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Burma's Student Movement: A Concise

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Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 16:10:00 -0800
Subject: Burma's Student Movement: A Concise History


by Aung Saw Oo
(Hmaing Centenary)
Third Edition, September 1993
[18 pp. Burmese, 26 pp. English, 21 pp. Photographs; only English below]


After Burma had been completely conquered by the British, the remaining 
feudal lords and the citizens of Burma, each wanting to be a ruler of the 
country, revolted against the colonialists. However, they were still 
governed by feudalistic ideas.  

It was only at the start of the nineteenth century that some semblance of 
mass resistance against the colonialists and the modern struggle for 
independence materialized. During the colonial era, there was the 
Rangoon University Students' Boycott in 1920, the 1935-36 Rangoon 
University Students' Second Boycott, and in 1938 a strike participated in 
by workers, farmers, students, monks and the public.  

The First Rangoon University Students' Boycott in 1920 aimed for 
nationwide resistance of the Colonial Policy and Complete National 

The G.C.B.A. Movement, the 1931 Saya San Movement or the Farmers' 
Revolution and the 1938 B.O.C. Strike or 1300 Revolution and the 
students' movements were all of the same mould.  

During that period of colonial resistance and the struggle for National 
Independence, the University Students' Union came into being. The Union 
was formed with the following aims:  

(1) to be able to live in a society where one can work for better living 
standards of the society,  

(2) to be able to live a life in which one can depend upon oneself and 
work independently,  

(3) to make people realize their responsibilities and duties. The Union 
stood for independence of thought and the ability to talk freely of 
thoughts and ideas. 

In 1926, a wealthy doctor named U Nyo donated 170,000 Kyats in silver 
coins to establish the Union.  

On September 12th, 1930, the boarders and the day scholars of Rangoon 
University came to an agreement and three students named Ko Kyaw 
Khin, Ko Tint Swe and Ko Ba Gyan met a judge named U Ba and obtained 
permission to form a committee to draw up the rules and regulations for 
the Union.  

On 20 September, students held a mass meeting and decided to form the 
University Students' Union. Then during the October holidays the rules 
and regulations for the Union were drawn up. They were finished in the 
first week of November and on 24 November, they were signed and 
shown to the student body for comment.  

In January, 1931, a mass student meeting decided unanimously to form 
the Union with nine executive members. The executive members had the 
right to negotiate and discuss with the University authorities about the 
matter of building a Union building as well as the rules and regulations of 
the Union on behalf of the Union. In this way on 31st January, 1931, the 
Rangoon University Students' Union was formed. The first chairman of 
the Rangoon University Students' Union was Ko Kyaw Khin and the last 
chairman was Ko Ba Swe Lay. Ko Ba Swe Lay died courageously in the 
forest after the military coup d' etat in 1962 while fighting against the 
military junta . Therefore, the Rangoon University Students' Union lasted 
from 1931 till 1966 through all sorts of conditions: the colonial era, the 
Fascist Japanese Regime, the Independent Era and the military regime. For 
thirty five years it served for the benefit of the public and the students.  

During the period of 1935-36, the All Burma Students' Union (ABSU) was 
formed [The first chairman of the All Burma Students' Union (ABSU) was 
U Raschid (M.A.) and the first general secretary was Ko Aung San. The 
last chairman was Ko Khin Maung Ohn and the last general secretary 
was Ko Tin Tun (Phyapon). In 1962, a group of people, including Ne 
Win, staged a coup d' etat so the next day he (Ko Khin Maung Ohn) 
declared that they supported the coup d' etat. Therefore, the All Burma 
Students' Union (ABSU) (HQ) called an executive members meeting and 
Ko Khin Maung Ohn was expelled from the organization and the vice-
chairman Ko Thet was made the chairman]. In 1936 the 2nd Students' 
Strike took place.  

