Punjab Research Group

ROAD TO MANDALAY – SIKHS IN BURMA by Swarn Singh Kahlon

Posted in Articles, Diaspora, Migration by Pippa on July 30, 2014

Based on Travels of Swarn Singh Kahlon, December, 2011

Article appeared in The Sikh Review, Kolkata, February, 2014 issue.

 

THE ROMANCE OF BURMA

There are two romantic poems about Burma;

ONE by Rudyard Kipling (1889-90),

where he tries to relive on return to London his travels in Burma:

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,

There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the Temple-bells they say:

“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”

 

AND THE SECOND

By the exiled Mughal King, Bahadur Shah Zafar who immortalised his death in Burma (1862) through the epitaph he wrote on the wall with a burnt stick:

Kitna hai badnaseeb Zafar, dafan ke liye

do gaz zamin na mili ku e yaar mein”

 

This was also the period when Sikhs started to migrate to Burma; a country now renamed ‘Myanmar’. The Sikh migration to Burma was an important component of global Sikh migration and remained a popular destination for about six decades.

Many Sikhs have their relatives and friends who still talk about the Burma days even if they have returned permanently since long back. A visit was very tempting especially as my wife’s mother was born and grew up in that country. Whenever my mother-in-law and her sisters had some confidences to share they would shift to speaking Burmese even after their return three decades ago.

Read full article: Road to Mandalay

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: