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Politics

Myanmar, an unfinished nation

Historical tensions over identity still threaten country's future

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos
Shan chiefs from what was then Burma at the Delhi Durbar 1903 (Courtesy of the author)

Almost exactly 80 years ago, Burma, now Myanmar, was separated from India. It is an anniversary that has passed virtually unnoticed, even though separation was one of the most important turning points in the country's history.

In 1935 the U.K. parliament passed its Government of Burma Act, and in mid-1937 Burma went from being a province of the Indian Empire to something just shy of a dominion, with its own semi-elected government, a parliament, and a governor answerable directly to London. It was meant as a step toward home-rule and a recognition of Burma's distinct identity.

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