Saya Zawgyi


Zawgyi , 12 April 1907 – 26 September 1990), born in Pyapon, Irrawaddy Division, real name U Thein Han (ဦးသိန်းဟန်), was a distinguished and leading Burmese poet, author, literary historian, critic, scholar and academic.

He was one of the leaders of the Hkit san (Testing the Times) movement in Burmese literature searching for a new style and content before the Second World War,  along with Theippan Maung Wa, Nwe Soe and Min Thu Wun. His first hkit san poetry,Padauk pan (Padauk flower), was published in Hantha Kyemon pamphlet.

His most memorable work was a play titled Maha hsan gyinthu, an adaptation of Molière‘s Le bourgeois gentilhomme, published in 1934.  His most famous poem was Beida lan (The Hyacinth’s Way) that traces a journey through life’s ups and downs, published in 1963.
Zawgyi was the eldest in a family of nine and educated at the Myoma National High School in Rangoon. He won the Thitsawardi Prize (5 gold sovereigns) from the Thitsawardi newspaper for the poem “Sittathukha Linga”, translated from the English poet Henry Wotton‘s “The Character of a Happy Life“. He went on to the University of Rangoon, passed the intermediate level with credits in Burmese and won the “Tha Doe Aung” prize.

After graduating with a B.A. in 1929, majoring in Burmese literature, English literature, Oriental and Far East History, Zawgyi became a tutor in the Burmese Department at the university. In 1931, Zawgyi returned to the Myoma School to teach until 1934. After achieving the M.A degree from the Rangoon University in 1936, he became a tutor in Burmese at the Mandalay Intermediate College until 1938 when he went to England to study at the University of London and then at the University of Dublin for the Diploma in Library Science.


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