On This Day

Daw Khin Kyi—Wife and Mother of National Leaders—Was Born 107 Years Ago Today

By Wei Yan Aung 16 April 2019

Today would be the 107 birthday of Daw Khin Kyi, the widow of Myanmar’s national hero General Aung San and mother of Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Born in Irrawaddy Region’s Myaungmya, she married Gen. Aung San, who was three years her junior, while working as a nurse at the Burma Defense Army (BDA) Hospital during Japanese rule.

She went through thick and thin with her husband on his tough political path during Japanese rule and after World War II. Less than five years into their marriage, she became a widow with two children when Gen. Aung San was assassinated.

U Thant meets Daw Khin Kyi at New Delhi’s Palam Airport in 1965.

After the death of her husband, she took an active part in the political, social and health sectors of Myanmar. When the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League established by her late husband split into two, she supported the Clean Faction led by U Nu.

In May 1960, Daw Khin Kyi was appointed ambassador to India, becoming the country’s first woman to serve as the head of a diplomatic mission. She later concurrently served as ambassador to Nepal.

She retired as an ambassador in 1967 and refused to accept a pension, as the country was facing economic hardship. She died in December 1988 at the age of 76 after suffering a severe stroke. She was entombed beside Supayalat, the chief queen of Myanmar’s last monarch King Thibaw; Thakhin Kodaw Hmaing, the father of Myanmar’s nationalist and peace movements; and U Thant, who served as the third United Nations secretary general, on Shwedagon Pagoda Road in Yangon.

At the centenary of Daw Khin Kyi’s birth in 2012, her daughter Daw Aung San Suu Kyi established the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, which provides assistance to the social and health care services of Myanmar.