Compassionate letter 11,
“Cannibal Queen Kyine Kyine (a) Marie Antoinette”
As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest
Disclaimer! Cannibalism and Daw Kyine Kyine’s story is just a political Satire and never based on the real events.
During the French Revolution, when Queen Marie Antoinette was told that the peasants had no bread to eat she retorted and advised, “Let them eat cake”.
According to the unconfirmed reports, Cannibal Queen Daw Kyine Kyine, wife of Senior General Than Shwe, ordered the young generals to bring in all the chocolates donated for the Cyclone Nargis victims for her grand children.
She advised all Myanmar Cyclone victims to eat the dead bodies as she could solve the disposal of dead bodies and the victims could also get the high protein food. She had rumoured to have whispered the shocked young general that Thar Manya Saya Daw’s flesh was very tasty.
Cannibal Queen Kyine Kyine hoped to kill multiple birds with one stone_
- No need to request for further aids
- No need to worry about the disposal or burial of the cyclone victims’ dead bodies
- Although it is no need for her to worry about the feeding of the victims, no one would revolt because of hunger
- Her grandchildren could eat all the chocolates.
Asians and especially Burmese citizens are polite and usually do not rebut or talk back to others especially elders and leaders even if they are wrong because we regarded this as an insult to others because of ‘Ah nar tat tae’ and rarely show a confrontational behaviour to others. But my letters are certainly confrontational in various ways to SPDC Junta. My friends and relatives adviced me rather to use an indirect polite approach than calling a spade a spade. I accept and understand that their advise were made in good faiths and being direct or confrontational is considered insolent, impolite, rude or ‘yine thee’ in Burmese culture and many of us thought that remaining silent is considered good manners or ‘yin kyae thee’. But frankly speaking, I believe that those soldiers/generals could not understand polite diplomatic language and must shoot point blank to get our message.
Nan, no wonder, many of my foreign friends asked me why the people of Burma/Myanmar tolerates this kind of tyrant idiotic Military Government without much protests or revolt like other ASEAN neighbours. I just jokingly told them that we Burmese are more clever and selfish than others and we know that the SPDC Government and their lap-dog-soldiers and police would brutelly crush them without any shame or guilty consciousness. Or may be the Junta was cleverer to purposely made all the people poor, commodity prices high, cost of living high, earning power less and inflation rises relenteslessly so that most of the ordinary people have no leisure time for luxury politics but have to worry always and keep on struggling all the time, just to be able to put a square meal on their family dinner table. Nowadays most of the Burmese esp. those inside the country and those who have to still use the Myanmar Passports just throw up their arms in despair and say, “What the hell it is. Do what you want with the country’s administration. I don’t care a damn about politics, or ‘Bae thu thay thay Nga Tae mar yin pyi yaw’, very selfish self centred concept.” The whole concept of people’s revolution and civil disobedience is defeated or gone with the wind or even never seen to be considered anymore by most of the Burmese people. They just can’t be bothered anymore. It is safer to ignore all issues related to politics rather than showing concern and then get whacked and thrown into long term jail by SPDC Junta-lap-dogs who condemn you as traitor, slaves of the colony etc..
Dear Nan, so basically in a nutshell most of the Shwe Bamas would rather remain silent and suffer. And most of them now told the activists to take that stand as well. Most of the Burmese Citizens don’t care anymore. Let the SPDC Cohorts do what they want. They are not bothered. Non military people are after all not qualified to do politics. We Burmese Citizens now regarded silence is gold but failed to understand that all that glitter is not gold, and that those golden things would rot if just keep quiet. So darling we cannot and should not keep quiet when some one is committing a sin. We have to stop the crime physically if we could. If we are weak to act physically, we need to speak up because remaining silent would be a sin of ommission. Evil triumph because good man do nothing. If we dare not open the mouth because we are coward and too weak, we should at least hate the act in our heart and mind. But this the weakest faith or moral and no much use.
Dear Nan, I am basically stubbon but always tried to be polite and sincere. But I think it is time for all of us to become rude, uncultured, impolite or insolent towards the SPDC Junta. I meant that no longer must we remain silent just to be polite but should instead speak out and question those SPDC leaders.
Dear Nan, just see this. Because of my politness and ‘Ah nar tat dae’, I have to give way for Ko Tin Maung and Ma Thorda couple as they opened up their notes and started with their very long lecture, the history of Malays in Burma.
Malays in Burma (called Salon or Pa Shu), are almost same as but a little bit different from the Malays in Southern Thailand, East and West Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia. Pa Shu in Burmese is likely to be the corrupted word (or a different slang) in Burmese language from- Bajau. That Bajau tribe is the largest Muslim indigenous group in Sabah (East Malaysia). They are known as Sea Gypsies or Sea Nomads. But some of those Sea Gypsies staying on boats in Burma are not Muslims. Only many of those Sea Gypsies or Sea Nomads staying on shore in Burma are Muslims.
Dear Nan, there are three groups of Bajau and these Burmese citizens of Malays are the Moken and the related Moklen group. They are found in the Mergui Archipelago of Burma and the islands of south western part of Thailand. One of the other two subtypes are the Orang Laut (Sea People) are seen in Riau-Lingga Archipelago, Batam, Eastern Sumatera of Indonesia and Southern Johore of Malaysia. The last group is the Bajau Laut, largest of all groups, live in Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines, eastern Bornio, Sulawesi and islands of eastern Indonesia.
All the Malays, all Indonesians and all of the Polynesians in Pacific Ocean down to Australia have some common culture and even some common words in the language. Even some of the traditional costumes, music and dances are some what similar to some of the Burmese ethnic minorities e.g. Kachin, Shan, Mon, Karen, Kayah etc.
Most of the Islands inhabited by Burmese Malays were also conquered once by Burmese Kings Alaung Paya and Tabin Shwe Hti from Siam now known as Thailand. But some Burmese Malays were only few centuries old migrants and refugees when the Thailand (Siam) kings took over the upper Northern Malay Sultanates, now formed the Southern Thailand. Some Malay refugees during the second world war and some of the escapees from the notorious Burma death railway project to the upper part of Burma proper settled down there and were thoroughly assimilated with Burmese Malay Muslims.
In seventeenth century, Muslims controlled the business and became so powerful because of their wealth. They were even appointed as Governor of Mergui, the Viceroy of the Province of Tenasserim, Port Authorities, Port Governors and Shah-Bandars (senior port officials). Not only in the part controlled by Burma but the area of Thailand, the whole pathway from the sea to the Thai capital was said to be controlled by the Muslims, Malays, Indian Muslims and Arab descendants. Many of them had relatives in Kedah state of Malaysia and some in other northern states of Malaysia. Up to now there are some blood and family relations across the border.