In 1938 ( 1300 in the Burmese Era), on 25th April, the Third National 
Students' Union Annual Meeting was held in Bassein. In that meeting the 
representatives of the students put up an important proposal: The 
Rangoon University Bill had not yet been considered by the government 
and if by the coming August nothing had been done about the students' 
proposals then they would see that they got what they wanted. The 
proposal was put up by Ko Kyaw Myint (B.A.) and supported by Ko Tun 
Tin. At that time the acting M.C., who was the general secretary Ko Aung 
San, said that every time they went on strike, even if they did not succeed 
fully, their proposals were mostly granted. "In the 1936 strike, even 
though at first we were successful our strength was becoming weaker so 
in order to recuperate without losing face we backed down. Now our 
strength is fortified and in the coming year when I become the chairman 
either the name Aung San will fall or our work will be successful," said 
Ko Aung San (General Aung San).  

Again in statement No.10, Ko Ba Hein and Ko Toe Yin of Mandalay 
University Students' Union put up the proposal that students should be 
involved politics. That proposal was objected to by Ko Mya Shein from 
Myaung Mya. M.C. Ko Aung San said anyone agreeing to the proposal 
should say "Aye" and anyone objecting should say "No". Only two people 
objected to the proposal. Then the majority of the students shouted them 
down, so M.C. Ko Aung San apologized and the proposal was agreed 

After that students' meeting, Ko Aung San, the general secretary of the 
Students' Union left the Students' Union and became a member of the Doh 
Bamar Asiayone (We Burmese Association). He had entered the political 
arena, as the Burmese saying goes, with both feet. The duties of Ko Aung 
San were taken over by Ko Ba Hein. He joined hands with monks, 
workers, farmers and the public for the BOC Strike or the oilfield strike. 
While Ko Ba Hein was imprisoned in Magwe jail, he opened the roof of 
his cell and shouted out bravely "Comrades, please carry on marching If 
the colonial police horse kicks once it shall set the country aflame. "  

The 1300 strike slowly gained momentum and in December, 1938, when 
the students demonstrated in front of the Secretariat the student leader Ko 
Aung Gyaw died from injuries sustained from being hit by colonial police 
clubs (heavy wooden sticks known as "numbered clubs").  

Concerning the death Of Ko Aung Gyaw, the Burmese Newspaper "The 
Light of Burma" sent a certificate of honour to one of the people who had 
sustained injuries.  

		     The Certificate of Honour
		for the Cause of Independence
			Serial Number 61.

To go about freely, to talk freely and to write freely are the rights which 
every citizen ought to enjoy. If these rights are denied then they are being 
denied the right to be human beings. 

When obtaining Independence, oppression is an obstruction. While one is 
trying to eradicate this oppression, if one sustains injuries or death, it is 
considered a death of honour or injury of honour therefore one would 
want those injuries or death.  

Scars which are sustained while fighting for the cause of Independence 
are more honorable, valuable and more respected than the medals 
awarded by a Sovereign or a King.  

The person mentioned below has sustained injuries in the fight for the 
cause of Independence, so we honour and pay our respects to him.  

Name			Ko Ba Than
School			University
Names of Parents

Person honouring and
paying respect		Chit Maung
			The Light of Burma Newspaper

In the cause of independence the martyr Ko Aung Gyaw, who truly loved 
his nation, died an honourable death.  

		The Light of Burma - 8415

In this way, unarmed Ko Aung Gyaw, who had demonstrated peacefully, 
died on December 23rd, 1938, from injuries inflicted by the heavy clubs 
of the military police, stooges of the colonial powers. A letter was also sent 
to the martyr from his political comrades imprisoned in Insein Jail. 

Martyred Comrade Aung Gyaw,

	You as a true Burmese have given up your precious 
	life blood for the Burmese people. You have done your 
	duty. You are a true man. We who still have life in 
	our bodies will spend the rest of our days struggling 
	for the cause of Burma, whether it leads us to the 
	hanging post or to independence.  

	If the Burmese nationals procrastinate then you and 
	those who have worked tirelessly for independence 
	day and night will be betrayed and not only that, the 
	torch of Burma's independence which was transferred 
	into our hands will be extinguished.  

	We do not grieve for you even a little bit for losing 
	your life in the cause of Burma's independence.  

	You have given up your life so that we can build a 
	heaven on earth governed by our own rulers.  

	May the cause be successful.  

