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Diary of a hero – the life of Aung San


13 February 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aung San, Burma’s independence hero and icon, whose legacy is as strong today as it ever was. As celebrations take place across the country, DVB pays tribute by looking back at the extraordinary life and achievements of the great man.

13 February 1915 – Born to lawyer U Pa and wife Daw Suu, given name Htein Linn

1932 – Graduated from a national school in Yenanchaung with distinction in Burmese and Pali

1934 – Entered first year Arts at Rangoon University

1935 – Elected to the Executive Committee of the Rangoon University Students Union and became editor of the Students’ Union Magazine “O-wei”












February 1936 – Expelled from university for publishing the article, “Hell Hound at Large”. His expulsion led to a university strike. The British government conceded to strikers’ demands and retracted expulsion orders.

1938 – Elected as president of the All-Burma Federation of Student Unions









1 October 1938 – Joined the nationalist Dohbama Asi-ayone (We Burmans Association) and became Thakhin Aung San












23 January 1939 – Sentenced to 15 days in jail by the British colonial government for involvement in the nationalist movement

April 1938 – Elected as head office general secretary of the Dohbama Asi-ayone









15 August 1939 – Secretly founded the Burma Communist Party and acted as general secretary

1 September 1939 – Co-founded the Bama-htwet-yat Ghine (Burmese Freedom Bloc) and became general secretary

19 March 1940 – Attended Indian National Congress Assembly in Ramgarh, India

17 June 1940 – British government issued an arrest warrant after he gave a speech at a public rally in Zalun, Irrawaddy, before going underground.


8 August 1940 – Left Burma for Amoy, China, disguising as a Chinese labourer on Norwegian freighter Hai Lee












12 November 1940 – Arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to meet with Col. Suzuki Kenji, a staff officer at the Imperial General Headquarters. They decided to form Minami Kikan, predecessor of the Burma Independence Army.

February 1941 – Came back to Burma with offers of arms and financial support from the Japanese to lead an uprising

27 March 1941 – Arrived in Japan for military training together with the first batch of the Thirty Comrades








April 1941 – Arrived in Hainan Island, China, to receive military training by the Japanese Army









December 1941 – Minami Kikan dissolved and Burma Independence Army formed in its place. Aung San assumed the nom de guerre, Bo Teza.

January 1942 – Japanese invasion of Burma began.

27 July 1942 – BIA reorganised as Burma Defence Army (BDA); Col. Aung San appointed commander-in-chief.

6 September 1942 – Married Khin Kyi, a nurse








March 1943 – Promoted to major-general of the BDA; decorated by Emperor Hirohito in Tokyo










1 August 1943 – Burma granted nominal independence by Japan; Maj-Gen Aung San appointed Minister of Defence; BDA renamed as Burma National Army (BNA).

August 1944 – Declared Burma’s independence status as false. Formed Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO) alongside Communist Party. BNA made contact with the British Force 136 in India.

27 March 1945 – War declared on Japanese occupiers. BNA subsequently renamed as the Patriotic Burmese Forces (PBF) and joined sides with the Allies.

27 October 1945 – Resigned as major-general from the PBF and entered politics.

January 1946 – Elected president of the Anti-Facist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) – successor of the AFO












September 1946 – Appointed deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Burma with portfolios for defence and external affairs

2 January 1947 – Met with India Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru while en route to Britain









27 January 1947 – Met with British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in London. Signed Aung San- Attlee Agreement in London, guaranteeing Burma’s independence within a year.









12 February 1947 – Signed Panglong Agreement with leaders from national groups expressing solidarity and support for united Burma.










9 April 1947 – Elected AFPFL’s Member of Parliament for Rangoon’s Lanmadaw constituency

16 June 1947 – Convened series of conferences at the Sorrenta Villa in Rangoon for rehabilitation of the country

13 July 1947 – Gave last public speech urging Burmese people to mend their ways and to be more disciplined









19 July 1947 – Assassinated during an Executive Council meeting together with six other councillors, including his elder brother Ba Win










4 January 1948 – Burma gained independence.