Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Shans

Shan (also known as  Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into our  Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region.

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Viet Nam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic group who made a detour U turn and went up north and climbs the Tibet hills later, came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama .

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from:

  1. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  2. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  3. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  4. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  5. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  6. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  7. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry.

I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.

Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao  568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

DIALOGUE WITH A SHAN LEADER, H.R.H HSO KHAN PHA”. Tiger Yawnghwe or His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Pha; he is the eldest son of Sao Shwe Thaik, the former Saopha[Prince] of Yawnghwe[Nyaung-Shwe] and the first President of Burma after Burma’s Independence from British colonial rule. Interview with Dr Tayza, Chief Editor of Burma Digest.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma. Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia. Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars. About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.

Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell. Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan  for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.

During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.

The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.

In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D. Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma  for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.

That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.

(I hereby acknowledged that I have adapted the above facts from the Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.)

We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier. We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.

To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E.

Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.

In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

I adapted this last paragraph from the “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.

Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.

We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese. from (

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire.

The same thing happened to the conqueror Tar Tars. They took over Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and they killed millions of the men and children but married those Muslim women.

Their new wives strangely converted them into Islam and they accepted the Islamic cultures. In this case also, as the saying goes, ‘conquerors are conquered’.

And those Tar Tar/Turk descendents’ armies invaded Afghanistan, India subcontinent (future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.) and established the Moghol Islamic Empire.

So the Central Asia Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Yunan Chinese Muslims and Burma’s Chinese Muslims or Panthays and many of the Burmese Muslims are also their descendents. Even the Muslims in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia got Islam from those Chinese Muslims.

Ko Tin Nwe @ BO AUNG DIN

Greatest Dreamer who exposed the British nuclear secret

 Greatest Dreamer

who exposed the

British nuclear secret

The fantastic story of a reporter’s dream that helped to reveal Britain’s secret nuclear weapons test in 1974, was revealed in the official documents made public for the first time. 

 dreamer.png

Prime Minister Harold Wilson tried his best to prevent news of the test in Nevada leaking out. He only told three Cabinet colleagues about that test to upgrade Polaris at a US underground facility in the Nevada desert.

But UKPM Wilson was forced to admit about that secret in Parliament after the veteran Daily Express reporter Chapman Pincher learned about it in a dream. Then prime minister Harold Wilson strived to keep secret the test in the Nevada desert in the United States that May, but his efforts were foiled by the unorthodox reporting methods of Daily Express journalist Chapman Pincher.

Senior Foreign Office official Crispin Tickell wrote in a memorandum to No 10: “He had been on a fishing holiday in Scotland. One morning at breakfast he said that he had had a particularly vivid nightmare about a nuclear explosion which he was sure was British.

“His companions told him that he was obsessed and should get back to his fishing. He duly did so for three days but on his return to London he rang up his friends in the Ministry of Defence with some such questions as: `What was all this about a British nuclear test?’

When Pincher rang the Ministry of Defence, the answers he received were, he said, equivocal enough to convince him that he was on the right track. He then wrote his article.”

“Against extra-sensory perception and the best contacts in Whitehall, I feel that we are powerless,” commented a Foreign Office official in a memo to Downing Street released in the files.

The only mistake he made was to report that the test was about to take place, when it had already done so.

His article caused uproar in Parliament and Wilson was forced to come to the House to admit what had happened. What Wilson made of Tickell’s account is not recorded. Pincher’s dream may have been an elaborate smokescreen by the Express to protect his real source.

Wilson had been particularly anxious to avoid announcing the test, as it was part of a secret programme to upgrade Britain’s Polaris nuclear missiles. Only three other members of the Cabinet – Foreign Secretary James Callaghan, Defence Secretary Roy Mason and Chancellor Denis Healey – had been let into the secret.

Cabinet Secretary Sir John Hunt was sent to Washington to urge US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to keep the test secret, in contravention of normal US practice.

The document was released by the National Archives in Kew, west London, under laws which allow official papers to be made public after 30 years.

“Mr Pincher remains the greatest reporter/journalists in history.”