Oriental Studies at Rangoon University

Per request of Sayagyi U Pe Maung Tin (Pali and Burmese Scholar), the Burmese Department was formed as a Sub-department of the Department of Oriental Studies (Ah Shay Taing Pyinnya).

Burmese Department at Rangoon University

A few years later, a separate Department was established for Burmese.

U E Maung

Saya U E (pronounced “Aye”) Maung served as its first Professor. Saya’s compilation “Garland of Kabyars (Poems)” was a prescribed text for my elder siblings. His spouse Daw Khin Mya Mu (sister of ICS U Tin Tut, Barrister U Kyaw Myint, Chief Justice U Myint Thein and Rector Dr. Htin Aung) is an expert in reading and transcribing Kyauk Sar (Inscription).

Notable Sayas

Notable Sayas from the Burmese Department include

  • U Chan Mya (Mya Ketu)
  • U Toe Aung (Kutha)
  • U Hla Maung (Abhiddhama saya and member of Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe)
  • U Sunn Tun (Mandalay, “Shay Tho” series)
  • U Kyaw Yin

Outstanding Alumni

They include

  • ICS U Sein Tin (Theikpan Maung Wa)
  • U Thein Han (Zawgyi)
  • U Wun (Minthuwun)
  • Daw Khin Saw Mu (sister of Daw Khin Mya Mu and Daw Tin Saw Mu)
  • U Tin Aye (Shan Pyay)
  • U Kyaw Aung

Saya U Pe Maung Tin was proud of his students — Theikpan Maung Wa, Zawgyi and Minthuwun — for founding the “Khit San Sar Pay”.

U Wun, U Tin Aye and U Kyaw Aung served as Compilers & Editors of the Translation Department.

For a short period, Saya U Wun served as a Professor. He also served as Visiting Professor at Osaka University.

Burmese Texts

They include

  • “Kabyar Pan Kone” (Garland of Flowers) compiled by Saya U E Maung (which was prescribed for High School before our days)
  • “Myanmar Thadda” (Burmese Grammar) by Saya U Pe Maung Tin (which we studied in Middle School)
  • “U Pon Nya Wutthu Paung Kyote” compiled and annotated by Saya U Wun (which we studied in High School)
  • Poems by U Kyin U
  • Selections from Zat Taw Gyi Hse Bwe (e.g. Mahosadha)
  • Pyazat (e.g. Deva Gomban)

Burmese Language

Like most languages, Burmese comprises of the spoken language (Myanmar Sagar) and the written language (Myanmar Sar). The spoken language predates the written language, which first appeared as the fourth and final language of the Mya Zedi Kyauksar (stone inscription). An early Indo-Tibetan script was used to write Burmese.

Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe

The BSPP Government formed the Myanmar Sar Commission. Bohmu Ba Thaung, Head of Burmese Department at DSA, served as one of the early Heads of the Commission.

Decline of formal Burmese

The Commission was forced to revise the Burmese spelling twice. Authors and publishers were fined ten pyas for each violation of the spelling rules dictated by the Commission. Many classic texts were ruined when every occurrence of TA had to be replaced with TIT to please the whims of the higher authorities. The rhyme and rhythm of the beloved texts were lost.

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