When Burma became MyanmarAs Burma became Myanmar.
As Burma and India went their separate ways.
Burma's division from British India is often obscured by a more forcible division 10 years later, but it was a time that had a significant influence on the contemporary histories of the state. Mr President, this year marked the eighieth year of the break-up of British-India from Burma. In spite of the importance of this incident, the Jubilee has largely disappeared from the public awareness and was eclipsed by the violence of the 1947 partitions.
After the Third Anglo-Burma War in 1885, Upper Burma was invaded and the land became a provincial state of India governed from Calcutta. As a result, there was increasing hostility towards India, not only among Burma's people who resisted alien domination, but also among Britain and other overseas interests who wanted to run Burma as their own people.
Soon after the annexation, Burma was supported as an independent unit. The Lieutenant Governor of Burma from 1897 to 1903, Sir Frederick Fryer, who previously ranked the lower echelons of the Supreme Commissar, thought that Burma was as well suited to government as India. The Burmese also noted that their religions, races and customs were different from those of the Indians.
However, the issue of division was not thoroughly investigated until the end of the twenties. India's Legislative Commission headed by Sir John Simon was sent to Burma in January 1929 to examine the policy structures established in 1921 when the diarchic system was established by extending the Indian government's law to Burma.
The Simon Commission in 1930 advised the immediate disengagement of Burma from India, but there was no clear policy agreement between the UK, India and Burma's armed services within Burma. There have been heated discussions between separate and anti-separatist groups on issues that ranged from migration and the business world to intrinsic mistrust of the UK.
As Burma became a provincial area of India, many individuals from all over the empire took the chance to migrant. There was a widespread opinion in India that the Myanmar formed a scheme to expel all non-Burmese from the area. That is why many have called for Burma to remain part of the empire of India, unless there was a certainty that there would be no discriminatory laws.
But not all pro-separatist groups concentrated on Indian emigrants. Anglo-Burman and Burmese Resident European Community declared that it wanted a division from India so that the state could establish an immigrant law to "keep unwanted foreigners away". They were more worried about the arrival of Tibetan refugees in Burma.
Organizations that represented minorities also had different views on the split. The group voiced misgivings in the Burma Muslim community memo to the Statutory Commission about a break-up due to Burma's growing nationality. MEPs voiced concerns that a new Separitist regime would relinquish their powers and call them aliens. The Group also said, however, that it would not prevent a division ist wish.
A further major issue was the effects of this division on Burma's business. Burma's and Britain's civil servants believed that the business community would profit from a division. In a 1928 brochure by lawyer U Mya U entitled "A Plea for Seperation of Burma from India", Burma as a provincial of India suffered 68 million rupiah a year - a figure corresponding to 63 per cent of its 1927-28 turnover.
He lamented that Burma's revenues were used to help areas as far as the northwestern border provinces of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Britain's trading interests in Burma also saw the divide as beneficial to the country's economies. That opinion argued that Burma was limited by the trading duties imposed by the government of India and that the country's failure to develop its own trading policies was damaging to the province's economies.
However, several companies in Burma and India thought that a split would be damaging to Burma's commercial interests, as the two countries' respective industries were strongly intertwined and Burma would have to pay the immediate cost of the split. For example, the Brazilian authorities would probably require payment to offset the railroads they build in Burma.
UK backing for the break-up exacerbated the conflict and increased mistrust among Burma's people, resulting in the formation of the Anti-Separations League in July 1932. Under the leadership of Dr Ba Maw, his followers thought that the break-up was a UK trick to undermining Burma's progress towards indipendence. Tales were circulated that Burma would be at the hands of the UK authorities, with additional taxes and an influx of "undesirables" from other UK territory - a hint at the jobless and poor and another example of anti-immigration talk in the discussion, but this case in an anti-separation setting.
In the 1932 parliamentary elections, which were regarded as a survey of the general population on the subject of division, they approached each other with either anti-separatist or separateist states. The Dividing League was believed to be the winner, but both sides won a 45-seat split. Separations League won 42 places in comparison to the 29 places of Separations League.
Myanmar Separatist leaders said that funds had been used by prosperous Indians to propagate federalism. Meanwhile, UK civil servants asserted that the secessionists were too certain of their victories and had neglected to fight proactively in the countryside.
Burma's government Act 1935 affirmed that the segregation would take place on April 1, 1937, and ended 51 years of the land governed as a provincial of India. After Burma's independency, the law paved the way for the regime with the creation of a Westminster cabinett with nine Myanmar government officials and an electoral House of Representatives.
Former anti-separatist Dr Ba Maw was Burma's first prime minister following the break-up. Burma's prosperous and non-violent division established the policy basis for becoming an autonomous state, but the accentuation of anti-immigration policies during the dissolution drive helped the emergence of Burma's ethnic-nationalist ideology, which would have an impact on the nation in the coming years.