	Ko Ba Hein
	Ko Ba Swe
	Thakhin Htein Win
	Thakhin Soe
	Thakhin Pe Thein
	Thakhin Lay Maung
	Thakhin Khin Aung

At the funeral of the Martyr Ko Aung Gyaw one of the student leaders, Ko 
Hla Shwe said these words in grief:  

	"While lying beside each other, our heads inflicted 
	with injuries, on the top floor of the Sun Newspaper 
	(Thuriya Newspaper) he said 'We will die for our 
	fellow-nationals. Don't let them touch the Chairman.' 
	And when I went to visit him at the hospital he said ]
	almost deliriously: 'Ko Hla Shwe we will march 
	forward.' And when we first opposed the authorities, 
	he said 'Let me die holding the flag in the front.' I can 
	still hear and see him. Ko Aung Gyaw, Comrade, your 
	wish has been fulfilled to be recorded in history.

Then Ko Aung Gyaw's mother Daw Shwe Kyawt said, addressing the 

	"The blood of my bosom, my young son Maung Aung 
	Gyaw, was not even armed with a needle or even a 
	short stick yet he was beaten by the police with heavy 
	clubs, so the public and the monks were shocked and 
	could not bear his death. If you can imagine how 
	great their anger was, can you imagine how I must 
	feel as a mother who had carried him for nine months 
	and gave birth at ten months -- your reverend sir.

	?Aung Gyaw, more than the grief I have for your 
	death -- I grieve because I can no longer give birth to 
	another son like you, my son" said his mother 

In that funeral ceremony Myoma Saya Hein said:  

"Comrade Martyr Bo Aung Gyaw who has fallen in the cause of our 
Independence, you are a pioneer leader. As long as there are Burmese in 
this world we will remember and honour you, Martyr Comrade Bo Aung 

"The sound of colonial police beating with heavy clubs mercilessly in the 
ears of the public will be like the sound which is urging us to fight for 

"Martyr Comrade Bo Aung Gyaw your honoured and memorable death 
will send us people to the goal of Independence. We take it as an omen.  

"Martyr Comrade Bo Aung Gyaw. your honourable mind, constant 
diligence, self-sacrificing attitude, and sacrificial courage have ignited the 
flame that set our hearts on fire and continues to burn roaringly. The 
Independence goal you have set we will continue to march towards, till 
we reach it as we have pledged."  

Therefore, the aims of the students' movement in the colonial era were:  

(1) To get full independence from the yoke of the British colonial policy 

(2) To do away with the colonial educational system and to build a 
national educational system.  



In 1941, the Students' Union was suspended, and an emergency Students' 
Union came into being in 1945-46. When the general strike broke out in 
1946 the students, workers, peasants and the public participated.  

In 1948, the civil war started and in 1949, a strike against the Anti-
Fascist Peoples' Freedom League (AFPFL) government took place. The 
Students' Union also participated. In 1951, the All Burma Federation of 
Students' Union (ABFSU) was formed by joining the All Burma Students' 
Union (ABSU), the Rangoon University Students' Union and the Rangoon 
District Students' Union. It fought against the colonial system, for internal 
peace, and democracy and to build up a national educational system.  

In 1953, the Strike To Close the University for One Month in October 
took place, and in the university area the first sound of gun shots was 
heard during the AFPFL government. Twenty-nine students were 
imprisoned, thirty were expelled from the university for life and ten were 
expelled for one year.  

In March, 1956, the seventh standard questions were supposed to have 
leaked out and the Harry Tan Incident took place. The students' body was 
shot at and the seventh standard student Harry Tan died. This was the 
first time that the blood of a student fell on the ground after 
Independence during the period of the AFPFL Government.  

In October, 1956, the AFPFL government announced that the Students' 
Union would have to be abolished within thirty days. This was the highest 
form of oppression against the democratic rights of the students so that 
the students went on a strike. Twenty-six students from the whole of 
Burma were imprisoned and 256 students were expelled. 


	      DURING 17 MONTHS (523 DAYS)

In 1958, the 10th Anniversary of the Internal Peace Strike took place and 
the students participated.  

