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Writer Maung Pe Nge, imprisoned by Ne Win, dies

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Funeral services for writer Maung Pe Nge, 67, who was imprisoned for writing about Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) Chairman Ne Win, were held on Sunday at Yeway Cemetery in Rangoon.

The cover of 'Yanaung Maung Maung Toke', which led to writer Maung Pe Nge's torture and imprisonment.Maung Pe Nge aka Tin Pe suffered from hypertension, diabetes and a heart condition. He died of a stroke at Rangoon General Hospital.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.

The writers Htet Myet, Mi Chan Wei and Myat Khaing among others attended the funeral, writer Than Myint Aung told Mizzima.

Maung Pe Nge was known for his historical biographies. In his biography of a king, ‘Yanaung Maung Maung Toke’, he wrote, ‘The King is taking multiple wives while the people are striving  to grow multiple crops in their rice fields’, in portraying a king’s loose character.

Unfortunately, the book’s publication coincided with ruling strongman Ne Win taking another wife. At the time, the BSPP was also forcing farmers to grown multiple crops in their rice fields under a high-yield paddy plantation scheme.

The book caused a stir in the literary community and was banned from distribution and removed from bookstores.

Maung Pe Nge was tried and sentenced to death, which was later commuted to a long prison sentence.

During interrogation, Maung Pe Nge’s face was burnt with a cigarette and the wound could be seen until his death, said a friend.

During that time, one of his poems, titled ‘Snake Charmer’, also appeared in the ‘Shu Daunk’ journal and Ne Win considered the poem a threat to his dignity. Its editors, Win Khet and Win Latt, were imprisoned. Maung Pe Nge was not political, his friends said.

Maung Pe Nge’s books include many biographies of Burmese kings. The book ‘Yanaung Maung Maung Toke’ has not been published since it was banned.

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 February 2011 20:54 )  

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