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The Kachins Before and After the Panglong Conference of 1947

The Kachins Before and After the Panglong Conference of 1947

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> <strong>Before</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>After</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong>By, Kachin Research Group<strong>The</strong> Society for Promotion <strong>of</strong> Kingdom Value Burma (Myanmar)Myitkyina, Kachinl<strong>and</strong>IntroductionIt is a well‐known fact that <strong>Panglong</strong>, a small town in <strong>the</strong> Shan State was <strong>the</strong> birth‐place <strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong> Republic <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Union <strong>of</strong> Burma (Myanmar). <strong>The</strong> national leaders <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Hill peoples or<strong>the</strong> ethnic minorities such as <strong>Kachins</strong>, Shans, Chins <strong>and</strong> Kayahs combined <strong>the</strong>ir efforts toretain <strong>the</strong>ir national aspirations. To attain <strong>the</strong>ir cherished goals, <strong>the</strong>y joined <strong>the</strong>ir h<strong>and</strong>stoge<strong>the</strong>r with <strong>the</strong> more advanced Burmese led by Bogyoke Aung San <strong>and</strong> his AFPFL 1 Party.In fact, <strong>the</strong>y surrendered some part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own sovereignty to form a strong centralauthority (Government) to safe‐guard <strong>the</strong>ir rights against <strong>the</strong> British colonial schemes <strong>of</strong> thattime.Thus, <strong>the</strong> national unity laboriously forged by <strong>the</strong> Founding Fa<strong>the</strong>rs at <strong>Panglong</strong>, gave birthto a new nation which was fervently intended to become a genuine Federal Union. But,unfortunately, Bogyoke <strong>and</strong> his comrades were assassinated <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> Bogyoke was agreat loss for all people <strong>of</strong> Burma. <strong>The</strong> course <strong>of</strong> events proved to become different from<strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> spirit which aspired for genuine federalism. So, <strong>the</strong> young generation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>21 st century must study or at least must try to know about <strong>the</strong> historical developments <strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong> country; that <strong>the</strong>y may somehow prepare <strong>the</strong>mselves as future leaders to remodel orreshape <strong>the</strong> destiny <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Union in <strong>the</strong> right direction.Origin <strong>and</strong> MigrationJINGHPAW or <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>, a foreign term well‐known especially since World war‐ II arescattered across <strong>the</strong> mountainous l<strong>and</strong> where China, India, Burma, Thail<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Laos meet.Probably, <strong>the</strong> estimation could number about two millions. Basically, Mogolian stock<strong>Kachins</strong> speak Jinghpaw as a common language <strong>and</strong> have five more different tonguesnamely Rawang, Lhavao, Lacid, Zaiwa <strong>and</strong> Lisu dialects. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> speaking <strong>the</strong>se sixlanguages are commonly known as <strong>the</strong> Jinghpaw Wunpawng nationality today.1 AFPFL is Anti-Fascists Peoples’ Freedom League (In Burmese it is Hp SPL).<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 1


A mountain‐dwelling people, renounced for <strong>the</strong>ir fierce <strong>and</strong> war‐like nature, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>were formerly much feared by o<strong>the</strong>r races. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>, being one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> strongestmountainous people pushed <strong>the</strong>ir way southward, dispossessing o<strong>the</strong>r tribal groups on <strong>the</strong>irway. By infiltration <strong>and</strong> violence, <strong>the</strong>y slowly moved southwards. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>’ migrationonly abruptly stopped with <strong>the</strong> British annexation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> whole Burma, including <strong>the</strong>Kachinl<strong>and</strong>.<strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> used <strong>the</strong> lash‐burn technique (in <strong>the</strong>ir Jhum cultivation) for <strong>the</strong>ir existence <strong>and</strong>living. <strong>The</strong>y were also expert hunters <strong>and</strong> knew how to earn <strong>the</strong>ir livelihood in <strong>the</strong> junglebecause <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir knowledge in <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> bamboo.