Selfless sacrifice for Myanmar’s Independence and Sovereignty

Hailing (71st) Anniversary of Independence Day

DSC 3655 72By Maung Maung Kyaw

Myanmar is situated at South East of Asian region and connecting geographically Central Asia and East Asia, covering 261,228 square miles stretching (575) miles from east to west and sprawling (1300) miles from north to south.
Four mighty rivers are majestically rolling down from north to south with spectacular scenic coastal lines of (1385) miles adding natural walls of mountains demarcating the land borders.
Many nationals with ethnic diversities reside and live in the country for thousands of years in harmony and peace. In the past two to three thousand years, Myanmar evolved into urban city states with grandeur.
Prior to 1824, Myanmar had experienced for just a short while from outside aggression, and that it mostly remained an independent and sovereign nation with own country, own national races, and own Kingdoms and Lords.
When encountered with outside aggression for marginal periods, Myanmar fought back with national fervor and patriotism rooting out the enemy at all time. The chronicle of Myanmar is recorded with overwhelming unity and daring courage.
The glory of Myanmar collapsed and shattered between 1824 and 1826, following the defeat to British at First Anglo-Myanmar War, also known as the First Burma War where the country surrendered and succumbed on 24 February 1826 through the Treaty of Yandabo. The British reaped (10) million silver coins in Kyats and also annexed Rakhine and Tanintharyi areas.
The defeated war was the outcome of poor arms and weaponry compounded with the lack of technology. The ill-fated period was during the reign of King Bagyidaw who thought that as Britain is a polite society so that the British might one day realized on ethical reasons and returned back the annexed regions, and therefore, the King dispatched Myanmar diplomatic mission for peace initiative.
At that time, the British annexed Kabaw Valley, while Myanmar King and the people were burning with bitter feeling, but inevitably approached with diplomatic maneuver.
Myanmar diplomatic mission waited with high expectation and patience from December 1830 to June 1833 for two years and six months in India where British Governor resided, but yielded nothing.
This regretful episode has brought to the light that a nation and the people without defending prowess, nation’s wealth and modern technology could yield nothing through begging.
Again in December 1852, the British intruded and annexed the Lower Myanmar and occupied the Bago Region. At that juncture, King Mindon in 1855 sent Myanmar Diplomatic Mission as peace mission to India to call on Lord Dalhousie, the British Governor.
While negotiating for the return of Bago Region, the British Governor responded with arrogant manner that the British, the empire on which the sun never sets, would never relinquish the occupied land. This was another lesson taken with hard feeling.
At a time when the British dig in and ruled the Lower Myanmar, the Kone Baung Dynasty in Upper Myanmar started to feel the end of the era. The imperialism was nothing to do with contentment and satisfaction, but ruled as the master of insatiability and greed, and prepared war to annex Upper Myanmar.
Minor issues with Myanmar were exaggerated and the trivial border problems were blown out of proportion. Before the annexation of Lower Myanmar, the British Diplomats paid due courtesy and respect to the King, however, after the Union Jack was flown in Lower Myanmar the manners were aggressive and even asked for carrying swords during the King’s audience.
Despite King Thibaw was deemed as weak ruler, the affairs of the Palace was handled in the sense of a sovereign country, and responded strongly in line with Buddha Sassana and the security of the state.
The British always acted in malice by finding loopholes to annex the whole country. They behaved in a particular way of banyan tree and its root when they took hold of structures and buildings, slowly swallowing the whole. They started the foothold before the 19 century, and within (60) years the British took possession of the whole country.
In fact while Myanmar had deployed the method of peace initiative and diplomatic maneuver, and on the other hand the patriotic nationals courageously and heroically fought back the aggressors.
The battles were being paid with flesh, bone and blood. The history saw heroic fights, stream of bloods, guerilla warfare, and scorched-earth battles, where British embraced the suffering.
Myanmar started to talk about peace when there was no alternative but to yield. Of course, the warriors, the patriots and the nationals fought a long war and drag on the fights. Even the British Governor Lord Dalhousie in his memoire acclaimed and lauded the Myanmar patriots, warriors and nationals in the war and said that in Asian Continent there was no other people ever existed like Myanmar who uphold and maintained nationalistic fervor, passion and dignity in equipping themselves with arms and fought back; and that the British Government must never relax in their efforts in dealing with Myanmar people; and that the Myanmar people were not to be given the slightest opportunity to overtake.
Despite the fact that Myanmar fought back valiantly and heroically for the people and the country, the year 1882 saw the conspiracy and intrigue of British and France in colonizing countries of South East Asia.
Although having abundant bravery, courage and valor in the bloods of Myanmar people, the apprehension and understanding the ground reality of the country and the world was far too late.
Since the First Anglo-Myanmar War, Myanmar started to realize the expansionism policy and sinister scheme, but the environment was marred with the British intervention, the disunity of Myanmar people, and the looming scheme made it impossible to carryout timely reform in the country.
At that time, the European Continent was stepping into Industrial Revolution and changing the feudal system into capitalism. The capitalists in Britain and France were competing for more possession and dashed into the countries in Asian Continent, first in the prototype of trading and later changed the approach into aggressive war.
The British waged three aggressive wars against Myanmar and ruled the country for the exclusive aim of capitalist interest.
The motley assortment of interventions was applied and the blatant hostility was functional and normal in the country, while the failed and futile patriotic fights against the rulers remained the intangible images. The old memories are to be taken as lessons.
Towards the close of the 19th century, after the year 1881, Britain and France were vying to gain an edge in controlling the trade and economy of the South East Asian countries.
In the war theatre, there came Myanmar falling in its own proverb such as “Getting one extra laborer free, while buying slaves”.
Whatever the backdrops and events may be, the courageous, dauntless and heroic battles of Myanmar for regaining independent and sovereignty remained as clear evidence in the chronicle of Myanmar.  Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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