On September 28, the Rangoon University Students' Union held a 
swearing-in ceremony. On that day U Nu had transferred power to a 
man called Ne Win. The students showed their objection by marching 
around the University campus on 30 September. On August 31, 1959, 
Rangoon Arts & Science University (RASU) leaders Ko Ba Swe Lay, Ko 
Nyan Yin and Ko Myint Thein were not given the right to enroll in the 
university by the military authorities. This fact was not known by the 
Rector. Therefore the Rector permitted them to enroll.  

In October, 1959, it was announced that those who could not go back to 
their homes during the holidays were allowed to stay only in the two 
hostels Amara and Ramanya after paying lodging fees of Ks 14. The 
students considered that the announcement was against the tradition of 
the university and disturbed their research. Then, it was announced that 
during that time the University Corps was going to be kept in the hostels. 
Therefore on 23rd September, 1959, the University Students' Union called 
a mass meeting and objected to (a) the fact that they had to pay Ks 14 and 
were not allowed to stay in their own hostels; (b) the army had used the 
University Corps as an excuse to install troops inside the university 
campus. Directly after the meeting the students marched through the 
university campus to show their objection. The military authorities said in 
response that the executive members of the Students' Union had violated 
the regulations and caused a disturbance so the Rector had to sign a 
written apology within a week.  

In the University Executive meeting after serious thought it was agreed 
that the teachers and the students should decide about this matter 
peacefully. Therefore, to keep the peace of the university and so that the 
students could study peacefully, and friendship should not be destroyed, 
this case should be handled by the teachers and the students jointly. In 
order that the parents and the teachers should not feel unhappy the 
University Students' Union executive members on the 1st October went to 
the Rector to convey their repentance.  

In that year, more unjust hostel regulations were announced. The hostel 
committee was under the University Council and in the Hostel Committee 
there are always two students; in 1959 when the university re-opened; it 
was announced that two representatives from two hostels would serve in 
turn. However, because they did not recognize the members that 
represented the students, the University Students' Union objected.  

A bill to reform the Rangoon University Act was announced in order to 
exclude the two University Students' Union representatives. Therefore the 
University Students' Union objected to the bill but on 2nd March, 1959, it 
was passed in the parliament.  

The students that were detained by the Caretaker Government were not 
permitted to take their examination though the Union had appealed for 

The collection of the subscription fees for the Union was stopped half way 
in the year 1959-60 and for the year 1960-61 they were never collected.  

All Burma Federation of Students' Union (ABFSU) chairman Ko Khin 
Maung Ohn, secretary Ko Aung Ban and executive member Ko Pho Tha 
Be were sent to Coco island. 

All Burma Federation of Students' Union (ABFSU) vice-chairman, former 
executive member Ko Myint Oo, Ava Hostel Social & Reading Association 
executive member Ko Kein Ngwe, Pioneer student executive member Ko 
Ko Gyi and Shan national Sai Nuan Saing were arrested.  

The University Students' Union vice-chairman Ko Ba Kaung, Secretary Ko 
Khin Aung, executive member Ko Yu and the University Students' Union 
chairman Ko Zaw Win had to go into hiding after a warrant to arrest 
them was issued.  



On 2 March, 1962, a man named General Ne Win took control of state 
power for the second time.  

On 30 April, 1962, the 11th Co-conference of the Army Commanders 
was held at the Yatanabon Naval Base and there the policy of the 
Revolutionary Council was announced.  

On 2 May, 1962, the conference supported the Revolutionary Council's 
policy. In that conference the coup d' etat military leader Ne Win said 
that the army which was the backbone of the Revolutionary Council, 
stood united and strengthened, therefore there was no danger to worry 

On 4 May, 1962, the leaders of the All Burma Federation of Students' 
Union (ABFSU) discussed the case of a student who had been expelled 
from his hostel because he did not get on well his warder. In 1963, the 
Burmese and English curriculum of the high school examination was 

On 9 May, 1962, Pioneer Ko Mya Than, Ko Thet, Ko Tha Ban and Ko 
Zaw Win were arrested for demonstrating at the Dutch Embassy. Ne Win 
told the University Council that as the teachers had misbehaved and 
among the students there was political influence, the University Council 
had to be abolished. The Union commented that the governing body of 
the university had been taken over by the Revolutionary Council.  

