Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Is Burma’s democratization at the point of U-turn?

The scope of this paper has two parts, as:

a)      The Multi-Cultural and Multi-religious nation founded in circa  AD 1664.
b)      The religious rightist extremism.

a)      The Multi-Cultural and multi religion nation founded in circa  AD 1664.

In the reign of the AVA/Ketumati –Taungoo King. He styled himself as Sri Pavara Mahadhamma-Raja. He was mentioned as Wanbe-ing-san Min by Burmese famous historian Dr Than Tun in his text “Searching of Burmese History =ျမန္မာသမိုင္း ရွာေတာ္ပုံ “ published in October 2003 by Daung (Peacock) Sar-Pay. Referring  to the palm leave inscriptions it is mentioned that there were 101 King and 101 races. But Dr Than Tun said that there does not have 101 races but (in his opinion) only 18 no. in the list. Who is this Wan-be-ing-san Min mentioned by Dr Than Tun in his text.

In fact the king mentioned is none other than King Minyekyawdin , the father of Sanay Min. We do not know why Sayar Dr Than Tun mentioned the king as Wan-be-ing-san Min rather than King Minyekyawdin.

We refer the following excerpt from the work Palm Leaf Manuscripts from Burma” from

      {Pannasami, the nineteenth author and sangharajah (archbishop) of Upper Myanmar, claims in his   Sasanavamsa (History of Buddhist Religion) which he composed in 1861, that the method of enhancing the beauty of palm leaves by gilding, before inscribing the text, was introduced by King Minyekyawdin (1673-1698). In 1933, one of the original documents which corroborated this statement was traced t o a bookshop in London. It was a Pali manuscript which had been commissioned by Siri Pavara Maha Dhamma Raja (Minyekyawdin) stating that he and his queen, Atulasiri Mahadevi, had decided in 1680 to break from the traditional method of using plain palm leaves by first having them gilded.}
According to this work we get to know that those he is lesser king compare to Anuruddha (Anawratha), Kyansitta and Buringnaung , he and his queen(mahisi) Atulasiri Mahadevi are the patron of the Buddhism. Yet he allowed other religion and races to grow in his kingdom.The King is wise and liberal. He and also the citizens of the country  tolerated the development of multi-religious community.
The king had ordered to assign and gave the new migrants who were hire as mercenaries or soldiers to fight for them (the Kings) and the country as follow. The Mon craftsmen are located in Myingyan region. They were to make the uniform for royal army personnel and court staff and servants.nd Some Mon families are assigned at the Mahamuni Pagoda to take care of it requirements. On 21st August 1787, the King order the decree that to locate the Muslims (who practiced Islam) to Myedu, Motsobo region, Pinya and Kantbalu in Sagaing region, Yindaw in Yamethin region, Letpan village in Kyakse, the Barigee or Christians in Paraimma in Sagaing region first and later relocated and distributed  them (Christians) to along Mu and Chindwin river valley.
     When the King   passed away his son King Sanay (1690-1784) succeeded the throne. He styled himself as Sri Maha Sihasura Dhamma Raja (Thiri Maha Thiha Thura Dhamma Yaza ). Then he also gave the lands in12 counties. These places are in Siputtara, Si-thar, Nyaung-yan, Ta-pin, Ta-pet-swel, Taungoo,Pintalae, baw-di, Mihitila(Meikhtilla), Mye-du, Yin-daw and Yamethin. Dr Than Tun mentioned that these people later became citizens. On 17 November 1807, the King Sanay appointed a man called Abisha Hussani as the leader of the Muslim community. He (Hussaini) brought Holy Koran (Quran) and translated it to Burmese language.  All these new migrant communities are working hard, produce more and there are surpluses.At the same time some or most of them are also the servicemen of the Royal Army (tat-ma-taw ). It was also reported that earlier some Burman Kings hire Indian Muslim soldiers, mercenaries to fight for the country. {Refer : Dr Than Tun (2003)}
Please refer the following page nos 131 and 136 from above mentioned Dr Than Tun (2003) book.

