Is Burma and Myanmar the same CountryAre Burma and Myanmar the same country?
Politics in the name of: Burma in Myanmar
On 7 June, the Twenty-second World Economic Forum for East Asia ended in Nay Pyi Taw. This was the first Myanmar held an unprecedented meeting of this size. Around 900 attendees from over 50 different nations took part in the conference, among them representatives from politics and industry.
Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, opened the panel together with Klaus Schwab, President of the World Business Forum. 6. It was described by its Asian director, Sushant Palakurthi Rao, as the biggest World Business Summit on East Asia. Although the aim of the meeting was to debate the problems of emerging countries in the area, in particular the association of Southeast Asian nations' commercial involvement, a great interest in the socio-economic reform of the country was obvious.
In the margins of the event, a worldwide television broadcast discussion entitled "Myanmar: The presentation of "What Future" was hosted by Nik Gowing of the British Broadcasting Corporation with around 400 participants. Obviously the discussion about the name of the country was split. Although they all relate to the same country, some used Burma and others Myanmar.
Aung San Suu Kyi and Zin Mar Aung, for example, clearly favored the first, while Minister Soe Thein and the public surveyed by the public used the latter. Is the name an issue in Myanmar policy? The State Law and Order Restoration Council's junta re-named the land of the Union of Burma the Union of Myanmar.
The country was known as Burma and the capitol Rangoon during Britain's time. During the Panglong 1947 meeting and in previous few month's, the Burmese majoritarian group headed by General Aung San tried several times to persuade the border tribe, now referred to as the country's minority peoples, to join the Union.
There has been a profound distrust of other national ethnicities towards the vast majority of the Burmese population since the UK National Government. In these circumstances, the concept of the Union was shaped by Burma to give the various communities under a new Burma of independence a feeling of union and belonging.
If the border population had not consented to join the Union of Burma, the country's autonomy could either have been postponed or only the areas under Burmese occupation could have been recognised as Burma by the British. Firstly, the army leadership argues that it is necessary and important to substitute a local name for the name Burma, as it was given or used by the colonizers.
Myanmar's second point is that the concept of Burma applies to only one group of individuals and the use of Myanmar includes all of the country's racial groupings. Burma is either known as Myanma or Bama in Burmese or Burmese. The Myanma is the country's spelled name, while Bama is the country's spelled name.
Most of the Burmese in the country are still covered by both the name. Although the name was altered in 1989, the Myanmar population and the multinational fellowship still use two different name. As an example, the overwhelmingly democratic defenders and some West European nations, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom, are still using the old name.
Secondly, the Myanmar administration and its followers and sympathisers, as well as a large majority within the global fellowship, the United Nations Organisation included, are using the new name. To those who favour Burma, they say that it was an anti-democratic administration (military regime) that altered the name of the country without the approval or mandates of the population.
And they also claim that there is no basic distinction between the two denominations, both still refer to a group of persons. For them, the name should only be changed if a democratic administration approves it with the consent of the parliamentary majorities. It also argues that the concept of Burma is more easily pronounced and memorable.
But with the country's progressive reform of democracy, the new name has become more common than ever and the world has begun to recognise it. As the present model of democratisation evolves and the multinational body builds ordinary international relations with the country, it is likely that the new name will ultimately be used by all formal diplomatic relations, also by the United States and the United Kingdom.
However, the old name cannot be readily forgot or given up by some in Myanmar company, especially by the older generations and within the expatriates group. The country's old name will remain in Myanmar policy for the time being until a democratic administration formally recognises and acknowledges the name chang.
As the subject is both historic and politically, the use of one name over the other still has policy implications, although both are essentially related to a particular group of group. Mr. Nehginpao Kipgen is General Sectretary of the Kuki International Forum. He concentrates his research on South and Southeast Asian policy, with a focus on Burma/Myanmar.
Writer of a number of international peer-reviewed and non-academic analytic papers on Burma's and Asia's policies. The" Changing of Policies under Bush and Obama Administrations" was released by Routledge in March 2013.