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Thursday, December 12, 2013

BURMA, WHEN MUSLIMS WERE SAFE


Burma gained independence in 1948. U Nu won the first general election in April 1960. He was supportive of Muslim minorities but the coup by General Ne Win in March 1962 put an end to Muslim political  activity. That was the beginning of genocide but before that there were skirmishes already.

The royal dynasty was put to an end after the Burma wars when the British took over the country. The last king was exiled to India likewise the last Mughal emperor was exiled to Burma.

When kings ruled, culture and religion did not differentiate between the minority and majority groups of people. Burma was rich in natural resources of land and water to cater for easy everyday life in terms of food, material culture, ornaments. Its borders became porous as neighbouring Muslims from India came to settle in Burma. The palace power was not abusive enabling a powerful state to wage wars against Siam.


The king and queen at a performance at the Mandalay palace gardens.

The spirit 'palace' at Taungbyon, near Mandalay. Dancing mediums are with the orchestra on the platform, drunken revellers are below, c.1869.



An ah-nyeint troup performing in the street, c.1900. A spirit (centre) sends a tiger (foreground) to catch the heroine who sits weaving (right).

A bon-shay (double-headed drum) group with two dancers, c.1880

 A yein (chorus) dance by a group of young girls at a Buddhist festival, c.1890's

Trained elephants for war, work, transport and leisure.

Princess Hteik, descendant of former royalty showing oil paintings of her parents, Yangon, 2013.


Under the current junta supposedly more liberalised after relaese of Ang Su Kyi, Myanmar is a hell of a place for Rohingyas. Militant Buddhism has taken over the mood of the country and killing fields taking place at will.

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