We are all Burmese in our heart

We are all Burmese in our heart


I hope that you and some of the Burmese Digest readers could recalled my name in association with my best friend Ko Tin New (Bo Aung Din). He had mentioned a few times about me in his a dozen Compassionate letters to Nan. As he had mentioned, my grandfather was a Burmese Muslim and married to a pure Burmese girl, Ko Tin Nwe’s grand Aunt that is the sister of Ko Tin Nwe’s grandfather. As he had mentioned, she was disowned by her father because she married a so called a ‘Kala’.

Actually the ‘Kala’ she married was the Burmese Muslim, the son of the royal body guard of Nyaung Yan Prince. Yes! I am not bluffing. His family was famous for the loyalty and braveness and was descendents of Afghanistan warriors at first came to Burma as mercenaries. And they were already regarded as loyal subjects of the Burmese kings or in other words Burmese Citizens. They are completely burmanized except for their religion. They loved to be called Burmese Muslims and successive Burmese Kings had already recognized them as Burmese Muslims and as their loyal subjects/citizens and even given them the relevant lands designated with their jobs.

In old royal capital Mandalay, we could still see the two ‘A Myauk Tans’ meaning Cannon or large artillery men’s quarters. ‘Myin Win’ horse-men’s quarters, ‘Sin Kywone’ meaning Elephant keepers, ‘Ko Yan Daw Win’ meaning Royal Body Guards’ quarters etc still fully occupied by their descendents Burmese Muslims with respectively named Mosques. As Ko Tin Nwe wrote, Oh Bo Mosque was donated by King Mindon, all the teak pillars were meant for the Royal Palace but those that could not go into their respected holes in time according to the astrologers were discarded and donated to build the Mosque. Chinese Muslim Mosque’s land was also donated by King Mindon and he also donated the hostel in Mecca for his Burmese Muslim subjects.

Mandalay was founded on Monday, the 23rd May 1859. But King Mindôn passed away on the 1st of October 1878 at the age of sixty-four. King Thibaw (1878-1885) took the throne illegally or by a palace coup. It was near the end of King Mindôn’s illness, which lasted about two months that, the Alaè-nandaw Queen plotted the maneuverings to make Thibaw Prince to get the throne. She was the daughter of King Bagyidaw (1819-1837), by his Chief Queen. She became very powerful after the death of the Chief Queen Nanmadawpaya in November 1876.  The rightful Heir-Apparent, the Kanaung Prince was murdered in the rebellion of 1866.

King Mindôn was undecided and hesitated to choose a new successor but put three of the best trusted and elderly Princes as Regents viz: Mekkhara, the Thônzè and the Nyaung Yan Princes.

Alè-nandaw Queen tried successfully to block them from becoming Eing shae min or Crown Prince. She plotted with palace officials to place Prince Thibaw on the throne, her second daughter Supayalat’s lover.

She practically isolated King Mindôn and give orders, as if it were by the King’s orders. The

Princes were summoned to the Palace and arrested. The princes Nyaung Ok and the Nyaung Yan managed to escape. They run into the French ‘Embassy’, now No 10th. State High School or formerly known as Than Dae’ School. His bodyguards including my great grandfather escaped into lower Burma and some of them settled in Taungoo.

King Mindon learned about the plot and ordered the Princes to be released. Kin Wun Mingyi and the Supreme Court (Hlut-daw) were persuaded to believe that King Mindôn’s wished to appoint Prince Thibaw as an Eing shae min and to marry Supayalat. Other Princes were re-arrested. When King Mindôn passed away, just after the funeral, young inexperience and naive Prince Thibaw was proclaimed King. He was the son of the almost unknown or least powerful Laungshe Queen. The Salin Princess, eldest daughter of Mindôn Min, who was the Princess reserved according to an old custom, to be the Queen of the next King, became a nun. Thibaw married the two sisters Supayagyi and Supayalat. The elder, Supayagyi, should be the chief queen, but Supayalat forced her to live a life of retirement in the Palace.

On February 1879, the interned Princes, together with some Princesses, a Queen and some notables, altogether over 70 persons, were murdered. Another greater massacre took place in 1884. About 300 remaining members of the Royal Family, who had escaped in 1879, were cruelly butchered.

So my great grand father luckily escaped the massacres. His daughter-in-law, pure Burmese lady who converted to Islam and was disowned by her family for the crime of marrying a ‘Kala’ was widowed soon and was very poor but she managed to give all of her children good education. Eldest son became a famous Head Master and he is my father. And she was very proud to see, before she departed, that more than two dozens of her grandchildren got the university degrees including many doctors and engineers. The rest is history.

