Burma’s FIRST PRESIDENT Sao Shwe Thaike’s support of Burmese Muslims

 Burma’s FIRST PRESIDENT

Sao Shwe Thaike’s

support of Burmese Muslims

The Shan’s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly,

countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying :

“Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.”

So shut up ILLEGAL SPDC GENERALS.

Just look at the another Greatest leader’s view on Muslims and other religious minorities_

General Aung San’s Acceptance of migrants as brethren

“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.”

What then constitutes nationalism?

  • The main factor is the having to lead together one common life
  • sharing joys and sorrows,
  • developing common interests
  • and one or more common things like racial or linguistic communities,
  • fostering common traditions of having been and being one
  • which give us a consciousness of oneness and necessity of that oneness.
  • Race, religion, and language are thus by themselves not primary factors which go to the making of a nation
  • but the historic necessity of having to lead common life together that is the pivotal principle of nationality and nationalism.
  • We cannot confine the definition of a nationality to the narrow bounds of race, religion, etc.

  • Nations are extending the rights of their respective communities even to others who may not belong to them except by their mere residence amongst them and their determination to live and be with them.

  • I am glad to know that you (Indians and Chinese residing in Burma ) regard yourselves as nationals of this country.

  • So far as I am concerned, I am perfectly prepared to embrace you as my own brothers and sisters.

  • Every student of social and political science knows very well that such slogans as race, religion, language do not alone constitute nationalism.
  • There are one or more races in almost every country.
  • Nowadays, we have different religions being embraced by members of the same nationality.

  • Nowadays, with the increasing mutual intercourse of nations, there is such a provision in many of the constitutions of the world for naturalization of foreigners.
  • But it is in history that opportunist political leadership taking advantage of the strong national sentiments of the people may try to exploit the nationalism of the people for their selfish individual or group interests.
  • We must be careful of such exploitation of nationalism. For then racial strives and bitterness will be fomented and fostered among us by interested parties in order to divert our attention from the main objective.

  1. I believe in the inherent right of a people to revolt against any tyranny that people may have over them.
  2. History has amply demonstrated the right of a people to its own freedom,
  3. and that once it is denied to them, even in the case of the peoples who belong to the same stock.

Some of them can be read in Bo Gyoke’s speeches.

And I will now present the Burma’s only Democratically elected Prime Minister U Nu’s support of Burmese Muslims. U Nu while requesting to dissolve Bama Muslim Congress, to revoke its membership from AFPFL said_

 

We all are the same Burmese people.

You Burmese Muslims happened to be Burmese of Islamic faith.

The rest of us are Burmese of Buddhist faith.

If Muslims do politics under Bama Muslim Congress, Buddhists , Christians, Hindus etc also wish do set up parties based on their religions.

If we do politics depend or base on religion, our democratic system would be compromised.

So let us work together under AFPFL.

 

Bo Gyoke’s Address to the Anglo-Burmans 

I am glad to know that you regard yourselves as nationals of this country. But if you regard yourselves as nationals of this country, it should not be sufficient by mere verbal declaration; you must identify yourselves in all national activities for national welfare. Let me be perfectly frank with you-your community in the past did not happen to identify yourselves with national activities; on the other hand, you were even frequently on the other side. Now you have to prove that you want to live and to be with the people of this country, not by words but by deeds. So far as I am concerned, I am perfectly prepared to embrace you as my own brothers and sisters. 

 

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire V

Shans around the world (Tai peoples) 

The Tai or Tai-Kadai ethnicity

The Tai or Tai-Kadai ethnicity refers collectively to the ethnic groups of southern China and Southeast Asia, stretching from_

  • Hainan to eastern India
  • and from southern Sichuan to Laos,
  • Thailand, and parts of Vietnam,

which speak languages in the Tai-Kadai family and share similar traditions and festivals, including Songkran or Thingyan water festival.  

  • Despite never having a unified nation-state of their own,
  • the peoples also have historically shared a vague idea of a Shan or Tai or “Siam” nation, corrupted to Shan in Burma or Assam in India, and most of them self-identified themselves as “Tai”. 

Origin of the Tai Comparative linguistic research seems to indicate that the Tai people were a proto Tai-Kadai speaking culture of southern China, and that they may have originally been of Austronesian descent.