Dear Nan, we know that northern part of Malaysia, Kedah State and Penang Island were under Burmese Kings for some time. We know that some of the Malay States’ Sultans had to send yearly presents to Burmese Kings and Bago-men were one of the founders of Malaysia’s first Kingdom, Malacca but I was shocked when one tribe of Malay Muslims regarded original native Bumiputra (son of the soil) called Mandailing group were originated from Himalaya and actually they were believed to had lived in Mandalay. And there are still arranged marriages across the border between Burmese Malays and Kedah Malays. No wonder if Burmese Malays (not other Burmese Muslims whose nose is more prominent because of mixed Indian blood) if entered Malaysia without passports (i.e. strictly illegal only) could get the Malaysian Citizenships after staying in special camps for a while.
Dear Nan, as our cousins, Ko Tin Maung and Ma Thorda keep on insisting to discuss with me about my second letter to you, “Keep your enemies close” issue. “In politics there are neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies. So keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer. This would mean ‘today friends, tomorrow enemies; today enemies, tomorrow friends. And that best describes politics. Politics is the art of the impossible (anything is possible in politics).” But I am puzzled why some of the so called democrats wish to openly hate the mixed blooded Burmese citizens or new migrants such as Rohingyas. Are they real freedom fighters or SPDC spies or rebel rousers to weaken the opposition? Even Ne Win and SPDC Generals had accepted back those ‘illegal immigrants’ as the citizens of Myanmar because of International pressure, what can we do even if we hate them because of our Xenophobia. We could not kill all of them, chased them out again or put all into the concentration camp. We could be charged with Genocide whether we are right or wrong, whether they are recent illegal immigrants or not.
Darling, we should regard our enemy SPDC Junta’s enemies as our friends. Forgive me for the following words, we could even use those Kalas, Chinese, Christians and Muslims as ‘Myauk Pya San Taung’, and request support from Christian countries, Muslim countries, India and China. (Dear friends I just called you monkeys to stress those racist extremists, I sincerely apologize all of you.) See Nan, now Shwe Bama people are voicing that even Ne Win was better than present Régime and if they could see the future, they would not revolt in 8888 uprising. And many people around are telling that tyrant Saddam Hussein’s government was better than the present Iraq government. If all those Kalas, Rohingyas, Chinese and Christians do not trust us, why should they take the risk to revolt the present government? They could take the easy way out, just support the present government!
Darling, for some of the Burmese citizens with extreme racial views, relatively new migrant citizens of other religion e.g. Muslims, Christians and Burmese Chinese and Burmese Muslims are their enemy. But we have to accept the truth that whether we like or not, we could not ethnic cleansed them out of our country now as it is too late. And instead of making more enemies, if we make them our friends or alliances against the SPDC Régime the results would be more favourable. As I had stated above, we could even persuade the Christian Countries and Muslim Countries around the world to support us. There is a Burmese saying, “Even if could not love, try to give a kiss. If even do not want to kiss, just take a deep breath!” Not only all the humans but even the animals have Xenophobia. That is natural instinct to protect ourselves. If we hate, scared and stay away from strangers we would be far apart forever. But if we try to interact or made friend we could understand, built confidence and trust each other.
Dear darling Nan, just look at my relations with Ko Tin Maung. At first I hate him because he just transferred from other town, a Kala (Ko Tin Maung forgive me, I believe that you could understand why I use this word.) and he beat me in the examination and got the first position. Before his arrival I always got first. But later we know each other and became best friends and because of the healthy competition, we both progressed academically and in sports. He was our football team captain and centre player and supported me numerous times to shoot goals. Because of our healthy competition both of us were famous in our district, even in the university and now also abroad. I am now even willing to sacrifice my life for him and I am sure he also has the same feelings on me.
Nan, I wish to appeal to all the Shwe Bamas that even if some of us regarded all of those Kalas, Tayokes, Rohingyas, Christians and Muslims to be our enemy, if we could successfully transform those enemies to be our close-friend, or even just a friend close to us; we could win over their heart! They would be most dangerous if they are away from us, stayed as enemies and always trying a plot to harm us. If we could successfully persuade them to become our friends, nothing is impossible for our country. The best thing for all the oppositions, abroad (librated area) and in Burma (not yet liberated) whether NLD, Ethnic Minorities or all other oppositions is to always try to remain as best friends, close to each other and try to transform our ‘those perceived enemies’ to become our even closer friend.
Dear Nan, I am not telling or supporting that idea of calling Christians and Burmese Chinese and Burmese Muslims as enemies. You know I am strongly against that stereotyping or profiling but I am just trying to persuade our brothers who thought otherwise.
Dear Nam, I know your wish to raise a question; “Whether all the Shwe Bamas, Ethnic Minorities and all the oppositions should sleep with the ‘enemy’, Burmese Chinese and Burmese Muslims in order to achieve our target of forming a Democratic Federal Union based on the Panglong Treaty and the first old constitution”.
Yes dear, there is no other choice, whether we love or hate them as we are already like a married couple with few children. We have to stick together for the sake of our children’s future. Even if we cannot love them, we are not in a position to hate and fight them. If we could made peace, stay as friend there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In our long march to democracy we have to accept them as our partners. With mutual help to support each other, we could definitely achieve our mission to topple the SPDC Régime. And we must make known to them and the whole world that our aim and object is to form a really Democratic Federal Union of Burma and declared a secular constitution, separating the state from all the religious affairs.
Dear darling, for the benefit a small minority among us who were brain-washed by successive Military Governments to hate those Chinese and Indians, I would like to explain to them that it is even very important for them to know about their ‘enemies’.
Darling, in every field that we need to fight or play or compete with our opponents such as a game of chest or sports such as foot ball, basket ball etc or even in the cold war or real hot war or even in the economic competitions we should learn in advance about their Psychology, way of thinking or doing things, habits, their plans, strategies, weak and strong points, their resources, financial background, supporters, battle field condition, weather, spectators, ammunition, food ration supply life line, previous history of their plays, fight or competition, their traits, how they react when they lose or win, their stamina, training, coaches, advisers, think tanks, referees, international and local countries and organizations including UN’s possible reactions etc etc etc. So darling, I think with this letter I could convince my friends to read about our ‘enemies’. In chess game most of the players could visualized one or two movements of their opponent’s plans only. But most of the grand masters of chess could even think about the possible few dozen of movements of their opponents for each and every steps or movement.
Dear Nan and I wish to inform my dear friends that we need others in our country to have a check and balance to improve our selves. We need others so that we could make a healthy competition. If not, we would become complacent, self-satisfied, and self-righteous and became stagnant without much progress. We need a good sparing-partner in every field of training.
Nan, if we could positively accept the opposing views of others rationally, we could possibly guide ourselves to our destination. Dear Nan, you already know that even the accurate Cruise Missiles need to be continuously adjusting their direction according to their stored memory and the input from their video and radar images on their actual mission. We also need to always reexamine ourselves. We could use our enemies or opponents or opposition groups to get our real image. If we surround ourselves with all the friends and our supporters or our subordinates only who are scared to criticize us or reluctant to tell the truth, we would definitely face a downfall soon. Just look at the SPDC Junta, they have no feedback about the real condition of the people on the ground. The sycophant media is silent, opposition is in jail or scared to death, and they never allow any dissenting views to surface. You see even the Thingyan Thangyats are banned.
