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January 19, 2020

2019 National Victory Day in Myanmar

  • by Arakan Sein
  • Marble stone slab inscribed with the names of the eleven students leaders at the Shwedagon Pagoda. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Every country has its National Victory Day, which usually designates the date on which a people achieved independence and became a nation, or which marks some other important threshold crossed in a nation’s history.
National Victory Day in Myanmar has become a symbol of the unbreakable link between political and intellectual freedom, and the important role that students have played in the politics of Myanmar.

The role of U Ottama
Even if he was imprisoned several times by the British colonial government , he tried to expel the Governor of our country to go home to Britain. Many Myanmar regard the boycott as the first step towards independence. The legislation would have limited access to higher education for all but the wealthiest families, but the student boycott ultimately led to revisions in the Act. Myanmar universities have produced many national heroes, the greatest of whom was Aung San. Student leaders were principally responsible for igniting the 1988 uprising. This year, it falls on Thursday of November 21.

History of Myanmar National Victory Day
The holiday marks the beginning of student-led protests against British in 1920. In 1886, Myanmar came under the British control, with the capital of Yangon, being an important port situated between India and Singapore. From the earliest days of colonization, there was a strong feeling of resentment against the rule of the British, with student protests of 1920 seen as the start of the resistance movement that ultimately led to independence in 1948.

Starting from the Yangon and Judson Colleges
In 1920, the two colleges began protests against the British Administration’s Yangon University Act of 1920. The Act raised the status of Yangon College to that of a University. The protests ignited a call for nationalism in the students, the basis of which formed the key elements of the movement for independence. The national holiday is a day to remember not just 1920 protests, but also the key role played by students in the creation of modern-day Myanmar.
It is the anniversary of the beginning of the unrest against British rule in 1920 that eventually led to independence in 1948.
Specifically, it is the date of the first student strike at Yangon University. Further strikes occurred in 1935 and 1938, and these strikes served to rouse national identity and opposition to British colonial policies. The exact day of Myanmar National Date changes each year since it is based on Myanmar calendar system.
The history of the student boycott
The history leading to the student boycott is the background of the National Victory Day. In 1824, The British conquered Myanmar and Myanmar was added in 1886 to the British India, being a separate province with that realm.
In 1929, the Buddhist monks attempted to physically force Europeans out of a pagoda when they refused to remove their shoes before entering.
This incident helped fuel the fire leading to the student boycott. Finally, on 5 December, 1920, the unpopular new British regulations led the students at Yangon University to protest.
Soon, the protests spread throughout the land to other schools. Ultimately, the unrest continued until independence was granted on 4th January, 1948. While National Victory Day is marked on the auspicious day of Tazaungmone, it is in itself a major time of public celebrations.
Monks, students, and expatriates all are typically a part of the National Victory Day Protests.
In conclusion, I would like to urge the people of country to go forward in the spirit of unity and solidarity as our independence was gained at the expense of many people’s lives.

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