- By Pwint Thu Aung
“We have already achieved. On the auspicious occasion of 4th January 1948 Sunday, ME 1309 9 Waning of Pyatho our country, Myanmar has already become the Republic of the Union of Myanmar with the absolute Independence and Sovereignty.”
As described on the Myanmar Independence Monument with the inscriptions written on the obelisk, our country became a sovereign independent nation, for 70 years exactly. To liberate from the colonial rule and to gain the Independence all our national brethren—Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan sacrificed a whole slew of their lives. After the intrusion of the British Imperialists, Myanmar lost its territories—Rakhine and Taninthari regions in 1824. After that, the Second Anglo-Burma War in 1852 made Myanmar lose the lower Myanmar starting from Taungoo whereas in 1885 Myanmar lost the whole country after the Third Anglo-Myanmar War.
Former Myanmar with its Sovereignty and Independence
Looking back into the historical background of Myanmar, it was a sovereign and independent nation, establishing Beikthano, Hanlin, Suvarnabhumi, Tagaung, Vesali, Srikhetra with their respective own kings, starting from BC 3 century. King Anawrahtta of Bagan established the First Myanmar of great strength and solidarity by uniting scattered territories into one, thus upgrading Myanmar’s image. Similarly, King Bayintnaung set up the Second Myanmar by organizing scattered regions based on Kaytumadi Toungoo, lifting virtues of justice and independence Myanmar people greatly aspired. And, U Aung Zeya, King Alaungphaya did likewise, establishing the Third Myanmar of great strength, based on Shwebo.
But, due to wars of intrusion by the British Imperialists during 1824-1885 the country came under the colonial rule. Though Myanmar patriots tried to drive the British out of the country with the weapons they had, skillful manipulation of military strategy and strength pushed Myanmar patriots’ efforts to failed attempts. With the out-break of the Second World War which started to break out starting 1st September 1939, opened eyes of Myanmar youths on world vision and politics wide, trying to build up a powerful army of their own, based on physical and mental prowess. After that thirty comrades led by Bogyoke Aung San got basic military trainings at the village, “Hsan nga” in Hainan Island, and continuing to study military trainings at the military institute, in Tamar Zarto on Formosa Island on 15th October 1941. On December 27 1941 they formed BIA—Burma Independence Army, making a solemn vow to fight for the Independence at the risks of their lives, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Waging offensive wars in combination
In the months of January, February and March 1942 Myanmar forces occupied many areas, Taninthari Region, Kayin and Mon States, Bago and Yangon Regions. In occupying Yangon to regain the lost Independence, BIA applied the military strategy of keeping the enemies under siege in 3 military columns. BIA forces waged military operations in combination with the Japanese army, occupying nearly the whole country in June 1942. On account of reducing amounts of troops in BIA by the Japanese army Burma Defense Army—BDA was formed on 26th August, 1942. The Fascist Japanese gave Myanmar the Independence—the gilded false one on 1st August 1943. However, Myanmar people did not accept it, instead launching a revolutionary attack against the Fascist Japanese forces between People and the Tatmadaw in combination on 27th March 1945. On July 23 1945 BDA which fought against Japanese forces was renamed the Patriotic Burmese Force—PBF.
Following that, PBF leaders and commanders of the military commands held a meeting at the residence of Bogyoke Aung San on August 10 and 11 of 1945 for achieving Myanmar Independence. Being the chairman of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League–zwyv, Bogyoke Aung San laid down the political roadmap for Myanmar’s Independence. At the mass meeting held at the Nay Thurein Theatre situated on the edge of the Kandawgyi [Royal] Lake on 19th August 1945 important resolutions were successfully laid down for gaining Independence. Present at the meeting were leaders from political parties, Tatmadawmen and the people. At the mass meeting, plans included in the White Paper Project declared by the British on 17th May 1945 were officially rejected, with people’s desires proclaimed by the AFPFL. The mass meeting managed to approve the proposals concerning Tatmadaw.
Nay Thurein Mass Meeting
At the Nay Thurein mass meeting, Bogyoke Aung San addressed a speech concerning the sector of Tatmadaw, “The whole of our Tatmadaw is now feeling worried as if being in the fire. Our comrades who were going to die from fires shot from enemies made their last dying speeches relay to the leaders would survive to carry on duties for fighting for the Independence dutifully. Their complaints really hurt our hearts.”
Similarly, a Kayin national leader, Mahn Ba Khaing also said, “Myanmar Tatmadaw is our benefactor. Fighting enemies by taking weapons from Japanese is really praiseworthy. We support it because it was based on cooperation between Myanmar and Kayin.” The Nay Thurein mass meeting was not only the historic one for Myanmar Independence but also the description of the last Independence struggle and development of Myanmar Tatmadaw first-ever held in Myanmar.
After holding the historic Nay Thurein Mass Meeting, series of epoch-making events had been successfully achieved, namely—Kandy Agreement signed in Kandy, Sri Lanka on Friday 7th September 1945; Aung San-Attlee Agreement signed by Bogyoke Aung San in London, on 27th January 1945; Panglong Agreement signed by Bogyoke Aung San and 23 national leaders in Panglong at 10 am on February 1947; Nu-Attlee Agreement signed in England on 17th October 1947. Through these, Myanmar Independence Law [draft] was successfully implemented. After submitting the law [draft] to the British Parliament, Myanmar Independence was finally achieved on 4th January 1948.
Noteworthy speech of Bogyoke Aung San
Independence Day Ceremonies have been being held annually on 4th January for 70 years exactly on January 4 to come, with a view to relaying the spirits of safeguarding the Independence, which was hard-won by our ancestors at the risks of lots of lives.
Here are the noteworthy words of Bogyoke Aung San, Architect of Myanmar Independence-cum-the National Leader, “Independence is based on discipline, not out of discipline. Only if there is discipline can the Independence be achieved. We are required to work hard so that we can get what we want, as if plucking things we want from the magic tree. I want you to be well convinced of it. If you do not want to perform duties of the independence at the time when we are living under the independent flag, the Independence now in our hands will go into others’ ones tomorrow. Think it deeply.”
To sum it up, every individual living in the Union needs to bear the Union Spirit and patriotism in them eternally, determining to safeguard our Independence so long as the world exist in the universe.
Translated by Khin Maung Oo