A traditional Buddhist ceremony to remember Mon leader Nai Non Lar, the former Vice President of the New Mon State Party, was held in his native village of Hnee Pa Daw in Mudon Township.
The ceremony, organized by community youth organizations, began beside the village statue of Nai Non Lar with offerings of alms and food to Buddhist monks.
Community leader Nai Chan Done said, “The Vice President is a good example to our youth [as someone who] sacrifices for the national movement because he was a good leader to our people.”
Nai Non Lar passed away 23 years ago, and the community has held this remembrance ceremony for the past six years. About 200 villagers, predominantly young people, attended the ceremony.
Youth leader Nai Sak reported that, in the ceremony’s first year, local authorities threatened the few NMSP members who attended, but since the country opened and the situation has changed, the community can now welcome more participants.
“We still remember that our Vice President encouraged us to wear Mon traditional clothes (longyi); he was a good leader who dared to speak his mind. Our youth should learn the behavior of our leader and pay respect to him. We will plan and attempt a bigger ceremony next year.”
During the event, the master of ceremonies read Nai Non Lar’s biography to attendees, and the youth groups, Mon National Day committees, and members of the NMSP laid flowers at the site to signify their remembrance.
Nai Non Lar became the head of his village at the young age of 22. In 1945, well before Burma’s independence three years later, he and many Mon political activists formed a Mon political party, the Mon National League.
In 1958, after engaging in armed resistance as part of the Mon People’s Front (MPF), Nai Non Lar and other political leaders changed tactics and transformed MPF into a legal party. But after General Ne Win seized political power in 1962, Nai Non Lar and a number of his colleagues were put in jail.
Upon his release from prison in 1973, Nai Non Lar joined the NMSP that had been formed by President Nai Shwe Kyin, and was promoted to General Secretary. He became Vice President in 1975.
On August 8, 1989, at the first anniversary of 8888 to honor the pro-democracy movement, Nai Non Lar died on stage while giving a speech to the audience.
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