Bogyoke Aung San

General Aung San

Bogyoke Aung San was a Burmese freedom fighter and is generally considered the father of modern day independent Myanmar. He is also the father of current Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

As a university student, Aung San agitated for Burmese independence from the British. After repeated attempts by British colonial authorities to arrest and imprison him, he left Burma to seek assistance for Burma’s freedom struggle. He received military training in Japan and secured their aid to lead an insurrection in Burma.

During WWII, Aung San led the Burmese army and first helped the Japanese take over Burma to get rid of British colonial rule. When the imperialistic intentions of Japan became apparent, he made a deal to help the British fight Japan in exchange for full independence after the war. In March 1945, Burmese troops rose up against the Japanese, and in August 1945, the Japanese surrendered.

After negotiating a path to independence with the UK government, as well as brokering a unification agreement with Myanmar’s main ethnic minorities, he was assassinated in July 1947, just six months before officially winning Myanmar’s freedom.

Nowadays, all the world over, we cannot confine the definition of a nationality to the narrow bounds of race, religion etc. Nations are extending the rights of their respective communities even to others who may not belong to them except by their mere residence amongst them and their determination to live and be with them.
Bogyoke Aung San – From address delivered at a Meeting of the Anglo-Burman Council at the City Hall, Rangoon on December 8, 1946

I am well aware that there is such a great craving in man for heroism and the heroic, and that hero worship forms not a small motif in his complex. I am also aware that, unless man believes in his own heroism and the heroism of others, he cannot achieve much or great things. We must, however, take proper care that we do not make a fetish of this cult of hero-worship, for then we will turn ourselves into votaries of false gods and prophets.
Bogyoke Aung San – Presidential Address delivered to the first Congress of AFPFL, 20th January, 1946

Internationalism and nationalism, economics and politics, politics and sociology, sociology and culture, religion, ethics etc, are but different parts of the one complex whole, each related to the other, ever changing in form and content. We cannot think, live and move in water-tight compartments only. We cannot keep on holding fixed, rigid dogmas which can no longer be in tune with the spirit of the times.
Bogyoke Aung San – Presidential Address delivered to the first Congress of AFPFL, 20th January, 1946

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