Long as you ceased
to exist. . . .
People still recounting your story . . . .
With admiration, remembrance and grief . . . .
Sorrowfully, I was reciting some of a passage from the poem titled “To our Bogyoke Aung San,” composed by the poet Sayar Min Yu Wai.
As against Myanmar saying, “Time will erase our remembrance to the deceased,” we will never ever forget the person we should not drive out of our memories. He is none other than our national leader-cum-Myanmar Independence’s Architect, Bogyoke Aung San. Though he was gone, his name is still alive in our minds.
Since his childhood, Maung Htein Lin (a) Maung Aung San was simple and straightforward, never in the habit of telling a lie. Starting from the adulthood as a university student, he devoted himself for the sake of the Independence of the country. Throughout the career in politics, he gained public love, admiration, respect and trust as Thakin Aung San, Bogyoke Aung San, National Leader, Architect of Myanmar Independence.
We were blessed with such a person endowed with wholesome basics of a saintly being, viz., enormous amounts of Bogyoke Aung San’s virtues—simplicity and arduous effort, straightforwardness, solemnity, patience, lack of craving and living on frugality, hatred of superficial pretence, being free from taking opportunity, love of the truth, ways of speaking out bluntly what is right, prompt response to everything wrong, spirit of readiness to sacrifice, strong patriotism, being ready and willing to perform in the interest of the country and its people. These virtues made us remember him till now.
Ko Aung San aged 17 who passed his matriculation with distinctions in Myanmar and Pali languages from the National High School in Yenanchaung, joined the Yangon University in 1932. The young boy sacrificed his life to liberate Myanmar and the whole populace from the colonial rule. During his stay as a hostel student at the university, he had to use wooden luggage only, unlike iron luggage used by the then university students. His wooden luggage is still being shown in the room where Bogyoke stayed once as a Bago hostel student, until now.
Here I would like to express some paragraphs about “Natmauk, the small town,” written by Ko Aung San, himself, who loved the literature.
“In Myanmar, there existed a village in the arid zone called Myay Latt (meant for central region of the country), Magway jurisdiction, now in Yenangyoung District, or rather on the half way of Pyinmana-Kyaukpadaung rail-track, where agricultural produce such as sesame, bean and sesame oil are being traded as a business depot.
In the immediate vicinity of the railway station, there were a few lines of dwelling abodes built by the Myanma Railways and brokerage shops. In the surrounding, fields of sesame and groundnut can be seen. Some 400 yards in the north-west from the railway station, there is a small village by the name of Khabaung Gone (a) Nagyarhtoo formed with 100 households or so, situated nearby the “Thae Chaung” of about half mile in diameter.
On the western part of “Thae Chaung”, “Yinn Chaung—in its real name” farming lands and some plantations can be found. Beyond them, there is a village of about 200 houses on the hillock-like open space, protected by an embankment in the east. To the north, not far from there another village comprising of over 100 households is located. Of these villages, the village situated on the western part of the above-said “Thae Chaung” abounds with grand houses and stalls, clerks, TOs “Township Officers,” pleaders and merchants. The village is named “Natmauk,” or “Taung Ywa.”
Nothing was peculiar at the time of my birth, but just after the toddling period I was said to have started showing extraordinary manners. According to my elders, I did not fit in the norm. When I was young, I was late in speaking so much so that my parents were afraid I would have grown up dumb. Very often, I was illness-prone. I liked eating too much, being greatly fond of having beef and fish. Occasionally, my mom used to go to the market with me on her hip. At one time, I grabbed at uncooked beef to eat, according to my mother. Nobody would have known I belonged to an uncivilized tribe in my previous existence, still wanting to live in uncivilized manners so far.
I never acculturate to pretentious cultures. These are crooked in my eyes. At that time, a desire occurred to me to differentiate the civilized people from me, the uncivilized one. The latter is rough/violent and aggressive, but he is straight, solemn, free and healthy. I greatly like the wording, “I ride on my horseback, it does not matter to which place it will carry me.” I assume that it is a very pleasant existence, in my opinion.
As a human being living in Myanmar, I would rather live freely in an uncivilized state than live dependently in a civilized state, more than hundred times. I want to express emphatically that I would like to live on green and broadly stretched wild grass, by shouting freely and whacking with an open palm over the crook of the elbow of the other arm folded across my chest.
This was a short piece of writing by Bogyoke as a young boy.
Soon after the advent of the Second World War, in Myanmar the desire to acquire Home-Rule and the desire to gain Independence are fighting against with each other. Wonderfully enough, the then 24-year-old Thakin Aung San, general secretary of “Doh Bamar Asiayone” managed to form “Bamar Htwet Yat Gai” meant Organization for Burma’s Independence, writing down future plans at a sitting, by claiming that “Difficulty for British will lead to Burma’s Advantage.”
At the AFPFL Preparatory Conference held at 27th September 1946, Bogyoke Aung San disclosed that democracy is the most suitable system for the country to exercise after gaining Independence, hence the determination to build up the democratic nation, as follows:
“After gaining Burma’s Independence, if the whole populace wants to build up a state, we are required to set up a democratic state, the very basic of all. In fact, democracy is the source, from which socialism and communism are derived. Both of them are not pure democracy, searching for doctrines on democracy on the assumption that democracy must be endowed with virtues not only in politics but also in economy.”
