Burma Suppresses History, Says Rangoon Writer

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Burma's ruling junta has effectively erased the history of modern Burmese rulers by suppressing their biographies, according to a Rangoon-based historian.

Than Win Hlaing, 40, planned to distribute a biographical study of Burma’s first prime minister, U Nu, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth on May 25.

But the Ministry of Information’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Division, the country’s notorious censorship body, has blocked its distribution.

“I was upset to learn that the book could not be distributed at the right time,” said Than Win Hlaing. “What I was trying to do is preserve our history for the next generation.”

Than Win Hlaing this year completed a 7-year prison sentence for his previous book about historic sculpture in Burma and its preservation of the history of the country’s most prominent historical figures.

The history of U Nu was designed to preserve the memory of one of Burma’s best-known nationalist politicians and the first prime minister of an independent Burma.

U Nu was a student leader and independence activist in the final decades of British rule in Burma. He co-founded the influential Nagani, or “Red Dragon,” book club, which circulated Burmese-language translations of international works in the fields of literature, history, economics politics and science.

Following the assassination of Gen Aung San and fellow cabinet ministers on July 19, 1947, U Nu led the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League to secure the Nu-Atlee Treaty, a pre-independence agreement later in the year.

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