Prior to inhabiting mainland China, the Tai are suspected to have migrated from a homeland on the island of Taiwan where they spoke a dialect of Proto-Austronesian or one of its descendant languages.

After the arrival of Sino-Tibetan speaking ethnic groups from mainland China to the island of Taiwan, the Tai would have then migrated into mainland China, perhaps along the Pearl River, where their language greatly changed in character from the other Austronesian languages under influence of Sino-Tibetan and Hmong-Mien language infusion.

The coming of the Han Chinese to this region of southern China may have prompted the Tai to migrate in mass once again, this time southward over the mountains into Southeast Asia. 

While this theory of the origin of the Tai is currently the leading theory, there is insufficient archaeological evidence to prove or disprove the proposition at this time, and the linguistic evidence alone is not conclusive.

DNA Analysia

  1. However, in further support of the theory, it is believed that the O1 Y-DNA haplogroup is associated with both the Austronesian people and the Tai.
  2. The prevalence of Y-DNA Haplogroup O1 among Austronesian and Tai peoples also suggests a common ancestry with the Sino-Tibetan, Austro-Asiatic and Hmong-Mien peoples some 35,000 years ago in China. 
  3. Y-DNA Haplogroup O1 is a subclade of O Y-DNA haplogroup, which itself is a clade of Y-DNA Haplogroup K, a genetic mutation that is believed to have originated 40,000 somewhere between Iran and Central China. 
  4. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenator of Haplogroup K was probably the ancestor of nearly all modern Melanesian people, as well as the Mongols and the Native Americans.
  5. Haplogroup K, in turn, is a clade of Y-DNA Haplogroup F, which is believed to have originated in Northern Africa some 45,000 years ago.
  6. Haplogroup F is believed to be associated with the second major wave of migration out of the African continent.
  7. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenator of Haplogroup F was probably the ancestor of all Indo-Europeans. 

Subdivisions of the Tai Ethnic Group

The exact structure of the clades of the Tai ethnicity are a topic of present debate among linguists and other social scientists.

There is only a general consensus as to the existence of the following distinct groups: 

  1. the nuclear Tai peoples of China and much of Southeast Asia,
  2. including most notably the  Thai, Lao, Isan, Shan and Zhuang
  3. the Li people of China (also known as the Hlai people)
  4. the Kadai peoples of China and Vietnam (also known as the Geyan peoples)
  5. the Kam-Sui peoples (which may or not include the Biao people)
  6. the Saek people of Laos and Thailand
  7. the Biao people of China  

Other Tai-Kadai speaking ethnic groups of non-Tai ethnic descent 

There is an ethnic group called the Lakkia in the Guangxi Province of China (Tai Lakka in neighboring portions of Vietnam) which is ethnically of Yao descent whose members speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lakkia. These Yao were likely in an area dominated by Tai speakers and assimilated an early Tai-Kadai language (possibly the language of the ancestors of the Biao people).

The Lingao people in the Hainan Province of China speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lincheng, although the ethnicity of the Lingao traces back to the Han nationality.

Geographic Distribution 

  1. The Tai have historically resided in China, India and continental Southeast Asia since the early Tai expansion period.
  2. Their primary geographic distribution in those countries is roughly in the shape of an arc extending from_
  3. northeastern India through southern China and down to Southeast Asia.
  4. Recently Tai migrated to Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and North America as well.
  5. Greatest ethnic diversity within the Tai occurs in China. 
  6. Nuclear Tai peoples throughout China, India and Southeast Asia 

Further information:

  • Tai ethnic groups in China
  • Tai ethnic groups in Southeast Asia
  • and Tai ethnic groups in India

Li people

The Li reside primarily, if not completely, within the Hainan Province of China. 

Kadai peoples

The Kadai peoples are clustered in the Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Hainan Provinces of China, as well as the Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Son La Provinces of Vietnam.

Kam-Sui peoples

The Kam-Sui peoples are clustered in China as well as neighboring portions of northern Laos and Vietnam.

Saek people

The center of the Saek population is the Mekong River in central Laos. A smaller Saek community makes its home in the Isan region of northeast Thailand, near the border with Laos. 

Biao people

The Biao people are clustered in the Guangdong Province of China.

Lakkia people

The Lakkia are an ethnic group clustered in the Guangxi Province of China and neighboring portions of Vietnam, whose members are of Yao descent, but speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lakkia.

