been clarified on (15) points program. The auspicious date for declaration of the Independence was chosen as 4 January (9 Waning Day of Pyatho ME), and that the Independence was regained with many difficulties. The author of this article would like to urge that the Independence of the nation must be protected for eternity and build into developed and modern nation with the collective strength and force of the people.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)