[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE (r)
- Subject: BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE (r)
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 03 Aug 1995 23:39:00
Received: from igc2.igc.apc.org (igc2.igc.apc.org [18.104.22.168]) by igc3.igc.apc.org (8.6.12/Revision: 1.6 ) with SMTP id XAA29968 for <reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; Thu, 3 Aug 1995 23:35:06 -0700
Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.6.11/Revision: 1.14 ) id XAA26956 for conf:reg.burma; Thu, 3 Aug 1995 23:18:43 -0700
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 1995 23:18:43 -0700
Subject: BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE HISTRY)_AUNG SAW OO(HMAING CENTE
/* Written 7:21 AM Aug 3, 1995 by lurie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* ---------- "BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE" ---------- */
Subject: BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE HISTRY)_AUNG SAW OO(HMAING CENTENARY)
BURMA'S STUDENTS MOVEMENT(A CONCISE HISTORY)
[AUNG SAW OO_ HMAING CENTENARY]
The student movement Under the Colonialists
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.
Its 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 Student's Boycott in 1920 aimed for
nationwide resistance of the Colonial Policy and Complete
The G.C.B.A Movement, the 1931 Saya San Movement or the Farmers
Revolution and 1938 BOC strike or 1300 Revolution and the
students movement were all of the same mould.
During the 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
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 sin
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 net a judge named U Ba
and obtained permission to from a committee to draw up 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 military, led by Ne Win, staged a coup d'etat and 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' University Union put up the proposal that
students should be involved in politics. That proposal was
objected 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 upon.
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
colonial police horse kicks once it shall set the country
The 1300 strikes 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
Concerning the death of Ko Aung Gyaw, the Burmese Newspaper "The
Light of Burma" sent a certificate of honour to one of the people
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 honourable, 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
Name Ko Ba Than
Name 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 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
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 your you even a little bit for losing your
life in the cause of Burma' 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 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 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 inconsolably.
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 his world we will remember and honour you, Martyr
Comrade Bo Aung Gyaw."
"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 independence."
"Martyr Comrade Bo Aung Gyaw your honoured and memorable death
will send us people to the goal of Independence. We take it as an
"Martyr Comrade Bo Aung Gyaw, your honourable mind, constance
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 student's movement in the colonial era
(1) To get full independence from the yoke of the British
colonial policy and
(2) To do away with the colonial educational system and to build
a national educational system.
Pre-Independence Era Student Movement
In 1941, the students' Union was suspended, and emergency
Students' Union came into being in 1945-46. When the general
strike broke out in 1946 the students workers, peasants and the
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 and 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
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.
The students' movement (from 28th October 1958 till 3rd April
1960)During 17 months (523 days) Under the rule of the so-called
Caretaker Government after the First Coup d'etat
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 and 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 would not go
back to their homes during the holidays were allowed to stay only
in 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 member 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
The students that were detained by the Caretaker Government were
not permitted to take their examination though the Union had
appealed for them.
The collection of the subscription fees for the Union was stopped
half way in the year 1959-60 and for the year 1960-71 they were
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 students
executive member Ko Ko Gye and Shan national Sai Nuan Saing were
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.
The Student movement In The Period of the so-called Revolutionary
Council - 1962-63 after the Second Coup d'etat
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 about.
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 changed.
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
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
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
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 G3 and G-4 rifles which had never been used in any battle
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
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
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' Affairs 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 independence.
3. It was the history of the fight of the students and the people
for peace within the country, so that they could study
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
The Student Movement During the Burmese
Socialist Programme Party Era
In 1964, when all associations, organizations, clubs, etc, were
declared null and void, the Students' Union automatically became
an underground organization.
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
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,
some students from all the universities were expelled and some
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
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
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 blood.
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
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
In September, 1987, there was a strike because the government had
demonetized the paper money unjustly.
On 13 March, 1988, there was 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-l (Swallow-l), 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
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
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(ABSFU) 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 revolutionary to fight the policies of the
military junta. Through many students had taken over control in
1962, up till 1988 the armed revolution of the students had not
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
In November, 1991, the Democratic Party for New Society (DPNS)
opposed the military regime outright and joined armed revolutions
Therefore, if the movements of the students of Burma were to be
views 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.
Aung Saw Oo(Hmaing Centenary)
National League for Democracy(Liberated Area)
Published in September, 1993
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF AUNG SAW OO
Born April 6, 1952
Education 1972-76: 4th B.D.S., Institute of Dental
Medicine, Rangoon, Burma. 1987: B.Sc. Degree in
Zoology from Universities Correspondence Centre
PRESENT POLITICAL STATUS(Feb 1991-Present)
(A) Member of the National Council of Union of Burma(NCUB) which
comprises of NCGUB, NLD(LA), DAB and NDF.
(B) Member of the Central Organizing Committee of the National
League for Democracy(Liberated area)_ NLD(LA)
POLITICAL STATUS(1988-1990 MAY ELECTION)
(A) Vice-Chairman of the Bassein National School old students'
(B) General Secretary of the All Bassein Federation of Students
(C) Member of the Bassein People's Peaceful Demonstration
(D) Demonstrated in 36-hours hunger strike(Bassein)
(E) Organizer for Pegu Division, as assigned by Daw Aung San Suu
1962, At the age of 10, visited the Rangoon University's Pyinya
Hall(Boy's hostel) and experienced with horror bloody death of
the students in 1962 7 July Students' uprising. Decided then and
not to join any of the government Organizations of Youth
Organizations, Students' Organizations and the Burmese Socialist
AS A UNIVERSITY STUDENT, PARTICIPATED IN:
1974 Labour Strike
1974 U Thant Strike(When the students wanted the country
to give in State funeral for U Thant, General
Secretary of the United Nations)
1975 Strike at the Shwe Da Gon pagoda
1976 Strike for the centenary celebration of the
birthday of Thakhin Ko Daw Hmaing
1976 Detained and imprisoned with 7 years hard labour
1977 While in prison:
February_ Demonstrated with 6-days hunger strike
(deprived of water by the authority)
August_ Demonstrated a second time of 10-days
hunger strike(no water again)
1978 Released through Amnesty. Worked as a teacher in a village.
1982 Arrested again under panel code-5(j) for 2 years with hard labour
1990 Participated in formation of Parallel government and was marked
as a fugitive by the Burma military government(SLORC).