On This Day

The Original Panglong

By Wei Yan Aung 26 March 2019

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of a conference held in advance of the historic 1947 Panglong. The 1946 conference, which ran through March 28, also in Shan State’s Panglong Township, has been recognized as the first Panglong but is less known than the one that followed.

Though the conference was organized by the British with the intention of establishing a Shan State, U Nu, the vice-chairman of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League criticized the empire’s divide-and-rule policy. Shan, Kachin, Chin and Karenni chieftains signed an agreement at the historic Panglong Conference in on Feb. 12 the following year to collectively seek independence for the so-called frontier areas from Burma proper. The day is marked as Union Day on the Myanmar calendar.

In Myanmar politics, Panglong is synonymous with national unity. State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero Gen. Aung San, has co-opted the name for her government’s peace talks with ethnic minorities, calls the 21st Century Panglong.