King Min­don’s an­ces­tors pay homage

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­times.com HLAING KYAW SOE hlaingkyaw­soe@mm­times.com

IN a solemn act of com­mem­o­ra­tion that echoed from down the cen­turies, more than 80 el­derly de­scen­dants of Burma’s last kings gath­ered on Oc­to­ber 7 to pay homage to their royal fore­bears.

The of­fer­ing of food to monks in hon­our of the de­ceased was the first such act in the 138 years since King Min­don died, in 1878.

Min­don is con­sid­ered one of the coun­try’s most revered monar­chs, hav­ing spent much of his reign re­sist­ing Bri­tish colo­nial rule and try­ing to mod­ernise his king­dom.

The cer­e­mony took place in Man­dalay’s Great Golden Royal Palace, for the first time since the end of colo­nial rule. Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties had banned the use of the palace for that pur­pose since the de­po­si­tion of the last monarch, King Thibaw, said one of the sur­viv­ing de­scen­dants, Ko Ko Myo. After the Bri­tish left town, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials re­mained re­luc­tant to al­low pub­lic cel­e­bra­tions within the com­plex. It wasn’t un­til the Na­tional League for Democ­racy took of­fice this year that such a cer­e­mony was ap­proved by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

The event brought to­gether great­grand­chil­dren of King Min­don and Crown Prince Kanaung.

“Peo­ple think King Thibaw’s gen­er­a­tion has van­ished, but his de­scen­dants are still with us, though scat­tered since he was sent into ex­ile. It is just over seven years since they last gath­ered. The Kon­baung-era gen­er­a­tion are also gath­er­ing. It’s very sig­nif­i­cant that we were al­lowed to hold the event in the palace. We are here to rep­re­sent the peo­ple,” said U Soe Win, 71, a great­grand­son of King Thibaw.

An­other com­mem­o­ra­tion is planned for Novem­ber 22 in the palace to mark the de­par­ture of King Thibaw into ex­ile, and the king’s death, in Yada­nar­giri, In­dia, will be com­mem­o­rated in De­cem­ber, he said.

The old­est of King Thibaw’s de­scen­dants, Htaik Su Ph­yar Gyi (94), Taw Pha Yar and Thamee Taw Gyi (both 93) took part in the com­mem­o­ra­tion.

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