List of Prominent Burmese Muslims
- Saya Gyi U Nu
Saya Gyi U Nu (Great Teacher or Guru) Mayor of Yammar Watti, Shwe Taung Thargathu also known as Mohamed Kassim was a very famous Burmese Muslim writer during King Bodawpaya. He wrote or translated many Islamic religious books. He used Pali and other words and terms from the Burmese religious literature to Burmanise the Islamic literature. Combined with his flowery, poetic Burmese writing, his books are regarded as Myanmar Muslims’ classics. Bodawpaya appointed him as the head of the mission to India to collect and bring back books and Scriptures in Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu and Persian. Saya Gyi U Nu was appointed as the Mayor of Yammar Wati with the Shwe Taung Tharga title. But recent military rulers prohibited the Muslims from using these Pali words and terms in Islamic religious books.
- U Razak
U Razak (20 January 1898 – 19 July 1947; Arabic: Abdul Razak) was a Burmese politician who was a respected educationalist. He was a minister at Aung Sann's pre-independence interim government and was assassinated, along with Aung San and other members, on 19 July 1947. July 19 is celebrated in Myanmar today as Martyrs' Day. U Razak was Minister of Education and National Planning, and was chairman of the Burma Muslim Congress.
- Wazir U Kan Gyi"(1870-1960)
Educated in Bombay, Kanji made Burma his home and adopted the Burmese name Kan Gyi. He was given the title of Wazir by his Highness the Aga Khan. He was a wealthy, influential business man who devoted himself to social causes and philanthropy.
- Maung Thaw Ka or Major Ba Thaw
Maung Thaw Ka or Major Ba Thaw from Navy was a very prominent writer and pioneer NLD leader died in SPDC jail. He was buried at Kandaw Gale Sunni cemetery.
- U Shwe Yoe aka U Ba Ga Lay
U Shwe Yoe was a Burmese Muslim named, U Ba Ga Lay. He was the pioneer famous Cartoonist, Actor, Comedian and dancer
U Shwe Yoe dance was U Ba Ga Lay’s jolly joker dance sequence in, “Ah Ba Yae” (Oh Ah Ba. Ah Ba means old man or father in Burmese) which was one of the pioneer films of Myanmar movie history about rural life. The dance is full of fun and joy and it appealed so much to the Myanmar audience and is adopted as a dance for all festive occasions.
- Colonel Ba Shin
Colonel Ba Shin a noted historian was later a member of The Myanmar History Commission, UTC and Islamic Religious Affairs Council.
- Kyar (Tiger) Ba Nyein and family members
Kyar Ba Nyein was also a very prominent Myanmar Muslim. He was known to be a great boxer, and had even represented Burma in the Olympics. He had successfully trained a lot of boxers. And he had rejuvenated the Myanmar traditional boxing. He was a famous writer also. His son U Win Nyein is also a prominent Journalist. U Chit Nyo, brother of Kyar Ba Nyein is also a famous writer. Myo Myint Nyein was the editor of Payphuhlwar, a former monthly magazine in Burma. Awarded the International Press Freedom Award in absentia by the Toronto-based Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). He is the brother of Win Nyein.
- Karim Ghani
Karim Ghani was born in Sothugudi, Ilayangudi, a politician in South-East Asia of Indian origin Karim Ghani. Before the Second World War Karim Ghani was a parliamentary secretary in Burma under Dr. Ba Maw.
- U Raschid
U Raschid, an Indian Myanmar Muslim, was active in the student movement against the ruling British. He was the first general secretary of the Rangoon University Students’ Union in 1931 together with prominent Myanmar political leaders: Aung San, U Nu, U Kyaw Nyein, U Ba Swe etc. U Raschid was the first president of the All Burma Students’ Union, while being concurrently president of the Rangoon University Students' Union in 1936 - 1937. Aung San was then vice-president. In 1952 U Nu appointed him as Minister for Housing and Labour, later in 1954, Minister for Trade and Development, in 1956, Minister of Mines, in 1960 Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1958 he was the Vice President of the Trade Union Council of Burma. U Nu requested him to change his name to U Yanshin to make him more acceptable to other Buddhist but he declined. General Ne Win arrested him in 1962, during the coup.
- Kan Chun
Kan Chun @ Mohamad Omar is a Satirist, Journalist, Novelist, Cartoonist and Artist (Painter) from Mandalay, Burma. Born in Mandalay on 4th. April 1946 from the parents U Ba Htay and Daw Aye Shwin. died at 3.30 PM 20.08.2009 in Mandalay.
'*Daw Win Mya Mya
NLD Mandalay Division Organizing Committee member, Daw Win Mya Mya is a Panthay Muslim. She was assaulted by the SPDC affiliated thugs and arrested at Depayin together with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD members. She is a brave and active NLD leader.
- Saya Chair also had a very good relation with the Military Government and was appointed the Chairman of the Election Commission.
- Hajima Pyinmanar (Sein) Daw Pu. Hajima Daw Pu was also a famous Myanmar-Muslim philanthropist. Because of her donation of a new Kidney Hospital and good social relations with General Ne Win, Military Government even awarded her with a medal for her outstanding social deeds.
