Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II

 

    

 

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part II

 

2. History of Burma

The History of Burma (or Myanmar) is long and complex. Several races of people have lived in the region, the oldest of which are probably the Mon or the Pyu. In the 9th century the Bamar (Burman) people migrated from the then China-Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady, and now form the governing majority.     

 

‘Bamars are descendants of Sakyans who are of the Aryan Race or of some other descendants of Aryans’.

Though there is ‘scarcely any race that can claim descent from exclusively one original race’, nevertheless, Burma’s proximity to India permits the claim that the Burmans have ‘an ornamental Aryan superstructure on the existing Mongoloid foundation’, resulting in some historians proclaiming that ‘Myanmars were descendants of Aryans’.

The history of the region comprises complexities not only within the country but also with its neighbouring countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand.

 

Artefacts from the excavated site of Nyaunggan help to reconstruct Bronze Age life in Burma and the more recent archaeological evidence at Samon Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice growing settlements between about 500 BC and 200 AD which traded with Qin and Han dynasty China.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

  1. weddings
  2. and ear-piercings
  3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.

    Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

    In the defence of its realm, the Konbaung dynasty fought four wars successfully against the Qing Dynasty of China which saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East.  

    1. In 1769, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin sued for peace with China and concluded a treaty in order to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom which was very important for the dynasty at that time.

     2. The Qing Dynasty then opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation.  3. Thenceforth peaceful and friendly relations prevailed between China and Burma for a long time.    

     Early history of Burma

    Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC, and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi (pronounced Suvanna Bhoum), was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC, though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations. By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar. From that time, Northern Burma was a group of city-states in a loose coalition.

    The ‘King’ of each city-state would change allegiance as he saw fit, so throughout history,

    much of the Shan-Tai north has been part of the_

    1. Tai countries of Nan Zhao (now Yunnan and GuangXi, China),
    2. SipSong Panna, Lanna (Chiangmai in Thailand – Siam), Ayuttaya (old capital of Siam)
    3. and even affiliated with Laos.

    Even U Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

     

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from Ko Kala’s village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

 

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land.

Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language.

But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

I am revealing this to you so that my dear Nan could accept our whole Shwe Bama villagers as the same family. Instead of dividing into numerous weak small countries we could even plan for the Future Federal Union of Burma working with ASEAN+++ formula, I proposed to you in my first letter sent together with my Valentine Music DVD.

Dear Nan, when I wrote in formal style, you complained that it was very dull, not attractive, you have to skip some lines and paragraphs, and you admitted that you even fell asleep before finishing my letter.

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level.

And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

Dear Nan, you have to understand me that I used to and need to quote the famous personalities frequently because I have an inferiority complex. I am afraid you would not be serious if I cannot support my words or the style of writing with the world accepted great persons’ works. I have to use them at least as an excuse for my deeds or words. You know I am just a graduate and were forced to waste my precious time with my business matters but you had already got two post graduate degrees, a Master and a PhD. So I hope my darling Nan is not sneering at my letter as a show off.

Please kindly let me continue to enjoy with my false sense of grandeur by quoting those famous persons.

You see Nan, with the growing age and fading memory, I used to sway away from my primary target of answer your question.

The recent discovery of the Genetic DNA researchers’ claim of the finding of the Chinese to be migrated from Africa or “Out of Africa theory” may reveal the longer and winding trail of our great ancestors. From Africa to China and then continue to Burma. If we consider the origin of the Southern Indians from Africa and Arian Migration from the north or tall blue or brown eyed and fair people proved to be genetically related to east Europeans, some of our ancestors had endlessly marched quite a long distance.

Actually if I am allowed to sum up the above:

  1. U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors.
  2. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers.
  3. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village.
  4. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory.
  5. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors.
  6. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village.
  7. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.
  8. Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.
  9. Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village.
  10. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

Dear Nan, it is too late tonight to continue my letter as you know, I need to wake up early to prepare to go and work intime.

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

 

 

History of ASIA

 

  • Alexander the Great conquered an area from Turkey to India in the 4th century BC.

  • The Roman Empire would later control parts of western Asia. The Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires were based in Ancient Persia.

  • Many ancient civilizations were influenced by the Silk Road, which connected China, India, the Middle East and Europe.

  • The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, which began in India, were an important influence on South and East Asia.

        Middle Ages

  • The Islamic caliphate and other Islamic states took over the Middle East starting in the 7th century, and later expanded into India and Indonesia.

  • The Crusades would be fought from the 12th century, in Christian Europe’s attempt to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

  • The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe.

        Modern period

 

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