Cover - Burma's Rough Road to Independence

Hans-Bernd Zöllner

Burma’s Rough Road to Independence

U Nu’s Novel “Man, the Wolf of Man” and a Portray of the Author as Writer, Politician, and Buddhist

december 2022, 322 pages, paperback, size 225 x 155 mm
isbn 978-3-947729-65-4
series Das regionale Fachbuch

also available as ebook (PDF)


29,90 euro (D)
incl. VAT, plus shipping fees


U Nu held the post of the first Prime Minister of Burma between 1948 and 1962 under a constitution providing for a multi-party electoral system. He was however chosen to occupy the post by accident because of the tragic assassination of his younger friend Aung San in July 1947. His dream had been to become a writer. Therefore, he only reluctantly participated in politics in the pre-war independence struggle against British rule. Like many other activists, Nu was jailed in 1940. He used his stay in Insein Prison to write his only novel set in the independence struggle.
For the first time, this book presents the English text of the novel in book form. It was only once before serialised by a Burmese magazine during Nu’s time as premier in the 1950s.
The text of the novel is framed by an account of Nu’s activities as a man of letters, a politician, and a Buddhist. The introduction provides information about Nu’s early activities as a writer, translator, and publisher and illustrates the genesis of the Burmese original of the novel which was published shortly before Burma gained a nominal independence from Japan in August 1943. The postscript portrays his life as a writer, politician, and Buddhist during the time of his premiership and his eventful life until his death in 1995.
The book presents a bulk of material that has not been published yet and sheds new light not only on Nu’s colourful personality and life but also on the still unfinished rough road of today’s Myanmar to become a peaceful independent country.

Table of contents


Table of contents (PDF)


Glossary     vii

Foreword and Acknowledgements    1

Introduction    7
1     Looking at Burmese/Myanmar Politics from an Uncommon Perspective    7
2     Nu’s Early Life, his Literary and Political Activities until 1937    11
3     The Nagani Book Club (1937–1941)    15
4     Nu’s Six Plays Published by the Book Club     23
5     Nu’s non-fictional Nagani Publications    29
6     Two Years in Prison (July 1940 – May 1942)    34
7     The Japanese Occupation (1942 to 1945) and the Publication History of Nu’s Novel until 1954    38
8     Notes on the Editing of the Text of Nu’s Novel    61

Man, the Wolf of Man by Thakin Nu    63

Postscript: Nu as a Writer and Politician after Independence    177
1     Introduction    177
2     Outline of Nu’s Life after 1948    180
3     Language, Knowledge, and Identity    192
4     Two Political Plays    213
5     Nu’s Publications on Politics    247
Supplement: A View on Nu’s Political Statements Made Abroad    260
6     Publications on Buddhism    262
7     Saturday’s Son: Nu’s Life as a Novel    279
8     Open End    289

Bibliography    295

Index    301



Introduction (PDF)