On 11 May, 1962, the Rangoon University Rector Dr. Tha Hla handed in 
his resignation and the Burmese Professor U Aye Maung retired; U Wun 
(Minthuwun) changed his faculty. On 12 May, 1962, some wardens and 
assistant wardens from the Rangoon University hostels resigned. On 17 
May, 1962 the Revolutionary Council's order No.30 was announced and 
the University Council was reformed. The Adipadi (Chancellor) was 
Brigadier General Than Pe, Brigadier General San Yu, Col. Than Sein and 
Col. Tin Soe were included. The Rector was the former Education Minister 
U Kar of the 1958 Caretaker Government.  

On 26 May, 1962 five tutorial school were closed down due to the 
leakage of questions.  

On 18 June, 1962 more unjust rules of the hostels were announced. For 
example, the people who ate vegetarian food were not allowed to eat it 
for one or two days unless they ate it the whole year.  

On 2 July, 1962 the high school leaving examination was abolished. The 
All Burma Federation of Students' Union (ABFSU) requested a discussion 
with the authorities.  

On 3 July, 1962 in the hall of the Union there was a meeting to discuss 
the abolition of the system of education, and the unjust hostel rules.  

On 4 July, 1962, the embryonic Burmese Socialist Programme Party 
(BSPP) was formed.  

On 5th July, 1962, a strike at the Dutch Embassy was carried out by three 
big unions. The military authorities then stated that the people involved in 
the strike did not really represent the unions. The Students' Union felt that 
the statement made their Union appear insignificant so they objected.  

On 6 July, 1962, the Revolutionary Council reformed the University 
Senate and the Hostel Committee according to their wishes.  

On 7 July, 1962, at 1:00 p.m. the Students' Union held a meeting to 
discuss the reform and after that the students went on a protest march 
through the university campus. At first the Security Police (Lone Htein) 
arrived and they tried to control the situation by throwing tear gas. In the 
evening at about 5:30 p.m. two army trucks arrived and along Mandalay 
Hall, Ramanya Hall and Chancellor Road the soldiers started shooting at 
the students with automatic rifles. The soldiers were from No. 4 Burmese 
Rifles Battalion and the shooting order was 3 minutes shooting 2 minutes 
rest and 3 minutes shooting. The guns were made by a joint venture of a 
Burmese and German Company. They were G-3 and G-4 rifles which 
had never been used in any battle field.  

The military government declared that 17 students died, but in Mandalay 
Hall alone more than 17 students died according to the official records 
and altogether over a hundred students died. Ko Kyaw Win, a student 
from Myaung-mya had written on the wall of Mandalay Hall with blood 
from his body "7-7-62, do not forget it". Ko Kyaw Win had taken refuge 
at the Union Building.  

On 8 July, 1962, at dawn the Union Building, which had a prominent 
standing in the history of Burmese Independence, was destroyed by 
dynamite because the military government had said that it was the 
headquarters of the above ground communists and the refuge place of the 
student leaders. It was an act which had not even been committed by the 
colonialist foreign government. It was bloodthirsty fascists who had 
cruelly destroyed the Union building by dynamite. Ko Kyaw Win of 
Myaung-mya, who was in bed with injuries, had been blown up together 
with the building.  

The next morning at 8 a.m. when the news was announced from the 
radio, the military dictator called General Ne Win said, referring to the 
students' uprising, "If it was done purposely to oppose us, I have nothing 
more to say except that we will face them with sword against sword, and 
spear against spear, that is the only solution. " With these words he 
insulted the students and 'the people en masse.  

When the university reopened in November, in the place of old Union 
Building a hut was built temporarily; and along with the Bo Aung Gyaw 
Monument, a stone monument was built, 77 inches in length and 62 
inches in breadth. In memory of the students who died on 7-7-62, 
because more than hundred students had died, it was named "Yar Gyaw 
Kyauk Taing", which means "Over Hundred Monument".  

However, before long there were protest rallies "to stop the civil war" and 
"to have peace within the country", and together with the over hundred 
monument the temporary hut was again destroyed.  

