Let’s exploit our strategic position between the two greatest civilizations

  Let’s exploit our strategic position

between the two

greatest civilizations

Dear Nan, our village or Shwe Myae is actually the virtual highway link between the villages in the south and their origin Ko Yu Nan’s village in northern part. Ko Indo Nesia, Daw Ma Lay traveled through our village in 2500 BC and 500 BC.

And those villagers on the numerous Islands up to U Au’s and Daw Zee Lans’ place, now we called Ko Poly Nisian also thought to have came down the same road.

Many of our cousin brothers like U Ka Yin (Pha Thi) and Daw Mon even came down earlier than Daw Shan from far north of Ko Ta Yoke village. U U Bamas and other cousin brothers of Tibet-Bama family villagers also came down from above. You and your half brother Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Kam Bodia also came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village.

In the official Thailand History books, they even claim that all of the above came down from Ko Ta Yoke place through Ko Yu Nan’s village and even Daw Tibet had made an almost U turn and climbed beck onto the Tibet High Lands.

Those came down from north were met by the travelers from Ko Kala’s village. They came down from northwest. There was an old silk road from U Ta Yoke village at north-east to U Kala’s village at south-west. And that high way was in our Shwe Bama land.

Later they built the Burma Road which linked Burma and China. Its terminals are Kunming in China and Lashio in Burma. The road is about 1,130 kilometres long and runs through rough mountain country. This remarkable engineering achievement was built by 200,000 Chinese labouers during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and completed by 1938. It had a strategic role in World War II, where the Allied Powers used the Burma Road to transport war supplies to China. Supplies would be landed at Rangoon and moved by rail to Lashio, where the road started in Burma. In charge of the Operation was General Merrill and General Stillwell. At that time, Burma was a colony of the United Kingdom.

When the Japanese overran sections of the Burma Road the Allies flew supplies over the Hump and built the Ledo Road, also later known as the Stillwell Road. Ledo Road was built from Ledo in Assam into the Hukawng Valley as an alternative to the Burma Road, which had been closed by the Japanese. It was completed in January 1945 and was renamed Stilwell Road by Chiang Kai-shek.

(From the Wikipedia encyclopedia.)

Now China and India are negotiating with Shwe Bama villagers to build a modern high way liking their villages through our land. Recently Ko Ka Lar’s village chairman U Mus Lim went to Shwe Bama and signed an agreement to lay natural gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of our village to Ko Ka Lar’s village. And there is already an agreement to connect the gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of the village to Ko Yu Nan’s village. So these high ways and pipelines would become the renaissance of our forefather’s migration.

Dear Nan, why are you very sensitive, I am just mentioning the coincidences but not supporting those pipe-lines. You already know that I supported your policy of sanctions on SPDC. If you are not short sighted, you could still read the Burma Digest’s strong condemnation of TOTAL in recent issues. It is funny that those who play with fire and burnt sometimes blamed the fire. Recently one of the ASEAN PM complaint that their state owned oil company suffered some losses because of the sanctions in the host countries they operate. Then why did they foolishly decided to follow their greed to buy the shares of TOTAL and invested in Myanmar/Burma oil exploration? They should now redeem themselves by supporting the US, UK and EU led pressure on Myanmar Generals for the rapid democratization.

So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along the road and some of them settled in our Shwe Bama Village as we are located along their high way through out the history.

Dear Nan, do you now accept the concept that our village was and still is a highway from west Ko Kala’s village to Ko Ta Yoke’s village in the north. People from Northwest of Ko Kala’s village came to our village through Ko Ya Khine’s village. Since 500 BC Hindu Orrisa village colonists had migrated towards Southeast and settled in lower part of our Shwe Bama village. Later other migrant villagers from the Andhra Dynasty from Ko Kala’s village similarly migrated to our village in 180 BC. Some took the long march on land and then some had sailed here.

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

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

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

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

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:

(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land. Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language. But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

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

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

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level. And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

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

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

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

Actually if I am allowed d to sum up the above: U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.

Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.

Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

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

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

Panthay; Latest diaspora Part 2

Panthay; Latest diaspora

Latest diaspora

The demise of the Sultanate had shattered the hopes of all the Panthays for a bright future in their own Islamic kingdom in Yunnan. The blood-bath that occurred in its wake had made the decision for many Panthays: to flee the country for those who could make it, and not to return to Yunnan for those who were already outside. In the first category were the refugees in the Wa State, and in the second were those who were in Mandalay at the time the Sultanate fell. As has been said earlier, the Panthays in Mandalay had left their families behind when they set out for Burma. These Panthay businessmen now realized that it would be at least some years before they would see their families in China again. Thus, many of them started raising second families in Mandalay by taking Burmese Muslim wives. This explains why most of the first-generation Panthays of Mandalay had non-Chinese wives and why their descendants today are Burmanized. In later years, when things became more favorable, these early Panthays of Mandalay alternated their stay between their Chinese and Burmese wives.