<strong>The</strong> Kachin knew very little about <strong>the</strong>ir origin as <strong>the</strong>y had no written script or monumentalstones left by <strong>the</strong>ir ancestors. According to <strong>the</strong>ir oral tradition, proverbs <strong>and</strong> mythology,<strong>the</strong>y started <strong>the</strong>ir migration from <strong>the</strong> Tibetan Plateau which <strong>the</strong>y called, <strong>the</strong> “Majoi Shing‐raBum.” Although <strong>the</strong> exact location <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir ancestral home is unknown but Eastern Tibet ora Nor<strong>the</strong>ast place <strong>of</strong> Central Asia so far has been addressed or indicated.<strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> first came <strong>and</strong> settled in <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>rn parts <strong>of</strong> Burma not later than <strong>the</strong> FirstCentury AD. <strong>The</strong> first Kachin settlement was called Mali Hku Major (Putao area) <strong>and</strong> from<strong>the</strong>y shifted to ano<strong>the</strong>r places called Hkrang Hku Majoi <strong>and</strong> Hkin Du Yang Majoi, from where<strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> spread out southwards in three major groups. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m had alreadyreached Kyengtung, Eastern Shan State, <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs came down to <strong>the</strong> Katha District by <strong>the</strong>end <strong>of</strong> 800 AD.Because <strong>of</strong> geographical condition, lack <strong>of</strong> written language <strong>and</strong> backward <strong>of</strong> economy, <strong>the</strong><strong>Kachins</strong> had never developed as a strong central government, but each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Kachin clanchieftains or Duwas enforced peace <strong>and</strong> stability over his control mountainous territory. <strong>The</strong>Kachin Duwas practiced <strong>the</strong>ir authority with <strong>the</strong>ir customary laws. <strong>The</strong>y have been united orunified by kinship system till today. <strong>The</strong>refore, it is apparent that <strong>the</strong> Kachin people havenever been under any o<strong>the</strong>r rule before <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> British colonialists. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> livedhappily in <strong>the</strong>ir “NO MAN’S LAND” till 1895 when Kachin patriots were completelysuppressed by <strong>the</strong> foreigners after a strong defiant resistance.<strong>The</strong> Period <strong>of</strong> British Colonial RuleDuring 10 years <strong>of</strong> pacification campaigns, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> resisted courageously against <strong>the</strong>British forces in various places. <strong>The</strong> British consolidated <strong>the</strong>ir position by “<strong>the</strong> policy <strong>of</strong>reward <strong>and</strong> punishment.” In this way, <strong>the</strong> whole Kachin people were finally brought under<strong>the</strong> British colonial rule for about 50 years. Meantime, <strong>the</strong> following salient events tookplace during <strong>the</strong> colonial rule. Those events are to be considered as important steps toexpose <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> to <strong>the</strong> realities <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> modern world <strong>and</strong> to widen <strong>the</strong>ir vision for <strong>the</strong>future.First, impressed by <strong>Kachins</strong>’ spirit <strong>of</strong> courage, sincerity <strong>and</strong> hardiness, many young Kachinboys were recruited to serve in <strong>the</strong> royal armies. About 400 Kachin soldiers fought bravelyon <strong>the</strong> British side in Mesopotamia during <strong>the</strong> First World War (1914‐18). Seven soldiersdied <strong>the</strong>re.Second, Foreign missionaries made great efforts for spreading Gospel among <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong><strong>and</strong> by 1940 nearly all <strong>Kachins</strong> were converted to be Christians. Rev. Dr. Ola Hansoninvented alphabets for written Kachin language in 1895. And so, <strong>Kachins</strong> got <strong>the</strong> Bible in<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 2


