The Federated Shan States - (62,000 sq.miles)
Population=8 millions of diverse groups
Shans =about 65 percent
Shan State within the Eight States of Burma
Kachin, Burma Proper, Shan State, Chin, Arakan, Kayah, Mon and Karen, and each state other than the Kachin State was named after the majority nationals that lived in that state. The Shans are the majority nationals in the Shan State, the Burmans in Burma Proper etc.
The international communities know very little about the Shan State and its people other than that it is in Burma. This web site is to introduce readers to the Shan State and to inform them of its relation to the rest of Burma. The Shan State for thousands of years had been an autonomous region until 1962 , when it was forcibly occupied by the Burmese military dictatorial regimes. The population although made up of diverse groups of people had lived in peace and harmony with one another. They were free to have their own identities, their own religion and culture . Everything changed during the military regimes, who wanted the country and its resources but not the people because they would not succumb to their tyrannical and injustice rule. The Shans are suffering daily from fear and terror, because of the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the military junta.
According to the constitution of the Ex-Union, Burma consists of 8 constitutional states as shown in the map above. The Shan State is a plateau occupying the eastern part of Burma, and the average height is 3000 feet above sea-level. It has an area of 62,000 square miles, a land of forests, rolling downs and mountain ranges. It has a pleasant temperate climate and an ideal rainfall for wet rice cultivation and all sorts of tropical as well as temperate fruit and vegetables. The name, "Shan State" is derived from the word "Shan" the majority population of the area. Having said that, it is rather puzzling to these people why other people should call them "Shan" because to them they are "Tais" and their country "Mong Tai".
The Shan State is a naturally beautiful country. It is considerably rich in natural resources. Large areas of land is covered with hard rocks, some consisting of mineral ores such as lead, silver, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten and manganese. These industries are being exploited by the the ruling military junta; the minerals are being mined mainly for the benefit of members and families of the ruling junta instead of being properly mined and the revenue used for the development and benefit of the country and its citizens. The Namtu/Bawdwin, mines have been the most important lead and silver industries for decades. Diamond is found near Mongmit and recently small quantity of precious stones are found in Namkham and Mong Su. Low grade coals occur in Northern Shan State, near Lashio. The Shan State is also well known for its bright red rubies and dark blue sapphire. Lead, silver and tin are also known to be found in other areas, which have yet to be developed.
In higher and colder areas, like Taunggyi, Kalaw and Maymyo the Shan forest is covered with pine and other evergreen trees. Teak, Shorea robusta and Diptercarpus grandiflora are found in the lowlands. Teak, ptrerocarpus, sandlewood and ironwood cover considerable area of land, particularly in Mong Mit, Hsipaw, Mongkung, Mawkmai, Lawksawk, Mongnai, Kengtung, Kengkham, Mongtong and Mongsat. But during the last four or five decades even the forest has been exploited , excessive amount of logging is going on . Other less important trees are mulberry, from which Shan paper is made, toddy palm and Jaggery (Nam Ton). In the days before the military occupation some local people used to make their livelihood by collecting and selling forest products such as honey, bee's wax and lac. Many rare orchids and wild flowers also adorn the Shan forests.
The historical and cultural development of the Shan State is determined by its geographical features. it has one of the longest rivers in the world. Coiling its way through the valleys, the Salween is deeply incised and suffers such enormous changes in level that it is not very useful economically other than floating logs down stream. None the less the Salween and its many tributaries have in the past provided water for irrigating the valleys, which enable the Shan farmers to grow rice and other food crops.
Under a good government with far sighted vision, the Salween and its tributaries could also provide hydro-electric power for the whole country. But recently, without proper planning and consideration for the people and ecology of the country the Burmese military regime in partnership with foreign investors are continually speculating to build a series of dams . When prospecting the area to build dams farmlands are being confiscated, people made to move away from their homes and forced to do jobs like chopping down trees and clearing the bushes. When plans are abandoned the farmlands remain unusable other than being ordered to be used for growing poppies.
Livelihood- The Shans are farmers, primarily of wet-rice. The chief cottage industries are silk and Shan bag weaving, pottery, lacquer ware, Shan sun hats (Kupe) and fine bamboo weaving. Wood carving is carried out and sold to foreign tourists as souvenirs or gifts. The Shans are reputed to be good traders. In the past caravans of bullock carts or mules could be seen travelling to Thailand or Central Burma, dealing in agricultural products as well as precious or semi-precious stones. Later trucks were used as a means of transport for trading. During recent years freedom of travelling from place to place is very restricted or traders are in danger of meeting with military soldiers who would confiscate their goods or be asked to pay fines for some made up reasons. Frequently, many traders have been murdered or left to die with bullet wounds, after all their belongings had been stolen.
©2007 FSS/SNO contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web hosting by FreeVirtualServers