[edit] Colonel Mah Too-tu settled in Mandalay for good

Colonel Mah Too-tu found himself in the same situation. When he came to Mandalay with the mission to build the Panthay Mosque, he left his family behind in Yunnan. When the mission had been accomplished, he was assigned by the Sultan to take charge of the Panthay business enterprise at Taryedan.[27] When the Sultanate fell, Mah Too-tu was stranded at Mandalay. For a man of his rank and stature, going back to Tali-fu meant sure execution by the Manchu authorities. Mah Too-tu had no other alternative but to settle down in Mandalay. Since November 1868 he had bought a plot of land with a house on it for 80 pieces of one-kyat coins from Khunit Ywa-sa Princess.[28] The plot happened to be at the southwest corner of the land granted by King Mindon to the Panthays (corner of’ 36th and 80th Street). The addition of Mah Too-tu’s plot made the Panthay compound into a full square. On 7 June, 1873, Mah Too- tu married Shwe Gwe, a lady from Sagyin-wa village near Amarapura, who happened to be the daughter of a princess of Manipur brought to Mandalay as a captive by the Burmese king.[29] Mah Too-tu spent the last years of his life at the Panthay Compound with his Burmese wife.

[edit] Panthays established in Mandalay

After the mass exodus from Yunnan, the number of Panthays residing in Mandalay gradually increased. The new arrivals, usually families, came by way of Bhamo or via the Wa State. When the land for the Panthays was granted by King Mindon, there were a few houses on it, in addition to several old graves.[30] This shows that the place had been an abandoned graveyard. In the years immediately following the completion of the mosque, the number of houses in the Panthay Compound was less than twenty. There were also between ten and twenty Panthay households living in other parts of Mandalay. But a trickle of new arrivals added to their number.

The establishment of the Panthay Mosque in 1868 marked the emergence of the Chinese Muslims as a distinct community at Mandalay. Although the number of this first generation of Panthays remained small, the Mosque, which is still standing, constitutes a historic landmark. It signifies the beginning of the first Panthay Jama’at (Congregation) in Mandalay Ratanabon Naypyidaw.

[edit] Early 20th century

Over the next thirty or so years the Panthays of Panglong continues to prosper, though by the early 1920s a feud had begun to develop between them and the Was of neighbouring Pankawn. In 1926 this erupted into the local “Wa Panthay War”, in which the latter were victorious and as a result of which Panglong threw off its vassalage to Pangkawn and reinforced its dominance over the trade routes of the region31. In addition to legitimate trading, by this time the Panthays, of Panglong were securely established as ‘the aristocrats of the opium business’ in the region now commonly designated the Golden Triangle, leaving the Petty and risky business of peddlings this highly profitable commodity locally to Shan and Han Chinese dealers, and instead running large, well-armed caravans in long-distance convoys far into Siam, Laos, Tonking and Yunnan. When Harvey visited Panglong in 1931 he found that Panthay numbers had risen to 5,000 (‘including local recruits’), that they were financed by Singaporean Chinese, had 130 mauser rifles with 1,500 mules, and exported opium by the hundredweight into French, Siamese and British territory, each muleload escorted by two riflemen.

Meanwhile, despite the relative importance of Panglong and the profits to be made from the long-distance caravan, other Panthays moved further into Burma, initially as miners anxious to exploit the ruby mines of Mogok; the Badwin silver mines of Namtu in the Northern Shan State, the jade mines of Mogaung in Kachin State. Numbers of Panthay restaurateurs and innkeepers, merchants and traders settled in the urban centres of upland Burma – chiefly at Lashio, Kengtung, Bhamo and Taunggyi – to service the needs of theses miners, passing caravaneers and the local inhabitants, whilst other settlements largely devoted to trade with the indigenous Shan and Karen populations sprang up along the Salween River. Finally, other Panthay elements moved to the major urban centres of the Burmese lowlands, most notably to Mandalay and Rangoon, where they flourished as merchants and representatives of their up – country fellows, as well as middle-men between Panglong and the other “Overland Chinese” settlements of Upper Burma and the “Overseas Chinese” community of the lowland port-cities. Bassein and Moulmein must also have attracted some Panthay settlement, the latter port being a terminus of the overland caravan trade from Yunnan in its own right, via the northern Thai trade route through Kengtung, Chiang Mai and Mae Sariang.

