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Rangoon University (130)

Thakin Ba Thaung

  • He is not an alumnus of Rangoon University
  • He was requested by J. S. Furnivall (co-founder of the Burma Research Society) to teaching “Translation” at Rangoon University
  • He is an Outstanding Translator
  • Won Translation Contests run by Ganda Lawka / World of Books.
    He won five out of six competitions, and was offered to be a writer/editor
  • Won UNESCO prize for Translation
  • His translations / adaptations of the Best Sellers are well known.
    They include
    “Tess”,
    “Animal Farm” (by George Orwell),
    “1001 Nights”,
    “Thief of Baghdad”
  • He was a driving force for the “Dobama Asi Ah Yone” and “Thakin” movements in the fight for Burma’s Independence
  • Proposed the use of the prefix “Thakhin” (meaning Master) in the names of the members of Doh Ba Ma Ah Si Ah Yone
    After becoming Prime Minister of the Union of Burma, Thakin Nu dropped the prefix “Thakhin” and became known simply as U Nu.
  • Wrote lyrics for the “Doh Ba Ma” song
    The music was written by Saya Tin
  • Details can be found in books (e.g. by Tekkatho Sein Tin) and in the poem by Saya Dr. Maung Maung Nyo
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Thakin Ba Thaung

Tribute to Thakhin Ba Thaung

By Dr. Maung Maung Nyo

Never a Student But a Truant Teacher of the Rangoon University!

Normally a teacher of the university must be a graduate

At least a baccalaureate if not gaining a doctorate

But a glaring exception was made by Rangoon University

By appointing a non-matriculate to teach in its activity

On the subject of translation from English to Burmese or vice versa

The torch bearer tutor Ba Thaung was a high school dropout so far

But won five out of six translation contests held in Burma

It was in the early 1930s and alumni and graduates were rare

JS Furnivall D.Litt. ICS uttered it was an amazing phenomenon

Ba Thaung was so talented and continued to win the further tests run

For the Prince of Wales Visit and other literary translation errands

Venturing into the literary worlds by publishing translated ones

Like “Thousand and One Nights”, “Thief of Baghdad Ahmed” and “Animal Farm”

Yes he was fascinated by fiery leftist writer George Orwell’s charm

Became an anti-Colonialist assuming the title “Thakhin or Master”

First founder owner of the ”Dobamar Asiayone (Our Burman Association)” Saga

Leaving his job for politics to be prisoned and pissed off by his followers

But he made a niche in the world of translation in Burma

Having won the UNESCO prize in the 1960s and General Ne Win’s admiration

Dubbed with Nainggant Gonyi Prize First Class like the General and his generation

Thakhin Ba Thaung then had written about fifty books and five hundred articles in translation

He was the initiator of use of “Thakhin” as a prefix for the membership of the Association

Thakhin Nu, Thakhin Aung San, Thakhin Than Tun, nay all the Thakhins owed their prefix to him

Yes he was talented beyond doubt and a phenomenon even for the British administration

Born on February 7 1901 and died on April 12, 1981, lived for 80 years

Hail to the Master Translator for showing education is a gift dear!

Dr Maung Maung Nyo,

9th March, 2020, Yangon.

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Selected Works

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Translation of “Tess”
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Translation of `”1001 Nights”
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Translation of “The Thief of Baghdad”
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Translation of “Animal Farm”

George Orwell

(One of TBT’s favorite authors)

His works include

  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
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Rangoon University

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Struggle for Burma’s Independence

The Burmese delegation led by Bogyoke Aung San signed an agreement with the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee on January 27. 1947.

Sadly, Bogyoke was assassinated on July 19, 1947.

Another agreement signed by U Nu and Atlee paved the way for Burma’s Independence on January 4, 1948.

Aung San – Atlee Agreement
(January 27, 1947)

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Aung San -Atlee Agreement

Doh Ba Ma Song
(Lyrics by Thakhin Ba Thaung,
Music by Saya Tin)

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