These Yao were likely in an area dominated by Tai speakers and assimilated an early Tai-Kadai language (possibly the language of the ancestors of the Biao people). 

Lingao people

The Lingao people are an ethnic group clustered in the Hainan Province of China who speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lincheng.

They are categorized as Han Chinese under China’s system of ethnic classification. 

Other Tai populations throughout Asia

There is a large Shan community within Sri Lanka which settled in Sri Lanka from mainland India.

In other parts of Asia, substantial Thai communities can be found in Japan, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

 Tai of North America

The United States is home to a significant population of Thai, Lao, Tai Kao, Isan, Lu, Phutai, Tai Dam, Northern Thai, Southern Thai, Tay and Shan people.

There are a significant number of Thai and Lao people living in Canada as well. 

Tai of Europe

The most significant communities of Tai peoples in Europe are in_

  1. the Lao communities of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland,
  2. the Isan communities of the United Kingdom and Iceland,
  3. the Thai communities of Finland, Iceland and Norway,
  4. the Tai Dam and Tay communities of France,
  5. and the Southern Thai community of the United Kingdom. 

Thai of Oceania

There is a sizable Thai community in Australia, as well as a Northeastern Thai community in New Zealand 

Lao of Argentina

In recent times, large numbers of Lao have migrated to Argentina 

Common CultureLanguage 

The languages spoken by the Tai people are referred to as the Tai-Kadai language family.

The most widely spoken of the Tai-Kadai languages are_

  1. the Tai languages, including Thai, the national language of Thailand,
  2. Lao or Laotian, the national language of Laos,
  3. Burma‘s Shan language,
  4. and Zhuang, a group of languages of southern China.

These languages are tonal languages,

  • meaning variations in tone of a word can change that word’s meaning. 

Festivals 

The Tai throughout Asia celebrate a number of common festivals, including a holiday known as Songkran, which originally marked the vernal equinox. 

Thailand

The Tai migration from the northern mountains into Thailand and Laos was a slow process, with the Tai generally remaining near to the mountainous regions within the region, where they were able to use their specialized agricultural knowledge relating to the use of mountain water resources for rice production.

The earliest Tai settlements in Thailand were along the river valleys in along the northern border of the country. Eventually, the Tai settled the central plains of Thailand (which were covered with dense rainforest) and displaced and inter-bred with the pre-existing Austro-Asiatic population.

The languages and culture of the Tai eventually came to dominate the regions of both modern-day Laos and Thailand.

In more recent times, many of the Tai tribes of Laos also migrated west across the border establishing communities in Thailand. The Laotian Tai ethnic groups, often referred to as the Lao), are largely clustered in the Isan region of Thailand.

The coming of the Han Chinese to this region of southern China may have prompted the Tai to migrate in mass once again, this time southward over the mountains of southern China into Southeast Asia via the mountains of Burma and Laos to the north of Thailand.

It is believed that the Tai ethnic groups began migrating southward from China and into Southeast Asia during the first millennium A.D.

Tai ethnic fusion

Over the years, the Tai intermarried and absorbed many of the other populations who co-inhabited and/or politically occupied the region, particularly populations of Mon-Khmer, Burmese, and Chinese descent.

This fusion of ethnicity has led to considerable genetic diversity in the modern Thai people, and has resulted in a Tai population significantly different in culture, language and physical appearance from the Tai ethnic groups who remained in China.

In addition, many of the individual Tai ethnic groups have merged under a common Thai identity, and have adopted a nationalistic view of their culture. 

Individual Tai ethnic groups in Thailand

There are presently upwards of 30 distinct Tai ethnic groups within Thailand, making up nearly 85% of the nation’s population. The genetic stratification of the ethnic clades of the Tai ethnicity is a topic of present debate among linguists and other social scientists.

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire IV

The date 7th February 1947 is a defining moment in the record of the Shan history as a modern nation.

On that day, Shan princes and the people’s representatives of the Shan States demonstrated their newfound unity to declare it a “national day” which were followed by the resolutions of “Shan National Anthem”, “Shan National Flag” and the formation of “Shan State Council” on the 11th and 15th of February, 1947 respectively.

The people of Shan States and leaders decided in this very year later at Panglong, on the 12th of February, to join with U Aung San and the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League) and leaders of other nationalities, to live together under one flag as co-independent and equal nations. This marks the birth of a nation-state now known as “Union of Burma”.

