Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi, is our father
or the Founding Father of Burma/Myanmar
General Bogyoke Aung San (Burmese: ; MLCTS: buil hkyup aung hcan:; IPA: [bòʊdʒoʊʔ àʊn sʰán]); February 13, 1915 – July 19, 1947) was a Burmese revolutionary, nationalist, and founder of the modern Burmese army, the Tatmadaw.
He was instrumental in bringing about Burma’s independence from British colonial rule, but was assassinated six months before its final achievement. He is recognized as the leading architect of independence, and the founder of the Union of Burma. Affectionately known as “Bogyoke” (General), Aung San is still widely admired by the Burmese people, and his name is still invoked in Burmese politics to this day.
Aung San is the father of Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for the past 18 years. She began her 19th year on May 17, 2009.
Aung San was born to U Pha, a lawyer, and his wife Daw Suu in Natmauk, Magwe district, in central Burma in 1915. His family was already well known in the Burmese resistance movement; his great uncle Bo Min Yaung fought against the British annexation of Burma in 1886.
Aung San received his primary education at a Buddhist monastic school in Natmauk, and secondary education at Yenangyaung High School. He went to Rangoon University and received a B.A. degree in English Literature, Modern History, and Political Science in 1938.
Names of Aung San
- Name at birth: Htain Lin
- As student leader and a thakin: Aung San
- Nom de guerre: Bo Tayza
- Japanese Name: Omoda Monchi
- Chinese Name: Tan Lu Sho
- Resistance period code name: U Naung Cho
- Contact code name with General Ne Win: Ko Set Pe.
Struggle for independence
After Aung San entered Rangoon University in 1933, he quickly became a student leader. He was elected to the executive committee of the Rangoon University Students’ Union (RUSU). He then became editor of their magazine Oway (Peacock’s Call).
In February 1936, he was threatened with expulsion from the university, along with U Nu, for refusing to reveal the name of the author of the article Hell Hound At Large, which criticized a senior University official. This led to the Second University Students’ Strike, and the university authorities subsequently retracted their expulsion orders. In 1938, Aung San was elected president of both the RUSU and the All-Burma Students Union (ABSU) formed after the strike spread to Mandalay. In the same year, the government appointed him as a student representative on the Rangoon University Act Amendment Committee.
In October 1938, Aung San left his law classes and entered national politics. At this point, he was anti-British, and staunchly anti-imperialist. He became a Thakin (lord or master — a politically motivated title that proclaimed that the Burmese people were the true masters of their country, not the colonial rulers who had usurped the title for their exclusive use) when he joined the Dobama Asiayone (Our Burma Union), and acted as their general secretary until August 1940. While in this role, he helped organize a series of countrywide strikes that became known as Htaung thoun ya byei ayeidawbon (the ‘1300 Revolution’, named after the Burmese calendar year).
He also helped found another nationalist organization, Bama-htwet-yat Gaing (the Freedom Bloc), by forming an alliance between the Dobama, the ABSU, politically active monks and Dr Ba Maw’s Sinyètha (Poor Man’s) Party, and became its general secretary. What remains relatively unknown is the fact that he also became a founder member and first secretary-general of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in August 1939. Shortly afterwards he co-founded the People’s Revolutionary Party, renamed the Socialist Party after the Second World War. In March 1940, he attended the Indian National Congress Assembly in Ramgarh, India. However, the government issued a warrant for his arrest due to Thakin attempts to organize a revolt against the British, and he had to flee Burma. He went first to China, seeking assistance from the communist Chinese(China was still under nationalist government during WWII), but he was intercepted by the Japanese military occupiers in Amoy, and was convinced by them to go to Japan instead.
World War II period
Whilst in Japan, the Blue Print for a Free Burma was drafted which has been widely, but mistakenly, attributed to Aung San. In February 1941, Aung San returned to Burma, with an offer of arms and financial support from the Fumimaro Konoe government. He returned briefly to Japan to receive more military training, along with the first batch of young revolutionaries who came to be known as the Thirty Comrades. On 26 December, 1941, with the help of the Minami Kikan, a secret intelligence unit formed to close the Burma Road and to support a national uprising and headed by Colonel Suzuki, he founded the Burma Independence Army (BIA) in Bangkok, Thailand (under Japanese occupation at the time).
The capital of Burma, Rangoon, fell to the Japanese in March 1942 (as part of the Burma Campaign in World War II). The BIA formed an administration for the country under Thakin Tun Oke that operated in parallel with the Japanese military administration until the Japanese disbanded it. In July, the disbanded BIA was re-formed as the Burma Defense Army (BDA). Aung San was made a colonel and put in charge of the force. He was later invited to Japan, and was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor.