Dear darling Nan, if we could even think or accept our opponents view as our images in the mirrors, which always show the reverse, our right side appears as left and left side appears as the right side it would be OK because at least we have to accept the truth that the mirrors help us to improve our images. Darling, you know that all the human beings men or women would love to look at their image in the mirrors, except the visually handicapped persons. Even you have sometimes sat in front of the mirror for a long time and late for some important functions. Darling why are you angry as I am telling the truth as a joke. I know it is ladies nature only and even if I had married another lady, it would be the same story. Never mind dear, those slight inpunctualities never lead to a disaster as we are staying in Asia with ‘Asian Values’ and all the functions use to start at the ‘Asian Time’ because VIP are always late and we could also use the ‘Asian National Excuse’: by blaming the notorious traffic jams.
Yes dear, even if our enemies or our opponents’ comments or observations or criticisms about us are like the mirror, always showing the wrong sides, it would be beneficial for us if we scrutinize and analyze properly. Yes Nan, after all we usually even never face any problem when we look at the mirrors every day. Dear Nan, you told me that the image on our retina or light sensitive area of our eye is not only reverse but always upside down but our brain automatically programmed and adjusted for us.
Dear Nan, the only problem is that we should not follow the example of our SPDC Junta’s strict control of all the media and information. If someone says or writes anything against them they act like a witch who used to look at the magic mirror and ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall….” and broke the mirror when they could not get the answer they want.
Darling, our Lord Buddha had taught us that if we show our hand to others, others will see our palm but we could only see our dorsum of the hands only. Buddha had taught us to accept other views and even not to just think that what we see is the only truth. Actually if we could extend this wise teaching with our present scientific advances and try to visualize our hand as three dimensional it may be better. But some of the doctors may even ‘see’ inside the structures inside or we could use sophisticated instruments as X-ray, CT Scan or MRI to see the interior structures. We are looking at the structures only, if we look at the physical functions, blood supply, condition of the nerves and compare and contrast with other animals species, other human races etc there are more information to investigate. And if we add other field of knowledge as Palmistry, and the deeds of that hand and the skills etc. there are a lot to even know about even a hand. If we just hold on to our simple view of the back of our hand which we see we would be definitely out of date. Dear Nan, why are you looking down on me and thought I am showing off. I just wish to apply this possible information gathering aspects on a simple subject. We should welcome the others’ view so that we could improve our selves and we should gather all the possible information about our enemies so that we could successfully triumph over them.
So dear darling Nan, it is worth learning or listening or reading their side of the story or the history of Burmese Muslims told by our second cousins, Ko Tin Maung and Ma Thorda. Although I could not accept all of their claims I simply present them to you so that you could judge yourself. We should not simply brush aside their point of view if we wish to recruit them as our supporter or partner in fighting our commpon enemy SPDC Junta.
Dear darling, actually all of our relatives of different races and religions are unknowingly following a rule that we automatically obey ourselves. We instinctively not only tolerate other’s religion but respect them. Nan, at first I do not understand you when you bought seperate set of utensils to cook for your Burmese Muslim and Chinese Muslim friends and you taught me how to try to understand and respect other’s believe or religion. I had learned alot and changed alot but actually progressed in my understanding of my friends and distant cousins. While during discussions sometimes we accidently encroched upon religious matters, we never argue about the minor details or forms but we could view from common basic virtues of all the religions. Nan, I have wasted alot of time to explain why I decided to include the history of Burmese Muslims in my letter to you.
Dear Nan, they claimed that could trace their ancestors well in to the first millennium and now we are even in the third millennium. And their youngest Muslim brothers migrated more than half a century ago into Shwe Bama during the early colonial period because we gained Independence on 4th. January 1948 and the bulk of migration stopped much earlier than that. So Ko Tin Maung claimed that it is unfair and gross injustice have been committed if they, Muslims in Shwe Bama are labeled as foreigners or new guest citizens. He told me that Colonial Masters are the masters of all of us. They created the migration for their economic reasons. Once we got the independence, we could not or never declared to British that we want back the land only and do not want some of the people staying on that land. If we had told the British, they may have arrange something. Forceful repatriation or giving or if British decided to reserve a part of the country to them it may be worse for us. You just look at the separation of India and Pakistan. Nearly millions died ended up into 3+ countries. Kashmir is still a problem almost impossible to resolve. Or at least the British would delay our independence to solve all these problems first. But our far-sighted leader General Aung San had the agreement with the representatives of all our races at Panglon to take the independence together.
Darling, your cousin Chinese Muslim Ma Thorda added that we must not forget the fact that the “Indian subcontinent Burmese Muslims” who maintained the umbilical cord intact with the Indian subcontinent had returned for good after General Ne Win had “driven them out” in 1964 with nationalization of all their business, property and demonetizations. She claimed that those Burmese Muslims who love Burma and decided to stay for good in Burma and those who wished to die in Burma only loyally continued to remain in Burma.
Dear darling, Ma Thorda claimed that her husband’s roots started in the early years or 600 AD. Yes, even as early as that time, Muslim seamen arrived the coastal area of Burma (Myanmar). The dawn of the Muslim settlement and the propagation of Islam in Burma was widely documented by the Arab, Persian, European and Chinese travelers of Ninth century.
Dear Nan, Persian Muslims traveled over land, in search of China, and arrived northern Burma at Yunan (China) border. Their colonies were recorded in Chronicles of China in 860 AD. Myanmar Muslims were sometimes called Pathi, and Myanmar Chinese Muslims are called Panthay. It is widely believed that those names derived from Persi (Persian) as I had recorded in my previous letter..
Dear Nan, Ko Tin Maung explained that when we called them Indian Muslims or Myanmar Indian Muslims, we mean that they were descendents of the following countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. But actually some of them even came from Afghanistan. Recently some research persons found out that about three thousand Afghanistans were settled around Mandalay, during the Burmese kings. They served in various places in Burmese kings’ army and were brought back to the capital from Arakan.
Dear darling, Ma Thorda enthusiastically added that some of the Afghanistans helped the Kamans to rebel against Arakan Myauk U and cause the end of that era. And we must not forget the fact that those earliest Burmese Muslims or Zerbardi or Kala Pyo or Myedu Muslims or Myedu Kalas or Thone Thaung Khunhit Yar (=3700) were also actually from the Indian subcontinent of Assam and Manipur.
Nan, Ko Tin Maung sometimes is too much. I am not convinced but as he insists his new theory and I do not want to go against him, I hereby just reluctantly want to mention another word or name, likely to be linked with Persian. Zaw Gyi or Ta Pathy is the mythical person, good in chemistry, alchemy and medicine. He was believed to be able to fly and could even travel underground. His dress was bright red, complete with cap and trousers, completely alien to Burmese dress but similar to ancient Persian dress.