National flag

  1. The design of the national flag is as sanctioned at the Panglong Treaty conference in 1947.
  2. The size of the flag is ( 5ft. x 3ft)
  3. Diameter of the Moon is (1. ½ ft)
  4. The breath of the three colors: yellow, green and reddish (1 ft) each.

Example

 

shanstateflag.png

The meaning of the color:

  1. yellow is religion
  2. green is forest, and rich in natural resources and peace
  3. red is  bravery,
  4. white is purity

Saopha-loong, Soa Shwe Thaike was the first President of the Independent Burma. When Burma fell under military dictatorship, Soa Shwe Thaike was put into jail by the military regime, and later died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Failed Cohabitation

  • The experiment to living together in harmony within the Union of Burma has been a disaster.
  • In 1962, the General Ne Win led Burmese military sized state power in a coup and declared the Union Constitution abolished.
  • In so doing, the Burmese terminated the only existing legal bond between them and the other ethnic nationalities.
  • So much time has gone by since February 7 1947…
  • A lot of changes have occurred, and many of them have been very painful and unfair. 
  • The leaders of Burma from Prime Minister U Nu in 1948, to General Ne Win in 1962, to General Than Shwe (now), have missed the opportunity_ 
    •  
      • to build a peaceful and prosperous nation based on
      • mutual respect,
      • understanding
      • and cooperation.
  • The problem that exist is not ethic “minority” rights versus the “majority” Burmese rights but rather of equality of rights for all.
  • The 1948 Union of Burma was understood by us to be a federal  union of equals.
  • And though the intent of the 1948 Constitution was federal, in rushing it through the Constituent Assembly by the AFPFL [Fa-sa-pa-la], the federal Union  in practice became unitary. 
  • We during 1958-62 tried to institute constitutional reforms in the Union Parliament towards a more equitable federal system as envisaged by the 1947 Panglong Agreement.
  • Ne Win staged his military coup and he and his successor Burmese military troops in Shan country raped, murdered & tortured to oppress, suppress and intimidate.
  • “Since then, Shan State has been treated as a de facto colony and occupied territory by the Burmese army.
  • Its forced assimilation and Burmanization policies to subdue our national identity have devastated the Shan homeland and make the people homeless and refugees.

Looking at the contemporary situation, one could only term the Shan nation as a downtrodden and battered one, reeling under the occupation of the oppressive Burmese military regime.

Gross human rights violations, genocide and cultural genocide, population transfer designed to make the Shan a minority in their homestead, and robbing them of their birthright sovereignty and self-determination are glaring injustice, which push the Shan into the category of sub-human or slaves, especially in the eyes of their occupiers.    

But even under such circumstances and after more than four decades of brutal suppression and occupation, the Shan sense of “national identity” and the aspiration to be the master of their own faith have not diminish but have grown stronger.

  • The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy’s (SNLD) victory in 1990 nation-wide election in the whole Shan State;
  • the continued political activities of the Shan State Army North within the limited political space provided by the Burmese military junta;
  • the active armed resistance of the Shan State Army South,
  • together with the bulk of Shan State National Army;
  • and the highly self-conscious Shan civil societies in keeping the national identity alive under intense pressure of the Burmese military junta; are indications of a nation, which refuses to be cowed.
  • the mainstream Shan organizations are endorsing the notion to rebuild a new Federal Union – together with all the other ethnic nationalities, Burman included

Practically, the Shan are faced with a dilemma to choose between secession and genuine federalism. But it is also important to note that the Federal Proposal of 1961, before the military coup,

  • is the brainchild of the Shan leadership at that time,
  • which was aimed at changing the Burman dominated unitary system into a genuine federal structure
  • with equal status for all ethnic nationalities.
  • All non-Burman ethnic groups endorse this as a balanced and acceptable solution until today.
  • Meanwhile, this proposed arrangement also find acceptance among most of the Burman opposition camps as a way to resolve the conflict as a whole.

This is perhaps lowering the aspiration to a certain degree but nevertheless, a pragmatic approach and in line with the international mood. But this is not to say that the global trend will stay forever in favor of status quo. The people concerned would eventually adjust their needs and value system, according to the prevailing international norm and structure of the time.    

Finally, if the Shan wants to be heard and advance their aspirations, they would need to seriously think globally and act locally.

