Pre-independence Kachin Leader, Ga Du Zau Raw, dies

amoeGa Du Zau Raw, a Kachin leader before Burma achieved independence from Britain, died September 13, at nearly 100 years of age, in his home in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Northern Burma, said family members.

Lahtaw Duwa Ga Du Zau Raw was involved in the demand for land plots for Kachins in downtown Myitkyina, in Kachin State, from the British interim government, which was formed after the American-led allies defeated fascist Japan in Burma, in March, 1944.

Kachin Duwas, who helped the allies to defeat Japan, needed houses and land so they could settle down in Myitkyina after defeating Japan, according to Kachin Duwas.

Ga Du Zau Raw was one of five Kachin delegates, including three from Manmaw (Bhamo) and two from Myitkyina, who were selected by the Kachin people to demand land plots from the British rulers, said Duwa Maran Zau Awng, a Kachin politician close to Zau Raw.

On November 27, 1946, Kachin delegates officially demanded land plots from the British through Aung San, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of Burma, led by the new British Governor, Sir Hubert Rance.

Land in Myitkyina was granted to Kachin Duwas soon afterward, added Duwa Zau Awng.

Ga Du Zau Raw was also included in the more than 100 Kachin Duwas who met two British officials--- Mr. H.N.C Stevenson, Director of the Frontier Areas Administration, and Mr. Northern, Administrator of Myitkyina and Manmaw (Bhamo) Districts, in November, 1946, who discussed independence for the Kachins separately with the British.

However, the Kachin hill people rejected the British offer and decided to receive independence together with the majority Burmans.  According to the 1947 Panglong Agreement, the multi-ethnic Union of Burma received independence from British rule on January 4, 1948.

In 1962, General Ne Win took control of the country and some land plots granted by the British to Kachin Duwas in Myitkyina were confiscated, said Duwa Zau Awng.

Significantly, Gen Ne Win confiscated one plot in downtown Myitkyina for a government military recruitment centre, which later became the Kanbawza Bank.

Ga Du Village, on the Myitkyina-Mandalay railway was the birthplace of Zau Raw. It is part of land ruled by Lahtaw Duwa in the pre-independence period.

Duwa Zau Awng said, “Ga Du Zau Raw was the greatest Kachin leader.  His greatest service was demanding land plots for Kachins in downtown Myitkyina from the British rulers.”


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