Kachin in 1927. <strong>The</strong> Christian movement changed dramatically <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>’ way <strong>of</strong> living insocial <strong>and</strong> economic fields.Third, <strong>the</strong> British colonialists were very tactful in <strong>the</strong>ir administration. Kachin Chieftainswere allowed to remain in <strong>the</strong>ir former positions <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y were expected to maintain <strong>the</strong>rule <strong>of</strong> law according to Kachin customs.Thus, Kachin Hill Tract Regulation was stipulated as to giving <strong>Kachins</strong> semi‐autonomyprivileges. Kachin customary Festivals such as Manau Dance Festivals called Durbar Manauwere held at various places for amusements as well as for <strong>the</strong>ir tools <strong>of</strong> indoctrination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>British policies. As a result <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se Manau festivals, about 9000 Kachin slaves <strong>of</strong> KachinChiefs <strong>of</strong> Hugawng Valley <strong>and</strong> Mali N’Mai Triangle Areas were freed or brought out <strong>of</strong>bondage.On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r h<strong>and</strong>, although <strong>the</strong>re was peace <strong>and</strong> stability in <strong>the</strong> Kachinl<strong>and</strong> during <strong>the</strong>British rule, only a few improvements were made for <strong>the</strong> welfare <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>. <strong>The</strong>re wereonly a few Primary Schools <strong>and</strong> only a few Kachin boys <strong>and</strong> girls got <strong>the</strong> chance to study in<strong>the</strong> missionary schools. Many young <strong>Kachins</strong> <strong>of</strong> that time were eager to be engaged inmilitary service <strong>and</strong> dozens <strong>of</strong> Kachin army <strong>of</strong>ficers became holders <strong>of</strong> BGM (Burma GallantryMedal), IOM [Indian Order <strong>of</strong> Merit (Military)] <strong>and</strong> OBI (Order <strong>of</strong> British India) medals.<strong>The</strong> Second World War <strong>and</strong> Emergence <strong>of</strong> Kachin Political PartiesWhen <strong>the</strong> Second World War broke out, <strong>the</strong> Japanese army invaded British Burma, with <strong>the</strong>help <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Burmese nationalists led by Gen. Aung San. <strong>The</strong> Japanese army reached <strong>and</strong>occupied nearly <strong>the</strong> whole Kachinl<strong>and</strong> except Putao where <strong>the</strong> British forces wereentrenched firmly for <strong>the</strong> recapture <strong>of</strong> Burma. Because <strong>of</strong> strong resistance from freedomfightersknown as Kachin Levies <strong>and</strong> Kachin Rangers led by allied powers blocked <strong>the</strong> roads<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Japanese, so front lines could not move freely <strong>and</strong> widely. All lines <strong>of</strong> Japanesemilitary supplies were cut <strong>of</strong>f by <strong>the</strong> Kachin marauders who fought on <strong>the</strong> side <strong>of</strong> British <strong>and</strong>American allies. By <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 1945, <strong>the</strong> Japanese were retreating <strong>and</strong> Kachinl<strong>and</strong> was fullyrecaptured by <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> with <strong>the</strong> support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> allied forces.<strong>The</strong> victory over <strong>the</strong> Japanese was commemorated with a Gr<strong>and</strong> Victory (Padang) ManauFestival at on 15‐20 April, 1946 to which <strong>the</strong> British Governor Mr. Dorman Smith came <strong>and</strong>explained <strong>the</strong> British intention to continue <strong>the</strong> colonial rule. He said that <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> werenot yet mature politically, so <strong>the</strong>y had to be trained for self‐rule for ano<strong>the</strong>r 10 years.It was at that Manau Festival that <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> came into contact with some Burmesepoliticians for <strong>the</strong> first time <strong>and</strong> were enthusiastically delighted to hear about <strong>the</strong> Burmesepro‐independence political movement led by <strong>the</strong> AFPPFL party. That was <strong>the</strong> reason whyMr. Dorman’s proposal for Dominion status for <strong>Kachins</strong> was flatly rejected by <strong>the</strong> mass <strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>.Thus Myitkyina Victory Manau Festival held right after <strong>the</strong> Great War was <strong>the</strong> turning point<strong>of</strong> Kachin history <strong>of</strong> political consciousness. Kachin political parties such as PYKPH, PYRR,<strong>and</strong> KNC were simultaneously formed. 2 Political discussion on <strong>the</strong> future course <strong>of</strong> actionwas in full swing from that time onward.2 <strong>The</strong> abbreviation form <strong>of</strong> Kachin political parties during at that era in Kachin are as follows:-Pawng Yawng Kung Hpan Hpung for PYKPH, PawngYawng Ram Rawt Hpung for PYRR, <strong>and</strong>Kachin National Congress for KNC.<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 3