On August 1, 1943, the Japanese declared Burma to be an independent nation. Aung San was appointed War Minister, and the army was again renamed, this time as the Burma National Army (BNA). Aung San became skeptical of their promises of true independence and their ability to win the war. He made plans to organize an uprising in Burma and made contact with the British authorities in India, in cooperation with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe. On March 27, 1945, he led the BNA in a revolt against the Japanese occupiers and helped the Allies defeat the Japanese. March 27 came to be commemorated as ‘Resistance Day’ until the military regime later renamed it ‘Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day’.
Post-World War II
After the return of the British who had established a military administration, the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO), formed in August 1944, was transformed into a united front, comprising the BNA, the Communists and the Socialists, and renamed the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL). The Burma National Army was renamed the Patriotic Burmese Forces (PBF), and then gradually disarmed by the British as the Japanese were driven out of various parts of the country. The Patriotic Burmese Forces, while disbanded, were offered positions in the Burma Army under British command according to the Kandy conference agreement with Lord Mountbatten in Ceylon in September 1945. Aung San was offered the rank of Deputy Inspector General of the Burma Army, but he declined it in favor of becoming a civilian political leader and the military leader of the Pyithu yèbaw tat (People’s Volunteer Organisation or PVO).
In January 1946, Aung San became the President of the AFPFL following the return of civil government to Burma the previous October. In September, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of Burma by the new British Governor Sir Hubert Rance, and was made responsible for defence and external affairs. Rance and Mountbatten took a very different view from the former British Governor Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, and also Winston Churchill who had called Aung San a ‘traitor rebel leader’. A rift had already developed inside the AFPFL between the Communists and Aung San leading the nationalists and Socialists, which came to a head when Aung San and others accepted seats on the Executive Council, culminating in the expulsion of Thakin Than Tun and the CPB from the AFPFL.
Aung San was to all intents and purposes Prime Minister, although he was still subject to a British veto. On January 27, 1947, Aung San and the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee signed an agreement in London guaranteeing Burma’s independence within a year – he had been responsible for its negotiation. During the stopover in Delhi at a press conference, he stated that the Burmese wanted ‘complete independence’ not dominion status and that they had ‘no inhibitions of any kind’ about ‘contemplating a violent or non-violent struggle or both’ in order to achieve this, and concluded that he hoped for the best but he was prepared for the worst. He is also believed to have been responsible, in part, for the persecution of the Karen people on account of their loyalty to the British and having fought the Japanese and the BIA. Dorman-Smith had in fact rejected a request for an AFPFL delegation to visit London and tried to bring Aung San to trial for his role in the murder of a village headman in 1942.
Two weeks later, on February 12, 1947, Aung San signed an agreement at the Panglong Conference, with leaders from other national groups, expressing solidarity and support for a united Burma. In April, the AFPFL won 196 out of 202 seats in the election for a Constituent Assembly. In July, Aung San convened a series of conferences at Sorrenta Villa in Rangoon to discuss the rehabilitation of Burma.
On 19 July, 1947, around 10:37 AM, a gang of armed paramilitaries broke into the Secretariat Building in downtown Yangon during a meeting of the Executive Council (the shadow government established by the British in preparation for the transfer of power) and assassinated Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers, including his older brother Ba Win, father of Sein Win who is leader of the government-in-exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). A cabinet secretary and a bodyguard were also killed. The assassination was supposedly carried out on the orders of U Saw, a rival politician and former prime minister, who was subsequently tried and hanged.
However there are aspects of U Saw’s trial that give rise to doubt.
While he was War Minister in 1942, Aung San met and married Khin Kyi, and around the same time her sister met and married Thakin Than Tun, the Communist leader. Aung San and Khin Kyi had three children. Their youngest daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the Burmese Opposition, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and held under house arrest by the military regime. Their second son, Aung San Lin, died at age eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake in the grounds of the house. The eldest, Aung San Oo, is an engineer working in the United States and has disagreed with his sister’s political activities. Daw Khin Kyi died on December 27, 1988.
Aung San’s name had been invoked by successive Burmese governments since independence until the military regime in the 1990s tried to eradicate all traces of Aung San’s memory. Nevertheless, several statues of him adorn the former capital Yangon, and his portrait still has pride of place in many homes and offices throughout the country. Scott Market, Yangon’s most famous, was renamed Bogyoke Market in his memory, and Commissioner Road was retitled Bogyoke Aung San Road after independence. These names have been retained. Many towns and cities in Burma have thoroughfares and parks named after him. His portrait was held up everywhere during the 8888 Uprising and used as a rallying point. Following the 1988 Uprising, the government redesigned the national currency, the kyat, removing his picture and replacing it with scenes of Burmese life. He was only 32 when he died. A martyrs’ mausoleum was built at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda, and 19 July was designated Martyr’s Day (Azani nei), a public holiday. His place in history as the Father of Burmese Independence and a national hero is assured both from his own legacy and due to the activities of his daughter.
His literary work entitled “Burma’s Challenge” was a hit among other publications.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia