Malae and Sanpaenago

On my return from Tagaung last November, I reached Malae unexpectedly.

The ShutPyay from Katha reached Tagaung only at 11:00 instead of the usual 10:00. The lateness was due to being grounded on shallow sandbanks twice. On the way from Tagaung to Mandalay, we grounded twice again. The first time, we got off after about 20 minutes efforts by the crew and the passengers by pulling the anchor rope and pushing with poles. The second time it was not so easy and some of us had to get down and push the boat. Finally it got off the bank and we got to Malae late at 3 pm instead of the usual 1 pm. Malae is the place where the passengers has lunch and the the passengers who had not brought their lunch had a very late lunch.

Malae is opposite SanPaeNaGo. These 2 palces existed from ancient times and are still inhabited. Both are large villages and looked prosperous. There is even a phone service at Malae. Handphones are available there and passengers can phone from the river bank. They are situated on the northern end of the 3rd Ayeyarwaddy defile / myitkyinn.

Burmese saying / Sagapone စကားပုံ

Nyaung Oo KannParr Pyo ေညာင္ဦးကမ္းပါးျပိဳ

SanPaeNaGo ga NaMa Paung Kyoe ႏြားမေပါင္က်ိဳး

It is used whenever one gives excuses that are not applicable.

SanPae NaGo is far to the north of Mandalay, beyond ThabeikKyinn whereas Nyaung Oo is quite downriver in middle Myanmar

This saying must have appeared because at the time, SanPae NaGo was the outpost of the Bagan nation, the furthest from Bagan, although later, it extended to Tagaung and beyond up to Ngasaunggyan if not more and Malae is on its opposite bank.

There is also mention about Malae in the chronicles about Male since the time of king Binnaka of Tagaung and also in the Chinese chronicles about the Battle of Ngasaunggyan

Mention about Malae in the Myanmar Chronicles

The ancient history books said that the people of the Thaki race entered Tagaung region twice in two droves. The first drove led by Abhiraja arrived at the region before the Buddha attained the enlightenment. The second drove was under the leadership of Dhajaraja (Thado Jabudipa Dhajaraja title holder).

The first dynasty of Abhiraja ruled the city till its 33rd king, Binnaka. Tar Tars from China invaded and destroyed the city during the reign of King Binnaka. Binnaka and his followers retreated to the mouth of Meza River (Male) and later, split into three groups. When the Tar Tars left the city, the group led by Queen Naga Hsein stayed behind in Male region, while another group migrated to the place where the Ayeyawady met Shweli, and founded Kanthida town. The last group moved to Hanlin region in Legaing, Thuna Pantrara state, and settled there. We can assume that in this way, the people of the first Tagaung dynasty started to settle at places around the upper Myanmar. When the king of Tagaung attacked the Kanthida of the group led by Binnaka later, the group fled to the upper reaches of Shweli River and built Mongmao town there. The group again went upstream the river and set up Kyainghon (the ruined town located north of Bahe village in Mabein Township). The group organized and ruled the Yunnanese who fled their homeland for Myanmar for fear of the Tar Tars. The Binnaka group set up a city state comprising 19 districts in the region located in the southern upper reaches of Shweli River. Those who resided in the area were called Binnaka Shans.

The second drove of the people of Thaki race led by Dhajaraja entered Myanmar after the enlightenment of Buddha. It is likely that Buddhism also arrived at Myanmar together with the second drove of Thaki race. When Dhajaraja arrived at Male region, he met and married Queen Naga Hsein, formed alliance with her group, and settled in Tagaung region. As Tagaung was burnt-out town then, he set up the royal seat at the Pyu-gama (Bagan) of the Pyu race. The dynasty ruled the city till its 17th king, Thado Maha Raja. Thado Naga Naing or Maung Pauk Kyaing was the ninth king.

Mention about Malae in the Chinese chronicles in their description about the Battle of Ngasaunggyan

Anantapicci and Yantapicci tried to stop the enemies whotried to cross the Irrawaddy river from Bhamo in 1283. For 3 months they killed everyone including attendents employed in feeding elephants and horses who came up their side of the river. Wave afterwave of U Ti Bwa’s men came and were killed. From sheer exhaustion, the Burmese could do nothing at last and the enemy finally succeeded in crossing over the river and Ngasaunggyan fell Dec-1283. The Burmese were able to prevent the Chinese from crossing the ShweLi river for 3 months. Mongols took Ngasaunggyan 3-Dec-1283. Kaungsin, administrative centre of northern Burma, fell 9-Dec.

Tagaung was taken Jan-1284. Northern Burma became a Chinese province of Cheng-mien.

The Burmans did not yeild easily. Quduq Tamar’s army for invasion of Mien encountered the rebels and was routed 1284. Reinforcements were sent and it was reported that peoples minds were wavering.

Yunnan reported in 1285 that they have not yet had time to invade Mien. King Narapati sent a peace mission.

King Narapati evacuated Bagan and fled to Pathein.Anantapicci and Yantapicci made another stand at Male by putting up 2fortifications on the east of the foot of a range. Anantapicci was killed andYantapicci made an orderly retreat to Bagan where he found that the king had fled.He followed to Pathein. The invaders came after him as far as Tayoke Hmyaw andfinally gave up the chase because of the scarcity of food.

Thus Malae is a historic site and has been inhabited continuously since the time of king Binnaka and much history has occurred around there.

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