On 28 November, 1946, <strong>the</strong> Prime Minister <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Governor’s Advisory Cabinet, Gen AungSan (Chairman <strong>of</strong> AFPFL. Party) came to Myitkyina on <strong>of</strong>ficial duties <strong>and</strong> met Kachinpoliticians at a special tea‐party hosted in his honour. He spoke to Kachin leaders amiably.He also showed genuine friendship towards <strong>the</strong> Kachin elders who were deeply impressedby <strong>the</strong> General’s behavior <strong>and</strong> speech on future political action.Gen Aung San separately met Kachin leaders at Mess Hall‐2, Kachin G.Co, <strong>and</strong> heemphasized three points: 1‐ <strong>the</strong> Burmans would gain freedom in <strong>the</strong> near future <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> hillpeople, including <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>, also wanted to gain <strong>the</strong>irs, 2‐statehood <strong>and</strong> selfdeterminationafter independence was promised to all minorities, 3‐ cooperate with <strong>the</strong>Burmans <strong>and</strong> to unify <strong>the</strong> struggle for total independence within a short time; to wagearmed struggle if necessary.At 4:00 PM on <strong>the</strong> 29 th November, General <strong>and</strong> his body‐guard met with Duwa Wabaw ZauRip privately <strong>and</strong> sought his cooperation <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y talked frankly about <strong>the</strong> political strategyfor <strong>the</strong> nation. On <strong>the</strong> 30 th Gen Aung San with his party was invited to a typical Kachin NewHarvest Festival held at Manhkring <strong>and</strong> General was <strong>of</strong>fered Magun Shat Lit (traditional food<strong>of</strong> honour) as well as bestowed with a typical Kachin bag <strong>and</strong> silver‐coated dow (Nhtu) as asymbol for eternal solidarity <strong>and</strong> friendship. General also addressed <strong>the</strong> Kachin chiefs <strong>and</strong>leaders, explaining his political agenda <strong>and</strong> expressed words <strong>of</strong> thanks. Kachin leaders alsotold him that Kachis were afraid <strong>of</strong> being oppressed <strong>and</strong> enslaved again by <strong>the</strong> Burmansafter <strong>the</strong> British left. In that case, General emphatically promised not to do such thingsbecause <strong>the</strong> present Burmans were much different from those <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> old days.<strong>The</strong>refore, Manhkring was <strong>the</strong> historic meeting‐place where Bogyoke Aung San <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><strong>Kachins</strong> freely exchanged <strong>the</strong>ir views on <strong>the</strong> struggles for national independence. It was <strong>the</strong>moment when <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> decided to put <strong>the</strong>ir complete trust in General Aung San. <strong>Kachins</strong>also pledged <strong>the</strong>ir full support for cooperation. In o<strong>the</strong>r words, <strong>Kachins</strong>’ future politicaldestiny was thus firmly sealed on that day.<strong>The</strong> Political Split among <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>At that time, <strong>the</strong> Kachin leaders seemed to have split into two camps. <strong>The</strong> split wasprobably caused by <strong>the</strong> British maneuvering. <strong>The</strong> first camp led by Sama Duwa SinwaNawng <strong>and</strong> Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip called for an alliance with <strong>the</strong> Burmans to gain immediatepolitical freedom from <strong>the</strong> British colonial rule. <strong>The</strong> second political camp favored gradualtransition toward independence for a separate Kachinl<strong>and</strong> through dominion status asplanned by <strong>the</strong> British <strong>the</strong>mselves. According to <strong>the</strong> British Plan, District Councils werealready formed under Frontier Area Administrations, directly controlled by <strong>the</strong> Governor.<strong>The</strong> Kachin National Congress led by Duwa Zau Lawn, from Manmaw, was known to prefer<strong>the</strong> British Plan, whereas <strong>the</strong> first camp <strong>of</strong> Kachin leaders from Myitkyina zone flatly rejectedit.<strong>The</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong><strong>The</strong> year <strong>1947</strong> was remarkable for <strong>the</strong> Kachin people. It was because <strong>the</strong>y <strong>the</strong>mselves madea historic decision for <strong>the</strong>ir future course <strong>of</strong> political freedom. It was <strong>the</strong> time when <strong>Kachins</strong>were found in <strong>the</strong> mood <strong>of</strong> highest political enthusiasm. Although <strong>the</strong>re were someopposite views on current political issues, <strong>the</strong> Kachin leaders patched up <strong>the</strong>ir differences<strong>and</strong> toge<strong>the</strong>r selected twelve delegates from both <strong>the</strong> Myitkyina <strong>and</strong> Manmaw zones. <strong>The</strong>names <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> representatives are as follows;‐<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 4