Dear darling Nan, Ma Thorda claimed that Bago, Dala, Syriam, Tenasserim, Martaban, Mergui and Pathein (Bassein) were full of Burmese Muslim settlers and they outnumbered the local Burmese by many times even before the British colonize lower Burma. In one record the Pathein City was said to be populated with Pathis. She even claimed that may be Pathein comes from Pathi. And coincidentally, Pathein city is still famous for the Pathein Halawa, traditional Burmese Muslim food inherited from northern Indian and Arab Muslims.
Nan, in the chronicles of Malaysia, during the first Malacca Empire of Parameswara in the early fifteenth century, it was recorded that the Burmese Muslims sailors and traders were regularly arriving there. Those Bago (Pegu) seamen, likely to be Muslims, were also recorded by the Arab Historians of tenth century. During fifteen to seventeen centuries, there were a lot of records of Burmese Muslim traders, sailors and settlers on the whole coast of Burma. That was from Arakan coast (Rakhine), Ayeyarwady delta and Tanintharyi coast (Including all the islands along the whole coast).
Dear Nan, the first evidence of Muslim landing in Burma’s chronicle was recorded in the era of the first Burmese Empire of Pagan (Bagan) 1044 AD. Two Arab Muslim sailors of BYAT family, ByatWi and Byat Ta, arrived Burmese shores, near Thaton. (There are people in Iraq and Arabia with the same sir name even at present). After their ship wrecked, they managed to use a plank to swim to the shores. They took refuge and stayed at the monastery of the monk in Thaton. They were said to be tall, fair, swift, brave and very strong. They were said to have strength of the full-grown elephant. Thaton king was afraid of them and managed to kill the elder brother while he was sleeping in his wife’s house. The younger brother managed to escape to Bagan and took refuge to king Anawratha. He was kept near the king. He had to fetch flowers, ten times a day, from the Mont Popa (Pupa= mountain full with flowers in Indian language), few dozens of miles away from Bagan. He married a girl from Popa and got two sons, Shwe Byin brothers.
Dear darling, later they also served the king as worriers, even as the special agents to infiltrate the enemy’s inner circle. They were famous after they successfully infiltrated the Chinese King Utibua’s bodyguards and drawn three lines with white lime on the Utibua’s body and also wrote the threatening message on the wall. Because of that vent, the mighty powerful Chinese army and the king himself were scared, frightened, alarmed and signed a peace agreement with the Burmese.
Darling, some of those surrounding the Anawratha were also worried regarding the potential threat of those Muslim brothers. When the two brothers refused to contribute in the building of a pagoda at Taung Pyone, just north of Mandalay, because of their religious belief, those conspirators got a chance to plot against them. The brothers’ enemies in the inner circle purposely left vacant the empty spaces for the two bricks so that the king could easily notice. (If not for a conspirators’ act how anyone could notice the two absent bricks in a big building like that pagoda?). After a brief inquiry the king ordered to punish the brothers for disobedience but they were killed. There was believed to be a palace conspiracy even involving Kyansittha, rival worrier, a general, who became the third king of Bagan. All of us know that the King Anawratha just ordered to teach a lesson to the young brothers. Instead of using stick or cane to strike on the back of the body, Kyansittha ordered to use a hard and solid bamboo trunk and hit on the throat. That was a deliberate miscarriage of the justice or following the order with the criminal intent to monopolize the inner circle position to clear the way up.
Dear Nan, some of the executed brothers’ friends were not happy with the execution. Especially the sailors at that time were mostly known to be Muslims. The royal raft could not move after that, may be the silent protest against the killing. But the witty, white and black Indian Brahmans, royal consultants, interpreted that the two brothers were loyal faithful servants but unjustly punished, became Nats (the powerful spirits) and they pulled the rudder of the royal boat to show their displeasure. Then only, Anawratha ordered the building of the spirit-palace at Taung Pyone and ordered the people to worship the two brothers.
Dear darling, Ko Tin Maung claimed that this was the intelligent Royal trick used to be played by the Burmese kings to execute the powerful rivals and posthumously elevated them to the level of Nats or powerful Spirits or local gods, just to please their followers or the people who love the executed heroes.
As we all know Nan, up to the present, the followers or believers worship that shrine of those two brothers. Although all those worshippers are all Buddhists, they all abstain from eating pork till now. It is even taboo to allow anyone to carry pork on the buses or cars, while going to that yearly spirit festival still celebrating annually and attended by followers all over Burma. We can still see the vacant slot for the two pieces of brick allegedly triggered that tragic prosecution.
So it is sad to record that they became the first Muslims persecuted in Burma because of their religious belief. And their uncle was also killed just because he was powerful and the king was afraid of him.
You will be surprized Nan, King Anawratha 1044-1077 AD also had Burmese Muslim soldiers and body guards. Muslims played a significant part in Burmese history as when King Anawrahta attacked Martaban, capital of Mon (Talaing) King, Mingyi Swa Saw Kae’, two Muslim officers’ army unit fiercely defended against his attack against Mons.
All of us could read in the Glass Palace Chronicles that King Anawrahta appointed a Muslim Arab as a Royal teacher for his son, Prince Sawlu. That teacher’s son later became the Governor of Bago (Pegu) known as Ussa City. His name was Raman Khan. (Known as Nga Yaman Kan as in Burmese. Nga was usually put in front of all commoners i.e. not from the Royal family). King Sawlu himself had given the town to his childhood friend, also an adopted brother because Raman Khan’s mother was the wet nurse of Prince Sawlu.
Nan, once Raman Khan won the game of dice, jumped with joy and clapped the elbows. The loser king Sawlu was angry and challenged Rahman Khan to rebel against him leading the Bago province, if he was a real man. Raman Khan accepted the challenge, went back to Bago and marched back to Bagan with his army of soldiers on horses and elephants. Rahman and army camped at PyiDawTharIsland.
You see Nan, in any power struggle, competition, war (cold or hot war) it is important to know as much information as possible. Raman Khan was clever and witty with tactics, even knew the geography and landscape near the enemy’s home ground and successfully used them for his advantage. He successfully trapped the famous Kyansittha, King Sawlu and his mighty large Bagan Burmese army in swamps. The whole Bagan army fled. Sawlu was later found and arrested.
Kyansittha tried to rescue but Sawlu refused to be rescued. His last fatal miscalculation led him to be killed by Raman Khan. Rahman Khan himself was ambushed by the sniper bow-shot of Nga Sin the hunter and died.
Dear Nan, later Kyansittha became the third king of Bagan Dynasty. While expending the empire he brought back many Indian-Muslim captives. They were settled in central Burma. Because Burma was located at the center of the shipping and trading route starting from Arabia and India, heading towards Thailand, Malay, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and China, the whole of the coast of Burma developed rapidly. Dela, Yangon and Syriam became shipyards, depots of goods and markets for exchange of goods.
