Professor Hla Pe died in Moulmein

A former professor of Burmese at the University of London died at his home in Moulmein in Mon State on July 31.

Irrawaddy news article

During his days in London, Hla Pe worked on a Burmese-English language dictionary with other leading scholars---J A Stewart, C W Dunn, J S Furnivall, G H Luce, Charles Duroiselle, Anna Allott, John Okell and the Americans R. Halliday and A C Hanna. The project started in 1925 under the aegis of the Burma Research Society, and was continued at Rangoon University and later SOAS.

As old professors are dead and dying, the future of Burmese literature remains bleak. Tight censorship and not having freedom to think have killed the creativity of many young people in Burma. For example, Burma Research Society does not even exist now while Siam Society in Thailand thrives on.


The Burma Research Society was inaugurated on 29 March 1910 at a meeting held at the Bernard Free Library, Rangoon. Its aims were "the investigation and encouragement of Art, Science and Literature in relation to Burma and the neighbouring countries ".

From the start the Burma Research Society represented a fusion of the energy and initiative of a generation of both Burmese and Europeans - early leading luminaries being John S.Furnivall, Charles Duroiselle, U May Oung, Gordon Luce and U Pe Maung Tin. The Society's meetings and Journal were a forum for enthusiastic debate and research on Burma for seventy years.

As well as publishing the Journal, the Burma Research Society played a leading role in the publication of rare Burmese historical and literary manuscript texts and in the publication of prescribed school textbooks. In the wartime period, the Society sponsored the publication in India of a useful series of eleven 'Burma Pamphlets'.

The Society also published its Fiftieth Anniversary Publications (Rangoon: Burma Research Society, 1960-61. 2 vols.) of which the first volume consisted of papers read at the Society's fiftieth anniversary conference, with photographs of all past presidents of the Society, and the second, and most useful, volume reprinted a selection of articles on history and literature from earlier issues of the Journal (including articles by D.G.E. Hall, G. H. Luce, U Kaung, and U Pe Maung Tin).

There is an Index to the Journal of the Burma Research Society (1911-1977) compiled by U Than Aung (Rangoon: Department of Library Studies, Diploma in Librarianship, 1978. 138p.) covering vols. 1-59 and the Fiftieth Anniversary Publications volumes, with entries listed by author and subject. In 1980, the Burma Research Society celebrated its seventieth anniversary with a conference at Rangoon University, but the Society was closed down soon after and its Journal ceased publication. Like the Journal of the Siam Society it was the premier research journal on Burma. Foremost Myanmar Historian Dr. Than Tun was the Editor for many years in the post Independence years.

The above information was taken from here.


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