4 December 1947
U Nu with Gandhi in Delhi 1947
The photograph is from the last meeting between U Nu and Mahatma Gandhi, taken at Birla House, Delhi, on 4 December 1947, a little over a month before Gandhi was assassinated. Mahatma Gandhi was wearing a hat just given to him by soon to be Prime Minister U Nu (then Premier Thakin Nu).
The struggle against British colonialism is a shared history of Burma and India. Mahatma Gandhi visited Rangoon three times: in 1902, 1915 and 1929. He had a big impact on Myanmar politics and Myanmar had an important impact on him. Gandhi wrote about how these trips influenced his thinking, on colonialism, on the role of women. His close friend and patron since student days in London was Dr. Mehta who lived on Mughal Street and later Shwedagon Pagoda Road. Burma's own independence movement was deeply influenced by India. The 'boycott' and the 'general strike' were Indian imports. The pace of Burmese constitutional change closely followed India's in 1922 and 1935. And the underlying reason the Labour government of Clement Attlee decided in 1946 to quit Burma was that the country, with India's coming independence, would no longer hold any real strategic importance. British calculations would otherwise have been very different.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Napyitaw on 12 November 2014. Indian leaders have been traveling often to this country for over a hundred years - Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Subhas Chandra Bose, Dr. Ambedkar, and many others. And of course, the last emperor of India Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled to Rangoon and is buried near the Shwedagon.