King  Sanay has also regulated the practice of Buddhist principle when the dispute rose up among the Sanga (Thanga) .Refer the following.
The correct wearing of the monastic robe became an issue during the reign of Sanay Min (1698-1714) when opinion was divided into two groups within the arannavasi monks (Mamaka 2002:58, Nanabhivamsa 1956;181). One group became known as ekamsika (one shoulder wearing robe i.e. atin in Burmese) and the second group was known as parupana (‘covering up’ or two shoulder wearing robe i.e. ayon in Burmese). Atula was the leader of the ekamska group. Many debates on this subject had previously been held in the Sudhamma zayat but no resolution was ever reached. When Atula failed to provide an authoritative text to convince the King of his views on how the robe should be worn, the King ordered him to be defrocked and he was sent into exile in 1784. The King issued royal edicts ordering the whole monastic community to adopt the parupana practice and whoever resisted was to be defrocked (Pranke 2008;6). In 1799, more than a decade after the royal edicts the same issue emerged again, this time by a forest monk called Indasara who attempted to use anoter text to support the practice of ekamsika. The King ordered him to be defrocked and all texts that supported the practice of ekamsika to be burnt (Charney 2006;98).{ Bhikkhu, Nagasena (2012)Pp89 : The monastic boundary (sīmā) in Burmese Buddhism: authority, purity and validity in historical and modern contexts. PhD Thesis. SOAS, University of London}

These two kings may be lesser kings and not so famous. Referring to above text we noted that King Sanay has authority to purify and validate the Buddhism. The two kings are great in the perspective of nation building. They laid the foundations of multi-culture and multi-racial modern Burma. They had written the history of earliest multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-culture country in south-east Asia. As country and its people had the internal strength of unity they could counter and fight external threats in their reigns.

)   The religious rightist extremism:
       It is a religious rightist extremist suddenly arises in the name of nationalist “969” led by  the Buddhist Monk U Wirathu just after he was released from prison. At first it targets Muslims and their businesses, properties, and lives. He, U Wirathu instigated quite substantial arbitrary killings which he denies responsibility. But then he declares himself as radical and introduced himself to the world as Burmese Bin Laden. And some Burman and Rakhine people are polarized by “969”. If the readers would like to know more about it, can find on internet. The followings are some of the links. The contents are the view and opinions of the original writers.

   The following is the original DVB news link for your information.

   The following is the Special Report of Reuters 


Recently a group of Buddhist Monks stopped the literary talks arranged by NLD team which include two Muslim gentlemen without reasons. Apparently the group stopped them because they are Muslims . However there is hidden agenda which exposes as to bar the oppositions interacting and communicating with the people or just to exclude Muslims in the process of democratization or both. It is perplexed.
This phenomenon, deploying Buddhist Monks, is typical like the one came up in 1970’s in general.  Particularly in December, 1974 the phenomenon was symbolic in U Thant’s Affair. And also in 1975 Mhaing yar-pyi , 100 year anniversary of Sayar Gyi U Lun (a) Tha-khin Ko-daw-Hmaing. The phenomenon is not only dangerous but also suppressive. It is dangerous that it will jeopardize the process of democratic reform as well as disintegration of unity. Now there is obvious cracks among the Sangah (Thanga). Some Sanga(Thanga) mentioned that they disagree with these symbolic, suppressive activities. They even mentioned that these activities are against the principle of the Enlighten One, Gaudama Buddha’s teaching.
The 969 groups and U Wirathu mentioned their worry that Muslim are planning to take over the whole Burma and there are Muslim countries supporting Muslim community in Burma. This is unfounded. The most of the Muslim countries are having crises. Their own problems and are huge, numerous and complex. They will take long, long, long time to solve their own problems. So they cannot afford their time and resources to interfere in Burmese affair. Some small individuals in Indonesia and Malaysia may cry loud as if they will do something but their governments are not tolerating. The two governments take immediate actions and punished those responsible.
Earlier Turkey helped and try to mitigate to normalize the situation in Burma in general and Arakan(Rakhine) in particular. But now they also have their own internal, political problems and cannot think much about Burma.
Bengaldesh is also not interested to get involve it this matter. They have also problems as many as Burma if not more. They are more concentrating on their industrialization and modernization of their factories and would like to improve their infrastructures. They need more power. They have decided to go for nuclear energy and started the feasibility study. Now Bengaldesh GDP is higher than that of Burma. Therefore what “969” talks  are baseless and unfounded. 
This 969 group makes the divide in the Sanga(Thanga)  as well as among officials and normal citizens. They even mentioned themselves as nationalists. If one want to be nationalist, he should study history and would find the father of Burma Nationalism is Tha-khin Ko Daw Hmaing (a) Saya Gyi U Lun. I remember Tin Moe’s poem “
ကြမ္းအစ္တလုံး၊ ေရာင္တထုံးနွင့္၊
ရင္ဖုံးအင္က်ီ၊ ဖ်င္ပင္နီနွင့္၊
ေယာထည္ပဆုိး၊ မင္ေႀကာင္ထုိးနွင့္၊
အဖုိးကဝိ ၊ ပညာရွိ 
But Saya Gyi U Lun acknowledeged diversity and multi-racial and multi-religious community, in Burma.

