On This Day

When Myanmar Said No to Diarchy, Yes to Home Rule

By Wei Yan Aung 10 April 2019

Ninety-seven years ago today, a committee led by the president of the Central Legislative Assembly of British India, Sir Alexander Frederick Whyte, released a report in favor of exercising diarchy in Myanmar, despite the fact that as many as 90 percent of citizens opposed the system of dual governments.

Though elected lawmakers in Myanmar would share partial administrative power with the colonial government under the system, most in Myanmar wanted home rule and separation from India.

In 1921 the committee visited several of Myanmar’s major cities including Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine and Pathein to survey the public on its opinions about diarchy. But many refused to even speak to the surveyors and showed their opposition by banging on metal buckets with sticks. Politicians and newspapers also urged the people not to speak to the surveyors.