British Relation After World War-II

The World War II came to an end in the year 1945. By then, with the tide of war changing against them, Japan had withdrawn from the entire region of South-east Asia and the British resumed their administrative authority in the region. To the credit of British foresight, just after the end of the war, they correctly gauged the political aspirations which was developing on the Indian Sub-continent and were convinced that they would not be able to suppress the overwhelming feeling of nationalism. In the context of Burma also the British Government wanted certain political concessions so that the people of these areas (Zomi & Chin indigenous people) would have an opportunity to govern their own people. Meanwhile, on the 27th January, 1947 an agreement was signed between Attlee and Aung San to have a new Constitution of Burma. That agreement was known as the “London Agreement”.

On the basis of the provision of the London Agreement a conference was held from February 10-12, 1947 at Panglong, in Shan State. The names of the Zomi Chiefs who attended the Conference were Hlur Mung, Chief of Lumbang, Tho Za Khup, Chief of Saizang, and Kio Mang, Chief of Haka and Vum Ko Hau. Other Chiefs like Pumzamang, Thangtinlian, Vanhmung and Hluahmung, though invited they refused to attend the Conference because they did not like to join Burma. Actually, they wanted to establish Zogam, an independent Zo country. In that Conference the Burmese delegates were able to know the mind of the Zomi who had no faith in the capability of the Burman as an administrator. So Aung San, who was an honest and straightforward Burmese leader, tried to convince the Zomi delegates. He went to the extent of saying: “the Presidency of the future Union of Burma will be by turn among the various races of Burma. When Burma becomes independent, you will get the chance available in an independent, sovereign state…” 

An Agreement, thereafter, was signed on February 12, 1947. The terms of the agreement were mainly confined to the modalities of the establishment of administration in the frontier areas. One important aspect of the agreement was that citizens of the Frontier areas could have the right and privilege to enjoy the fundamental principles which are provided in the Constitution of the Union of Burma. Apart from this the Agreement also accepted to provide full internal autonomy in the Frontier areas.

The terms of the Agreement, however, were not accepted by the Karens and the Zomi of the Arakan Hill Tracts. Yet the terms of the Agreement were ratified by the Shans, Kachins and the Chin Hills Zomi. This marked a turning point in the future history of the Frontier areas. After the signing of the Panglong Agreement, a Frontier Areas Enquiry Commission was constituted with an objective to find out the opinions of the people of the Frontier Areas. The following persons were the members of the Commission.

Mr. D.R.Rees-William, M.P., Chairman.

Burma Members

Frontier area Members

• The Hon’ble U Tin Tut 
• Thakin Nu Sima
• U Khin Maung Gale
• Saw Myint Theim
• The Hon’ble Sawbwa of Mangpawn (Shan)
• Asinwa Nawng (Kachin)
• Pu Vum Ko Hau (Zomi)
• Saw Sankey (Karen)

The members immediately started the work, collecting the opinions of the representatives and witnesses. They found that the majority of the people were in favour of the establishment of a federation type of administration. Another aspect of the recommendation of the Commission was the right of secession. It stated that any state of the Union of Burma has the right to secede at any time. This part of the recommendation was also accepted by the Constitution of Burma (1947). Article 201 of the Constitution of the Union of Burma states,

“Every state shall have the right to secede from the Union of Burma under the following conditions.

202. The right of secession shall not be exercised within ten years from the date on which this Constitution comes into operation.

203.(i) Any state wishing to exercise the right of secession shall have a resolution to that effect passed by its State Council. No such resolution shall be deemed to have been passed unless not less than two-thirds of the total numbers of the State Council concerned have voted in its favour”.

(ii) The Head of the State concerned shall notify the President of any such resolution passed by the Council and shall send him a copy of such resolution certified by the chairman of the Council by which it was passed”.

The Independence Treaty was signed on the 17th October, 1947. It was endorsed by the British Parliament on the 10th December, 1947. After this the British withdrew from Burma and on the 4th January, 1948 Burma attained independence.



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