During the last days of the Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) on 
July 22, 1988, (1350 second Waso, waxing day of 10th) at the Saya San 
Hall of Kyaikasan at the last conference of the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party (BSPP), U Ne Win (retired General) mentioned the 
destruction of the Union Building, as if he was not responsible; he tried to 
put the blame on Aung Gyi. But, in fact in 1963 when the temporary hut 
was destroyed Aung Gyi was no longer in the army. One thing is sure that 
"In history one cannot lie or one cannot be merciful".  

Later, it was secretly decided to re-establish the Union and the Students' 
Affair Committee. And in 1966 it existed in all kind of guises. Some even 
went into the armed forces and fought against the military dictatorship 
till today.  

Therefore, the history of the post-war students' movement had various 
levels of significance:  

1. It was the continuation of the students' movement under the colonialist 
era, still trying to perform the unfinished duties.  

2. It was a segment of the Peoples' fight against the colonialist, for 
complete national independence, and the fight to maintain national 

3. It was the history of the fight of the students and the people for peace 
within the country, so that they could study peacefully.  

4. It was the history of the protection of the rights of the students and the 
rights of democracy in general.  

5. It was the history of the fight to end the topsy-turvy Educational System 
and to establish a National Educational System. 



In 1964, when all associations, organizations, clubs, etc. were declared 
null and void, the Students' Union automatically became an underground 

After 1964, some student leaders joined the armed revolution groups. 
Most of them joined the Communist Party of Burma and some joined the 
ethnic armed Revolutionary Groups, and some were imprisoned and 
tortured by the military regime (Revolutionary Council).  

In 1969, the political prisoners and the student leaders were sent to Coco 
island. At Coco island, there was a hunger strike and eight prisoners died; 
among them, from Prome (Pyi) district, the student leader Ko Chit Swe 
made himself famous in the history of the Students' Union by going on 
hunger strike for 55 days.  

On 1 December 1969, after the uprising of the South East Asia Peninsular 
(S.E.A.P) Games in Rangoon, Mandalay and Moulmein, the some students 
from all the universities were expelled and some were imprisoned.  

In 1970, the Golden Jubilee of the Rangoon University was celebrated. 
And the history of the 1962, 7 July was written, printed and published. 
Before the Golden Jubilee Celebrations ended all the universities were 
closed down. Many students were imprisoned and some were expelled.  

In June, 1974, there was a Burma Workers' Strike and some workers 
from the Textile Factory in Thamaing and Sinmalike Dockyard died from 
gun shot wounds. In that movement the students had participated.  

In December, 1974, there was the incident of U Thant's (former General-
Secretary of the United Nations) Funeral and over 5,000 people were 
detained, including monks, students and the people, and they were 
sentenced from 3 years to 7 years under military tribunals. And the 
schools were closed for four months.  

On 6 June, 1975, the students and the workers held a commemoration 
ceremony. From then onwards there were strikes and over 250 were 
detained. From middle school students up to university students were 
sentenced to imprisonment of from 4 years to 9 years under military 
tribunals. The schools were again closed for nearly seven months.  

On 23 March, 1976, the centenary celebrations of the birthday of the 
famous national writer and winner of the Starlin Peace Prize Thakhin Ko 
Daw Hmaing were held. Yin-pwint-than Ni-dan chronicle was published, 
criticizing the educational system devised by the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party (BSPP) to suit its own purposes. From various 
universities, over two hundred and thirty students were detained and 
were sentenced from 5 years to 14 years of imprisonment under military 
tribunals. Hundreds of students from universities all over the country 
were expelled for life. When they were expelled the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party's student affairs unit called the parents of students to 
the party unit office and gave them certificates from the universities they 
were attending signed by the Rector saying that they had been expelled 
because they had committed political crimes.  

A Chin national, Ko Tin Maung Oo, a student from the Rangoon Arts & 
Science University (RASU) was given a death sentence; he was hanged in 
Insein Prison sometime in June, 1976. Ko Tin Maung Oo was the first 
person to be given a death sentence after Burma's Independence under 
the government which was formed by the constitution of 1974, for which 
90% of the public had voted. For the Hmaing Centenary, a Rakhine monk, 
U Pyinya Thiri, had written a criticism about the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party (BSPP) government referring to Sayagyi Hmaing's Khwe 
Di Kar, (a detailed life of a dog), and was sentenced six years of 
imprisonment under the military tribunal No.1.