  • It would need to sell the idea
  • that it is part and parcel of a viable force,
  • in collaboration with all non-Burman ethnic nationalities
  • and Burman opposition groups,
  • to replace the illegitimate military junta.
  • To do this, “broad coalition-building” among all the opposition is essential,
  • even those within the rank of the enemies, who are ready to reform, embrace justice, equality and democracy should not be neglected.
  • The Shan cannot win this fight alone
  • and it is crucial that the “multi-pronged” approach is employed,
  • coupled with the motto of “diverse actions, common goal”, as urged time and again by the late Chao Tzang Yawnghwe.

If we can bring about change now, in twenty years, Burma can still be a peaceful and prosperous country.

“Yugoslavia did break up into its components parts. The Shan States are larger both in population then Cambodia for instance and larger in area than some 24 States of the US and 20 or so Nation-States in Europe.

“I support all ethnic groups’ rights to have their own federal states, probably in US style or Canadian style. I understand that Quebac Province in Canada is an autonomic federal state. Shan state can be like that.

I never believe that “total separation of Union of Burma/Myanmar into a large number of totally separated & independent but very small tiny little countries” might be a wise decision.”

(From the Dialogue with a Shan Leader“_ Interview with Tiger Yawnghwe )

To understand the History of Shans, we need to review or revised the brief history of Burma (Pagan) 1044.

The brief history of Burma (Pagan) 1044

Anawrattha (d. 1077) seized royal power at Pagan and made it the political, religious, and cultural center of Burma; the Burmese written language was developed and Buddhist scriptures translated;

  • architectural monuments followed the inspiration of Ceylon and southern India.
  • In 1057, conquest of Thaton, Mon kingdom, which was in maritime contact with Ceylon and the Indian subcontinent and was a center for Buddhism as well as overseas trade.
  • Mon had a strong cultural influence at Pagan.
  • In 1060s-1070s, Anawrata initiated communication and exchanges with Vijayabahu I, Ceylon’s ruler (1055-1110), including the sharing of Pali Buddhist texts and monks.  

Rule of Kyanzittha, (1084-1112 )best known for his _

  • synthesis of various cultural developments
  • and the process of assimilation of different ethnic groups that took place during his reign.
  • He created a distinctive Burman style.  
  • In 1106, a Burmese embassy at the Sung capital in China was received as from a fully sovereign state.    

Pagan disintegrated into smaller states in ( 1287 )_

  • Following the rejection of Mongol demands for tribute in 1271
  • and later, Burmese raids into Yünnan,
  • and the death of Narathihapate (who ruled 1254-87),
  • Mongol forces looted Pagan and destroyed its power.
  • The invasion of Shan tribes, forced southward by the Mongols, led to the division of Burma into a number of petty states.

The chief states among them being_

  • Toungoo (established 1280),
  • Pegu in southern Burma,
  • and Ava in the middle and lower Irrawaddy Valley (established as capital 1365).

After the collapse of Pagan authority, Burma was divided.

Sagaing had been established as a capital, but later Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava.

  1. Burmese Ava Dynasty (1364-527) was eventually established at the city of Ava by 1364.
  2. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrattha in 1057.
  3. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.
  4. There were repeated Shan/Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao.
  5. The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) princelings to the north on the frontier with Yunnan.
  6. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy.
  7. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-49).

Toungoo Dynasty  

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486-1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty.

  1. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule.
  2. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma.By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically.
  3. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma.
  4. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.
  5. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome,
  6. but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.
  7. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569).
  8. An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia,
  9. and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.
  10. His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.
  11. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581.

 The Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava as the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597-1752), because_

  • they Faced with rebellion by several cities
  • and renewed Portuguese incursions

Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma.

Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

To further understand the History of Shans, we need to also review or know at least the brief history of   Thailand.

Siam (Thailand)

Early in the 11th century, Dvaravati (See Mainland Southeast Asia) was annexed to Cambodia; Haripunjaya retained its independence.

  • In the 13th century, Haripunjaya was overrun by a migration of Tai, or Shan, peoples from the north.  
  • In the year 1281, Tai leader Mangrai (1239-1317) conquered the kingdom of Haripunjaya at Lamphun. For two decades he fought Mongols who were threatening Tais from the north.
  • He is known as the founder of the kingdom of Lan Na, centered at Chiengmai, with cultural contributions influenced by Buddhist thought.  
  • In the year 1279-98, Ramkamhaeng ruled over the kingdom of Sukothai,
  • which he extended from Vientiane in the east to Pegu in the west.
  • Most important contributions were in areas of literature, sculpture, and religion; these developments strongly influenced Tai (+ Myanmar) cultural attainments as well.  
  • In the year 1350, migration of Tai, or Shan, accelerated by the Mongol conquest of the Tai state of Nan-chao (in modern Yünnan and southern Szechwan) in 1253,
  • led eventually to the suppression of the Khmer kingdoms

and the setting up of the Tai kingdom of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, founded by Rama Tiboti.

The early Siamese state was from the first under the influence of both Hinayana Buddhism and Chinese political institutions. The location of the Siamese state at a center of maritime commerce gave it a distinct advantage in its power struggle with Angkor. The ability to_

  • adopt the Angkorian-style administrative skills of the Mons and Khmers,
  • the martial skills of the Tais,
  • and the wealth and commercial skills of the local Chinese merchant communities was its legacy to the Tais’ cultural development.

Toward the end of the 13th century, a form of writing had been invented for the Siamese language.  

Siamese invasion of Cambodia in 1350-1460  finally led to the abandonment of Angkor (1431) and collapse of the Khmer Empire.  

In the year 1371, Siamese embassy at Nanking inaugurated tributary relations with the newly founded Ming dynasty.    

Intermittent friction between Siam and the Tai state of Chiengmai in the northern Menam Valley in 1376-1557 _

  • ended with the destruction of Chiengmai by the Burmese.  
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, strong Siamese influence was exerted over the disunited states of Burma
  • and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula.

 Siam (Ayutthaya) (Because of this first capital of Thai, Ayuttha, we Burmese called Thais as Yow Da Yar)

Administrative centralization of Siam attributed to efforts of King Trailokanat (r. 1448-88); but most of institutionalized form of government probably resulted from reign of King Naresuen the Great (r. 1590-1605).

  • Under this king, Siam regained its independence from Burma
  • and emerged as most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia.  
  • Development of overseas trade can be dated as early as 1368. By the early modern period, Siam was a major source for sappanwood and pepper in the Chinese trading network.  
  • Siamese adopted Hinduism along with Theravada Buddhism.
  • Hindu concept of divine kingship,
  • and accompanying rituals, provided important sources of legitimation.

But in Siamese society, the claim to divinity operated without the internal checks characteristic of India, for Brahmans had little influence at the court. This may explain the pronounced aspect of absolutism in Siam.

  • Yet Buddhism was dominant in the cultural system that emerged in the early modern period, particularly in providing signs of legitimation (and delegitimation in the face of popular unrest) for rulers.
  • Royal interaction with sangha (groups of monks) provided especially important occasions for public statements of rulers’ support of Buddhist precepts; nevertheless, Thai rulers closely controlled the sangha through cultural patronage (their support ranged from sponsorship of architecture and sculpture to public processions).  

In 1569, first fall of Ayutthaya to invading Burmese army although_ 

  • In 1538, as a measure of impact of military technology, King Phrachai (r. 1534-46) retained 120 Portuguese to instruct Siamese soldiers in musketry.  
  • In 1550, new fortification style was introduced around the Siamese capital.
  • King Maha Thammarcha (r. 1569-90) also purchased large supplies of foreign cannon.

In 1590, King Naresuen the Great regained independence and utilized political, economic, and military forces to transform fragmented kingdom into relatively centralized state.  

  • Portuguese trading stations were established in the 16th century.
  • Around the beginning of the 17th century large numbers of Japanese were active in Siam in war and trade.
  • In 1602 a Dutch trading post was established at Patani,
  • where the English soon followed, until their withdrawal from Siam in 1623.
  • R. 1656-88 King Narai most energetic in pursuit of trade with foreigners.
  • His curiosity about Persian and French cultures made his court known for its openness.  
  • 1664 By a commercial treaty, the Dutch gained a monopoly of Siamese foreign trade,
  • which was, however, thwarted by French intrigue; a French embassy and military expedition (1685) in turn failed to secure the acceptance of Christianity and French influence and led to 
  • In 1688 a popular revolt that began a period of prolonged civil war. Prompted in part by reaction against Narai’s openness, it became anti-European. European trade languished,
  • But Chinese and Muslim trade continued at a high level to take up the slack.  
  • In 1690s, a dramatic decline in trade with Muslims and Europeans could be measured, although the Chinese trade helped to fill the gap. 

In 1767, Burmese invasion destroyed Ayuthia

  • and compelled temporary acceptance of Burmese rule until 1782,
  • when Rama I founded a new Siamese dynasty, with its capital at Bangkok.
  • Even in period of political anarchy, great cultural activity emerged.
  • Rama issued royal decrees aimed at controlling the sangha and addressing the need to harness the manpower represented by idle monks.

Now the time is ripe to look at the Contemporary Shan State.

Contemporary Shan State

 From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_

Shan State is a state located in Myanmar (Burma), which takes its name from the Shan people, the majority ethnic group in the Shan State. Shan State comprises 69 townships, including 24 newly-created townships in Special Region 2 (Wa Area). Its capital is Taunggyi. The state is largely rural. Major cities of Shan State are Lashio, Kengtong and Taunggyi.

Contents

  1. Sub states, districts and townships
  2. Geography
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Population History References

Continue to read about the Shan State in the Wikipedia enclyclopedia.

Contemporary Shan Nationals 

From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_ 

The Shan (Burmese: ; IPA: [ʃán lùmjóʊ]; Chinese: 掸族; pinyin: dǎn zú) are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan live primarily in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Shan are estimated to number ~6 million; a reliable census has not been taken since 1935. The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtong and Tachileik.

The valleys and tableland are inhabited by the Shans, who in language and customs resemble the Thais, Dai, and the Lao. They are largely Buddhists and are mainly engaged in agriculture. Among the Shans live the Bamar, Chinese, and Karens. The hills are inhabited by various peoples, notably the Wa, who are numerous in the north and along the Chinese border.The Palaung People are numerous in the Northern Shan State, in Namkham, Muse, Nampaka, Kut Kai, and Lashio Townships along the Burma China Border and also in the middle of Shan State, in Namsarn, Kyat Mae and Thipal Townships. The population of the Palaung people is over 1 million. Some of the Palaung people in Kalaw and Aung Pan in the Southern Shan State. There is a dwindling population of Anglo-Burmese in major hill stations, such as Kalaw and in Taunggyi, a hold-over from the colonial period.

Contents

  1. Etymology  
  2. Culture
  3. Language
  4.  History List of Shan States and rulers
  5. Politics Independence and exiled government

Etymology

The Shan identify themselves as “Tai”, which means “free men” while “Shan” is a Burmese language term.[1] The Shan share their creation myth with the Lao people and believe their race was founded by Khun Borom the first king to establish Sip Song Pan Na (12 thousand Fields) along the Mekong (Mae Nam Kong).

The Shan people as a whole can be divided into four major groups:

  1. The Tai Yai or “Shan Proper”
  2. The Tai Lue, located in Sipsong Panna (China) and the eastern states
  3. The Tai Khuen, the majority of Keng Tung (Thai:เชียงตุง)
  4. The Tai Neua, mostly in Sipsong Panna(Thai:สิบสองปันนา or สิบสองพันนา).

Culture

The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans. Most Shan are Theravada Buddhists and/or observe their traditional religion, which is related to animist practices.

Language

The Shan language, which is spoken by about 5 or 6 millions is closely related to Thai and Lao, and is part of the family of Tai-Kadai languages. It is spoken in Shan State, some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan, and Mae Hong Son Province in northwestern Thailand.[2] The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five.[3] Its written script is an adaptation of the Mon script (like Burmese), although several other scripts exist.[3] However, few Shan are literate, and many are bilingual in Burmese.

History

The Tai-Shan people are believed to have migrated from Yunnan in China. The Shan are descendants of the oldest branch of the Tai-Shan, known as Tai Long (Great Tai) or Thai Yai (Big Thai). The Tai-Shan who migrated to the south and now inhabit modern-day Laos and Thailand are known as Tai Noi (or Tai Nyai), while those in parts of northern Thailand and Laos are commonly known as Tai Noi (Little Tai – Lao spoken) [1] The Shan have inhabited the Shan Plateau and other parts of modern-day Myanmar as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao (Muang Mao) existed as early as the 10th century AD but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan)(1044-1077). Note: the Mao people are consider a Shan subgroup.