Darling, the Muslims dominated all the seaports in Burma and Thailand, at that time. In seventeenth century, those Muslims controlled the business and became so powerful because of their wealth. They were even appointed as Governor of Mergui, the Viceroy of the Province of Tenasserim, Port Authorities, Port Governors and Shah-Bandars (senior port officials). Muslim sailors built many mosques, but those should be more appropriately called Temples as they were equally holy to Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Chinese. They were called Buddermokan, in memory to Badr al-Din Awliya, a saint. They are found in Akyab, Sandoway and on a small island off Mergyi.
Dear Nan, Ma Thorda claimed that the forefathers of Burmese Muslims had landed in Burma at Rakhine, Ayeyarwady delta and Tanintharyi coast as early as ninth century, roughly about 200 years before King Anawrahta of Pagan established the first Shwe Bama empire in 1055 AD.
Dear Nan, you will be surprised that when the famous Raza Dirit attacked and conquered Dagon (Yangon), Muslim soldiers defended from the Burmese side. Muslim artillerymen and riflemen served regularly in Burmese army and sometimes even as royal bodyguards because the Burmese kings never trust their own race. This is understandable because there was the custom that time that he who kills the king becomes a king. And in Burmese history sometimes the son killed his own father and brothers killed each other to become a king. Even the first Burmese King, Anawratha had killed his half-brother, King Sokkate. Sokkate had also forced and dethroned his own father King Kunhsaw.
Nan, when Tabin Shwe Hti attacked Martaban in 1541 AD, many Muslims resisted strongly. When Ba Yint Naung successfully conquered Ayutha (Thailand) in 1568-1569 AD he use the help of Muslim artillerymen. King Alaung Pha Ya 1752-1760 AD conquered Syrim. Muslim prisoners of war were forced to serve in his army.
Dear Nan, Pagan Min 1846-1853 AD appointed U Paing, a Burmese Muslim, as the Governor of the Capital city, Amarapura. He donated a two- mile long bride, made of teakwood across the Taung Tha Man Lake. It is still useful and now became a scenic area attracting picnickers and tourists.
Dear Nan, In 1850 AD the Governor of Bagan was also said to be a Muslim. As we mentioned above, Burmese kings employed a lot of Muslims in his inner circle: Royal bodyguards, eunuchs, couriers, interpreters and advisers.
Nan, now only I know that thousands of Burmese Muslims fought alongside fellow Burmese Buddhist soldiers to defend the beloved homeland of Burma (Myanmar) in the three Anglo-Burmese wars. But it is too much when Ko Tin Maung claimed that Maha Ban Doola was Mahammad Ibn Abdulla and a Muslim. His original name Nga Yit was Ariff. No one could prove this but we cannot reject that because there were thousands of Muslims in Burmese Kings’ armies. He was one of the most famous and brave warriors and commanders in Burmese history.
Dear Nan, I have seen the historical records that Muslim prisoners of war were settled in upper Burma by successive Burmese kings. Mye Du near Shwebo was one of the sites. Muslim prisoners from Bago during 1539-1599 AD were the first settlers.
Darling, Tabin Shwe Hti brought back the Muslim prisoners, after attacking Arakan in 1546 and 1549 AD. King Anaukpetlun conquered Syriam in 1613 AD and brought back Muslim soldiers and sailors as prisoners of war. They were settled in Myedu, Sagaing, Yamethin and Kyaukse. King Sane brought back several thousand Muslim prisoners of war from Sandoway and settled in Myedu in 1707 AD. Next year few thousands more were settled in those places and Taungoo.
King Alaungpaya attacked Assam and Manipur of India and brought back more Muslims to settle in Burma. These Muslims later assimilated to form core of Burmese Muslims. Earlier they were called Myedu Kala or Kala Pyo.(Kala = foreigner; Pyo =young.).
Nan, I saw the records that Muslims in Amarapura were about 20,000 families, at the time of Inwa (Ava) kingdom (1855 AD). Most of them were Sunni Muslims. The first mosque in Yangon was built in 1826 AD, at the end of first Anglo-Burman war. It was destroyed in 1852 AD when the British attacked Yangon again.
Darling, the most note-worthy of the Burmese rulers was King Mindon, (1853-1878 AD) second last king of Myanmar. He built a mosque at North Obo in central Mandalay, the capital city then. He had even donated a hostel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the convenience of Burmese Muslims pilgrims during Hajj. King Mindon also donated the land to build a mosque in Mandalay. The Chinese Muslim Colonel Mah Tu Tu managed the building of that Mosque and expenses were paid by the Yunan Muslim king, Sultan Suleiman.
The last Muslim Mogul Emperor of India, Abu Za’far Saraj al-Din Bahadur Shah and his family members and some followers were exiled to Yangon, Myanmar. He died in Yangon and was buried on 7.11.1862.
After the British took over the whole Burma all sub groups of Burmese-Muslims formed numerous organizations, active in social welfare and religious affairs.
Dear Nan, those Burmese Muslims migrated earlier and they are more assimilated into Burmese than the Muslims migrated later during colonial period from Indian Subcontinent. During the British administration Indian (actually whole of Indian Subcontinent) Immigrants (nearly one half of them were Muslims) were brought in to run the almost all of the Government Service and to run the British companies. They also formed the military and civilian staff of the British Army. Some of them were clerks, almost in all the fields of manpower (skilled and unskilled). Others were doctors, engineers, hospital and medical workers, teachers, Burma Railway staff, river shipping staff, Post office staff, and rice mill staff. Some were staff and workers for — mines, oil fields, banks, shops, treasury, Public Administration office and Police Forces. As private civilians, they also came in as traders, various type of shop owners, servants, launders (dhobi), hotel and restaurant owners, dispatch boys, watchmen, security services, hawkers etc.
Dear Nan, they arrived, temporary or permanently settled and married with local Burmese and Myanmar ethnic minority girls and formed the core of the Myanmar Muslims. Ko Tin Maung admitted that his great grandfather migrated like this and married to my great grand aunt. Those mixed marriages, intermarriages and assimilation process of throwing away of almost all their foreign languages, foreign dresses and foreign culture slowly shaped them in to Ethnic Myanmar Muslim group of today as I had wrote in detail in my previous letter.
Deardarling, Saya Gyi U Razak, U Raschid and U Shaw Phi or Mohd. Shafi were the most prominent Myanmar Indian Muslims. As I had written earlier most of the Indian Muslims who went back to Indian subcontinent after General Ne Win took over and nationalized all their business. So Ko Tin Maung claimed that his family decided to stay in Burma and have shown love to the new home, Burma. Now most of them are third or fourth generation migrants and most of them are married to locals and almost totally assimilated into mainstream Burmese Muslims.
