Friday, September 23, 2011

Burmese Regime Excludes Arakan's Danyawaddy from World Heritage List

Mrauk U: The Burmese regime has excluded the Danyawaddy, the most ancient city in Arakan as well as Burma, from the list of cities it has proposed to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, which included the cities of Beikthano, Halin, and Tharay-Khit-Taya (Sri Ksetra) that were established much later than Danyawaddy.

dhanyawaddy-palace-gate Danyawaddy palace entrance with the Mahamuni pagoda.
The nominally elected Minister of Information and Culture U Kyaw San said during the people's parliament session that convened on 20 September that his regime has been cooperating with UNESCO for international standards of preservation for Burmese heritage sites, and has proposed the three ancient cities of Burma - Beikthano, Halin, and Tharay-Khit-Taya - be added to the World Heritage List.

Kyaw San also said that they have now reached the final stage of verification by UNESCO for inclusion of those three cities on the list, and the cities will become recognized as part of world heritage after UNESCO's finalizing work.

However, it was found that Danyawaddy, the most ancient city in western Burma's Arakan State, and one established much earlier than the proposed cities, was excluded from the list of cities proposed for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

U Kyaw Tun Aung, the former in-charge of the Arakan Cultural Museum and a veteran scholar of ancient Arakan history, told Narinjara that Danyawaddy in Arakan State is much older than the ancient cities proposed by the Burmese regime.

"Danyawaddy was the third and last city in the ancient history of Arakan. The last Danyawaddy existed from 6th Century BC to 4th Century AD. But Beikthano, Halin, and other Burmese cities came to exist from 1st Century AD to 9th Century AD. So Arakan's Danyawaddy is much more ancient than those Burmese cities," said U Kyaw Tun Aung.

When asked by Narinjara why the Burmese regime may have excluded the Danyawaddy from the proposed list of cities, despite being a more ancient city, U Kyaw Tun Aung said, "They have done so for their heritage in their region. Arakanese are responsible to do so for their heritage as well. They have done well for their responsibilities by putting forward their heritage to be included in the list of world heritage sites. We Arakanese have to try to become listed for world heritage sites as well."

While explaining the history of the city, he added, "The historians formerly assumed the existence of Danyawaddy was a myth. While we excavated the site three years ago, we found the city walls, gates, and foundation of palace sites, as well as other artifacts that were used during that time and we were able to prove the existence of the city that had flourished as the third and last Danyawaddy from 6th Century BC to 4th Century AD. So, we can prove that the Arakan's Danyawaddy is much more ancient than those of Beikthano and Halin that did not flourish in the BC era.

He also said, "The ancient-most Danyawaddy city was found to be built in the form of a circle, while other later cities in that period were in the form of squares. We have also found there were long handles in the ancient city doors, while later ones had no handle, and by those findings we can prove that Danyawaddy is more ancient than other cities in the history of Arakan as well."

An Arakanese school teacher from Mrauk U, on condition of anonymity, criticized the successive Burmese regimes for demonstrating their discrimination against non-Burmese ethnic groups in their country by ignoring the Danyawaddy and Vesali, the two most ancient cities in Arakan, in their list of cities proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

http://www.narinjara.com/details.asp?id=3109
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