Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Founder of Mrauk-U City and Dynasty.

King Mong Saw Mwan, The Founder of Mrauk-U City and DynastyBy Ah Lonn MaungYour majesty, you are a Thursday born, and so if the Royal Capital is going to be founded on the astrological calculations of ''main'', ''lut'', ''sann'', Your Majesty''s life span will be lengthened but that of the Capital will be shortened. If the Capital is founded as ''kan'', lut'', ''kan'', ''sann'', your Majesty will not live long but the City will last hundreds of years…."Royal Astrologers'' counsel to King Mong Saw Mwan councerning the establishment of the new capital city in the year 1430A.D."…..Learned Councellors, never mind my shorter life span. If the Royal Capital lasts for a long, long time, that''s enough. My sole wish is for the prosperity and welfare of my people and power and glory for my descendants….."King Mong Saw Mwan''s reply to the councel.Prince Mong Saw Mwan, also known as Nara Meik Hla became king of the Laungkrat Court in 1404 A.D. and was the last king of the Lemro dynasty. SAfter ascending to the throne, he failed to bring about the prosperity and welfare of the people and neglected the defence of his kingdom, but rather over-indulged in amusement and sensual pleasures. King of Innwa (Ava) sent an invading force to occupy the country in 1406 and as a result, Mong Saw Mwan fled to Gaur, a sultanate in Bengal. However, his younger brother, Prince Naranu, the Governor of Thandwe (Sandway), asked military support from King Razadirit of Hanthawady (Bago) and the request was heeded. The Kingdom of Rakhine was in turmoil as a result of fighting among the warring armies.While the deposed king was taking political asylum in the sultanate the Mogul king in Delhi made preparations to annex Gaur, Mong Saw Mwan gave decisive advice to the sultan Nosir U-din Shah on military matters for the defence. According to his advice, pieces of flesh were attached to the spikes of the caltrop and laid along the possible military routes. Moreover, long, deep ditches were dug and covered with straw, grass and dirt for camouflage. Other military arrangements were made for the defensive purposes. The Delhi army was defeated and consequently the Mogul city fell into the hands of the Gaur Sultan. For imparting military strategy and tactics to conquer the enemy, King Mong Saw Mwan was highly favoured by Sultan Nosir Shah. As a token of gratitude, the Sultan promised the deposed monarch to assist militarily to regain his kingdom. According to the promise, he sent a military force under Walis Khan to land of Rakhine to restore Mong Saw Mwan as king. However, after defeating the enemies, Walis Khan arrested and put Mong Saw Mwan in prison. The deposed king was rescued by his brother Prince Naranu and made headway to Gaur again. Greatly annoyed, the Gaur Sultan sent another larger army to punish Walis Khan. In the ensuing circumstances the traitor was captured and put to death.To recapture the capital and kingdom it took Mong Saw Mwan and Prince Naranu for twenty two long years. From the capital Laungkrat, the king ruled the land for two years. Having the city fallen into enemies'' hands and ill omens showing one after another, the king, taking the advice of the learned counselors, decided to shift the capital. An auspicious site for the new capital was chosen in accordance with the advice of the Court astrologers.In "Mhauktaw E-chin", Court bard Badu Mong Nyo composed the following piece of verse (stanza 31) as to the choice of the site:"…………..In terms of (Rakhine) era, the year seven hundred and ninety-two in Tawthalunn" *On the first waxing day, in the morn,At the auspicious time of ''kan'', ''lut'', ''kan'', ''sann'', in line with astrological calculations,Establishment of Capital and Royal Palace initiated."Two quotations at the beginning of this piece of writing are advice imparted to king Mong Saw Mwan by royal astrologers concerning the choosing of new site for the Capital and king''s famous reply.Even though he hand been a happy-go-lucky type in his younger days, he took serious consideration for his people and fatherland as experience had taught him. The King''s historic deliverance to his younger brother Prince Naranu (afterwards, Mong Khari) as to the succession of the kingdom in the presence of his two sons reads as follows:"…………..Dear Brother, Your Highness, my two sons (Prince Saw Prauk and Prince Mandat) are still very young to govern a country at its building stage. As known experienced hand in statecraft combined with bravery and loyalty to the land and its people, your Highness are honoured to succeed me as King, the sovereign. If my sons are stupid enough to offend Your Highness or commit offence, let them wear worn-out white robes and take sufficient food. Please don''t put to death."What a noble monarch, King Mong Saw Mwan is! He sacarified two cherished things - his own life and strict nepotism. That nobel spirit kindled by the founding father has long - lived in the land where he was born and brought up and ruled at critical moments.His deeds were well recorded in the annals of Rakhine history. One such record in stanza 25 of "Tharswalay verse on Rakhine History" is as follows:"……………The Kingdom regained and reignedFor two years; results not encouragingNew site searched and pointed by Sakka discoveredLike Evening star in broad, blue welkin, Mrauk-U, city of many accomplishment first, founded.Even foretold (the King) to be dead;His wish and vision…..Long, long reign of his descendantsIn power and glory be fulfilled,Martyred himself."Ah Lonn MaungReferences:1.Sakkinda, Ashun: "The Deposed King Mong Saw Mwan in Gaur Sultanate" - Rakhine Constant Tales, Vol. 1, 1994.2. Sandamarlar Lunkarra, Rev.: New History of Rakhine, (1293 M.E)3. Tun Shwe Khine (M.A): Rakhine Princes E-chin or Mauktaw E-chin, 1991.4. Tun Shwe Khine (M.A): "Tharswalay Verse on Rakhine History", Rakhine Authors, 1991.

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