Bronze statue of Shan eth­nic chief to be erected in Nyaung­shwe

The Myanmar Times - - News - MYAT MOE THU news­room@mm­times.com

A BRONZE statue of Shan eth­nic chief Sao Shwe Thaik, who served as the first pres­i­dent of Myan­mar af­ter in­de­pen­dence, will be erected at his mau­soleum in north­ern Shan State’s Nyaung­shwe town­ship, ac­cord­ing to the Nyaung­shwe palace restora­tion com­mit­tee.

“In an ef­fort to re­veal and recog­nise his­tory, a bronze statue of the Saw Bwar Gyi will be erected in his birth­place. Though this bronze statue is his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant for us, it doesn’t mean we want to re­store feu­dal­ism. We want younger gen­er­a­tions to re­mem­ber him with grat­i­tude for the role he played in Myan­mar’s in­de­pen­dence, es­pe­cially the sys­tem­atic ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem he pro­vided for lo­cal peo­ple. The bronze statue is an ex­pres­sion of our grat­i­tude,” said U Nay Myo, Pyithu Hlut­taw MP for Nyaung­shwe.

The six-foot-tall statue, which will cost an es­ti­mated K6 mil­lion, will de­pict the for­mer pres­i­dent stand­ing in tuxedo. It is be­ing cast in Man­dalay and will be erected be­fore his 122nd birth­day on Oc­to­ber 19.

“Some peo­ple don’t know that he was Myan­mar’s first pres­i­dent. We want them to know about him. He was one of the great his­tor­i­cal fig­ures in the in­de­pen­dence of Myan­mar and played a ma­jor role in the Pan­g­long agree­ment. Pan­g­long wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out his con­tri­bu­tion. His­tor­i­cal records about him will be en­graved on a bronze plate be­side the statue,” said U Khin Maung Win, state Hlut­taw MP for Nyaung­shwe.

Sao Shwe Thaik re­ceived the ti­tles of Agga Maha Tharay Sithu and Agga Maha Thiri Thud­hamma from the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment. He ini­ti­ated the tra­di­tion of car­ry­ing the fa­mous Bud­dha images of Nyaung­shwe from their shrine at Phaung Daw Oo pagoda by barge to be wor­shiped at 21 places in Inle Lake re­gion.

“The com­mit­tee asked the Shan State gov­ern­ment for per­mis­sion to set up the bronze statue to rec­og­nize and hon­our his po­si­tion and ti­tle,” said Sao Hay­mar Thaik, daugh­ter of Sao Shwe Thaik and a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee.

“The statue of the Shan eth­nic chief should be set up. It will let every­one see what Young She was like in the Sophia era,” said U Nye Ton, a res­i­dent of Young She.

The money for the statue was do­nated by rel­a­tives, res­i­dents and oth­ers.

Sao Shwe Thaik was born in 1896 in Nyaung­shwe to Nyaung­shwe Saw Bwa Sir Sao Maung and Maha Devi. He was elected act­ing state pres­i­dent at the third con­fer­ence of the Hlut­taw in Septem­ber 1947 and served as Burma’s pres­i­dent un­til March 1952.

Dur­ing the mil­i­tary coup in March 1962, Sao Shwe Thaik was ar­rested by the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Coun­cil headed by Gen­eral Ne Win. He died in prison in Novem­ber 1962 at the age of 66.

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