On February 8, <strong>1947</strong>, Gen Aung San <strong>and</strong> two <strong>of</strong> his cabinet ministers <strong>and</strong> two AFPFL leadersarrived at <strong>Panglong</strong> to attend <strong>the</strong> <strong>Conference</strong>. <strong>After</strong> a series <strong>of</strong> meetings <strong>and</strong> seriousconsultations between General <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> SCOUHP delegates, <strong>the</strong> unanimous agreement called<strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> Manifesto (Declaration) was born. <strong>The</strong> signatories <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> Documentwere as follows‐1. General Aung San ‐ Prime Minister, Government <strong>of</strong> Burma,representing <strong>the</strong> Burmans2. Sao Khun Pan Saing ‐ Taungpeng Sawbwa3. Sao She Thaike ‐ Nyaungshwe Sawbwa4. Sao Hone Pha ‐ <strong>The</strong>inni Sawbwa5. Sao Nun ‐ Laika Sawbwa6. Sao Sam Htun ‐ MaingpunSawbwa7. Sao Tun Aye ‐ Nam Kham sawbwa8. Duwa Howa Hkun Hpung ‐ Kachin Reps, <strong>The</strong>inni9. U Tin Aye ‐ Reps, Taunggyi10. U Kya Bu ‐ Reps, Sipaw11. Sao Yitpha ‐ Reps, Sipaw12. Sao Khun Hti ‐ Reps, <strong>Panglong</strong>13. U Tun Myit ‐ Reps, Maukme14. U Khun Saw ‐ Reps, Pindaya15. U Phyu ‐ Reps, <strong>The</strong>innisawbwa16. Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng ‐ Kachin Reps17. Duwa Zau Rip ‐ Kachin Reps18. U Dingra Tang ‐ Kachin Reps19. Duwa Zau Lawn ‐ Kachin Reps20. U Labang Grawng ‐ Kachin Reps21. U Hlui Mung ‐ Chin Reps22. U Thaung Zakhap ‐ Chin Reps23. U Kio Mang ‐ Chin Reps(A memorial pillar marking <strong>the</strong> symbol <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> national unity between <strong>the</strong> Burmans <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>hill peoples <strong>of</strong> Burma is still <strong>the</strong>re.)Some Important Excerpts from <strong>Panglong</strong> Agreement1. One representative chosen by <strong>the</strong> SCOUHP was to be appointed as a minister in <strong>the</strong>Governor’s Advisory Cabinet, who must be responsible for <strong>the</strong> affairs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hill peoples.2. As a minister <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Governor’s Cabinet, he must be given full authority in foreignrelations as well as in defense by making appropriate laws at <strong>the</strong> SCOUHP ConsultativeBody for <strong>the</strong> general administration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> states.3. All <strong>the</strong> federating states <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>, Shan <strong>and</strong> Chins, Kayin <strong>and</strong> Kayah agreed to establisha genuine Federal Union <strong>of</strong> Burma, with <strong>the</strong> states enjoying full <strong>and</strong> fundamentaldemocratic rights <strong>and</strong> self‐determination privileges.4. To set up a Kachin State within <strong>the</strong> Union, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> border <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> federating state mustbe negotiated in <strong>the</strong> Constitution Assembly Session. <strong>The</strong> demarcation process must beconducted in consultation with <strong>the</strong> two Vice‐ Ministers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state.5. <strong>The</strong> agreement shall not affect <strong>the</strong> present arrangement for financial appropriation <strong>and</strong>budget expenditure <strong>of</strong> Shan State.6. Financial contributions from <strong>the</strong> Government to <strong>the</strong> Kachin <strong>and</strong> Chin hill peoples mustbe carried out in consultation with <strong>the</strong> SCUPH representative <strong>and</strong> his vice‐ministers.<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 6


In short, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> Agreement was materialized on <strong>the</strong> basis <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Kachin leaders’ firstmemor<strong>and</strong>um which was approved by o<strong>the</strong>r hill peoples. It was in fact <strong>the</strong> true foundation<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Federal Union <strong>of</strong> Burma which regained its national sovereignty <strong>and</strong> became anindependent state among <strong>the</strong> family <strong>of</strong> nations.Maymyo Enquiry Committee, <strong>1947</strong>According to <strong>the</strong> Aung San‐Atlee Agreement, <strong>the</strong> Frontier Areas Enquiry Committee wasformed to enquire about <strong>the</strong> opinion <strong>and</strong> wishes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hill peoples with regards to <strong>the</strong>irpolitical relationship with <strong>the</strong> Burmans. A great mass <strong>of</strong> representatives from all corners <strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong> hill peoples represented <strong>the</strong>ir positive views <strong>and</strong> suggestions before <strong>the</strong> EnquiryCommittee. About 50 Kachin chiefs <strong>and</strong> salang wa led by Duwa Zau Rip <strong>and</strong> Slg. Kum RengGam also attended <strong>the</strong> Maymyo Enquiry meeting. <strong>The</strong>y firmly attested to <strong>the</strong> memor<strong>and</strong>umalready approved by <strong>the</strong> SCOUHP during <strong>the</strong> previous consultation. <strong>The</strong>y gave <strong>the</strong>ir views ongenuine federalism <strong>and</strong> self‐determination <strong>and</strong> self‐administration for <strong>the</strong> federating states,including <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Shans.Kachin Delegates to <strong>the</strong> Constitution Drafting CommitteeOn May 11, <strong>1947</strong>, Kachin political parties from Myitkyina <strong>and</strong> Manmaw convened a jointmeeting <strong>and</strong> unanimously selected seven delegates to participate in <strong>the</strong> Union ConstitutionDrafting Committee. <strong>The</strong>y were entrusted with <strong>the</strong> main task to dem<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong>Kachin State within <strong>the</strong> Federal Union as soon as independence was attained.<strong>The</strong> seven Kachin delegates were‐1. Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng ‐ Myitkyina2. Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip ‐ Myitkyina3. Slg. Kum Reng Gam ‐ Myitkyina4. Slg. Marip Awng Ba ‐ Myitkyina5. Duwa Lahpai Zau Lawn ‐ Manmaw6. Slg. Ugyi Htingnan ‐ Manmaw7. Slg. Labang Grawng ‐ Manmaw<strong>The</strong> Union Constitution Drafting Committee meeting started on June 10, <strong>1947</strong>. <strong>The</strong> Kachindelegates faced some obstacles <strong>and</strong> difficulties in <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> negotiation with Gen AungSan <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Burman political leaders. Kachin people told <strong>the</strong> delegates to return home if <strong>the</strong>negotiation failed. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> were prepared for armed struggle to obtain <strong>the</strong>ir goal at thattime.At that time, most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Burmans living in Manmaw District strongly protested against <strong>the</strong>inclusion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> plain areas in <strong>the</strong> future Kachin State. Kachin parties also made a claim forUdi Uga Hill, <strong>of</strong> Katha District, where <strong>Kachins</strong> were living for centuries. That became aserious thorny issue in <strong>the</strong> negotiations. General settled this complicated matter by makinga definite decision that only <strong>the</strong> whole Banmaw <strong>and</strong> Myitkyina Districts should be includedin <strong>the</strong> new Kachin State, whereas Udi Uga hill must remain as part <strong>of</strong> Katha District. Kachindelegates accepted Aung San’s arrangement as a token <strong>of</strong> exchange <strong>of</strong> territory <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y feltrelieved. <strong>The</strong> territorial issues were solved before Bogyoke <strong>and</strong> his ministers wereassassinated on 19 th July <strong>1947</strong>.Kachin State Day CelebrationOn 4 th January, 1948 <strong>the</strong> Union <strong>of</strong> Burma, being composed <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong>, Shan, Kayin, Kayah,<strong>and</strong> Chin special division federating states, became a sovereign nation. Kachin State alsocame into being on <strong>the</strong> 10 th January <strong>of</strong> that year <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> commemoration ceremony was<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 7


attended by Sao Shwe Thaik, <strong>the</strong> newly elected President <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Union. He presented <strong>the</strong>state constitution to Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng, <strong>the</strong> first Head <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Kachin StateGovernment. From that time onwards, <strong>Kachins</strong> celebrated State Day by staging a gr<strong>and</strong>Manau Festival on January 10 every year till <strong>the</strong> advent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Revolutionary CouncilGovernment in 1962.Heads <strong>of</strong> Kachin State Government 3 (In parliamentary Democratic Era)1. Sama Duwa Sin WaNawng ‐ 1949‐512. Duwa Zau Lawn ‐ 1952‐553. Duwa Zan Hta Sin ‐ 1956‐604. Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng ‐ 1960‐62 (nominated for Presidency)5. Duwa Zau Rip ‐ 1962 (Only three months) before <strong>the</strong> RCtook power.During <strong>the</strong> period <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Revolutionary Council Government – 1962‐73, <strong>and</strong> BSPPGovernment‐ 1973‐88, Kachin State’s Head <strong>of</strong> administration were as follows‐1. Duwa Dingra Tang ‐ 1962‐722. Duwa Hpauyu Hka (Lt. Colonel) ‐ 1973‐813. Duwa G. Bawm Ying ‐ 1981‐854. Duwa Labang La (Lt. colonel) ‐ 1983‐855. Duwa Maran Zau Yaw (Lt. Colonel) ‐ 1985‐88In 1974, a new constitution was adopted, comprising seven states <strong>and</strong> seven divisions.Besides <strong>the</strong> original number <strong>of</strong> states, two more states for Rakhine <strong>and</strong> Mons were created.All state governments were under <strong>the</strong> guidance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> BSPP which maintained <strong>the</strong> system <strong>of</strong>democratic centralism. <strong>The</strong>refore, <strong>the</strong> federating states <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ethnic nationalities had lessor limited authority. <strong>The</strong>y no longer enjoyed <strong>the</strong> democratic rights <strong>of</strong> self‐determination <strong>and</strong>equal opportunities as it was agreed in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> Document <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong>. As a result, <strong>the</strong>ethnic minorities felt as if <strong>the</strong>y were marginalized <strong>and</strong> forgotten, although <strong>the</strong> constituentstates <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Union remained just in name.Conclusion<strong>The</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong>, held in February, <strong>1947</strong>, was really an epoch‐making event in <strong>the</strong>history <strong>of</strong> Burma. <strong>The</strong> national leaders <strong>of</strong> both <strong>the</strong> Burman majority <strong>and</strong> ethnic nationalities<strong>of</strong> Burma committed <strong>the</strong>mselves, for <strong>the</strong> first time, to achieve <strong>the</strong> country’s nationalsovereignty through <strong>the</strong> pure spirit <strong>of</strong> national unity, equality <strong>and</strong> fraternity. <strong>The</strong> history <strong>of</strong>Burma would have developed differently if <strong>the</strong>re was no <strong>Panglong</strong> Agreement.Today, <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> Burma, especially <strong>the</strong> minorities, are unhappy about <strong>the</strong>ir situations.Although <strong>the</strong>y have gotten rid <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British colonial yoke successfully, over half a century <strong>of</strong>domination by <strong>the</strong> majority was <strong>the</strong> root cause <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir dissatisfaction. <strong>The</strong>y feel that <strong>the</strong>expectations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir leaders at <strong>Panglong</strong> were unfulfilled or ignored, to a certain extent.<strong>The</strong>refore, <strong>the</strong> recent political events have given us lots <strong>of</strong> lessons in politics to ponderseriously. As a matter <strong>of</strong> fact, it is extremely important not to make <strong>the</strong> same mistake asecond time. All hill people must unite again to secure <strong>the</strong>ir democratic rights <strong>and</strong> equality in<strong>the</strong> framework <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> federal union <strong>of</strong> Burma in <strong>the</strong> near future.3 <strong>The</strong> Union Constitution stipulates that Head <strong>of</strong> State must be a Kachin national. <strong>The</strong> MPs fromHP.S.P.L seemed to take control <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> balancing power at that time. <strong>The</strong>refore, <strong>the</strong> Kachin party whichwon <strong>the</strong> election did not have <strong>the</strong> chance to form <strong>the</strong> State Government without Burman MPS.<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 8


References:‐1. Jinghpaw Mung hte Ngai (Kachin State <strong>and</strong> I) by Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip, 1983.2. Migratory History (Kachin) by Duwa Lawang Li, 1992.3. Light from <strong>the</strong> Jungle by Rev. Maran Yaw, 1995.4. J.W Manau Dum ai Ahkyak ni (Importance <strong>of</strong> Conducting Manau Dance) byWulawbum Zau Hkawng, 2008.5. Mungkan Chyam ai Jinghpaw Hpyen La Mazut ni by Slg. Hpauyu Nawng Ba & MyihtoiGam Awng, 2001.6. Kachin at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> by Tawng Paline (Duwa Labang Grawng), 1973.Appendix:‐<strong>The</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong>For <strong>Kachins</strong>, <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> selecting <strong>the</strong> representatives to go to <strong>Panglong</strong> was not an easytask, indeed. At that time, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Kachins</strong> were wonderfully unanimous in <strong>the</strong>ir desire forindependence. But Kachin groups were widespread <strong>and</strong> far‐flung. Communication wasextremely bad <strong>and</strong> promise or threat, as best suited, had already been dexterouslyadministered by <strong>the</strong> Imperialists. <strong>The</strong>re had been heated recrimination, but that wasbecause <strong>the</strong>y wanted all groups to be presented. Anyway, <strong>the</strong>y adjusted <strong>the</strong>mselves to <strong>the</strong>number <strong>of</strong> representatives, <strong>of</strong>ficially fixed in <strong>the</strong> best way <strong>the</strong>y could manage. <strong>The</strong> eight forMyitkyina <strong>and</strong> four for Bhamo were arbitrary ordered from above.