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A small, dusty town in central Burma became the focus of the country on Friday, as thousands descended on the Magwe town of Nat Mauk, the birthplace of Burmese independence hero Aung San.
His daughter, Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, led the celebrations.
Speaking to the crowd, Suu Kyi said that Burma’s people are yet to receive their inheritance- a truly democratic state.
“A genuinely democratic union will be the true testament to my father. I want to urge you to honour my father by working to bring about a truly democratic union,” the National League for Democracy leader said.
General Aung San is considered responsible for leading the country to independence from colonial rule, but was assassinated shortly after achieving it in 1947.
Just a few months before his death, Aung San also achieved the 1947 Panglong Agreement, a breakthrough deal with ethnic minority groups that promised them political autonomy.
“General Aung San is one in a million. I’ve seen no-one like him although I have tried to find one all my life. He is the one and only premier for us,” said Htin Lin, 75, a retired government servant.
A marquee was set up displaying photographs and pictures of General Aung San during his lifetime, while small stores sold souvenirs such as t-shirts and small statues of of him.
“His sacrifice and pains are the things I respect the most. I am feeling good now. Although I can’t compare to him, I will try my best to listen to his guidance,” said construction worker Swe Hlaing Min.
International praise too flowed in for the man who liberated Burma from British colonial rule.
In Rangoon British Ambassador Andrew Patrick visited the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, the house where the general was living at the time his life was cut short, assasinated by a political rival at the age of 32.
“I think it is one of the very tragic things about the history of this country that [General Aung San] did not live to become the president or prime minister,” said Patrick.
“I think the history of the country would have been very different had he lived.”