Burma Office

The Burma Office was a British government department created in 1937 to oversee the administration of Burma. The department was headed until 1947 by the Secretary of State for India and Burma, a member of the British cabinet, and then for a few months until January 1948 by the Secretary of State for Burma.

Creation and end of the Burma Office

With the administrative reforms of the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935, a tentative devolution of authority to legislative bodies and local governments in South Asia was begun. In 1937, as provided for in the 1935 act, these reforms led to the separation of Burma from India and the creation in London of the Burma Office, constitutionally separate from the India Office, although the two shared the same Secretary of State and were housed in the same building. The new Burma Office came into existence on 1 April 1937.[1]

Soon after the grant of independence to the new dominions of India and Pakistan in 1947, independence came to Burma in 1948, as a republic outside the Commonwealth. Thus the Burma Office was officially dissolved and the last Secretary of State for Burma, William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel, left the British Cabinet. In the words of the Commonwealth Office Year Book,

On 4th January 1948 Burma ceased to be part of His Majesty's dominions and became a foreign country. The Burma Office ceased to exist on 3rd January 1948 and the staff were transferred to the Commonwealth Relations Office.[1]


  • 1937: Separation of Burma from British India, establishment of the Burma Office
  • 1947: Announcements of imminent independence of India, Pakistan and Burma
  • 15 August 1947: Partition of India into independent India and Pakistan, end of India Office
  • 4 January 1948: Independence of Burma and abolition of Burma Office

Burma Office records

Unlike other British Government records, the Burma Office records, like those of the India Office, are not in The National Archives at Kew but are deposited with the India Office Records in the British Library, London, where they form part of the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections. The catalogue is searchable online in the Access to Archives catalogues.

See also


  1. ^ a b The Commonwealth Office year book (H. M. Stationery Office, 1968), pp. 7 & 17
Advocate-General of Bengal

The Advocate-General of Bengal was charged with advising the Government of the British administered Bengal Presidency on legal matters. The Presidency existed from 1765 to 1947. Prior to 1858, when it was administered by the East India Company, the Advocate-General was the senior law officer of that company but was also the Attorney-General of the Sovereign of Great Britain.

Aga Khan

Aga Khan (Arabic: آغا خان‎, Persian: آقاخان‎; also transliterated as Aqa Khan and Agha Khan)

is a title held by the Imām of the Nizari Ismāʿīli Shias. Since 1957, the holder of the title has been the 49th Imām, Prince Shah Karim al-Husseini, Aga Khan IV (b. 1936).

Birendra Narayan Chakraborty

Birendra Narayan Chakraborty OBE, ICS (बीरेंद्र नारायण चक्रवर्ती, also Birendra Narayan Chakravarty) (20 December 1904 – 26 March 1976) was an Indian civil servant, politician and the second governor of Haryana.He attended Kolkata's Scottish Church College, and continued his education at the University of Calcutta. He joined University College London for a BSc in chemistry in 1926. After further studies for the Indian Civil Service examinations at the School of Oriental Studies, London, he passed the examinations in 1928 and joined the ICS in October 1929 as an assistant collector and magistrate in the Bengal Presidency. He was promoted to joint magistrate and deputy collector in July 1930 and to additional district and sessions judge (officiating) in June 1935. In February 1936, he was promoted to full magistrate and collector, and was appointed a joint secretary with the Finance Department of the Government of Bengal in April 1944. As an acting secretary, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1945 Birthday Honours list.After Indian independence, he served as Governor of Haryana from 15 September 1967 until his death in office on 26 March 1976, aged 71.

British rule in Burma

British rule in Burma, also known as British Burma, lasted from 1824 to 1948, from the Anglo-Burmese wars through the creation of Burma as a Province of British India to the establishment of an independently administered colony, and finally independence. Various portions of Burmese territories, including Arakan (Rakhine State), Tenasserim were annexed by the British after their victory in the First Anglo-Burmese War; Lower Burma was annexed in 1852 after the Second Anglo-Burmese War. The annexed territories were designated the minor province (a Chief Commissionership), British Burma, of British India in 1862.After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the following year, the province of Burma in British India was created, becoming a major province (a Lieutenant-Governorship) in 1897. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma began to be administered separately by the Burma Office under the Secretary of State for India and Burma. British rule was disrupted during the Japanese occupation of much of the country during the Second World War. Burma achieved independence from British rule on 4 January 1948.

Burma is sometimes referred to as "the Scottish Colony", due to the heavy role played by Scotsmen in colonising and running the country, one of the most notable beings Sir James Scott, and the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.

Chief commissioner

A chief commissioner is a commissioner of a high rank, usually in chief of several commissioners or similarly styled officers.

Colonial Office

The Colonial Office was a government department of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the United Kingdom, first created to deal with the colonial affairs of British North America but needed also to oversee the increasing number of colonies of the British Empire.

It was headed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, known as the Colonial Secretary.

Cutch Agency

The Cutch Agency was one of the agencies of British India. The appointed Political Agent looked after only one territory, that of the princely state of Cutch, which had a surface of 19,725 square kilometres (7,616 sq mi), not including the Rann of Kutch.

The agency's headquarters were at Bhuj, where the Political Agent used to reside. He reported to the Political Department office at Bombay, Bombay Presidency.

India Office

The India Office was a British government department established in London in 1858 to oversee the administration, through a Viceroy and other officials, of the Provinces of British India. These territories comprised most of the modern-day nations of Bangladesh, Burma, India, and Pakistan, as well as Aden and other territories around the Indian Ocean. The department was headed by the Secretary of State for India, a member of the British cabinet, who was formally advised by the Council of India.Upon the partition of British India in 1947 into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan, the India Office was closed down. Responsibility for the United Kingdom's relations with the two new countries was transferred to the Commonwealth Relations Office (formerly the Dominions Office).

