Yangon – On this day 77 years ago, General Aung San, shortly after leading the Burma Independence Army (BIA) alongside the Japanese to drive the British colonialists out of Myanmar, tied the knot with Daw Khin Kyi, a nurse whom he met and fell in love with while receiving treatment for malaria at Yangon General Hospital.
Gen. Aung San was 27 at the time and Daw Khin Kyi was two years older than him. Their love affair soon developed into a lasting relationship and the two decided to start their married life months after their first meeting.
Japanese and Myanmar military leaders, politicians and other guests attended their wedding reception at the Yangon General Hospital.
The medical superintendent at the hospital, Dr. Ba Than, and his daughter, Kitty Ba Than (who later wedded military dictator General Ne Win and is better known as Daw Khin May Than), sang in honor of the newly weds.
However, the hospital staff feared losing Daw Khin Kyi, a reliable, experienced and caring nurse. She even assisted a medical operation on the night before her wedding. Similarly, members of the BIA were not happy that their leader married while the independence struggle was incomplete.
Despite the troops’ disappointment, Daw Khin Kyi helped the independence struggle as a supportive and caring wife. During their five years of married life, the couple had four children, two of whom died young. After Gen. Aung San was assassinated in 1947, Daw Khin Kyi played a prominent role in the political, social and health sectors.
As the country’s first female ambassador, she was the envoy to India and Nepal. She retired in 1967, and led a peaceful life, growing flowers, during the dark days of dictatorship.
She died at 76 in 1988. Her daughter, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, fought military rule for democracy and human rights.
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