During the greater part of the period of British rule in Burma these Panthay settlers flourished, specialising in all levels of commerce from the international gem (and opium) markets to shop – and inn-keeping, mule-breeding and peddling or hawking – indeed Yunnanese peddlars (who may or may not have been Muslim) even penetrated into the unadministered and inaccessible hill tracts of “The Triangle” between Mali Hka and Nmai Hka, to the north of Myitkyina]]. Chiefly, however, beyond the urban centres of the Burmese lowlands, the Panthays continued their involvement in the caravan trade with Yunnan, transporting silk, opium, tea, metal goods and foodstuffs (eggs, fruit, nut and even the renowned Yunnanese hams (doubtless for consumption by their Han fellow countrymen) from China to Burma, and carrying back European manufactured goods, broadcloths, specialised foodstuffs (edible birds nests, sea slugs) and above all raw cotton, to Yunnan.

Because of the essentially itinerant nature of this caravan traffic and the semi-licit or illegal nature of some aspects of the trans-frontier trade, it has always been difficult to provide accurate statistics for the distribution and numbers of “Panthay” Chinese settled in Burma, Indeed, rejection of the term “Panthay” by the Chinese Muslims, relatively easy confusion between Hui and Han Chinese by uninformed or overworked census officials, and an inherent suspicion of government bureaucracy (which may seek to control movement or to levy taxes) has made accurate census-taking amongst the Panthay of Burma all but impossible. Thus, in 1931 Harvey estimated the population of Panglong (which was predominantly Panthay) at 5,000 persons. Yet official estimates put the Panthay population of Burma at 2,202 for 1911 (1,427 males and 775 females), whilst by the 1921 Census of India this had declined to 1,517 (1,076 males and 441 females), and by 1931 to 1,106 (685 males and 421 females).

[edit] World War II and independence

A Census for 1941 was never taken, being interrupted by World War II and the Japanese invasion; indeed, it was as a result of the Japanese invasion the main Panthay settlement at Panglong was destroyed, and many Panthay fled to Yunnan, or crossed the largely unpoliced jungle frontiers into Thailand and Laos to escape Japanese persecution. The traditional dominance of Panthay in the trade of the Burma-Yunnan frontier region was also set back by the construction of the Burma Road between Lashio and Kunming in 1937-38, and by the exodus of thousands of Yunnanese refugees and Kuomintang troops following the seizure of power by the Chinese Communists in 1949. As a result of these developments, which brought a flood of predominantly Han, and not Hui, “Overland Chinese” to the Burmese Shan States, many Panthay seem to have chosen to migrate to northern Thailand, where their communities continue to flourish.

No comprehensive census of the remaining Panthay population within Burma has been taken since 1931, and restrictions on travel for foreigners, combined with the inherent weakness of central government control over those outlying areas of the Shan and Kachin Hills where many Panthays live, makes any attempt to calculate Burma’s present (1986) Panthay population almost impossible (though an exaggerated estimate of 100,000 Panthays resident within Burma appeared in the Burmese daily Hanthawaddi in 1960. Certainly readily identifiable Panthay communities continue to exist in several areas which are open to foreign travel (Rangoon, Mandalay, Taunggyi), as well as, by report, in Kengtung, Bhamo, Mogok, Lashio and at Tanyan, near Lashio. Wherever they have settled in sufficient numbers, the Panthays have established their own mosques and madrasas (for example the Panthay Balee at Mandalay Short Lane, Rangoon, at Mandalay and in Myitkyina). Some of these mosques are in “pseudo-Moghul” style, clearly having been influenced by Indian Muslim tastes and styles, whilst others (notably at Mandalay) have Chinese architectural features. As with the Hui in China, the Burmese Panthay are exclusively Hanafi; few are conversant with more than the most elementary phrases of Arabic, and quite often when a Panthay imam is not available to care for the spiritual welfare of a community, a South Asian or Zerbadi Muslim is engaged instead.

[edit] Present Panthays in Myanmar

Panthays are spread over many parts of Myanmar with their mosques in Yangon, Taungyi, Lashio, Tangyang, Kyaington, Pyin-Oo-Lwin, Myitkyina and Mogok.[31]

[edit] References

  1. ^ (Scott, 1900, 607)

  2. ^ (Yule & Burnell, 1968, 669)

  3. ^ (Forbes, 1987, 292)

  4. ^ (Forbes, 1987, 290)

  5. ^ (Forbes, 1987,193)

  6. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 2)

  7. ^ (The Sladen Report, 1871, 7)

  8. ^ (The Sladen Report, 1871, 4)

  9. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 4)

  10. ^ (Forbes 1987, 293)

  11. ^ (Ba Shin, 1962, 2)

  12. ^ (Ba Shin, 1961, 2)

  13. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 233)

  14. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 233)

  15. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 343)

  16. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 242)

  17. ^ (Interview with U Aung Myint)

  18. ^ (Interview with Haji U Ba Thi alias Haji Adam (born 11 October, 1908) a Panthay elder who had served for many years as chairman of the Trust of ‘the Panthay Mosque, on 15 October, 1997.)

