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Social and Cultural History

Individual Documents

Title: The Cult of the 'Thirty-Seven Lords'
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "The cult of the 'Thirty-Seven Lords', known in Burma as the thirty-seven 'naq' is commonly viewed as being a remnant of practices prevalent before Buddhicization, that is to say, as superstitions having their origins in the obscure period predating the establishment of Burmese civilization. This article will argue against this assumption and will assert that this cult cannot be properly understood if it is not considered as a part of the Burmese religious system still evolving with Buddhist society. The socio-religious structure of the 'naq' cult shows that it is neither a pre-Buddhist remnant, nor is it borrowed from India. Close analysis of the actual cult, of its legends of foundation, and of the historical evidence, clearly shows that it is a construct of Burmese Buddhist kings or, in other words, a produce of the localization of Buddhism in Burma..."
Author/creator: Benedicte Brac de la Perriere
Language: English
Source/publisher: Newsletter, Issue 25, International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Strangers in a Changed Land
Date of publication: April 2001
Description/subject: "Returning to Burma after a four-year absence, a visitor discovers that change has brought only a deepened sense of estrangement, not optimism, to ordinary Burmese..."
Author/creator: Thalia Isaak
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: The Soul of a People
Date of publication: 1899
Description/subject: "For the first few years of my stay in Burma my life was so full of excitement that I had little care or time for any thought but of to-day. There was, first of all, my few months in Upper Burma in the King's time before the war, months which were full of danger and the exhilaration of danger, when all the surroundings were too new and too curious to leave leisure for examination beneath the surface. Then came the flight from Upper Burma at the time of the war, and then the war itself. And this war lasted four years. Not four years of fighting in Burma proper, for most of the Irrawaddy valley was peaceful enough by the end of 1889; but as the central parts quieted down, I was sent to the frontier, first on the North and then on the East by the Chin mountains; so that it was not until 1890 that a[Pg 2] transfer to a more settled part gave me quiet and opportunity for consideration of all I had seen and known. For it was in those years that I gained most of whatever little knowledge I have of the Burmese people..."
Author/creator: H. Fielding
Language: English
Source/publisher: Macmillan and Co. Ltd. via Project Gutenberg
Format/size: text/html (191K) 350 pages
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2010