Meeting : "The Shan and Not-So-Shan Rebellions in Chiang
Rai; Buddhism, Borders, and Beheadings in the Early Twentieth
08 August, 2017.
A Talk by Anthony Lovenheim Irvin
the early years of the twentieth century, numerous settlements in the
Kok River Valley were besieged by groups of rebels. These rebels made
their base in old walled city of Chiang Saen, on the banks of the
Mekong river, and within the twenty-five kilometer no-man’s land
between Monthon Phayap and French Indochina. During the first wave of
attacks, the rebels conspired with the Shan residents living within the
walled city of Chiang Rai to lay waste to the town and slaughter the
ruling Siamese administrators. The rebels
were held off at the bridge leading into the city while their
coconspirators were arrested and held at Wat Phra Singh. While
primarily Shan, there is evidence to suggest that local people were
also involved in the uprisings. The final uprising was led by a Mon
monk named Thu Sala Muang Oot, the abbot of the now abandoned Wat Phra
Jao Thong Thip in wiang Chiang Saen. While in robes, Thu Sala Muang Oot
led bands of tattooed, sword carrying rebels against local defensive
forces and Siamese soldiers from the south. Spoiler Alert: Things did
not end well for this monk.
presentation contextualizes the uprisings in the broader
reconfigurations of power taking place in northern Thailand, and the
specific collaborations and contestations between local Chao, monks of
disparate affiliations, Siamese administrators, British officials, and
American missionaries that emerged in Chiang Rai
at the time.
Anthony Lovenheim Irwin is a PhD candidate in the department of Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
File for downloading or reading on
line - 6 pages).