Now is the time for all the ethnic races are to be united. Burmese should remember and bear on mind  two paramount principles which are vital for the democratization.
1)      Unity ,
2)      Nationalism
1)      Unity : Ah Shin U Visara taught unity by describing the bundle of the bamboo and individual single piece of bamboo. The bundle of bamboo is very difficult to break while single bamboo pole can be easily broken. Therefore the statue of Ah-Shin U Visara is sitting on the concrete pillar which looks like a bamboo bundle. It was situated in U Visara( U Wisara) road, Rangoon (Yangon).နြား ကြဲရင္ က်ားဆြဲမယ္။ က်ားကေတာထဲမွာမဟုတ္ေတာ့ဘဲကုိယ့္အိမ္ထဲေရာက္ေနျပီဆုိတာကုိမေမ့သင့္ပါ။ ဒီက်ားကုိေမာင္းထုတ္ရန္သာ အေရးအႀကီးဆုံးျဖစ္သည္။
    The relevant literary talk by U Phone (datu)

2)     Nationalism :     To observe principle and practice of အဖုိးသခင္ကုိယ္ေတာ္မႈိင္း Tha-khin Ko Daw Hmaing (a) Saya Gyi U Lun. It has been mentioned briefly above described in Sayar (U) Tin Moe’s poem.

       Brief biography of Thakin Kodaw Hmine {From Hans-Bernd Zöllner (2009)}
      The Burmese poet Laureate and nationalist writer Saya (Master) Lun, or Thakin Kodaw Hmine was born on March 23, 1876, in Wale village in Shwedaung Township. He spent his boyhood mostly in Upper Burma, in the region around Monywa and Mandalay, where he studied in various monasteries. 

              Thakin Kodaw Hmine wrote forty books and edited another fifteen books.He was also given the
     Ah Liga Kyaw Swar title by the government, the highest award for literature and arts. He passed away on July 23, 1964, in Rangoon.{From Hans-Bernd Zöllner (2009)}
      Refer details in the following text.
      ဆရာလြန္း (ဆရာၾကီးသခင္ကိုယ္ေတာ္မိႈင္း) ၏ ျမန္မာရာဇ၀င္ခ်ဳပ္ စာအုပ္ အမွာစကား မွ ေကာက္နဳတ္ခ်က္
      ကၽြန္ဳပ္တို႔ဆႏၵ ။ မူလလိုရင္း အဓိပၸါယ္မ်ား မွာ ။ ဘုရားေဟာ က်မ္းစာေတာ္ႏွင္႔၄င္း ။ အေနာက္နိဳင္ငံသားတို႔အေလ႔ ။ အေတြ႕ အျမင္ ပညာရပ္မ်ိဳးႏွင္႔ေသာ္၄င္း ။ အေၾကာင္းအက်ိဳး မညီညြတ္ေစကာမူ ။ ျမန္မာလူမ်ိဳးတို႔၏ ေရွးေဟာင္း အတၳဳပတၱိအရ ။ ေဘာ္ျပေသာေပမူ ။ ပရပိုက္မူ တို႔ႏွင္႔ ။ တပ္တူညီမွ် ရန္ ။ စီမံျပသ၍ ။ ကာလအေလ်ာက္ ။ လူလားေျမာက္ေသာ ျမန္မာလူမ်ိဳး ကေလးသူငယ္ ။ ပညာသယ္ရွင္ လူအမ်ားတို႔မွာ ။ မိမိတို႔ကို ေမြးဖြားရာ ။ ျမန္မာျပည္၏ အေၾကာင္းအရာတို႔ကို ။ ေကာင္းစြာယူမွတ္ ။ တတ္သိၾကေစရန္ ။ ရည္သန္ေျမာ္လင္႔ျပီးခါ -----။
{Source : nyachitthukalay blog}