Therefore, the fascist military dictators had not only killed the monks, 
students and the public openly in view of everybody on the roads; hidden 
from peoples' eyes in the prison cells they had also killed cruelly in cold 

In 1976-77-78, the workers and students who were imprisoned inside 
the Insein prison had gone on hunger strike asking for prisoners' rights. 
Thus they had fought on wherever they were.  

The military junta tortured the students' and workers' leaders by sending 
them to completely dark cells, military dog cells, and Leper cells. On 13 
February, 1977, they went on hunger strike for 6 days and on 16 August, 
1977, when they went on hunger strike for the second time for 10 days, 
the military authorities cut off their water supplies as well.  

In 1978, "A-Yay Daw Pon Thamaing", a history of the uprising and the 7 
July incident was published by old student union members, from the years 
of 74-75-76. The old student union leader, Rangoon Institute of 
Technology (RIT) students and students from the Institute of Medicine 
No.2 were detained, altogether about 50 students.  

In 1986, the new generation students secretly and actively begin to move 
for the re-establishment of the Students' Union. They circulated pamphlets 
to re-kindle the spirit of the Union and its heritage.  

In September, 1987, there was a strike because the government had 
demonetized the paper money unjustly.  

On 13 March, 1988, there was a students' uprising in the Rangoon 
Institute of Technology (RIT) campus and the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party (BSPP) government declared that only one person had 
died from an injury inflicted by a sharp weapon. But on that day Ko 
Phone Maw, Ko Soe Naing, Ko Maung Maung Soe, Tin Maung Oo, Ko 
Win Aung, Ko Than Shwe, altogether six people died.  

During the uprising, Ne Win was known as Mar Ga, the President Sein 
Lwin was known as Chin-the, Home Minister Min Gaung was Pyan 
Lhua-1 (Swallow-1), Khin Maung Win from Rangoon Division Party was 
known as Pyan Lhua-2, the Head of Police Department Pe Kyi was Daw 
Na, and with those secret code names they had crushed the uprising. Sein 
Lwin had broadcasted directly from the Burmese Broadcasting Station 
(BBS): "Chinthe speaking, Pyan Lhua can you hear me? Shoot hard, shoot 
a lot, those who shoot a lot will be rewarded."  

Later, on March 16, 1988, the Red Bridge Uprising took place, and on 21 
June the Myay-ni-gone Uprising, and on August 8-9 uprisings had 
happened one after the another and hundreds of monks, students and 
people had fought an unarmed battle by marching peacefully, and 
hundreds had died.  

During the uprising days of 8-8-88 (known as the four eights) the 
students union was temporary re-established on the old site of the 
Students' Union Building by the All Burma Federation of Students' Union 
(ABFSU) whose Chairman was Min Ko Naing, and General Secretary Moe 
Thee Zun. .  

After the 1988 movements of the students, the Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party (BSPP) tried to cover the dead elephant with the leather 
of a goat as the saying goes. On 14 May, 1988 (1350, 14th day of the 
waning moon of Kason) Saturday's Working Peoples' Daily had 
announced the declaration of the State Councils on the findings of the 
Enquiry Commission 

"Some students from Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) and the 
people from the West Quarter of Kyo-gone had a tussle, and the Rangoon 
Division Peoples' Police Commander in charge had given orders to 
disperse the mob with tear gas and if the mob did not disperse and if the 
police had to face danger then out of the twelve policemen who were 
armed with Remmingtons, a single cartridge was put into the guns and 
they were ordered to shoot low, skimming the ground," they had lied to 
the public openly. After that, for show, the Prime Minister Maung Maung 
Kha, Min Gaung, and Chief of Police Thein Aung were made to resign 
from their jobs and Pe Kyi was suspended from his job.  

After that the Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) committed 
blunder after blunder and on 23 July, 1988, (1350, 10th day of the 
waxing moon of the 2nd Waso) Saturday, at Saya San Hall, Kyaikasan 
ground, Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) Chairman U Ne Win 
said "In the months of March and June, 1988, the bloodshed in the 
uprising happened because of the people who participated themselves. 
The people who encouraged the movements behind the scenes showed 
that they do not believe in the party which controls the government . I 
feel that I am indirectly responsible for the March and June 
incidents.................." As the saying goes "When one is trying to cover the 
front, the back is being exposed."

