- By Than Phyo Naing
(Ka Nyin Kyoe)
As Martyrs’ Day approaches, it always moves me into tears whenever I reflect on a poem, composed by poet Daung Yin Thway in tribute of Bogyoke (General) Aung San, that I came across on the social media. The beautiful poem is an accolade to our Bogyoke, composed with poetic words such as ‘the July rains’, ‘sobbings and heavy crying’, ‘an extraordinary man made for eternal memories’, and ‘a human being missed by one and all’.
Martyrs’ Day has now entered its 71st anniversary. The gloomy dark day of 19 July 1947 is a day of mourning when Bogyoke Aung San and seven Arzarni (martyred) leaders, namely, Thakhin Mya, Deedok U Ba Cho, U Abdul Razak, U Ba Win, U Mahn Ba Khaing, U Sao San Tun and U Ohn Maung were gunned down.
Annual observance of the Martyrs’ Day
Amidst the July rains, it is an unforgettable day indeed for middle-aged 35-year old citizens, like me, or the seniors who have a sound knowledge about Bogyoke Aung San and other Arzarni leaders, gained through different sources at different times. It was told as bedtime stories by parents, lectured by teachers at school up till the end of high school, or listened at events, such as poem reciting competitions, music performances, essay writing contests, and so on.
Moreover, on each and every Arzarni Day on 19 July, whether rain or shine, we gathered at school and rallied round the national flag flying at half mast, and saluted it at the dot of 10:37 am, by staying in silent for one minute with tears welling up in our eyes.
In cities and towns across the country, loud siren calls are heard to alert all vehicles and citizens to stand still in silence as a gesture of mourning for the Arzarni leaders. Who cannot be saddened by seeing trains stopping at mid-rail tracks among rice fields, blowing their loud train sirens as a respect to the fallen Arzarni leaders?
Always on my mind
Despite the fact that our beloved martyrs are not going to be brought back to life, the whole nation annually observes this mourning day by paying tributes through meritorious deeds and sharing the merits thus gained.
The Arzani leaders are always on our mind with eternal memories. What is the reason we could never ever forget them? Each and every one of us knows that these martyrs have sacrificed their lives for the country. However, at this time of the year, at least, we would like to share and reminisce about the Arzarni leaders just for the sake of keeping them in our memory.
At this juncture, I would like to share about Bogyoke Aung San, for which I could make endless talks without feeling tired or thirsty. In fact, Bogyoke had amazing and marvelous mental strength compared to others. That is why we will all never forget Bogyoke, embedded in our hearts as our Arzarni hero, in loving memory forever.
Exemplary characteristics of our Bogyoke
Without any doubt, we have accepted Bogyoke as an ideal and exemplary leader with high moral character and in excellent mental and physical conditions. As Bogyoke happened to be an ultimate and perfect organizer, leaders of today are sure to emulate the role model of Bogyoke in their performances in the line of duty, as we work together in elevating the image of the country.
Bogyoke had high moral characters, such as that of extreme honesty with an workaholic mindset, that of truth-loving and patriotism, that of selfless but extreme love for the country, that of avoiding self-interest but of sacrificial unto death, that of discarding power and authority, that of extreme simplicity of life without flamboyance, that of avoiding a single dime from the government budget for personal advantage, that of high moral character, and that of devotion and faithfulness to family life. One could endlessly praise him.
Disgusted with corruption
The most respectable character of his life was he hated corruption and greatly abhorred graft. Furthermore, when he received some sort of gifts in cash and kind, he converted them to funds for the independence struggle. He was a man of vision who inclined his thoughts only for the good of the nation and its people, a man with pure simple heart just to work for the country. As a result, there is no person that dislikes Bogyoke, the situation of which had sadly created a security vacuum atmosphere with no bodyguards for our Bogyoke.
Things to be emulated from Bogyoke
It is undeniable that Bogyoke was the architect of our independence and stood out as the ideal person to be emulated and followed by all citizens. He was equipped with all the fine characteristics, such as that of a good citizen, that of the perfect way of living, and that of serving for the nation and the people.
Bogyoke paved the way of a nobel life as he could stand against the litmus test of overall quality and standard criteria of a good leader, working for the nation until the day he was assassinated. The most salient point of his character was that he had hard rock mentality with good faith in working for the people and the nation.
Youths of today should study about the lifestyle of Bogyoke and his biography, including the dresses that he wore during his different capacities and diverse portfolios while serving for the country.
Every parent must nurture heroes
There is a most popular local song entitled ‘Asian Heroes’, in which the lyrics contain some phrases or sentences, like, ‘all parents must nurture heroes like Bogyoke Aung San’, and ‘parents must raise Arzarni kids’. In other words, parents must take care of and train their kids into heroic youngsters.
To follow his policy and work for the country
In conclusion, the author of this article would like to urge all that we should remember Bogyoke not only during the July rains, but to reflect throughout the year, come summer, rain or winter, on what he and other Arzarni leaders have done for us and for the country.
We have our own duty to fulfill wherever our country needs us, such as that of national unity, the eternal peace, and the development of the country. These tasks should be carried out with a similar mindset of Bogyoke. While we remember Bogyoke forever in our hearts, we must also work like Bogyoke, and parents must train and nurture kids to grow up like our heroic Bogyoke.
Translated by UMT (HK)