But now only Myanmar Military rulers are labeling us as guest citizens, ‘Kala’ or mixed blooded persons or not pure citizens. That, however, could not make us, or people like us, to become non Burmese Citizens. We are Burmese citizens no matter how some might disagree, or wish otherwise or decreed by force. Whether mixed blooded or not is not important in the eyes of the whole world but SPDC could not deny our right of 100% pure Burmese citizenship!

We, and all the other persons like us, not just those Indians, Chinese, Bengalis or Pakistanis although we are undeniably mixed blooded immigrants’ children or descendants of immigrants, but we are now full Burmese Citizens. No matter what some like SPDC racists or their cohorts might say contrary.

Our great grand parents and all the ancestors were loyal citizens of Burma and all of them were and are holding the Burmese National Registration Cards or ‘Ah Myo Thar Mhat Pone Tin Cards’. My brothers and sisters’ family members are holding those Burmese National Registration Cards but now the SPDC Apartheid Régime had ordered to issue the differently formatted cards for their younger children. It is curious when the parents and elder brothers and sisters are the same citizens as our Burmese Buddhists at least on paper but now only their youngest children are blatantly or brazenly discriminated as different from others and their own elder siblings.

This racial discrimination is practiced on not only Muslims but on Chinese and Hindis. SPDC National Registration officers decreed that if any one is not pure Burmese Buddhist, could not claim to be pure blood and all the Burmese Muslims must be recorded as mixed blooded persons. Whether correct or not, know or not, must be enlisted as mixed blooded Indian, Pakistan or Bengali. So it is blatant Racial Discrimination or openly practicing Apartheid practice of SPDC Junta.

My nephews and nieces are forced to begin their journey of life differently from their elder siblings and face the reality of the unfair world.  We believe that no one has that right to practice the issuing of Apartheid certificate or new type of Registration different from other citizens to us. By doing so, SPDC is clearly starting to commit a Genocide offence.

Our children are entitled to their dreams and should not encounter any disappointments even before they started their tender lives. We wonder how that single document would change their dreams or what would be their vision of their world or Myanmar excluding them or shutting out all of them from all the opportunities. It is our children’s turning points of their lives. SPDC ruthlessly had shown them who they are, why and how they are not welcomed in Burma/Myanmar. Most importantly, SPDC have shown our children a real rejection. In waking to this realization, we suddenly understand that SPDC have already failed all our children’s future. As our children journey into an uncertain future, they will struggle and grapple with their sense of their rightful place in this Myanmar nation.

The constant emphasis on differences by the narrow minded SPDC apartheid racists who could not see value in these children prevent them from being seen, seeing themselves, as anything other than Burmese Citizens. And so SPDC Junta’s dancing with shadows continues, to their pied-piper song of unity and integration in single race and religion, to the beat of their war drums, changing Burma into a Myanmar world of so much bigotry and hatred. Our young children’s every early moments would be yet under another hammer blow, tempering or compromising their fantastic visions into listless and endless compromise under SPDC and cohorts.

Our country’s diversity makes us who we are and what we are today, that cannot be emphasized enough. And though we Burmese Muslims may each resonate differently, harmonizing only at some points in time and never universally, that is we are completely burmanized culturally but differ in religion only but I am sure when we dream we dream as Burmese only because we know Burmese, we love Burmese, and Burmese only is in our heart and mind.

Successive Burmese Kings had accepted us as their loyal subjects or citizens, after Independence U Nu’s government had accepted us. And General Aung San had even promised us: “I want to address the Indians and Chinese residing in this country. We have no bitterness, no ill will for them, or for that matter for any race and nationality in the world. If they choose to join us, we will welcome them as our own brethren. The welfare of all people of this country irrespective of race or religion has always been the one purpose that I have set out to fulfill. In fact it is my life’s mission.”

But sadly those illegitimate illegal SPDC Régime is practicing Apartheid committing the Genocide on all of us. 

I could guarantee to all of our Burmese friends that we are all Burmese in our heart and we have no intention or imagination to even support the foreign countries believed to be the homeland of our ancient ancestors even if Burma is at war with them!

Please give back our children at least a chance to dream. Please do not shut off their future.

Ko Tin Maung


Thein said _

SPDC blocks  the knowledge of our generation. So better sent this history to the whole Myanmar people.

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