Nan, according to the British official census, there were half million Muslims in Burma at 1921. Burmese population then was only eleven million. Pre-war Rangoon was dominated by Indians. Transport, trade to almost all of the service sectors, government and private alike was in the hands of Indians so that it was a must to master the Hindi or Urdu for even the Burmese Buddhists to survive in Rangoon, the capital of Burma. And in capital Rangoon 70% of the population was Indians, 10% was Chinese and Burmese Buddhists were only 20% of the population. Capital Rangoon is more like a foreign city and Burmese Buddhists were like foreigner in their own country. About 50% of Indians were Indian Muslims.
Hindu colonists, of Andhra Dynasty, from middle India (180 BC) established Hanthawaddy (actually Mon town Han Sawadi – similar to Thailand citizen Mons) and Syriam (Tanyin or Than Lyin) in Burma.
Even before them, Orissa, Indian Buddhist colonists, arrived there earlier, settled and built pagodas since 500 BC.
Dear Nan, the population of the Burmese Muslims increased during the British rule of Burma because of new waves of Indian Muslim Immigration. This sharply reduced since 1941 because of Indo-Burman Immigration agreement, and totally stopped after Burma (Myanmar) gained independence in Jan.1948. So Burmese Muslims are at least staying in Myanmar from 50 years and some of them are staying for more than 1000 years already.
Dear darling, most of the Muslims in Burma are Sunni Muslims from the Hannafi sect. From the Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Central Asia (break away countries from Russia), Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh Muslims are from this same sect. Muslims from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei are from the Shafi sect of Sunni. Shafi sect is known to be spread by the sea route. In contrast to this, Hannafi sect is known to be spread by the land route.
Dear Nan, there are records that Islam first came into India in the province of Kerala during the lifetime of Prophet. Prophet had sent messengers to the Kings of China and Kerala (in South India). King Cheraman of Chera dynasty of Kerala Converts to Islam in the 7th Century.
Dear Nan, famous Muslim warrior king, Tamerlane became the ruler of an empire that stretched from Delhi to Anatolia. His name was a corruption of the name in Persian, Timur-i-Leng, meaning “Timur the Lame.” The word Timur is Turkic for “iron”. Timur was born in Kesh, fifty miles south of Samarkand in 1336. He captured Delhi in 1398 and became the Emperor of Hindustan. (Samarkand, Timur’s royal city, celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1970. It is an ancient site, located on the Zarafshan River, in modern-day Uzbekistan.)
Babur, the first of the Moghuls was born on February 14, 1483 in Ferghana east of Samarkand. The name “Moghul” is a Persian variant of “Mongol”. Emperor Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the great Mughul dynasty, was descended from both Genghis Khan and Timur. In 1504, Babur captured the Kabul, Afghan and India in 1524. Two years later, he defeated the Sultan of Delhi.
He established the Mughal dynasty which ruled from Delhi (and later from Agra) Between 1527 C.E. and 1690 C.E., the Mughals gradually expanded their hold over almost the whole of India. The Mughul ruled India from 1527 up to 1857 and was formally abolished by the British.
The last Muslim Moghul Emperor of India, Abu Za’far Saraj al-Din Bahadur Shah and his family members and some followers were exiled to Yangon, Burma. The king-poet was arrested from Delhi after the failure of the first war of independence against the British in 1857. He died there and was buried in Yangon (Rangoon) on 7.11.1862. Now his burial site became a minor diplomatic clash between India and Pakistan. Both of them want to control the site now famous as a shrine and even Burmese Buddhists used to go and pray there because Za’far Shar, as they known, was regarded as a saint.
Dear Nan, Ko Tin Maung continued by showing me the Hman Nan Yar Zawon, that Myanmar started from Tagaung, built by Abi Raja, a Sakian (Tha Ki Win min), Indian Royal family member, migrated from Kapilavatthu (India) after defeated by the king of Panchala (India), Vitatupa. He left the Middle Country (India) and established the Tagaung country, known at that time as Sangassarattha or Sangassanagara. On the death of Abi Raja, younger son Kan Raja Nge (younger King Khan) got the throne. Thirty-three kings reigned there. Elder brother Kan Raja Gyi (elder King Khan) went down the Ayeyarwaddy River, ascended the Thallawadi River, arrived Kelataungnyo and ruled there as Rajagaha. He ruled the ancient Arakan. His son Muducitta became king of the Pyus (ancestors of modern Myanmar). He founded the city of Kyauppadaung. He conquered the Dhannavati (built by king Marayu).
Dear darling, we know that for nearly a century, from about 1580 till 1666 AD Chittagong was under almost uninterrupted Arakanese rule. Arakanese captured and sent numbers of the inhabitants of Bengal into Arakan as agricultural and slave labours. During the 16th and 17th centuries the Arakanese (known in Bengal as Maghs) in alliance with the Portuguese constituted a predatory party. By dominating the riverine tracts they plundered and devastated large parts of southern and eastern Bengal. (For details; J.N.Sarkar: The Feringhi Pirates of Chatgaon; Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengalvol.111,1907,pp.419-25,and F Bemier: Travels in the Mughal Empire. Delhi l 968, P.175.)
Dear Nan, they carried a large number of men, women and children from the coastal districts of Bengal, (District Gazetteer – 24 Pargana. P. 39.) as captives and the Maghs (Arakanese) employed them as agricultural labour. It is well known that the Kingdom of Arakan was a sparsely populated area, which required huge amount of human labour for agriculture. With this intention the Arakanese employed a large number of captives in the villages of land on the bank of the Kuladan River to the Naf. This Kula population of the country form about 15 percent of the whole population. A.P.Phayre mentions, “the Kolas or Mossalmans, are of an entirely different race because they being of Bengalee descent. (A. P. Phayre, Account of Arakan Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. X, 184 1, P. 68 1.)
Nan, the large numbers of the Muslim soldiers, nobles, courtiers and intellectuals accompanied Mogul Prince Shah Shuja, the son of Mughul Emperor Shajahan, the brother of Aurangzeb. Shah Shuja, came to seek refuge in the court of Arakan in 1660 after the war of succession. Later on the prince and some of his soldiers were murdered on Feb., 1661. (G.E.Hervey, The fate of Shah Shuja 1661. Journal of the Burma Research Society, part 1, 1922. pp. 107-115.)
Ma Thorda continued that, “Some of Shah Shuja’s soldiers who escaped the massacre were later admitted into the king’s bodyguard as a special archers unit called Kamans or Kamanci”. (These words mean bows and Bowmen respectively in Persian). (M. Siddique Khan, op, cit., p. 253.) From 1666 to 1710 the political rule of Arakan was completely in their hands, during which the Muslim Kaman units played a decisive role of king makers and king breakers. Their numbers were increased from time to time by fresh arrivals from upper India. (G. E Hervey, History of Burma, London 1925, P. 148.) (Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, Tarik-i-Islam Arakan & Burma, Urdu version, Quoted by Abdul Haque Chowdhury.) Aurangzeb, the brother of Shah Shuja attacked the Arakan in 1666 AD. Kamans also rebelled from inside, with the aid of Muslim Afghan soldiers. They are now recognized even by the present Myanmar Military as the ethnic minority of Myanmar.
