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November 20, 2018

Reminiscence of the 18th Union Day Anniversary

By Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja, Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt

The Reminiscence of the 18th Anniversary of the Union Day 12-2-1965
Politically auspicious day of to-day the 71st anniversary of the Union Day 12 February 2018, my thoughts linger back to the 18th anniversary of the Union Day 12 February 1965, 53 years ago. That great event took place at the foot of naturally beautiful Zwegabin Hill, the landmark of Kayin State.
Months before the occasion, preparations were made by the Government and the people. A large space was made at the foot of the Hill by clearing the thick forests and levelling the undulating ground, on which masses of all Myanmar ethnic nationalities were to assemble to commemorate the anniversary. Besides the entire rural town Pa-an was raised to the state of totally urbanized capital of Kayin State Town’s areas were extended. Infrastructures were improved and increased. The plan to open Pa-an Collage was begun. Houses to accommodate the various ethnic delegations, officers for Committees and Sub-committees and their accommodations, accommodations for the VIPs of Myanmar Government and Embassies, Union ethnic Leaders, and media The Guardian, The Nation, The Working Peoples Daily, Kyemon, Myanmar Alin Thuriya The Sun Daily branch officers and Presses were set up.
The writer of this article was the head and professor of the Department of Modern History and Political Science, Mawlamyine Degree College. He was assigned to the compilation and publishing of the history of Kayin State. So he carried out that task on time with the cooperation of the staffs of Geography, Geology and Anthropology Departments of the College. Dr. Pe Thaung the Principal of the College himself was a native of Chaung Zone or Bilu kyun. So he could direct us where and whom we should tap and collect data for our work. The army provided us with land, water and air transport for data collection. We hovered many times on Kayin State and landed on the Summit of Zwegabin Hill. Amazing and exciting job we never dreamt before. Amidst nature’s beauty were dotted several historical and religious monuments on the Summits, in the valleys of the hills and mountain ranges. The entire Dohnataung- tan was dark blue under the azure sunny sky. From Mawlamyine College to Pa-an we took riverine journey every weekend and stopped on the way to study the historic sites on either bank of the River Than Lwin with many tributaries. So called Shwegun Boat was the only major transport between Mawlamyine and Shwegun in the north. By special arrangement we visited old teak house built of only one teak trunk called Taing-ta-lone Ein, U Nan Lauk’s monastic complex temples and Pagodas. As we approached we visited many natural stone caves, Kawgun Cave, Latkhana Cave, Saddan Cave, Bayin nyee Cave, Khayone Cave etc., etc. multiple natural formations such as Stella mites and stellatites chandeliers of stone from above, anthill shaped stone pillars from below, red-coloured drips or drops of chemical solution called Kyauk Thwe [ausmufaoG;] which local people believe use as panacea for curing all dis-cases, breath taking views of water gusting from atop or from the mouths of stone caves. The famous Saddan Cave was believed to be the dwelling den of the white Elephant Saddan, one of the previous lives of Lord Gotama Buddha. On the ceilings and walls of such caves were stuck multiple terra-cotta tablets with embossed or painted letters of Mon, Pali and Kayin. Some places were missing due to the believers’ acts of sacrilege. Around the areas, undersea fossils and artifacts of cave dwellers of the Neolithic Stone Age were often chance-discovered. The old legend that Suvanna Bhumi was on the sea coast and the meaning of Zwegabin was the jetty post to type the ropes when the ships anchored there. These paleontological and archaeological finds have convinced us that those legends are true. There are many hot water springs and ponds in Kayin State. They are sulpher springs. Some are so hot that you can even boil egg in them. For relaxation, therapy treatment or pleasure, people young and old, both home and abroad, visit these hot springs and ponds.
Rock formations of grotesque shapes are also attractions, here too numerous to mention them. The writer recommends better visit yourself as “seeing is believing”.
Now, lets turn to the 18th Union Day Commemorative Ceremony. As the writer was chosen the master of ceremony in full dress with head-gear Gaugbaung, Long over coat [Yin phone Eingyi] and Pu-soe-taung-shey [elongated long nether garment] stood at the rostrum surrounded by amplifiers. An army of media men focused their instruments on the MC Master of Ceremony the writer who announced the opening of the ceremony, inviting the VIPS according to their seniority of rank beginning with the President of the Republic of the Union of Burma [Myanmar]. His Excellency Bogyoke San Yu when all were seated, the writer M.C invited the delegations of the ethnic nationalities according to the alphabetal order.
Next followed the programme of items -salutation of the Flag of the Union which raised to the top of the mast in tune with the National Anthem being played. Then 3 minutes’ silence to remember and to pay respect and loving kindness [metta] to Bogyoke Aung San and all fallen national leaders. Then Presidential address echoed the entice mass rally and beyond reaching out to the ten directions. The mass rally dispersed with the slogans sounding about our three main causes “Non-disintegration of the Union, Non disintegration of National Solidarity and Perpetuation of our sovereignty. ‘’Two weeks of Seminar, presentations of papers, discussions, questions and answers, advice, suggestion for the solidarity, promotion of cultural heritage of all ethic nationalities and holding of the Union Day Anniversary at the capitals of the States proved that the achievement of 1st Panglong Conference of 20th century led by Bogyoke Aung San and his colleagues had borne fruits, though he and many of his colleagues were now no more. About 3 to 4 years following 1965, 18th Anniversary at Pa-an, there was a complete peace across the counting. So the anniversaries took place at Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi and Myitkyina. But unfortunately armed conflicts broke out across the country. So now Chin State [Special Division], Rakhine State, Kayah State and Mon State failed to get their turns.
To-day as the present Government, political parties and ethnic nationalities and the entice peoples of Myanmar are working togather for realizing the 21st century Panglong Conference with the process of democratization, we are witnessing some progress inspite of challenges home and abroad. The writer, now an Octogenarian, is still healthy, a sound mind in a sound body, and he is never hesitant to take his share if he is called upon to take. His only wish and prayer is that he’ll live to see the 21st century Panglong Conference achieved.

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