Burmese peace activist, poet Dagon Tayar dies

Burmese peace activist, poet Dagon Tayar dies

One of Burma’s greatest contemporary literary figures and an influential peace activist, Dagon Tayar (a.k.a. Htay Myaing), passed away peacefully on Monday in Aungban, Southern Shan State. He was 95 years old.

His niece Myint Myint Sein said, “U Dagon Tayar had just returned from hospital and passed away peacefully at home at 1:15 pm. He had been hospitalized for 11 days because I did not have anyone who could look after him while I was in South Korea where I had been invited to accept an award on his behalf from the Manhae Foundation.

Despite his age and deteriorating health, Dagon Tayar continued to compose beautiful poems, short stories, novels and commentaries until his final days. Throughout his lifetime he published more than 20 books on a variety of subjects.

Dagon Tayar was well known in Burma for his quotations: “I have no foes, only friends”, and “I have no hatred for any person. To me, politics means making friends of foes.”

Win Tin, veteran journalist and co-founder of the National League for Democracy, said Dagon Tayar had a strong engine that was in constant struggle and was active all the time.

“In literary terms, not only were his poems very beautiful but his short stories and novels were also romantic,” he said. “He was an advocate of peace and promoted the non-violent struggle.”

Born in Kyaik Latt Township, in Irrawaddy Division, in May 1919, he joined the University of Rangoon in 1937.

As far back as the colonial era, Dagon Tayar was striving for peace and justice through his writings. He became chairman of the World Peace Congress (Burma) in 1951, and vice-chairman in 1952. He was a representative of the All Burma Students’ Union as the head of publicity for the Rangoon University Students Union in 1940, and as an editor for multiple literary magazines.

Dagon Tayar was arrested and imprisoned for four years after the military took power in 1962. He never married nor fathered children.

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