Retrospect
in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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Everyone suffered some pain when Burma lurched from past into present, and the prize was plucked from old sparring partners. Democracy is the most potent issue in modern Myanmar. Many Burmans and Western liberals regard democratisation as the prerequisite for development. The survival of the Methodist Church in Buddhist Upper Burma is little short of a miracle. There were only slightly fewer members in the Mandalay District in 2006 than there were in 1900. After 1966 it became impossible for the Church to proselytise, and it has survived only by retaining existing members. Missionary voices rarely challenged government policies either in colonial times or in Independent Burma. Maitrii Aung-Thwin defines Burma's past, present and future as a complicated potion of personalities, intellectual influences, culture and political forms. Charney is right to identify Buddhist monks as the custodians of 'Burmese tradition and the core of Burmese intellectual life'.

Conflict, politics and proselytism

Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966

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