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February 29, 2020

Martyrs’ Day Martyr’s Spirit

1947 July 19:  MY 1309 Wagaung 2nd waxing moon

By Maw Lin

As it was rainy season Yangon had rains in the morning. The whole sky was dark and gloomy with rains, sometimes in drizzles and sometimes in fairly heavy showers, but with no time of complete cessation. On that very day Myanmar had a fate as gloomy as the cloudy sky.
On that very morning General Aung San left the house in fresh and joyous mood. He did not know the bad luck for him and for the country was imminent. He was unusual in dress that day as he was not in Khaki Uniform (army uniform) but he was dressed in light yellow Bangkok silk longyi and Mandalay silk Myanmar traditional coat and aeroplane brand white sandal. He looked smart and graceful. Just before leaving the house he hugged his young daughter and gave a tender kiss and left for the Secretariat.
It was the time Myanmar was ensured of Independence through the relentless effort of General Aung San and other national leaders. It was the time when the bright future of Myanmar was imminent.
British Government also had already formed Executive Council (Cabinet) of British Governor that mainly comprised Myanmar political leaders.
General Aung San was made the Deputy Chairman of Executive Council which was formed on 27th September 1946 by Governor of Myanmar, Sir Hubert E. Rance. Although General Aung San was Deputy Chairman he had to take the responsibility of Chairman of the government (EC) in the meetings as the Chairman, Sir Hubert Rance used to fail to attend the meeting. The absence of Sir Hubert Rance in the Executive Council meeting manifested the fact that British government had no longer wanted to meddle with the affairs of Myanmar which in near future would have the power of their own determination and execution. The meetings of ministers (cabinet meetings) were usually held at Governor’s Residence. However, the later cabinet meetings took place at General Aung San’s office in the Secretariat after Aung San- Atlee Treaty was signed by General Aung San and British Prime Minister Mr. Clement Attlee in January 1947.
Cabinet meetings were usually held every Wednesday. However, cabinet meeting coincided with the parliamentary session and it was shifted to Saturday, 19 July 1947. It became a treachery of fate for Myanmar people.
When General Aung San arrived at the Secretariat all the cabinet ministers had been waiting in the office.
There were three entrances to the large meeting room. General Aung San was seated at the top of the table which were arranged in a U shape form. Seated closely on the left was Ministers U Ba Gyan, U Aung Zan Wai, Pyawbwe U Mya and Mongpawn Sawbwa Sao San Tun. On the right of General Aung San seat were Thakhin Mya, Deedok U Ba Cho, U Razak, U Ba Win and Mahn Ba Khaing serially. U Kyaw Nyein, U Vum Ko Haw, Saw San Pho Thin, Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng were then abroad and could not attend the meeting.
Although the Minister for Road, Building and Rehabilitation U Ba Gyan and Minister for Industry and Labour Affairs Mahn Ba Khaing, were not feeling well, they attended the meeting as it is an important meeting for the independence. U Ohn Maung, secretary of Road and Transportation Ministry took place near Thakhin Mya to explain about road and transportation to the cabinet.
In that moment under the incessant rain of Saturday a jeep with No. Plate AC 1814 entered the secretariat and reached the southwestern hall of the secretariat. Four men wearing army uniforms with No. 12 army badge and white canvasses got off the car and quickly went upstair by side stairway. It seemed that the army soldiers came to secretariat on emergency. Then, they immediately entered the meeting room removing the security guard of the meeting room by force and raked the room with three Tommy Guns and one Sten Gun. Immediately after shooting till the bullets ran out, they left the room. They also shot Yebaw Ko Htwe, a body guard of U Razak whom they met direct on the corridor and ran downstair and drove away.
Our national leader, an architect of the nation’s independence had succumbed to death by the 13 bullet shots on the body at 10.45 am.
General Aung San, six other leaders of the pre-independence interim government and one bodyguard — Thakin Mya, U Ba Cho, U Razak, U Ba Win, Mahn Ba Khaing, Sao San Tun, U Ohn Maung and Yebaw Ko Htwe — were assassinated on 19 July, 1947. Sao San Tun died the next day on 20 July at Yangon General Hospital.

Ministers U Ba Gyan, U Aung Zan Wai and Pyawbwe U Mya survived the attack.
On the same day, Galon U Saw’s home was searched on suspicion of involvement in the killings by a squad led by Company Commander Lieutenant Thein Han. During the search, U Saw’s perpetrators fought back, but finally U Saw and 20 men were arrested.
After interrogations, U Saw, who masterminded the assassinations, and his accomplices Maung Soe, Thet Hnin, Maung Sein, Yan Gyi Aung, Thu Kha, Khin Maung Yin, Maung Ni, Hmon Gyi and Ba Nyunt were brought to the court. Later Ba Nyunt became the government witness during the trial.
The tribunal sentenced U Saw and his perpetrators to death. Later, the death sentence of Thu Kha, Khin Maung Yin and Maung Ni were commuted to life imprisonment.
In accordance with the judgment passed by the Supreme Court, U Saw, Hmon Gyi, Maung Soe and Thet Hnin were hanged inside Rangoon’s Insein Prison on 8 May 1948.
Not only Myanmar, but also international communities mourned the assassinations of General Aung San and other leaders.
The assassination of General Aung San and other leaders was one of the ugliest incidents in Myanmar’s history and a big loss for the country and its people.

“Dullabho purisājañño – na so sabbattha jāyati;
Yattha so jāyati dhīro – tam kulam sukhamedhati.”

“The birth of the best of men, the martyr, is very rare; such a person is not born every day. When such a wise hero is born, the entire clan flourishes in happiness.”
Assuming that kind of martyr, endowed with broad-minded, worldly vision is born to a country, a region or a race, the place or the race into which the martyr comes into existence will be blessed and prosperous, for certain.
General Aung San and the national leaders who died with him are the Martyrs of Myanmar. Such kinds of heroes emerged in Myanmar.
Due to terrorist attack that accomplished only death without any attempt to seize political power through people’s support, we lost some of Myanmar’s great leaders. It is an event that should be mourned, because it can never be erased from our memories.
The spirit of a martyr is endowed with the virtues of physical and mental strength, broad-minded, worldly vision, purity of mind and character, and firm resolution to sacrifice one’s life for the sake of the people.
Let us try our best for the myriad of youths with the martyr’s spirit to emerge in Myanmar!
9th July 2017


– Tekkatho Ne Win-Unforgettable July 19.
– U Myat Min (perspective)-When Bogyoke and colleagues had fallen.
– Dagon Myat Lay Nwe-They altogether 9.
– Duwon-The Last Day of Galon U Saw.
– U Than Myint (Tharyawady)-The Last Day of Galon U Saw.
– History of Doh Bama Asiayone.

(Translated by
U Khin Maung Win and
Aye Min Soe)


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