TOC ASIAN HIGHLANDS PERSPECTIVES #48 (2017)

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Asian Highlands Perspectives is pleased to announce the publication of Volume 48: GREAT LORDS OF THE SKY: BURMA'S SHAN ARISTOCRACY by Sao Sanda Simms. Written from a Tai/Shan perspective, the intricate and often unsettled realities that existed in the Shan States from early times up to the military coup in 1962 are described in a comprehensive overview of the stresses and strains that the Shan princes endured from early periods of monarchs and wars, under British rule and Japanese occupation, and Independence and Bamar military regime. Part One covers chronological events relating them to the rulers, the antagonists, and the people and the continuing conflict in the Shan State. Part Two deals with the 34 Tai/Shan rulers, describing their histories, lives, and work. Included are photographs and family trees of the princes, revealing a span of Shan history, before being lost in the mists of time. The past is explained in order that the present political situations may be understood and resolved amicably between the Bamar government, the Tatmadaw, and the ethnic nationalities.

Volume 48 is available as a free download at:

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and can be purchased as an at-cost hardback at:

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Volume 48: GREAT LORDS OF THE SKY: BURMA'S SHAN ARISTOCRACY

NOTES <5>

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS <7>

CONTENTS <9>

THE AUTHOR <15>

MAPS <17>

  • Map 1: Political Divisions, Union of Burma, 1948 <17>
  • Map 2: Location of Shan States, 1939 <18>
  • Map 3: Resources of the Shan Plateau <19>
  • Map 4: Major Ethnic Groups of Burma <20>

PREFACE <21>

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT <23>

PART ONE: Background

Chapter One: The Early Period <26>

  • The Shan Plateau <26>
  • Migrations <27>
  • The Early Ava Court <28>
  • Differences <30>
  • Mutual Respect <32>
  • The Limbin Confederacy 1886 <33>
  • British Annexation <34>
  • Under the British 36<>
  • Changing Times <36>

Chapter Two: British Rule <41>

  • The Watershed 1922 <41>
  • Burma Round Table Conference 1931-1932 <43>
  • Federated Council of Shan Chiefs <45>
  • The Feudal Lords <47>
  • The Privy Purse <48>
  • Contentment? <50>
  • Some Progress <51>

Chapter three: The Interim <58>

  • A Storm Approaches <58>
  • Enter the Japanese <58>
  • Japanese Occupation <60>
  • Distrust <63>
  • Return of the British <64>
  • SCOUHP 1946 <68>
  • Attlee-Aung San Treaty <69>
  • Anti-feudalists <70>
  • Namkham U Htun Aye <73>

Chapter Four: Panglong and After <77>

  • The Panglong Agreement of 1947 <77>
  • Committee of Inquiry 1947 <79>
  • Tragedy <80>
  • Constituent Assembly <81>
  • Selecting a President <82>
  • Insurgency <84>

Chapter Five: Ten Long Years <91>

  • Disenchantment <91>
  • To Secede or Not, 1958 <93>
  • Tatmadaw's Soft Approach <95>
  • The 1959 Abdications <96>
  • New Elections <97>

Chapter Six: Without Trust <103>

  • The Federal Proposal <103>
  • U Tun Myint <105>
  • No Compromise <107>
  • The Coup d'etat 1962 <110>

PART TWO: GUARDIANS OF THE SHAN PLATEAU

Chapter Seven: The Northern Shan States <121>

  • Hsipaw State <121>
  • Fate Unknown <121>
  • Hsipaw State <123>
  • The Saohpa Long <124>
  • Strained Relations <126>
  • Japanese Occupation <127>
  • The Tabaung Festivals <128>
  • Hsenwi State <140>
  • Hsenwi Saohpa Long <140>
  • Japanese Disapproval <141>
  • Flight to Safety <142>
  • Shan-Kachin <144>
  • Burma Road <145>
  • Dr. Gordon Seagrave (1897-1965) <146>
  • Mong Yai State <155>
  • A Kingdom Lost <155>
  • Hsenwi Divided <155>
  • Mong Mit State <164>
  • An Accomplished Prince <164>
  • The Saohpa Long <165>
  • Japanese Occupation <167>
  • Rubies <168>
  • Teak Forests <169>
  • Tawngpeng State <176>
  • The Palaung/Ta'ang <176>
  • Tawngpeng and its Saohpa <177>
  • The Namtu/Bawdwin Mines <180>
  • Not for Export <181>
  • Tea: a Drink or a Salad? <182>
  • An Episode <183>

Chapter Eight: The Eastern Shan States <193>

  • Kengtung State <193>
  • Largest Mong <193>
  • Mangrai Descendants <194>
  • Kengtung Saohpa Long <195>
  • Close Ties <197>
  • Tai Khun and Tai-Lu <198>
  • The Kuomintang (KMT) <199>
  • Mong Pan State <216>
  • Kokang State <219>
  • Into the Fold <219>
  • The House of Yang <220>
  • The Next Generation <221>
  • Jimmy Yang <222>
  • The New Order <224>

Chapter Nine: The Inner Shan States <233>

  • Isolation <233>
  • Mong Nai State <234>
  • Once Powerful <234>
  • Massacre <234>
  • Laikha State <242>
  • A Gracious Host <242>
  • A State of Many Names <243>
  • A Learned Abbot <245>
  • Mawkmai State <250>
  • A Charismatic Prince <250>
  • Mong Nawng/Mong Nong State <255>
  • Separated from Hsenwi <255>
  • Privy Purse <255>
  • Mong Kung State <262>
  • Appointed Saohpa in 1928 <262>
  • Mong Hsu State <271>
  • Actively Involved <271>
  • Mong Hsu Rubies <272>
  • Kesi Mansam State <274>
  • Warrior Princes <274>
  • Outstanding Career <276>
  • Tai Shan Resistance <282>
  • Noom Suk Harn <282>
  • The Golden Triangle <285>

Chapter ten: The Central Shan States <292>

  • Yawnghwe State <292>
  • The Saohpa Long <292>
  • Hands-tied <294>
  • Yawnghwe Founded in 1394 <295>
  • Enter the British <297>
  • Phaung Daw U Poy <299>
  • Inle Needs Saving <300>
  • Mong Pawn State <316>
  • An Able Statesman <316>
  • The Mong Pawn Dynasty <316>
  • The Kyemmong <318>
  • Hsahtung State <325>
  • Remarkable Prince <325>
  • Advocating Unity <326>
  • Untimely Death <328>
  • The Pa-O <328>
  • Restlessness <330>
  • Lawksawk State <337>
  • Saohpa of Stature <337>
  • Japanese Courtesy <338>
  • Samka State <345>
  • Ancient Samka <345>
  • A Devoted Buddhist <345>
  • Loi Long/Pinlaung State <352>
  • Mountainous Region <352>
  • Combating Insurgents <353>
  • Nawngmawn State <356>
  • Sao Htun Yin <357>

Namhkok State <359>

  • Wanyin/Banyin State <363>
  • Hopong State <364>
  • Sakoi State <367>
  • Mong Pai State <369>
  • Mong Pai Amalgamated <369>
  • Mobye Narapati <369>
  • Attempt at Progress <371>

Chapter Eleven: The Mye Lat States: The Middle Lands <373>

  • Experimental Stations <375>
  • Hsahmong Kham State <376>
  • Arrival of the Danu <376>
  • Defended the State <377>
  • Politically Involved <378>
  • Pangtara/Pindaya State <384>
  • Pindaya Caves <384>
  • Becomes Saohpa <385>
  • Baw State <391>
  • Baw le-hse-le-ywa <391>
  • An Important Link <391>
  • Pwehla State <394>
  • Rulers of Note <394>
  • Promoted a Jemadar <394>
  • Pangmi/Pinhmi State <399>
  • Head Prefect and Kyemmong <399>
  • Ywangan/Yengan State <405>
  • Kyong State <411>

Chapter Twelve: Sharing the Plateau <413>

  • The Two Wa States <413>
  • Introduction <413>
  • Mong Lun/Mong Lon State <415>
  • A Wise Ruler <415>
  • Eastern Special Region No. 4 <417>
  • Northern Wa States <419>
  • UWSP and UWSA <420>
  • The Karenni/Kayah State <421>
  • Three Karenni States <421>
  • Kantarawadi <423>
  • Bawlake <424>
  • Kyebogyi <425>
  • Becomes Kayah State <425>
  • Karenni's Wealth <427>
  • Diverse Communities <435>
  • Tribes and Kinships <435>
  • Troubled Relationships <436>
  • Akha <437>
  • Lahu <438>
  • Lisu <438>
  • Tai Neu <439>
  • Diversion <439>
  • Muong Sing to Luang Namtha <439>
  • First Encounter <440>
  • Tiger Women <442>
  • Sign Language <443>
  • A Holy Man <443>

EPILOGUE <450>

  • Presidency <450>
  • Panglong Agreement and Federalism <451>
  • Ethnic Issues <451>
  • Conclusion <453>

APPENDICES <454>

  • Appendix 1: The Panglong Agreement 1947 <455>
  • Appendix 2: Sao Harn Yawnghwe's Account <457>
  • Appendix 3: Sao Shwe Thaike's Letter, 1960 <463>
  • Appendix 4: Letter from Saohpa Sir Sao Mawng, 1926 <464>
  • Appendix 5: Letter Showing Shan Concern, 1947 <465>

TABLES <466>

  • Table 1: Land area and money: the Shan States in 1939 <467>
  • Table 2: Approximate dates of reigns of rulers from British Annexation in 1887 <469>

GLOSSARY 472

REFERENCES 474

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