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August 08, 2020

Aung San, the Man

 

By Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt

The writer got the above title from Bo Tun Hla [Tetkatho Nay Win] whom he met on many occasions and with whom he became thick friend. In his capacity as Director-General of Fine and Performing Arts, Ministry of Culture [1975-83] he had to chair the colonial committee for holding of the Anniversary of Martyrs’ Day 19 July. Bo Htun Hla attended the committee meeting, and we two talked about Bogyoke’s biography. Then, again, when we often met each other on our literary talks across the country in the month of Natdaw’s Writer’s Day, Bo Htun Hla often suggested me as follows:
“Ko Khin Maung Nyunt, you are an historian and also you are the Chairman of official Compilation of Bogyoke Aung San Biography. Surely you would treat him officially Aung San,The Thakhin, Aung San, Editor of Oway magazine, Aung San the President of Ta-Ka-Tha [Students’ Union], Aung San the leader of Yebaw Thone Gyeik [Thirty Comrades], Aung San the founder of modern Army [B.D.A, B.I.A], Aung San the leader of AFPFL, Aung San the leader of First Pinlong Conference. Aung San the leader who parleyed with the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee in British Parliament from whom he got the promise of granting independence to Myanmar; Aung San who rejected the British Simla White Paper; Aung San who campaigned across the country for the Federal Union on the model of British Parliamentary System; Aung San who was assassinated with his colleagues on the morning of 19 July 1947 while sitting the Executive Committee which I narrowly escaped as Aung San asked me to get a file on his table. All these facts of his life would be recorded in his official biography,”
“But, Ko Khin Maung Nyunt, you should not miss Aung San, an ordinary man like you and me. He was human and he behaved humanly. He sung, he swore, he burst into laughter, … he appreciated the feminine beauty and he wrote love letters. But he was too outspoken… he sang May Shin’s song “Kyaung Peik Yet”[ကျောင်းပိတ်ရက်] and May Than’s and Daw Than Aye’s songs. I had to prompt him where he forgot. He made music from his mouth and hand. While were campaigning in Rakhine State we had to use bicycle. He could not ride bicycle. He sat on the carrier at the back and gave political lectures. But he was a goes hiver and hues rider. He even wanted to pilot army plane.
“He wrote “Love” letters to pretty college girls. The writer got a chance to read his love letter to one Professor of the Institute of Education. Given at that time this Lady Professor was very beautiful. She showed me the love letter she received from Ko Aung San. When Bogyoke Aung San was in the kind cure of his private nurse Daw Khin Kyi, he found real love and life partner. He revealed that to Daw Khin Kyi and sang out to her the following piece of song of his own creation in the tune of the chorus of the recorded song of Singer Daw Kyi Aung “ Ya Thi Dawoo: “ ကတိသစ္စာပြုကာ၊ မှန်တာကိုပြောမည်၊ ဘယ်မိန်းမမှမချစ်ခဲ့သည်၊ သဒ္ဓါကပိုသည်၊ ဆရာမကိုပဲ၊ အသဲစွဲအောင်ချစ်မိပြီ [To speak the truth, I have never ever loved any fair sex, But now my entire love showers on my Nurse Saya ma with all my heart and soul.]
His bodyguard [အပါးတော်မြဲ] Bo Htun Hla [ Tekkatho Nay Win] told me that he was asked by Bogyoke to pay him an engagement ring, a one karat diamond ring. It was later placed in the custody of the Myanmar Government. We can see it at National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw.
Mr Lal, an Indian man , and the owner of cold drink shop at the Roundabout at Hletan told me: “Once Bogyoke Aung San visited my shop by surprise, greeting me very warmly, embracing me and he yelled. Bogyoke said, ‘Hey, Lal, I came to settle my debt for your cold drink.”
“Oh. No. Ko Aung San. I have nothing of those days. I am very happy because you still remember me and visit me,” said Mr Lal. “When he was lying in State in Jubilee Hall with other assassinated bodies of his colleagues, I visited and burst out my uncontrolled weeping as I paid my homage. “Oh, Thakhin Aung San, Bogyoke Aung San, why don’t you take me with you? The crowd nearby watched me also weeping.” Pinlong U Pe Khin, I.C.S Myanmar Ambassador to Egypt, told me about impatience and short temper of Bogyoke Aung San. “He could not stand the long negotiation with ethic leaders at Pinlong. He said he would leave by earliest plane. U Pe Khin claimed him down saying, “A negotiator’s or diplomats’ or statesman’s patience is beyond measure.” Bogyoke accepted his words. Also Bo Htun Hla told me that Bogyoke Aung San was blatantly outspoken. Htun Hla (Tetkatho Nay Win) told me that blatant outspokenness of Bogyoke Aung San as follows: “While we were political campaigning in Rakhine state, we were given bicycles. Bogyoke yelled out to me, “I don’t know how to ride bicycle.” “Don’t yell out. Keep quiet. I’ll carry you on the back seat,” Htun Hla replied. The writer himself a Mandalay born, Anya Thar, he learnt bicycle riding only when he reached high school. We, Anya Thars, walked and hitchhiked. Bogyoke easily rode buffalo, bulllock cart, elephant, horse, army jeep, truck, army water craft and even trying to fly army plane. He had never learnt bicycle riding. “I have to teach him English table manners and etiquette. How to wear English suite smartly. I also told him about English hierocracy, English highbrowism. He learnt quickly. When he parleyed with Mr. Clement Atlee, he could impress Atlee and colleagues. Atlee said, “I can work with Aung San. He is outspoken and honest. We would grant you independence soon. But, you draw up your constitution,” said Bo Htun Hla. The writer also learnt simple and frank character of Bogyoke Aung San from Darawan U Kan Thein, nightwatch man of Tetkatho (University) building.
U Kan Thein himself was an Anya Thar, always wearing some cotton garments with a turban of face towel. He recalled: “Thakhin Aung San was string headed. He forgot to bathe, change his dress and eat. I had to remind him often. He slept on a bamboo easy chair. I had to move him on bed under mosquito net. But when he was hungry, he would eat even the leftover rice from pet. He liked boiled bean and wheat naan with sesame oil [ပဲပြုတ်နဲ့နံပြား]. I had to buy [ထမင်းချိုးကြော်] from Pyapon Daw Aye Yin’s shop at the back of Thaton Hostel. The owner did not take money for it. But Ko Aung San paid for it. The writer had many data learnt from his friends in Natmauk Monastic School of U Thawbita in Natmauk, and his hostel mates of Pegu Hostel at Yangon University.

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