Centenary of the Nandawshae Reading Association was observed at Nandawshea Football Ground in Aungmyaethazan Township, Mandalay Region yesterday morning, graced by Former President of U Htin Kyaw.
Speaking at the ceremony, Former President of U Htin Kyaw expressed his view that Mandalay of Shwemann as it is called is city where cultural heritage flourishes and is conserved. The Former President continued to say that the 100th anniversary of the Nandawshae Reading Association is an honour for the city. He said it is not an ordinary association as it’s activities involve art, literature and religion. The association was relocated for several times within the area in front of the Mandalay Palace during the 100 years, and since 1938, the association has been in the current place. I wish the association continuous progress for many years through the support of the citizens of Mandalay City, various organizations, booklovers, and advocates of culture.
Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint in expressing his delight said the existence of an association for 100 consecutive years is really amazing and an honor for Myanmar. The founders of the association include Nandawshae Saya Tin, a well-known artist, and U Razak, a prominent educationalist. Established in 1912, the association was registered as the Nandawshae reading association (a comprehensive reading body) in 1920. Myanmar is holding or arranging other centenaries this year. The country is holding the Centenary of Yangon University and is planning to observe the Centenary National Day that marks the national movement occurred in 1920. Moreover, it will sponsor the Centenary of Myanmar Films that appeared in 1920. so 1920 can be called a turning point in Myanmar history, said the Union Minister.
The years following 1900 saw the renaissance of national spirit and the emergence of a large number of literary, religious and social organizations, which would be much supportive for the independence struggle, and YMBA was one among them. In 1920, the General Council of Burmese Associations (GCBA) emerged. So, 1920 can be viewed as a vital year in the history of Myanmar, the Union Minister said. He expressed his belief that the association might serve as a source for endeavours in the national interest, apart from a place where people could read books and hold literary talks.
Union Minister Dr. Pe Myint said 1920 would be the period of renaissance, during which much undertakings were carried out in the quest for knowledge and unity. It is possible that we fell under enslavement for we lacked knowledge of the global developments and trends of the time. The three famous words of the wise men of that period were “Let Myanmar knows the world!”, “Let the world knows Myanmar!”, and “Let Myanmar people know Myanmar!” The Nagani (Red Dragon) Association enhanced global and political awareness. The period saw the struggles for independence and global recognition through reading sessions, literature talks and library activities. Myanmar needs more libraries, as we can know more about the world through reading associations, collective reading and knowledge sharing activities and literary talks.
The Union Minister lauded all the founders of the Nandawshae Reading Association and all persons involved in maintaining the literary body throughout the successive years till now. All should carry on the spirit and activity, he stressed.
Dr. Soe Than, a cabinet member of Mandalay Region Government, explained salient points of the library and writer Chit Oo Nyo and Chairman of the Committee to Hold the Centenary U Kyaw Thin gave speeches.
First, former President U Htin Kyaw, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint, Mandalay Region Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr Soe Than, Mandalay Mayor Dr Ye Lwin, Pyithu Hluttaw representative Dr Hla Moe and Chairman of the organizing committee of the Centenary of the Nandawshae Reading Association, U Kyaw Thin cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the 100th anniversary of the Nandawshae reading association.
After the opening ceremony, former President U Htin Kyaw, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint, Mandalay Region ministers and special guests looked around the booths and bookstalls exhibited in the Nandawshae Sports Ground and the Nandawshae Reading Association, which is the oldest such association in Mandalay. Its founders include prominent persons like U Dhamma Bhivamsa, who took part in the Sixth Buddhist Synod, U Razak, former Minister of Education and National Planning and Nandawshae Sayar Tin, an artist.
The association with a membership strength of over 10,000 is keeping over 35,000 different kinds of books including rare books, periodicals, newspapers, palm treatise, reference books.
The ceremony which includes evening literary talks, entertainment programs and literary and art booths continues till 27 January.— Min Htet Aung (Mann Sub-printing House) (Translated by TMT)