She siad that they were exiled to Ramree in 1710 AD by King Sandawizaya. Their descendants still survive in Ramree and in few villages near Akyab. Their language is Arakanese and their customs are similar to Arakan customs in everything except religion Islam. Jahiruddin Ahmed and Nazir Ahmed, former President and Secretary of Arakan Muslim Conference respectively, said that,”We met a few hundreds of Muslims along the sea-shore near Akyab, known as ‘Thambu Kya’ Muslims meaning ship wrecked Muslims….This Thambu kya Muslims do not claim to be Ruhaingyas nor are they known by others as such. (Zahiruddin Ahmed and Nazir Ahmed, The Maghs & the Muslims in Arakan, P. 7.)
Dear Nan, Ko Tin Maung claimed that the Burmese Muslims had suffered a lot more than the fair share throughout the Burmese history. Most of them had suffered in silence and no historian care to document those in detail. Because of lack of media coverage some Ethnic Cleansing were not widely known.
Nan, he claimed that the first Muslim killing documented in Burmese history (recorded in Mhan Nan Yar Za Win or Glass Palace Chronicle) was killing of Byat Wi by Mon, Thaton King. He was killed just because he was too powerful and said to have as much strength as an adult elephant. The king was scared of rebellion only. (It was at about 1050 AD).
According to his claims, the second two Muslims killed later were Byat Wi’s nephews, the two sons of his brother Byat Ta, known as Shwe Byin brothers. As reported earlier, they were executed because of their religious beliefs.
Dear Nan, Rahman Khan (Nga Yaman Kan) was fourth Muslim killed for political reason but it was fair because he was a rebel and he had killed King Sawlu.
But he admitted that we could not blame Kyansittha for the death of Shwe Ein Si’s lover, Prince of Pateik Kara, ancient Bengal King. That prince had ‘fly’ with the help of a magically powerful ‘live’ ruby to see the princess kept at the tall palace. He used to bribe the royal guards with ten baskets of silver. When the king heard of the secret lovers’ tryst, he forced his daughter to marry Sawyun, the son of late King Sawlu, Sawyun was a handicapped person walking with a limp. Kyansittha rather preferred a handicapped person than a Kala (foreigner). Once the prince heard the bad news from Shin Arahan, while both were flying, he opened his mouth in surprise; magical ruby fell off from the mouth. Then he fell down from the sky, drowned and died. May be all this magical story of flying and cause of death were all cover up stories to dignify the princess’ secret lover.
Dear Nan, Ko Tin Maung was emotional when he described in detail about the mass killings of Muslims in Arakan which we have mentioned in brief earlier. It may be not for the religion but likely to be due to politics and greed only. Shah Shuja’ was the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan who built the famous Taj Mahal of India. Shah Shuja’ lost to his brother and fled with his family and army in to Arakan. Sandathudama (1652-1687 AD), Arakan King accepted them and allowed him to settle there. He wanted to buy ships to continue going to Mecca and willing to pay with silver and gold. But Arakan king asked for his daughter and also allegedly became greedy to get all the wealth. As the eldest son of Mogul Emperor, he was very rich. There were confusing various versions of history reports but after an alleged unsuccessful attempt of rebellion the sultan and all his followers were killed. All men seen with beard, the symbol of Islam, were beheaded. Women were put into prison and let them die with hunger.
Dear darling, those atrocities first started from greed evolved itself into a clear ethnic cleansing based on religion. The brother of that killed sultan, King Aurangzeb, although the enemy of the killed brother because of the rivalry in ascending the throne, was angry because of that killings. He attacked the Arakan and the local Muslim slaves and Arakan Muslim Kamans assisted by rebelling from inside. It leaded to the end of the power of that Arakan kingdom.
Dear Nan, Ma Thorda point out the history book about the allegations that even Bayint Naung (1550-1589 AD) was the first Burmese king who started the religious oppression. In 1559 AD after conquering Bago (Pegu) he prohibited the Muslims from the religious slaughtering (or doing halal i.e. killing by cutting the throat under the name of their God) of goats and chicken. He had allegedly showed religious intolerance with force on some of his Muslim subjects. They were allegedly forced to listen to Buddhist sermons and some were even converted against their will. He also disallowed the (Kurbani) slaughtering sacrifice of cattle during Edil Adha.
Dear darling, Ko Tin Maung showed the history book alleging that King Alaung Phaya (1752-1760) had also prohibited Muslims to do halal (slaughtering according to Islamic faith) on cattle.
Dear Nan, according to the records they showed, King Bodaw Paya (1782-1819) had allegedly done some atrocities on his Burmese Muslim subjects. The king arrested four famous Burmese Muslims Moulvis (Imams) from Myedu and killed them in capital Ava, because they refused to obey his order to eat pork. According to the Myedu Muslims and Burmese Muslims legends or versions there were seven dark days after that execution and the king later apologize to the Muslims and recognized the slain four religious leaders as saints.
Dear Nan, after the independence Prime Minister U Nu appointed few Muslims into his cabinet. They were not included as the representatives of the Burmese Muslims but on their own capacity as the political ally of the Prime Minister and the ruling party. They were even told to dissociate themselves from the Islamic Religious activities.
Dear Nan, both of your cousins agreed that U Razak is the most famous Burmese Indian Muslim. He was born in Meikhtila on 20 January 1898. He studied at the Wesleyan School in Mandalay, Rangoon College, got B.A. (English0. Active in athletics sports.
In 1920, U Razak was a leader in first Burmese student boycott to the British colonial education system. In 1921, he became headmaster of Mandalay National High School. U Razak’s natural charisma was effective in persuading the people of Mandalay. When Japan invaded Burma in World War II, he was imprisoned.
The BMC, Burma Muslim Congress was founded almost at the same time with the AFPFL, Anti-Fascist Peoples’ Freedom Party of General Aung San and U Nu before World War Two. On 25.12 45 in Pyinmana, (present new capital of Myanmar) U Razak was elected the President of BMC and decided to join AFPFL.In 1945, U Razak was named chariman of the Mandalay branch of AFPFL and was elected aMember of Parliament of Mandalay. He became the Minister of Education and National Planning in General Aung San‘s Cabinet. He was assassinated on 19 July 1947 together with General Aung San and other cabinet members.
U Razak initiated calls for unity between Burmese Muslims and Buddhists. He was a devout Muslim, but maintained ties to Buddhism, educating himself on Pali, the sacred script of Theravada Buddhism, and helped found the Mandalay Degree College (modern Mandalay University.
