Burmese Writer Dagon Taya's Funeral Held

By The Irrawaddy 21 August 2013

RANGOON — Well-known Burmese writer Dagon Taya, who died earlier this week at the age of 94, was laid to rest in his home town of Aungban, in Shan State, on Wednesday, said Kyaw Thu, the founder of the Rangoon-based Free Funeral Services Society.

The charity prepared his funeral and hundreds of admirers, including Burmese politicians, activists, writers, journalists and celebrities, attended the event.

The writer passed away in Aungban on Monday. His literary works were inked under the pen name “Dagon Taya,” and the man born as Htay Myaing was renowned for his life-long conviction to peace.

He was a close friend of Burma’s independence hero Gen Aung San. The general offered the writer a high-ranking position in the Japanese occupation government in 1943, but Dagon Taya refused. He later wrote an important, critical essay in 1947 about his friend’s personality titled “Aung San the Untamed”.

Dagon Taya’s literary philosophy was “art for people’s sake” and his post- World War II New Literature movement was founded on the belief that art can solve social problems and document the people’s struggle for freedom and peace.

He was subjected to political persecution following the military coup of 1962 and was arrested and imprisoned for four years on suspicion of being a communist. Dagon Taya called himself “the Liberator,” but never assumed an active role in any political party or governing regime.

In a 2010 interview, Dagon Taya told The Irrawaddy that to his understanding, politics was about making friends of foes. “Nothing but peace is democracy’s goal,” he said. “Friendship is only possible through peace.”