Monday, 8 September 2014

National hero Sayadaw U Ottama to be commemorated 
After years of official disapproval, the memory of independence hero Sayadaw U Ottama is to be celebrated on the anniversary of his death, September 9. The ceremony will take place at the Myanmar Convention Centre.

U Ottama died on September 9, 1939, of ill health after years of imprisonment by the British colonial authorities for repeatedly speaking out against them.
Speaking for the organisers of the event, Ko Lynn Tay Za told TheMyanmar Times, “We would like to restore him to his place in history, as his name has almost disappeared from Myanmar history.” The group also wants to rename the Kandaw Mingalar Park as Sayadaw U Ottama Park, a move supported by the culture ministry.
Recognition of the Sayadaw has been banned by the government for decades, though informal commemorations were held by individuals andsmall groups.
“As the country opens up, events like this have become possible,” said Ko Lynn Tay Za.
Government ministers, ambassadors and community leaders will be invited.
Sayadaw U Ottama was born in 1879 in Sittwe, Rakhine State. As a result of his anti-British agitation, he was the first Buddhist monk to be arrested and he underwent several spells in prison starting in 1921.
At the ceremony, which marks the 74th anniversary of U Ottama’s death, a two-foot sculpture of the Sayadaw will be exhibited by the sculptor Kyaw Kyaw Min.
“The commemoration of this day has been banned since the socialist era but the military regime also banned it,” said Kyaw Kyaw Min. “I would like to display my sculptures of U Ottama as he was the first monk to help our people escape from British domination. It was his example that inspired the movement for independence.”
Admission to the celebration will be free of charge. 


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