India Office Records

The India Office Records are a very large collection of documents relating to the administration of India from 1600 to 1947, the period spanning Company and British rule in India. The archive is held in London by the British Library and is publicly accessible.

The records come from four main sources: the English and later British East India Company (1600–1858), the Board of Control (1784–1858), the India Office (1858–1947), and the Burma Office (1937–48). The collection also includes records from many smaller related institutions. Overall, the collection is made up of approximately 175,000 items, including official publications and records, manuscripts, photographs, printed maps and private papers. These items take up approximately nine miles of shelving units.

Khan Bahadur

Khan Bahadur (Urdu: خان بہادُر‎, Hindi: खान) - a compound of khan (leader) and Bahadur (Brave) - was a formal title of respect and honour, which was conferred exclusively on Muslim and other non-Hindu subjects of the British Indian Empire. It was a title one degree higher than the title of Khan Sahib.

Monywa District

Monywa District (Burmese: မုံရွာခရိုင်) (formerly Lower Chindwin District) is an administrative district in southern Sagaing Division, Burma (Myanmar). Its administrative center is the city of Monywa.

Panth-Piploda Province

Panth-Piploda was a province of British India. It is located in present-day Ratlam District of Madhya Pradesh state of central India.

Panth-Piploda was British India's smallest province, with an area of 65 km2 (25 sq mi), and a population of 5267 (male 2666, female 2601) (1941 census). It was located in the Malwa region, and consisted of several separate enclaves, bounded by the princely states of Gwalior, Jaora, and Dewas. The province was governed by a chief commissioner appointed by the Governor-General of India.

Rai Sahib

Rao Sahib / Rao Saheb / Roy Sahib, abbreviated R.S., was a title of honour issued during the era of British rule in India to individuals who performed great service in visionary leadership to the nation. The title was accompanied by a medal. Translated, Rao means "Prince" "sahib means "leader".

This was the start level title usually awarded to civilians, which could later be upgraded to Rao Bahadur and then to Dewan Bahadur titles.The title styled Rao Sahib were awarded to Hindu people of North India, Rao Saheb in Maharashtra and styled Rao Sahib to Hindu people of South India, however, they were both of same category and spelling was altered to meet with regional differences of pronunciation. Whereas, another spelling variation Roy Sahib was awarded to Hindu people of Bengal region of British India.

The Rao Sabib/Rao Sahib/Roy Sahib and other similar titles issued during British Raj were disestablished in 1947 upon independence of India.

Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet minister responsible for dealing with the United Kingdom's relations with members of the Commonwealth of Nations (its former colonies). The minister's department was the Commonwealth Relations Office.

The position was created in 1947 out of the old position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. In 1966, the position was merged with that of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to form that of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, which was in turn merged with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1968 to create the new position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Secretary of State for India

His (or Her) Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for India, known for short as the India Secretary or the Indian Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister and the political head of the India Office responsible for the governance of the British Indian Empire (usually known simply as 'the Raj' or British India), Aden, and Burma. The post was created in 1858 when the East India Company's rule in Bengal ended and India, except for the Princely States, was brought under the direct administration of the government in Whitehall in London, beginning the official colonial period under the British Empire.

In 1937, the India Office was reorganised which separated Burma and Aden under a new Burma Office, but the same Secretary of State headed both Departments and a new title was established as His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for India and Burma. The India Office and its Secretary of State were abolished in August 1947, when the United Kingdom granted independence in the Indian Independence Act, which created two new independent dominions, the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Burma soon achieved independence separately in early 1948.

Secretary of State for War and the Colonies

The Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was a British cabinet-level position responsible for the army and the British colonies (other than India). The Department was created in 1801. In 1854 it was split into the separate offices of Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for the Colonies.

The Secretary was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.


The Taungyo (Burmese: တောင်ရိုး လူမျိုး) are a sub-ethnic group of the Bamar people living primarily in Shan State and centered on Pindaya.

Tavoyan dialects

The Tavoyan or Dawei dialect of Burmese (ထားဝယ်စကား) is spoken in Dawei (Tavoy), in the coastal Tanintharyi Region of southern Myanmar (Burma).

Tavoyan retains /-l-/ medial that has since merged into the /-j-/ medial in standard Burmese and can form the following consonant clusters: /ɡl-/, /kl-/, /kʰl-/, /bl-/, /pl-/, /pʰl-/, /ml-/, /m̥l-/. Examples include မ္လေ (/mlè/ → Standard Burmese /mjè/) for "ground" and က္လောင်း (/kláʊɴ/ → Standard Burmese /tʃáʊɴ/) for "school". Also, voicing only with unaspirated consonants, whereas in standard Burmese, voicing can occur with both aspirated and unaspirated consonants. Also, there are many loan words from Malay and Thai not found in Standard Burmese. An example is the word for goat, which is hseit (ဆိတ်) in Standard Burmese but be (ဘဲ) in Tavoyan, most likely from Mon /həbeˀ/ (ဗၜေံ) or Thai /pʰɛ́ʔ/ (แพะ).In the Tavoyan dialect, terms of endearment, as well as family terms, are considerably different from Standard Burmese. For instance, the terms for "son" and "daughter" are ဖစု (/pʰa̰ òu/) and မိစု (/mḭ òu/) respectively. Moreover, the honorific နောင် (Naung) is used in lieu of မောင် (Maung) for young males.

William Blunt

William Blunt (1800–1889) was a British civil servant in India.

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