“Only if the government is the one elected by the people and it brings about the benefits of the people, will it be the true democracy, with others the false ones.”
Bogyoke Aung San prioritizes national solidarity to gain Full Independence without hilly regions excluded. On 11 February, 1947, Bogyoke Aung San addressed at the dinner party with Sawbwas/ Shan Chiefs of former times, “If we want our country to be prosperous, we can enjoy benefits only if we will make concerted effort in every way. Failing that, it will not be fruitful. Combined efforts will be beneficial. Only if we actually implement, can benefits be achieved.” Afterwards, historic Panglong Agreement was inked successfully, by holding Panglong Conference.
Here is some of the speech addressed by Bogyoke Aung San broadcast on radio at 7:40 pm on 1st January 1947, just prior to departure to England by Bogyoke Aung San and his delegation.
“We need to try our best for us not to meet the event, as if a husky fully-grown male elephant finding it difficult to get out at the last phase of its tail reaching the exit. We need to take care and it is necessary for the whole people to be united and disciplined, without being harmed by others. We are required to move on to our destination, without losing the sight of our goal.”
In January, 1947 Bogyoke Aung San went to England, accompanied by Thakin Mya, U Tin Htut and U Saw, making preliminary discussions as Pre-Independence. In addition, it was proclaimed that “Independence must be gained within one year,” at the general parliamentary elections held at in April 1947.
Here is also excerpt from the speech addressed at the dinner party given in honor of him at the City Hall on 28th February 1947.
“In performing political duties, especially a leader is to be broad-minded more than his followers. If he is in the dilemma, being confused as to whose saying would be true, he is not a leader. A leader must dare to say or explain what he believes, must be ready to sacrifice if needed. A person without self-confidence will never trust fellow citizens. As for me, I believe myself and you all.”
At the mass meeting held at the Maha Bandoola Park in front of the Yangon City Hall on 13th July 1947, activities and performances carried out for Myanmar Independence and matters to be implemented further were presented to the public. Some of the addresses finally made by Bogyoke Aung San are here for our people to note down.
“If you want Independence, you need to abide by discipline which deserves Independence, and you must build up a situation by which Independence can be gained.”
“I hereby want to say that you urgently need to work hard, to keep disciplines and to abandon you evil and old habits and your blankety-blank behaviors, if you would like to savor the taste of Independence.”
While making concerted effort for gaining Independence, Bogyoke Aung San and patriots were assassinated by a group of evil villains at 10:37 am on 19th July, 1947. The fallen patriots were Bogyoke Aung San, Thakin Mya, Deedoke U Ba Cho, Sayargyi U Razak, U Ba Win, Mahn Ba Khaing, Maipon Sawbwa Sao San Tun, secretary U Ohn Maung and Yebaw Ko Htwe—altogether nine. That assassination caused a great mournful Martyrs’ Day for the whole nation.
It will reach exactly 70 years that Bogyoke Aung San and martyrs disappeared from our sight. Why we still remember Bogyoke Aung San. Obviously enough, Bogyoke played the most important role among all those who made efforts for liberating the country from colonial rule. He is a national architect of Union of Myanmar. Simultaneously, he is the Father of Tatmadaw who built Myanmar Tatmadaw. And, he is the leader who signed the Panglong Agreement that is the foundation of National Solidarity. Bogyoke’s speeches are still true until now.
Hence, he must be said to be the kind of rarity in the world. Throughout his life, he did as he said and he said as he did. Starting from his salad days when he studied his academic learning, till his demise, his only objective is to gain Myanmar Independence from the hands of the British. As regards the truth, there was no one he cared. He was the one daring to say and perform what he considered to be true. He never did anything by giving promises what he could not take responsibility. He never told indirectly, always in the habit of saying bluntly according to his assumption and belief. He could tolerate suffering from difficulties, hunger and hardships. He frequently forgot everything including sleeping and taking meal when he was absorbed in working.
He never retreated from any difficulties.
For these virtues, not only Myanmar People but also British Ministers and Generals including Prime Minister Atlee could not help praising him. It was learnt that Nehru, Indian Prime Minister regarded Bogyoke Aung San he greatly admired and respected to be an ideal Independence hero of the whole India Continent.
For this, the whole nation felt great sorrow for Bogyoke Aung San’s death, weeping mournfully. Bogyoke’s assassination can be said to be the loss for Myanmar as well as for the world.
After the death of Bogyoke Aung San who performed the wellbeing of the country, his virtues overwhelmed hearts of the whole nation and its people. His name will exist in the world eternally.
Myanmar dictionary defines Arzani, “Martyr” as the person who is well convinced of what is right or wrong and who is well endowed with the spirit of readiness to sacrifice for people’s sake.
To sum it up, on this mournful Martyrs’ Day, we are to pay respect and emulate their spirits and marvelous deeds, by contemplating their gratitude.
Monsoon rain is falling continually. Though he disappeared from our sight, Bogyoke Aung San will eternally exist in our hearts as the national political monarch. Our sorrow and remembrance about our Bogyoke Aung San and Martyrs will never end.
Translated by Khin Maung Oo (Tada-U)