Saya San Uprising

Saya San Uprising

 

a Burmese peasant uprising of the years 1930–32 directed against landowners and colonialists. The uprising was named after its leader, Saya San, founder of a patriotic organization, the Galons (in Burmese mythology, galon is a bird that fights with a dragon, which it slays). In 1929 and 1930 this organization led peasants in a struggle to protest exploitative taxation by British colonial authorities.

The Saya San uprising began on Dec. 22, 1930, reaching its most violent stage in mid-1931. It spread to many regions of Lower and Upper Burma, as well as the Shan principalities. The insurgents demanded the abolition of taxes, free use of the forests, and the liberation of Burma from the British yoke. British troops were ordered to combat the rebels. Saya San and his comrades were arrested and were executed in November 1931. The rebellion was largely crushed in 1932, but guerrilla fighting continued in some regions until 1933.

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This study aims to renew our interest in rebellions and specifically the Saya San uprising by suggesting that a genealogical approach to the narrative raises troubling questions as to the credibility of the evidence upon which the sequence of events and the interpretation of Saya San's place within it--as reconstructed by the British--were based.
In fact, whole passages of Carey's 1914 publication were cut and pasted into reports written in 1930-31, revealing the type of perspective that was being projected onto the events surrounding the Saya San uprisings.
Aung-Thwin also ruminates on the Saya San uprising, concluding that it was "Burma's only true peasant rebellion" (p.