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171 Section III, K, Profile U TUN WIN Reproduced from Maung Maung, “U Tun Win” in The Guardian II, no. 12 (October 1955): 21–26; 26A, by permission of Daw Khin Myint, wife of the late Dr Maung Maung. Of what stuff are Burma’s leaders in the Government made of? From what backgrounds do they spring? What form of training, what kind of experience do they share; what struggles, what sacrifices have they gone through or made together? The answers are that most of the leaders have done much together, shared much together, suffered and struggled together since the students strike of 1936 in which most of them have led or actively participated. The blood bond of the strike has not worn thin with the passage of time. After the strike, the fire of nationalism that burned in their hearts grew fiercer instead of feebling, and the strike was for most of the leaders the beginning of a journey, not its end. After the strike there was no substitute for politics for the young men. Some had some ambition still for joining the coveted Indian Civil Service, later the Burma Civil Service, but the ambition was not the deep yearning and the irrepressible urge that drove them in the strike 03K DrMaung.indd 171 1/24/08 1:02:48 PM Reproduced from Dr Maung Maung: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot by Robert H. Taylor (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). This version was obtained electronically direct from the publisher on condition that copyright is not infringed. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Individual articles are available at 172 DR MAUNG MAUNG: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot and the political struggles later; it was tame, it was formal, it was only a feeble reflection of the fond wishes of parents or sweethearts, or the dying echo of a tradition. They took their degrees at the University or drifted away without taking any. They wore pinni jackets and Gandhi caps, read big political books and talked endlessly; they were trying and tiresome for those who did not share their enthusiasm for politics, and even a little funny. They were Thakins or Thakin sympathisers; they went about carrying Burma on their backs, serious important, urgent. When the Burma Independence Army came, they flocked to its irresistible banner and joined the northward march. When resistance came, they went out again into the jungle, carrying manifestoes and duplicated political literature under their arms and slinging rifles across the shoulder. They have shouted slogans with relish, worn wooden slippers with pride, done their deeds with conviction. When the “better born” were only anxious to get invitations to the Governor’s tea parties or to fetch good prices in the marriage markets, the young leaders had spent hours reading unlikely books, dreaming big dreams and organising plots big and small. Whether they were right or wrong, far-visioned or short-sighted, politically naive or shrewd, they were dedicated and they did what they did without any doubts at all, while others did not do what they were doing or laughed at them, and thus they have got to positions of leadership today while others are where they are. From that political school of 1936 U Tun Win graduated of that stuff is he made. That in brief is a preview of U Tun Win’s story. x x x x x Young Tun Win was born in Tavoy on December 31, 1917. His father, still living, is U Pein a merchant and a rice-miller. The mother, Daw Lan, died when the boy was one, and he did not see much of her. The only son of that wife, the boy became a favourite of the father. Young Tun Win went to school at Ngathainggyaung. After doing his primary at the National school, he went to the National High School at Bassein. A bright and steady lad he made the high school final without much difficulty and joined the University College, Rangoon, as an arts student. The first hurdle, the Intermediate of Arts, was done in one easy leap in one short year, for Tun Win was a “Special class” student. With 03K DrMaung.indd 172 1/24/08 1:02:48 PM U Tun Win 173 an exhibition scholarship in his pocket he went on to his bachelor’s course, and was offered a place in the honours class...


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