<strong>The</strong> representatives selected by <strong>the</strong> Kachin people for Myitkyina <strong>and</strong> Bhamo were as follows.Myitkyina Zone‐1. Duwa Sama Sinwa Nawng ‐ Kamaing Area2. Duwa Htingnan KumJa ‐ Triangle Area3. Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip ‐ Myitkyina Area4. Duwa Chyinghtawng Zau Naw ‐ Sadung Area5. Duwa Karing Naw ‐ Sumprabum Area6. Duwa Nding Tawng U ‐ Hugawung Area7. Duwa Ding Ra Tang ‐ Putao Area8. Duwa Chang Zung ‐ Lawhkawng – Lhavao, Lacid areaBhamo Zone‐1. Duwa Lahpai Zau Lawn ‐ Panghuk2. Duwa Lawdan Zau La ‐ Lawdan3. Sara Maran La ‐ Sinlum4. Duwa Labang Grawng ‐ Bhamo TownOn <strong>the</strong> way to <strong>Panglong</strong>, <strong>the</strong>se 12 Kachin delegates stopped at Kutkai on February 1, <strong>1947</strong>,<strong>and</strong> after a thorough deliberation on <strong>the</strong> draft memor<strong>and</strong>um <strong>of</strong> Myitkyina zone, <strong>the</strong>y drewup a firm resolution “to obtain independence along with <strong>the</strong> Burmans.” <strong>The</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> thisresolution became <strong>the</strong> irrevocable guide‐line <strong>the</strong>nce‐forth. Hence, <strong>the</strong> assertion that <strong>the</strong>delegates <strong>of</strong> Bhamo <strong>and</strong> Myitkyina had some difference <strong>of</strong> opinion on policy at <strong>the</strong><strong>Conference</strong> is purely an invented malice.Not a few publications claim that Sama Duwa was influenced by some non‐Kachin friends tojoin h<strong>and</strong>s with <strong>the</strong> Burmans. All <strong>the</strong>se claims seem probable; it is very well‐known thatSama Duwa liked c<strong>and</strong>y <strong>and</strong> cars <strong>and</strong> loved to address every one as “Akogyi,” but he was nota child. Foreign publications are no better. Many say that frontier people were tricked.Incidentally, one foreign author said prior to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong>, Bogyoke Aung San<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 9


had <strong>of</strong>fered <strong>the</strong> frontier people a promise <strong>of</strong> separate status with full autonomy, right <strong>of</strong>secession, etc., it never was so. All Bogyoke promised was <strong>the</strong> right to shape one’s owndestiny through sweat. Those who indulged in trickery were <strong>the</strong> minions <strong>of</strong> colonialism <strong>and</strong>individuals who were inordinately ambitious.When <strong>the</strong> time for signing <strong>the</strong> Agreement came, <strong>the</strong> Bhamo delegates proposed that fourfrom Myitkyina <strong>and</strong> two from Bhamo be selected as signatories. <strong>The</strong> Myitkyina delegatespointed out that all <strong>the</strong> delegates collectively represented <strong>the</strong> whole Kachin race <strong>and</strong>suggested that three from each area be chosen for signing. Thus <strong>the</strong> following Kachindelegates were named to sign <strong>the</strong> Agreement.Myitkyina‐1. Duwa Sama Sinwa Nawng2. Duwa Zau Rip3. Duwa Dingra TangBhamo‐1. Duwa Zau La2. Duwa Zau Lawn3. Duwa Labang GrawngAll Kachin delegates, except Duwa Zau La (<strong>of</strong> Bhamo), affixed <strong>the</strong>ir signatures to <strong>the</strong> historic<strong>Panglong</strong> Agreement on February 12, <strong>1947</strong>.Thus, through <strong>the</strong> inspiration by <strong>the</strong> energetic but subtle machinations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> agents <strong>of</strong>colonialism before <strong>and</strong> during <strong>the</strong> <strong>Conference</strong>, <strong>the</strong> Kachin representatives unanimouslyavowed that freedom would be more speedily achieved by <strong>the</strong>ir immediate co‐operationwith <strong>the</strong> interim Government headed by General Aung San. But, political struggle did notend <strong>the</strong>re, especially for <strong>the</strong> Kachin people.<strong>The</strong> extract is from <strong>the</strong> Working Peoples’ Daily‐ April 14, 1973 by Taung Paline (Duwa LabangGrawng).<strong>Kachins</strong> before <strong>and</strong> after <strong>Panglong</strong> <strong>Conference</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>1947</strong> page‐ 10

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