  19. ^ (Interview with Haji U Ba Thi)

  20. ^ (Sladen Report, 1876,5)

  21. ^ (Thaung, 1961, 481)

  22. ^ (Thaung, 1961, 481)

  23. ^ (Thaung, 1961, 481)

  24. ^ (Anderson, 1876, 243)

  25. ^ (Thaung, 1961, 482)

  26. ^ (Scott, 1901, 740)

  27. ^ (Interview with Haji U Ba Thi)

  28. ^ (Family Parabaik)

  29. ^ (Than Tun, 1968, 19)

  30. ^ (Interview with Haji U Ba Thi)

  31. ^ Message from Maung Ko Ghaffari, Chief Editor, Light of Islam Magazine, Myanmar in Feb. 2007

[edit] Bibliography

1. Anderson, John, Mandalay to Momien: A Narrative of the Two Expeditions to Western China of 1868 and 1875 (London: Macmillan, 1876).
2. Ba Shin, Lt. Colonel, “Coming of Islam to Burma Down to l700 AD.,” Asian History Congress (New Delhi: Azad Bhavan, 1961).
3. Forbes, D.W., “The Role of Hui Muslims in the Traditional Caravan Trade between Yunnan and Thailand,” Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China sea: 13-20 Centuries(French Journal published under the direction of Denys Lombard & Jean Aubin), (Paris: School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences, 1987).
4. Kaye, J.W., Major Sladen’s Report on the Bhamo Route, (In Continuation of’ Parliamentary Paper No. 251, of Session 1868-9), (London: India Office, 1871), Microfilm copy.
5. Scott, J. George, GUBSS, 1, i ( Rangoon Government Printing, 1900).
6. ibid GUBSS, ii, ii (Rangoon- Government Printing, 1901).
7. Thaung, Dr., “Panthay Interlude in Yunnan: A Study in Vicissitudes Through the Burmese Kaleidoscope,” JBRS Fifth Anniversary Publications No. 1 (Rangoon Sarpy Beikman, 1961).
8. Yule, Col. Henry & Burnell, A. C., Hobson-Jobson- A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical And Discursive (Delhi-.Munshiran Manoharlal, 1968), Reprint.
9. Than Tun, Dr. (Professor of History), History on Tour, 111, (In Myanmar) (Yangon Nantha House, August 1968).
10. Parabaik dated 13 November, 1868 containing a short account of’ Mah Too-tu’s purchase of land and house from Khunit Ywa-sa Princess (a family parabaik of the writer).
11. Interview with U Aung Myint (aged 75), a higher grade pleader, before the war, and buildingcontractor after the war, on 11 December, 1987. Although a Myanmar Buddhist, U Aung Myint wasvery friendly with Khala Kyawt, a Myanmar Muslim who had lived in the Panthay Compound formany years in the pre-war days and who had in her possession a parabaik manuscript on the Tayoktan quarrel between the Chinese and the Panthays, and the circumstances leading to the granting of land by King Mindon for the residence of Panthays and the construction of the Parithay Mosque. U Aung Myint had personally read this parabaik, which, unfortunately was destroyed by fire during the war. U Aung Myint had lived close to the Panthay Compound before the war and the house in which he had lived is said to be inside the Panthay Compound at one time.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

  • Myanmar Muslim Information Centre (MMIC)-[2]

  • Burma Digest Bo Aung Din’s Letter 11- About Myanmar Muslims. and Myanmar Indian Muslims. [3]

  • Burma Digest Bo Aung Din’s Letter 10- Myanmar Muslims, Myanmar Chinese Muslims and Migrants. [4]

  • Burma Digest Bo Aung Din’s Letter 9- Myanmar Muslims.[5]

  • Myanmar Muslim news- [6]

  • Burmese Muslims Network- [7]

  • Islamic Unity Brotherhood [8]

  • Myanmar Muslim political Awareness Organization- [9]

  • Panthay on line community- [10]

  • Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [11]

  • US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report 2005 on Burma [12]

  • US Department of State, Burma, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2005

  • Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor [13]

  • Amnesty International’s report on Burma [14]

  • UK Conservatives’ Human Rights [15]

  • Refusal of Identity Cards for Burmese Muslims [16][17]

  • Refusal of Identity Cards for Burmese Muslims [18]

  • Racial Discriminations on Burmese Muslims [19][20]

  • Human Rights issues in Burma [21]

  • PRAYERS FOR BURMA [22]

  • Priestly, Harry. “The Outsiders“, The Irrawaddy, 2006-01. Retrieved on 200607-07. 

  • Butkaew, Samart. “Burmese Indians: The Forgotten Lives“, Burma Issues, 2005-02. Retrieved on 200607-07. 

  • The Persecution of Muslims in Burma, by Karen Human Rights Group

Continue reading