After the Bagan kingdom fell to the Mongols in 1287, the Tai-Shan people quickly gained power throughout South East Asia, and founded:

  • Lan Xang (Laos)
  • Lanna (Chiang Mai)
  • Ayutthaya (Siam)
  • Assam
  • Ava by Burmanized Shan kings
  • Bago by Monized Shan kings
  • Several Shan states in the Shan hills, Kachin hills, Yunnan and parts of Vietnam.

Many famous Ava and Bago kings of Burmese history were of (partial) Shan descent.

  • The Burmanized Shan kings of Ava fought Monized Shan kings of Bago for control of Ayeyarwady valley.
  • Various Shan states fought Burmanized Shan kings of Ava for the control of Upper Myanmar.
  • The Shan kingdom of Monyin (Mong Yang) defeated the Ava kingdom in 1527, and ruled all of Upper Myanmar until 1555.

Burmese king Bayinnaung (1551-1581) conquered all of the Shan states in 1557. Although the Shan states would become a tributary to Ayeyarwady valley based Burmese kingdoms for many centuries, the Shan Saophas retained a large degree of autonomy and often allied themselves with either ChiangMai, Ayuttaya or Siam.

After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British gained control of the Shan states and pushed the borders to the mountains, thereby robbing Siam of thousands of square miles of territory.

(The last Burmese king Thibaw was half-Shan.)

Under the British colonial administration, the Shan principalities were administered separately as British protectorates with limited monarchical powers invested in the Shan Saophas.

After World War II, the Shan and other ethnic minority leaders negotiated with the majority Burman leadership at the Panglong Conference, and agreed to gain independence from Britain as part of Union of Burma. The Shan states were given the option to secede after 10 years of independence. The Shan states became Shan State in 1948 as part of the newly independent Burma.

General Ne Win’s coup d’etat overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962, and abolished Shan saopha system. In an effort to extract themselves from under the Burmese thumb, various Shan political organizations have attempted ro reassert Siam’s (Thailand) ancient claim to the Shan States, but without success.

Politics

The Shan have been engaged in an intermittent civil war within Burma for decades. There are two main armed rebel forces operating within Shan State: the Shan State Army/Special Region 3 and Shan State Army/Restoration Council of Shan State. In 2005 the SSNA was effectively abolished after its surrender to the Burmese government, some units joined the SSA/RCSS, which has yet to sign any agreements, and is still engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Burma Army.

During conflicts, the Shan (Thai Yai) are often burned out of their villages and forced to flee into Thailand. There, they are not given refugee status, and often work as undocumented laborers. Whether or not there is an ongoing conflict, the Shan are subject to depredations by the Burmese government; in particular, young men may be impressed into the Burmese Army for indefinite periods, or they may be enslaved to do road work for a number of months – with no wages and no food. The horrific conditions inside Burma have led to a massive exodus of young Shan males to neighboring Thailand, where they typically find work in construction, at daily wages which run about 100-200 baht. However unsatisfactory these conditions may be, all of these refugees are well aware that at least they are being paid for their work, and that every day spent in Thailand is another day that the Burmese government cannot impress or enslave them. Some estimates of Shan refugees in Thailand run as high as two million, an extremely high number when compared with estimates of the total Shan population at some six million.

Independence and Exiled Government

His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Fa (sometimes written as Surkhanfa in Thai) of Yawnghwe, lives in exile in Canada. He is campaigning for the government of Burma to respect the traditional culture and indigenous lands of the Shan people, and he works with Shan exiles abroad helping to provide schooling for displaced Shan children whose parents are unable to do so. He hopes to provide Shan children with some training in life skills so they can fend for themselves and their families in the future.

In addition, opinion has been voiced in Shan State and in neighbouring Thailand, and to some extent in farther-reaching exile communities, in favour of the goal of “total independence for Shan State.” This came to a head when, in May 2005, Shan elders in exile declared independence for the Federated Shan States.

The declaration of independence, however, was rejected by most other ethnic minority groups, many Shan living inside Burma, and Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite this dissenting opinion, the Burma Army has begun a crackdown on Shan civilians as a result of the declaration, and Shan people have reported an increase in restrictions on their movements, and an escalation in Burma Army raids on Shan villages.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_Sa