And he had supported the main policy of the AFPFL even when they were against the partition along the community or religious lines. U Razak and his few associate Burmese Muslims objected to the struggle of those demanding specific constitutional guarantees for the Burmese Muslim minority. But we have to accept that U Razak was a very popular, important and prominent Burmese Muslim leader who had successfully organized the Burmese Muslims to be able to get an official record that they had participated since the very beginning of the Burmese National struggle towards independence.
U Raschid and more prominently U Khin Maung Lat, follows the general policy of sacrificing the Rights and Interests of the Burmese Muslim Community for ‘the country and their party’. So no wander most of the Burmese Muslims later refused to regard or recognize these ‘self interested’ seasoned politicians as their true representatives or saviors.
Prime Minister U Nu, just few months after independence of Burma, requested the Burma Muslim Congress to resign its membership from AFPFL. In response to that U Khin Maung Lat, the new President of BMC decided to discontinue the Islamic Religious activities of the BMC and rejoined the AFPFL. Later he became the Minister of Justice but no more represented the wishes of Burmese Muslim community.
The newly formed Burmese Muslim League requested a special government department for the Muslim affairs to determine their own future, as same as for other minorities, who had Ministries in Yangon and governments in their states.
U Nu removed the Burma Muslim Congress from AFPFL on 30.9.1956. BMC was asked to dissolve since 1955. Later U Nu decreed the Buddhism as the state religion of Burma against the will of the Ethnic Minorities and various religious organizations including Burmese Muslims.
U Nu as the devoted Buddhist was pressured by the wealthy and influential Hindi merchants ordered the prohibition of slaughtering the cattle. Although he relaxed that during the Kurbani Edd, Muslims had to apply the permits for each cattle and strictly follow under police supervision. Although General Ne Win revoked that order and allowed the slaughter of cattle for daily consumption, the strict restriction for the sacrifice remained up to the present and the Muslims, even Mosques’ official who failed to adhere to the permitted number of cattle were arrested and punished.
Dear Nan, Ko Tin Maung complained that successive Military Governments had made more difficult conditions and regulations for the Hajj pilgrimage. No one can deny that Burmese Muslims are now suffering a lot more under the Autocratic, Oligarchic, Totalitarian, Xenophobic, Oppressive, Repressive and Tyrannical Military rule of Ne Win and successive Military Governments, SLORC and SPDC.
Ma Thorda continued that Burmese Muslims were allowed to hold high posts in civil service and in armed forces before the successive Military Governments came into power. Despite the sacrificial contributions, which Burmese Muslims had made towards attaining Independence and in reconstructing the war-torn country after World War II, successive Military Juntas apparently had extremely short memory of these facts. They denied high official posts to Burmese Muslims in civil service military and in Government offices. They had also conveniently forgotten the fact that Burmese-Muslim leaders were martyred along with our national hero General Aung San when he was assassinated.
So it is not surprising that one could not find Muslim Ministers or Deputy Ministers in Burma under Ne Win. But there were cases of double standards in that those Burmese-Muslim intellectuals who professed Buddhism as their new faith were exalted to high posts. U Sein Win, a Shiite Muslim converted to Buddhism and was even given the Prime Minister post under General Ne Win’s government. Dr. Maung Di, the son of the prominent Dean of the Islamic College in central Burma, who was promoted from the post of Professor in Chemistry to Deputy Minister of Education after he officially declared himself a Buddhist.
During the successive Military Governments, those Burmese Muslims who wanted to join the Military were asked one common question, “Could you eat pork?”
The chairman of the BSPP (Burma Socialist Programme Party), Ne Win, had forbidden the Burmese Muslim community to enlist themselves as a separate racial group so the Muslims in that country do not exist as a Burmese Muslim race but it is not a big problem but the denying the right as a minority citizens is totally wrong according to the international norms. .
Dear Nan, I hereby wish to point out an important fact from the book you had given me as a birthday present, Alan Clemts book, “The Voice of Hope”. He discuss with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: “As you know, Devadatta attempted to kill Buddha on several occasions. But Buddha said that without Devadatta’s aggression he would never have been able to become fully accomplished in patience. One could see this as praise for the adversary or opposition.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi replied, “In order to have a really strong, healthy democracy, we need a strong, healthy opposition. I always explain that you need a good opposition because they’ll always point out your mistakes and keep you on your toes. In many ways, the opposition is your greatest benefactor. In worldly terms the opposition in a democracy plays the role of Devadatta for any legal government. It stops the ruling party from going astray by constantly pointing out its every mistake. The opposition as the potential next government keeps the current one from misusing its powers.”
So dear darling some of the Asian governments’ claim that “Asian values” advocating very limited Democracy, declaring it is better than western full Democracy is merely a smokescreen to justify their restrictions on their own people so that they could rule over them for a prolonged period. They falsely declare that the Western democracy is inappropriate for Asia. But they are ignorant of the real fact that the Asian philosophers, from Confucius, Pakistani philosopher-poet Mohammad Iqbal, Indian-Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and Tibet leader Dalai Lama believed in human liberties and democracy. Never mind dear, my letter is quite long and we could discuss about the subject I skipped earlier, “Good Governance” in the next letter.
With eternal love
(Ko Tin Nwe)
BO AUNG DIN
A Sincere Commentator said _
Your essay is really good. But it would read a lot better if you were to quit using those terms of endearment such as dearest Nan, dear darling….. After we see this for the 3rd or 4th time, it becomes an eyesore and then we see that it is all throughout the essay for dozens of times; the endearment becomes cheap. It also smacks like as if you are being sarcastic. When I write a letter to my girl friend, I put the sentimental salutations once on top and once at the bottom only.
Your essays are long and detailed and would have been interesting to read except that you have these salutations on so many paragraphs; it ceases to become endearing and just makes you look like love-crazy.
My sincere advice to you is, use a different format. You sound like an expert in history.
Why don’t you just write like a regular historian?
You don’t need a boyfriend-to-girlfriend love letter story-telling format. You would sound so much more professional if you write like a conventional expert.
U Myo Nyunt, Myanmar Studies, Australia, said _
Dear ( Ko Tin Nwe), your writings are interesting. How about Saya-gyee U Kar, Professor of Mathematics. I remember as a wonderful teacher, a Burmese Muslim but always accepting the Burmese Buddhists, never excluding any one irrespective of his religion or socio-economic background or status.
Tekkatho Laypway was also a Burmese Muslim. Also The Ismaeli Khojas you did not mention.
Very intersting article.
Jan Tun Aung said _
John said _
I salute you for your detail short history and your method of presentation to the readers. Very informative for historical events and balance view on religions.
Hla Bu Kay said _
I do not think it was the greed that spurred the Arakanese King to kill Prince Shah Shuja and some of his followers as Mrauk-U Kingdom was one of the richest Kingdoms in the region that time with busy seaport and thriving trading businesses. According to Manrique who traveled to Mrauk-U and spent some months, he praised Mrauk-U as Venie of the East for its many creeks, magnificent buildings and vibrant business environment. It must had been the political motive behind this alleged “massacre”.
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