- By Tetkatho Pwint Thu Aung
Marking the first event of Independence Day celebration on the new calendar of 2019 on the planet, it is an auspiciousness, honor and pleasure for the people of Myanmar.
While the countries across the world are celebrating the New Year, the people in every nook and cranny of Myanmar bade farewell to the year 2018 and ushers into 2019 with joy and hope, reflecting the independence and sovereignty of the country.
Celebrating the New Year across the world is the manifestation of liberty of each country, which is earned with supreme sacrifices. Likewise, Myanmar also given up flesh, blood and bone in regaining independence.
Image of a nation
Standing tall among the nations of the world, a country must have four characteristics such as (1) territory, (2) population, (3) government, and (4) sovereignty.
Despite having the territory, population and government, a nation could never be termed as independent without the “sovereignty”. If the composition of the government is not made of genuine “national government” with the nationalities, then the country falls under the subjugation of foreign colonialists.
Following the First Anglo-Myanmar War in 1824, Myanmar loss Rakhine and Taninthayi to British, and again surrendered lower Myanmar to colonialists after the Second Anglo-Myanmar War in 1852. The year 1885, saw the subjugation of the whole country on 1 January 1886, when the British colonialists annexed upper Myanmar.
Ending the Kone Baung Dynasty, Myanmar entered colonial era.
Deeply resented on the status of servitude, the patriotic nationals fought back with available weapons, pledging supreme sacrifices such as the saying “better to die instead of staying alive under servitude”.
Sacrificing lives in the independence struggle was recorded in the chronicle by the names such as Fone Kan Duwa and Bo Pho Saw of Kachin State; Kwyun Bee and Shwe Gyo Phyu Prince of Chin State; Bo Min Yaung and Shan chieftain Wuntho Sawbwa Gyee U Aung Myat of Shan State.
Patriotic writers and poets such as Thakin Kodaw Hmaing and Achoketan Sayar Pe fought back by penning anti-colonialist literature. Moreover, YMBA, GCBA, Do Bamar Asiayone, Bamar Hwetyat Group, Anti-Fascist Group, and AFPFL had been formed with the participation of the students, workers, farmers, intellectuals, intelligentsia, and all the working people.
Next, 1300 Myanmar Revolution, named after the Myanmar calendar year, emerged and fought back. Subsequently, it was followed by military training in Hainan Island of Thirty Comrades headed by Bogyoke Aung San.
On 27 December 1941, the BIA was formed in Bangkok of Thailand.
January, February and March in the year 1942 saw the recapture of Taninthayi, Kayin, Mon, Bago and Yangon by the BIA.
In June 1942, the combined forces of BIA and the Japanese took control of the whole country.
Pulling down the number of soldiers, Burma Defense Army (BDA) was formed on 27 July 1942; which was followed by the grant of bogus independence by the Japanese forces.
The whole of Myanmar resented and disliked the fake independence, and therefore, the people and the Tatmadaw fought back the Japanese Fascists on 27 March 1945.
On 23 July 1945, the BDA was officially transformed into Patriot Tatmadaw.
Historical Nay Thurein Mass Meeting
On 10 and 11 August 1945, a meeting was held at Bogyoke Aung San’s residence at Tower Lane with the participation of Tatmadaw national leaders and commanders, where the important decisions on the Myanma Tatmadaw were approved. A declaration was issued on 12 August 1945, and that Bogyoke Aung San made guidelines on the road to independence through political approach.
On 16, 17 and18 of August 1945, the Fourth General Meeting of leaders was held where the heads of all political parties such as Bogyoke Aung San, Bo Let Ya, Bo Ze Ya, Thakin Than Tun, Thakin Ba Hein, Thakin Mya Thwin and others attended. Bogyoke Aung San spelled out that the Fascist was to be wiped out totally on this world, and that Myanmar nation was to be reconstructed as the desire of the people.
The decisions made at the meeting were approved at the mass meeting held at the Nay Turein Hall at the side of Kandawgyi Lake in Bahan Township on 19 August 1945.
Historical speech of Bogyoke Aung San
At the Nay Thurein mass meeting, Bogyoke Aung San made a historical speech where he said that our Tatmadaw was very much worried with deep anxiety at a time when we were supposed to go into war, that of the possibility on the verge of getting killed with the enemy’s bullet; that of the doubt whether we could regain independence or not; that of our plan to go to war; that of the responsibly of the leaders who would remain in serving the country; that of the possible remorse and regret for all of us if we could not carry out successfully what we had promised earlier to the people of the country.
Immediately after the historical Nay Thurein Mass Meeting, many agreements were signed such as Kandy Agreement signed in Kandy of Sri Lanka on 7 September 1945; the Aung San- Atlee Agreement signed in London on 27 January 1947; Panglong Agreement signed by (23) leaders of various nationalities including Bogyoke Aung San on 12 February 1947; Nu – Atlee Agreement signed in London on 17 October 1947.
As the result of these agreements, the granting of independence draft bill was approved in British Parliament and subsequently Myanmar regained independence on Sunday 4 January 1948.
Main significant points in the struggle of independence
Despite the fact that Myanmar regained independence, the nation inherited the bad legacy of suspicion and mistrust among nationalities due to divide and rule policy shaped by the colonialists which deterred the development of the nation, resulting with the civil war and arms conflicts for many decades.
Learning the main lesson from the struggle of independence, we came to realize that the value of strength was the result of solidarity and unity. The sustainability of independence for eternity remains on the harmony and unison of the national brethren.
Especially in the endeavor and implementation of national reconciliation and the peace process, it is necessary that all nationalities must have freedom, justice, equality and self-determination embedded in the basic foundation of building the democratic nation which is in the process of making.
In accordance with the result of the political discussions, we are building the democratic federal union and that appropriate and most fitting constitution is needed.
Therefore, it is necessary that all the nationalities should live in harmony for eternity in the union; that all the armed conflicts should be ended while reaping the eternal peace; that in respecting the human rights in conjunction with the equal rights and benefits of all the nationalities. In honour of 71st Independence Day, the writer of this article would like to conclude that it is necessary in realizing and convincing of the value of independence by all nationalities and must pledge and promise for the supreme sacrifice in protecting the independence.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)