Bronze statue of Shan ethnic chief to be erected in Nyaungshwe
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.