Shan scholar says ‘Burma’ comes from ‘Brahma’

Noted Shan researcher Sai San Aik says the word ‘Burma’, the long-known name for the Southeast Asian country that was abruptly changed to ‘Myanmar’ following the 1988 military coup, originated in the Brahmin-Hindi word, ‘Brahma’.

Brahma, according to Hinduism, is the Creator of all things and beings.

He backed up his assertion with the same statement made by acclaimed Burmese scholar Dr Than Tun (Shwebo) earlier.

“I went to Hindu temples and met with many learned Brahmins,” he said. “All of them confirmed that the first Indian settlers in the Irrawaddy basin were Brahmins and they had named the country Brahmadesh. It later corrupted into Bamar, and much later into Burma.”
(Map: Mr Joe Doe)

Sai San Aik aka Sai Hsang Ai is writing a book on his findings about the races in Burma, including Burman, Shan, Mon, Karen, Chin and Kachin.

His discovery began with his long interest in the names of places in Burma that obviously have Pali-Sanskrit origins but converted into Burmese words, such as:

Bagan, used to be spelt Pagan, came from Purugama (or Prugama) meaning the Village for Pru (pronounced Pyu by the Burmese). “The Purus (Prus or Pyus), defeated in war around BC 580, had moved east into Burma and established kingdoms like Vishnu (Beithano) and Sriksetra (Thayay Khittaya),” he explained.

The Irrawaddy (now written Aye-ya-waddy in accordance with Burmese pronunciation) was the former name of the river Ravi in India’s Punjab.

The founding of Indian kingdoms in Burma, he said, was not isolated events. “Well before the Buddhist era, Hindu traders, Brahmins and princes arrived in Southeast Asia and founded several kingdoms,” he told SHAN.

Sai San Aik also challenged the long held belief that Burmans are descendents of the Sakyans (The Lord Buddha’s race).

Abhiraja, the founder of the Tagaung Kingdom, more than 300 years before the Buddha, was believed to be a Sakyan. “At least he was not a Buddhist,” said Sai San Aik. “Because the Lord Buddha wasn’t even born yet.”

Many Pyu artifacts are also discovered there, according to Dr Than Tun’s “Hindu-Buddhism Impact” (2010).

For further details, Dr Sai San Aik can be contacted at Email:, Tel: (95) 973 172 148.


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