After 18 September, 1988, the army took control of power, and the State 
Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC), claiming that they respected 
the law, gave a top ranking post to Pe Kyi, who was suspended from his 
job as a person who was responsible for the 1988 uprisings. It was not 
known which SLORC court decided, but he was awarded a high position 
or whatever. After the military had taken control of power on 18 
September, 1988, many students joined the indigenous ethnic armed 
groups. The All Burma Federation of Students' Union (ABFSU) which was 
formed on a temporary basis during the uprising of The Four Eights 
continued to be active in three different forms: within the country the All 
Burma Federation of Students' Union (ABFSU) functioned as an 
underground movement; the Democratic Party for New Society (DPNS) 
functioned as a legal political party within the country; the All Burma 
Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) in the border areas joined the armed 
revolution to fight the policies of the military junta. Though many 
students had joined the armed revolutionary groups after the military had 
taken over control in 1962, up till 1988 the armed revolution of the 
students had not been outstanding.  

After the military had taken control of the country on 18 September, 
1988, thousands of students had come over to join the armed revolution 
of the students. The Students' Army, which had not existed in any country 
of the world had come into existence in Burma. From 1988 till 1992 in 
the armed revolution of the students many students lost their lives and 
they are still doing so.  

In November, 1991, the Democratic Party for New Society (DPNS) 
opposed the military regime outright and joined the armed revolution en 

Therefore, if the movements of the students of Burma were to be viewed 
from a historical point then it can be said "The history of the students' 
movement is the history of an armed revolution" and it is supported by 
the activities of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) and 
the Democratic Party for New Society (DPNS), which are like beacons 
lighting the way. 



Hard bitten lips of mine, 
Burst, and broken, 
Drops of blood, 
Came flowing slowly. 

I, grind my molars, 
Squeeze my hand into a tight fist. 

Bo Aung Gyaw, 
Had fallen in this place. 

If that road could be peeled off, 
And according to historical materialism, 
We could do research 
Scarlet glory would be found. 

Who can deny? 
About the flowing of Comrade's blood. 

Those of you, 
Who are denying, 
To glorify your many attributes. 

Who else would it be? 
But the ones whom, you, Comrade hate. 
Their hate 
Comrade would have smiled indifferently, 
That I believe.  

The shine of Spartacus's glory 
The rebel of Konbaung Era, 
Galon Saya San Ngu Yin Van Troy 
Starting with Chequebara 
Together with tens of thousands of martyrs 
Comrade had shone, red, bright and brilliant. 
At the just battle of the people 
Comrade, your blood had shone red.  

People's beloved 
The core of the martyr 
In any era 
Shall be youthful and fresh 
It is definite, I believe.  

Bo Aung Gyaw, Comrade 
In this place; I had 
Distributed the pamphlets, together.  

Bo Aung Gyaw, Comrade 
I had, In this place 
Comrade, paid tribute to you many times.  

Comrade's series of battles
About the just battles of Comrade
After coming to this place 
Comrade's red blood which had flowed 
Over it 
With my white tears 
And courageless sighs 
I would not tarnish 
Comrade's attributes of glory.  

A Poem? 
Yes, it is my poem, 
A poem to describe 
And disclose Comrade's attributes of glory.  

Accept it, please Comrade. 
I beseech you with a shout.  

Let me refuse it, 
This poem is not my poem.  

Read it and see. 
Drops of blood which had flowed 
Whose blood was it? 
Comrade's warm blood 
The blood which had not dried yet.  

Oh.......with Comrade's drops, drops of blood.
Shimmering red,
Strung together into
Comrade's poem.

	Maung Lay Aung (Late)
	Translated by Aye Mya


I dedicate this article to Ko Aung Gyaw to commemorate on 20th 
December 1992 the 54th anniversary of his death. I honour him and bow 
my head in respect.

		Aung Saw Oo (Hmaing Centenary)
		National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)