Akbar the Great Vs Than Shwe the Megalomaniac

  Akbar the Great

Vs

Than Shwe the Megalomaniac

We heard about the various rumours regarding the deteriorating mental health of the Bawa Shin Min Tayergyi Sr General Than Shwe and construction defects of buildings in Myanmar’s new administrative capital of Naypyidaw.

I suddenly have a de’ javu feeling about the similarities between the WHITE ELEPHANT CAPITAL’S of Akbar the Great’s Fatehpur Sikri  and Than Shwe the Megalomaniac’s  Naypyidaw.

Naypyidaw remains an architectural wonder in the forest with its gleaming, sometimes partially-completed buildings and bridges. A mega-project during Myanmar Military’s days of wasteful projects performed while the ordinary people have no rice to eat.

It is evocative of the great Mogul emperor’s Akbar’s deserted capital of Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri is a city located 40km west of Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh and was the political capital of India’s Mogul Empire under Akbar from 1571 – 1585 AD. Akbar the Great was the Greatest King of India who was famous for the respect of other religions, Hindu, Christian, Jain etc and had started an Interfaith Dialogue. He had even went to the extent of trying to amalgamate the different faiths into one.

But Than Shwe was a Megalomaniac and worship the barrel of his gun more than Buddha’s statues and Monks. He showed the world that he love his power more than his religion. No wonder his sins are threatening his consciousness and causing the deterioration of his mental health.

 “If you slaughter the monks and those calling for democracy, when your regime falls, and it will fall, you will be pursued to every corner of the globe like the Nazi criminals before you,”

said the hawkish legislator from California. See_ Aung Zaw

News of Than Shwe’s mental illness started circulating in the Internet. It is widely accepted that Than Shwe has suffered from “stress” according to the Chinese authorites who visited him recently.

Internet blogger Moe Thee Zun reported recently citing the internal sources, Than Shwe became depressed after the collapse of the support of the Buddha’s Statue in his home. He became more nervous and anxious after witnessing the death of 28 Coconut Trees, which were planted as Yadayar to avoid the bad omen by the advice of His Sooth Sayers.

According to Irrawady news, excerpt of his ill health is as follows_

“One source told The Irrawaddy that Than Shwe had been depressed by a report by the head of the United Nations Development Programme in Burma, Charles Petrie, who was expelled from Burma recently. The report highlighted the junta’s economic failures and mismanagement.

Capital Fatehpur Sikri city  shared its imperial duties as a capital city with Agra and is regarded as Emperor Akbar’s crowning architectural legacy.

Construction of the new ceremonial capital, with its numerous palaces, halls, formal courtyards, reflecting pools, harems, tombs and a number of mosques satisfy his creative and aesthetic impulses, typical of Mughals. Fatehpur Sikri is a World Heritage Site.

And most of the people of Burma rightly expects that after the demise of the supreme dictator Senior General Than Shwe after the “Mad Cow disease” or “Rabies”, Naypyidaw would follow the same fate but could not become a World Heritage Site but the Myanmar’s Wastage Site.

A large number of masons and stone carvers worked hard for15 years on the construction of the Fatehpur Sikri city the size of which was larger than modern-day London. It served as the capital of his powerful kingdom for twelve years (1571-1585) and was unexpectedly deserted soon after the work was completed apparently because of the need of sufficient water supply.

Akbar did not settle in this splendid capital for long and reasons for leaving Fatehpur Sikri are as much secrecy as was its building. There are a lot of rumors as to the reason Akbar built the city at the chosen site by the Sikri Ridge. The name of the place came after Mughal Emperor Babar defeated Ranga Sanga in a battle at a place called Sikri (about 40 KM from Agra). Then Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpur Sikri his head quarters. So he built this majestic fort. But due to shortage of water he had to ultimately move his HQ to Agra Fort.

Akbar had no child. After the blessing of Sufi Saint Salim Chisti he was blessed with a male child who became the heir to his throne, he was named Salim (after the name of Sufi Saint Salim) who later become Emperor Jahangir.

But its site could have been chosen more for its tactical site which lies on the highway between North and South India, and was of strategic value to control the huge Mogul Empire.

The magnificence of the city is greatly enhanced by the mosque which was the first structure to be built in the whole compound. The roomy courtyard added attraction and could accommodate ten thousand men at prayer. Akbar is reputed to have been so inspired by the atmosphere that he wept and gave a call for prayer or the ‘azan’ himself.

Naypyidaw was built to accommodate and centralise all of the Myanmar government’s administrative duties and is located 300km north of Yangon, near Pyinmanar.

The SPDC government wasted a substantial amount of money to build this defense intended military HQ city probably financed by Myanmar’s scarce revenue which in retrospect could have been better utilized for education and health.

Naypyidaw is seen by most of the visitors as a desperately barren city. One of the  reasons for its apparent bleakness is the
absence of adequate, convenient and reliable public transport from Yangon, Mandalay or from nearby Pyinmanar.

The Military Junta’s civil engineers built highways but possibly due to economic reasons or corruptionfailed to put in the quality and had just concentrated on quantity only. Unlike Singapore which plans and builds MRT lines and stations decades ahead of actual development, Naypyidaw’s planners blundered by building the city first and worrying about public transport later.

This blunder could prove critical as Naypyidaw stands harshly quiet as the world passes by. Military planners didn’t foresee the fact that the usage of cars, the prices of which were already beyond the per capita income of the average Myanmars, were further handicapped by rising costs of petrol, maintenance and tolls ensuring the reduction of private transport utilization.

Foreign diplomats refuse to shift their residence to Naypyidaw.

We hope that soon after the demise of the Great Megalomaniac HRH Than Shwe, successor General Maung Aye, who is from Mandalay and had already built a second new capital in May Myo, now called Pyin Oo Lwin. It is very near Mandalay, roads are excellent in Myanmar standard. After all it was the summer capital of British Colonial Government. So Naypyidaw is going to face the fate of Fatehpur Sikri.

Naypyidaw, as in Fatehpur Sikri, lies in risk of being entrapped in the words of Reginald Lane-Poole [(1857–1939) a British historian, archaeologist and orientalist,  born in London  on the 27th of January 1832.]_

‘Nothing sadder or more beautiful exists in India (for Naypyidaw case, Myanmar) than this deserted city, the silent witness of a vanished dream !

Read the Classic Poem

of the Great Burmese Poet.

The Pyinma* Stump
(Pyinma Ngote Toh)
Gnarled, grotesque and vulture like
Old Pyinma stump assumes an ugly sight
It stands alone on the mound height.
Its branching point has an old hole
Scab around it has hardened and old
It was eaten by white ants galore.
Near the mound bank the soil is parched
A soldier’s helmet and a dry cloth dummy perched
It points […]