Myanmar Martyrs’ Day, a big loss in Myanmar history

2018-08-11edit MyoMinThu
Martyrs' Day Myanmar Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma) since 1948 to memorialize General Aung San and seven other leaders of Myanmar pre-independence interim government and a bodyguard. General Aung San (Prime Minister), Thakin Mya (Minister Without Portfolio), Ba Cho (Minister of Information), Abdul Razak (Minister of Education and National Planning), Ba Win (Minister of Trade), Mahn Ba Khaing (Minister of Industry and Labor), Sao San Tun (Minister of Hills Regions), Ohn Maung (Secretary of State Transport), Ko Htwe (Razak’s bodyguard) were slayed on 19th July 1947 while holding an important meeting of the Executive Council (the shadow government of British for transfer power) and which became a chance for the assassinators. It is not only a big loss but also a very sad day for Myanmar people. That’s why Myanmar Martyrs become one of the most important days for Myanmar citizens. The ceremony of the very first Burmese Martyrs’ Day was on 20 July 1947 in Rangoon led by Myoma U Than Kywe. On Martyrs’ Day, the relatives of late Martyrs, important people from government officials, top-level people from Myanmar army and ambassadors of other countries make a visit to Martyrs’ Mausoleum to pay respect to the Martyrs.

History of Burma before General Aung San

Martyrs' Day Burma, also known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. Around 19th century, the British ruled Burma and Burmese people were considered as second-class citizens under British rule. Some citizens tried to made revolution to British government but most of leaders, like Galon Sayar San, Bo Aung Kyaw were killed cruelly. So, Burma revolution condition was being dominance and Myanmar citizens needed a good leader. On December 2nd 1920, the very first student boycott occurred and it is participated by workers, farmers, students, monks and other people. It can be said that General Aung San’s political mindset was evoked by this Student Boycott movement. Around 1947, the country almost got independence and it was a very important condition for all the Burmese citizens.

General Aung San

Martyrs' Day General Aung San was a leader of Burma who tried very hard for his country, Burma, to become an independent country without taking care of his life, family and other important things for his private life. General Aung San formed Burma Independence Army (BIA) and succeeded in emancipation from the British Empire by taking helps from Japanese during World War I in 1942. After getting back Rangoon, the capital of Burma, from British the Burma Independence Army (BIA) was re-formed as the Burma Defense Army (BDA) and Burma was ruled by Japan Empire. But General Aung San was planned to fight back the Japanese and kept waiting for the appropriate condition and time. When World War II was started, he forced Japan army to run away from Burma.

History of Martyrs Day

Martyrs' Day In the morning of 19th July 1947, General Aung San and seven other leaders engaged to have a cabinet meeting for the freedom of Burma at the Secretariat in the downtown of Yangon. Before the meeting, General Aung San got the information that there was a rival political group supported by the British who made an assassination plan to assassin him and other leaders at the meeting and he also knew that over two hundred guns and weapon were already stolen. But he strongly believed that he had no enemy and there will be no one who wanted to kill him so he ignored that news. On the meeting day around 10:37am, General Aung San, other seven leaders and one bodyguard were gunned by a group of armed men who were sent by Galon U Saw, former Prime Minister during the colonial era before World War II. The armed gang broke into the Secretariat Building in downtown of Yangon during meeting and assassinated Aung San and other martyrs including his eldest brother Ba Win who is one of the members of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. Ko Htwe, bodyguard of Abdul Razak, was also killed after he heard noisy voices of guns shoots and run toward the meeting room. U Nu, the first Prime Minister of Burma after Burma became independent on 4 January 1948, was absent to attend meeting because of his minor illness which saved himself from the death. When General Aung San was slayed, his age was just 32 years old. The armed gang went to the Secretariat Building directly with army jeep because they had already got the concrete news that General Aung San would be there for meeting. When they arrived, there was no security in there and the assassinators went directly to the meeting room. They shot General Aung San and other important people from Executive Council. The planner was Galon U Saw and the slayers are people of his trusted men. In 30th December 1947, the tribunal adjudged Galon U Saw and some others to death sentences and the rest were convicted to prison sentences. And then Galon U saw appealed to the high court of Burma but it was rejected by the President of Burma, Sao Shwe Thaik, on 8th March 1948. On 8th May 1948, Galon U Saw and his accomplices were hanged inside of Yangon’s Insein jail. There was a rumor about that assassination that British masterminded Galon U saw from behind and they made him believe if he kills General Aung San, he will be more powerful.

Martyr’s Day Celebration

Martyrs' Day Martyr’s day celebrates every year in Myanmar since 1948 and it will continue till Myanmar exists. As it is a national holiday, Myanmar people use the event as a day of rest and some take Martyr’s Day as an opportunity to pay admiration to the late Martyrs. Some family takes their children who could be someone important in the future to the Martyrs Mausoleum to let them know about how the Martyrs did give their life for the country and everybody is dutiful to protect their own country. The mausoleum is entombed General Aung San and other top independent leaders who passed away in the assassination. Many people went there to pay respect including Aung San Suu Kyi, the youngest daughter of General Aung San, the leader of the National League for Democracy and State Counselor, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister of the President's Office of Myanmar. At 10:37pm of 19th July, all the cars, trains and ships are ringing the horn and the people walking on the street are stopped & long silent for a minute to pay respects to the late Martyrs.
Martyrs' Day
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Myanmar Martyrs’ Day, a big loss in Myanmar history
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