- Sultan Mahmood (Health Minister)
Wealthy and influential Myanmar Muslim, Sultan Mahmood was the political secretary in U Nu’s government and later was appointed as Health Minister.
- Other MPs (Member of Parliament)
Other Rohingya Myanmar Muslims in U Nu’s Parliament as parliamentary secretaries were Mr Sultan Ahmed and Mr Abdul Gaffar. Mr Abdul Bashar, Mrs. Zohora Begum @ Daw Aye Nyunt, Mr Abdul Khair, Mr Abdus Sobhan, Mr Abdul Bashar, Mr Rashid Ahmed, Mr Nasiruddin (U Pho Khine), were members of Parliament in different terms in U Nu’s Government.
- Colonel (Tat Hmu Gyi) U Pho Kar
He started to enlist in Mindon’s Cannon regiment since young. During King Thibaw’s reign, he was the Captain on the Sekyar Ngwezin Thulu ship which went to Bhamo to fight in the Sino-Burmese War.
During the third Anglo-Burmese war, he was at Min Hla Fort leading 200 Cannoners. U Pho Kar was together there with his uncles Captain Bo Kyae, Captain Bo U Maung, Sergeant (Thwe Thaut) U Kyar Yone. At the battle, one Captain and 50 soldiers killed. Burmese had to retreat and U Pho Kar retreated with the gunshot wound on the abdomen. After the war he settled in Maymyo. Parliamentarian Haji U Than Nyunt was his son. U Pho Kar died on 10th. May 1956 at the age of 95.
- Ambassador U Pe Khin was the most important negotiator and architect of the historical Panglon treaty. Even General Aung San was disappointed, given up and decided to take the flight back to Rangoon that evening. U Pe Khin persuaded General Aung San to stay for one night and to allow him to negotiate with the Ethnic Minority leaders. U Pe Khin successfully negotiated with those Ethnic leaders to get an agreement for this most important treaty in Burma, which was the foundation for the Union of Burma and its Independence.
- Myanmar Muslim activists
Some Myanmar Muslim activists such as Pathi Ko Lay and Dr Kyaw Nyein were also promoters of total assimilation of Burmese Muslims in to Burmese. Especially Dr Kyaw Nyein had a very good relation with the very powerful and famous Mandalay Young Buddhist Monks and to some extent successful in countering the agent provocateurs from inciting the anti Muslim sentiments. Because of his request, real monks influential in Mandalay searched and confiscated and destroyed nearly hundred thousand anti-Muslim pamphlets allegedly distributed the Myanmar Military secret agents. Although reported to the authorities, no one was arrested for that crime in a country where many people were arrested, tortured and jailed for printing or photocopying or distributing any anti-government papers or even for distribution of Human right Declaration from UN office. Lu Du Daw Amar, highly respected journalist wrote in one of the monthly magazine recently about Myanmar Muslims from Mandalay. She praised them for their understanding and respect of the Burmese Culture. While trying to stress the deterioration of religious knowledge among Myanmar Buddhist youths, she pointed out that some of them even did not know how to talk with the monks. She mentioned the skills and politeness of Myanmar Muslims in dealing and talking with the Buddhist monks.
- U Shaw Phi
U Shaw Phi, Myanmar Muslim rich man, contractor and investor, was also very famous and well connected person among the local and central Military leaders. He was arrested few times because of his extraordinary efficiency and excellent contacts. Once, old and damaged vehicles, which were beyond repairable condition, from the army and State Transport Department were bought from the government. U Shaw Phi ‘shamed’ the Military government by the speedy successful repair within one month. His refurbished buses and trucks hit the roads and he was ‘invited’ into the jail for questioning for few months for his efficiency to repair the damaged vehicles so quickly. He was arrested once because of that kind of efficiency, for the crime of finishing his own house in front of the prolonged project of building the new parliament building. Because he built his house with three shifts of workers day and night, General Ne Win became jealous and ordered to arrest him to inquire how he managed to get the required raw material for the construction. And he was arrested few times without any trial when the number twos in the governments or any other high-ranking officials were required to remove from their positions. They were unofficially alleged to have connection with that wealthy man and were said to be not fit to hold high posts. But strangely, the probes or investigations always had to stop before other VIPs were implicated. Obviously, the almost bankrupt authorities needed U Shaw Phi’s skills and wealth.
- U Ali. He was famous for the Classic Burmese old songs. Even most famous singer Mar Mar Aye learned from him. Piano Ko Mar Mut was also famous.
- Movie stars. Shwe Ba and Maung Maung Ta were very popular movie stars in Burma. After retirement Maung Maung Ta got the Ph.D. with the thesis with the Shia Muslims in Burma. (I hereby hope and request to Dr Mg Mg Ta or his friends to kindly contribute his thesis in the Wikipedia and allow me to copy in my web blog.)
- U Aung Thin represented the Myanmar Muslims at the Round Table Committee on whether Burma should be separated from India or not. That was held at London, in 1930.
- U Ba Oh was a very rich Burmese Muslim philanthropist. He funded BMS Burma Moslem Society’s activities and was voted president for life. He was not only active in social and welfare, but he had also stood bravely in demanding the rights of Myanmar Muslims.
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