My cousin Daw Myint Thwe was celebrating her birthday on July 19, 1947 when the sad news were announced. The birthday celebration was put on hold.
Time (or rather a clock) stood still at 10:37 AM on July 19, 1947.
Seven Cabinet Ministers led by Bogoke Aung San, a Cabinet Secretary and a body guard were mercilessly gunned down. Eight perished on July 19, 1947. Mongpawn Sawbwa passed away on July 20, 1947.
- Bogyoke Aung San
- Thakin Mya
- Deedok U Ba Cho
- Mahn Ba Khine
- Sao San Htun (Mongpawn Sawbwa)
- U Ba Win
- U Razak
- ICS U Ohn Maung
- Yebaw Ko Htwe
There were several politicians named “U Mya”. Thakin Mya was a leader of an AFPFL faction. He was a “Minister without Portfolio” and was regarded as an unofficial Deputy Prime Minister.
U Razak and Ko Htwe received their last rites according to their faith. Yebaw Ko Htwe was a body guard of U Razak.
The remaining seven were honored at the Jubilee Hall before being moved to Arzani Gon near Shwe Dagon Pagoda.
In our younger days, we walked to Shwe Dagon Pagoda on Saturdays.
We would occasionally stop by at the “Arzani Beikman” (Martyr’s Mausoleum). Nine Oke Gu’s were on display. Four each flanked Bogyoke’s Oke Gu.
We noticed that there were two tombs in the vicinity: one for U Tin Tut and one for Bo Sein Hman. Only recently did I learn about the “Empty Tomb” of U Tin Tut, Bagyee of Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint.
Two ministers (U Tin Tut and U Kyaw Nyein) did not attend the meeting. on July 19, 1947.
According to “Phaw Kaung Ba Nyunt”, he could not find U Nu (Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies) at his office.
A few ministers (such as Pagan U Ba Gyan and U Aung Zan Wai) who were seated at the “far side” of the meeting table escaped.
U Ba Gyan is the elder brother of U Ba Shan (Secretary of the Mathematics Curriculum Committee, and father of Ko Boe Ba Shan [ex-UCC]).
U Aung Zan Wai was a signer of the Panlong Agreement.
Ma Nge (Nge Ma Ma Than, ex-UCC, daughter of U Aung Than) lost two uncles : U Ba Win and Bogyoke Aung San.
Sayama Daw Myint Myint Khaing (Maths) lost her father Mahn Ba Khaing.
Ma Khin Myint Cho lost her grand father Deedoke U Ba Cho. She invited us to a soon kwyay on one Arzani Nay.
Saya U Tin Maung Thein (EE62) lost his father U Ohn Maung. Grapevine says that U Ohn Maung “requested” another Secretary to “switch” the times for the presentation to the Cabinet.
U Tin Myint and U Hla Kyi (sons of U Razak) were RUBC members.
MongPawn Sawbwa Sao San Htun died in the hospital on July 20, 1947. San Hso Holm (“Sawbwa Lay”, his son, was an Old Paulian, an RUBC Green and winner of the Senior Novices crew coxed by Saya U Tin Htut, a scholar (English Honors (First Class) and two Law degrees), and an excellent writer. The Sawbwas requested his legal services. He was detained on March 2, 1962. After serving in the Education Ministry, he and his family migrated to Australia. His wife (sister of Saya Sao Kan Gyi) published an “autobiography”.
The “attempted massacre of Chung Doo Wan and his party” was carried out by three North Korean agents.
One set of bombs did not go off and thus spared the lives of the Burmese contingent. U Soe Minn (son of Dr. Tha Minn — dentist in our younger days) was on duty as Deputy Director of Myanmar Ah Than TV. He was hit by shrapnel, but he survived. The award winning Kyemon reporter, who “switched” duties, was killed.
- The “new” Arzani Beikman would not have a roof.
- The nine tombs would be transformed into a monolithic “Gu”.
- The families of the fallen leaders (e.g. Sayama Daw Myint Myint Khine) would not be invited to State functions and dinners.
- Top tier leaders are no longer mandated to attend Arzani Day. Second tier leaders would show up as a token of respect for the fallen leaders.
- The public would have little or no access to the ceremonies.
Did Bogyoke trust his people too much?
Reports that 200 Bren Guns were stolen from COD (Central Ordinance Depot) did not move the administration to beef up security at the Secretariat (Ah Twin Wun Yone).
In contrast, the former No. 1 would have three (or more) layers of security personnel. He would not eat anything that has not been tasted by his loyal chef.
There are some other dots that need to be connected. There are some rumors that need to be substantiated.
Galon U Saw
U Saw was a former Prime Minister of Burma. He prefixed his name with “Galon” to display his high esteem for Saya San and the Galon Troup.
During the Second World War, he was detained in Uganda. A head reader supposedly cautioned U Saw that “every person he had met with that kind of head ended up in the gallows”.
U Saw has hopes and inspirations to return to power in Burma. He presumably had the covert support of some Conservative Party leaders and members who disliked Bogyoke Aung San.
U Saw was hit in or near the eye by a sharpshooter (supposedly Yangon Ba Swe). This caused U Saw to hold a grudge against Bogyoke and AFPFL.
Around 2007, several Classified Documents in the UK passed the moratorium period.
Those documents became a basis of the BBC Documentary “Who really killed Aung San?”
According to those documents, the British smuggled Captain Vivian, the man who gave U Saw 200 Bren guns and then misinformed the press that he had died in action. Captain Vivian “died naturally sometime ago in his native Wales”.
The Martyrs died from Sten Gun shots. The cache of Bren Guns were found in U Saw’s compound. The weapons added intrigue.
Books and Articles
The old newspapers cover Arzani Nay in somewhat detail.
Bogyoke’s body guards include Natmauk Phone Kyaw (writer) and Bo Tun Hla (Tekkatho Nay Win, writer and actor).
I used to read the articles by Tekkatho Nay Win.
Dr. Maung Maung wrote a book on the Trial.
A few years back, I read the book “Who killed Aung San?” by Kin Oung (former Naval Officer living in Australia). His father U Tun Hla Oung “arrested” Galon U Saw and his father-in-law U Thaung Sein (as Secretary of Insein Prison) “kept watch of” U Saw so that U Saw and his team can be “tried” by a Special Tribunal headed by U Kyaw Myint (father of Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint).
At one time, the public was “barred” from paying respect, and those who tried were detained.
I did not have a chance to read the revised versions of the book.
I also saw the BBC’s production titled, “Who really killed Aung San?”
Several noted that the then Number One never attended the ceremonies. A few hinted that he was a member of the Thakin Ba Sein faction of AFPFL and had some “grudges” for those from the Thakin Mya faction. He was supposedly having fun with the Derby every July in UK.