Now it is for Burmese leaders, Sanga (Thanga) and the educated intellectuals to decide if they should erase what their forefather King Sanay : Sri Maha Sihasura Dhamma Raja (Thiri Maha Thiha Thura Dhamma Yaza )  has officially written in the royal decree last three hundred years ago! Nevertheless the present government of Burma is promising the political reform. First and foremost it should be recognized that the teaching of “969” is destructive and extremely dangerous for the people, the country and democratization. Unless there are will and power to stop the monsters driven vehicle “969” which is explosive otherwise it is worrisome if  “Burma democratization is at the point of U-turn.”
{We have sincere intention. We request to stop those individuals who are using Buddha's teaching at the wrong direction, killings human being (panatipata kan), destroying the properties and resources, but we would like to see the genuine Buddha's teachings to prevail and help those who are less fortunate and extremely poor. Request to Sangha Taw Ashin Myat Myar :
အရွင္ဘုရားတုိ. ဆိတ္ဆိတ္ေနေတာ္ မမူပါနဲ.ဘုရား။ တရားျမတ္ကု္ိ မွန္ကန္စြာ နားလည္က်င့္ၾကံၾကရန္ မိန္.ၾကားေတာ္မူၾကပါဘုရား။}

Please also refer the following article on Dr. Lun Swe's Media Blog which is very relevant to the subject context of this work.
ႏိုင္ငံသားေတြရဲ႕ လြတ္လပ္စြာ ေဟာေျပာခြင့္၊ ဘယ္လို ကာကြယ္ရမလဲ  

Here the question arises if these monks are genuine or are they same as the groups involved when attacking and suppressing student protests during 1974 UN SG (United Nation Secretary General) U Thant's Funeral Affairs and 1975 Tha-Khin Ko-Daw-Hmaing's annivrsary?
The following article in Burmese language posted by Nay Phone Latt is also relevant to this subject. It is his view on what is happening in Burma after 2011.

လူမ်ိဳးတုန္းသတ္ျဖတ္မႈ(Genocide) ဆီ ဦးတည္ေနၿပီလား

 Regardless of whether you are Buddhists (Rahine) or Muslims (Kalar), all of you are Bengali. The people who are living around and at the coastal region of Bay of Bengal is called Bengali. In addition all of you (both Buddhist and Muslims in Rakhine state, people in Bengladesh and West Bengal, India) have more similarity than differences and descendants of same parent stock. So all of you are relatives, kin, brothers, sisters, and so on.You should not allow someone or some organizations who are dividing your community based on religion. The Rakhine (Buddhist) should not allow killings of their relatives Rakhines who are Muslims and vice-versa. Now, the Rakhine leaders (Dr Aye Maung, U Aye Thar Aung and U Shwe Maung) both (Buddhists and Mulims) should call each other “brothers”, shake hand and work together immediately for the unity of the Rakhine people and Rakhine-Desa. Brothers, only metta (Love) can ensure safety, security and peace.

(ညီေနာင္တုိ. -ေမတၱာျခဳံ မွ လုံပါတယ္။)

For the information for the entire history refer the following country report.
 Myanmar Update


1 comment:

  1. Information regarding Muslim community establishment in Burma mentioned in the following webpage are not correct.
    Dear readers,
    kindly refer this webpage for correct information.