Khin Kyi

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Khin Kyi
Khin Kyi portrait.jpg
Burmese Ambassador to India
In office
1st Minister of Social Welfare
In office
Preceded by None
MP of the Pyithu Hluttaw
In office
Constituency Lanmadaw Township
Personal details
Born (1912-04-16)16 April 1912
Myaungmya, Irrawaddy Province, British Burma
Died 27 December 1988 (1988-12-28) (aged 76)
Rangoon, Burma
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Kandawmin Garden Mausolea, Yangon, Myanmar
Nationality Burmese
Spouse(s) Aung San
(m. 1942; d. 1947)
Relations Pho Hnyin (father)
Phwa Su (mother)
Children Aung San Oo
Aung San Lin
Aung San Suu Kyi
Alma mater Teachers' Training College
Kemmendine Girls School
Occupation Diplomat, Politician

Maha Thiri Thudhamma Khin Kyi (1912-1988) (Burmese: ခင်ကြည်) was a Burmese politician and diplomat, best known for her marriage to the country's leader, Aung San, with whom she had four children, including Aung San Suu Kyi.


She grew up in Myaungmya, an Irrawaddy delta town, the eighth of 10 brothers and sisters.[1] Khin Kyi attended the American Baptist Mission-run Kemmendine Girls School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Kyimyindaing) in Rangoon, and continued her tertiary education at the Teachers' Training College (TTC) in Moulmein.[1] She then went on to become a teacher at the National School in her hometown, before deciding to give it up altogether to join the nursing profession against her mother's wishes, following the footsteps of her two elder sisters, who were at the time, training to become nurses.[1] Khin Kyi moved to Rangoon and joined the staff of the Rangoon General Hospital as a nursing probationer.[1]

Khin Kyi first met Aung San in 1942, when he was recovering from injuries sustained during the Burma Campaign, at the Rangoon General Hospital, where she served as a senior nurse.[2] The couple wed in September of that year.

She served as a member of parliament in the country's first post-independence government from 1947 to 1948, representing Rangoon's Lanmadaw Township, the constituency that her husband had won.[3][4] In 1953, she was appointed as Burma's first Minister of Social Welfare.[5]

Khin Kyi and her three children in 1948.

In 1953, following the death of her second oldest son, Aung San Lin, the family moved from their house on Tower Lane (now Bogyoke Museum Lane), near Kandawgyi Lake, to a colonial-era villa by the shores of Inya Lake, on University Avenue Road.[6] Their former house was converted to the Bogyoke Aung San Museum in 1962.

In 1960, Khin Kyi was appointed as Burma's Ambassador to India, and became the country's first woman to serve as the head of a diplomatic mission.[5] During her tenure in New Delhi, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru specially arranged for Khin Kyi and Suu Kyi to live on 24 Akbar Road, in a colonial-era complex designed by Edwin Lutyens.[6] The site, then called "Burma House," is now the national headquarters of the Indian National Congress.[7]

She died in Rangoon on 28 December 1988, at the age of 76, after suffering a severe stroke.[8][9] Her funeral, held on 2 January 1989, was attended by over 200,000 people, despite the presence of military trucks which intervened to try to prevent this gathering.[10][11] She is buried at Kandawmin Garden Mausolea on Shwedagon Pagoda Road in Yangon.[12]


The wedding of Aung San and Khin Kyi

Khin Kyi was born in Myaungmya to parents Pho Hnyin and Phwa Su.[13][14] Although it is rumored that Khin Kyi herself was an ethnic Karen Christian, she was in fact a Buddhist of Bamar ancestry.[14] As her family lived in the Irrawaddy delta, heavily populated by ethnic Karens, her father Pho Hnyin converted to Christianity (baptised in the Baptist Church) as a young man, while her mother was a staunch Buddhist.[6][14]

She married Aung San on 7 September 1942.[14] The pair had four children, 2 sons: Aung San Oo and Aung San Lin (who died by drowning at the age of 8) and 2 daughters: Aung San Suu Kyi and Aung San Chit, who died after delivery.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d Aung San Suu Kyi (29 April 2012). "Letter from Burma: Flowers in her hair". The Mainichi. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Jensen, Vickie (2011). Women Criminals: An Encyclopedia of People and Issues. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313337130. 
  3. ^ Edwards, Louise P.; Mina Roces (2000). Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity, and Globalisation. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472087518. 
  4. ^ "Burma and the role of Burmese women". Documentation and Research Centre. All Burma Students' Democratic Front. 31 July 1995. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Ling, Bettina (1999). Aung San Suu Kyi: Standing Up for Democracy in Burma. Feminist Pres. ISBN 9781558611962. 
  6. ^ a b c Wintle, Justin (2007). Perfect Hostage. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 9781602392663. 
  7. ^ "Home bond: leader's present, Lady's past". The Telegraph. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Suu Kyi Pays Tribute to Her Mother". The Irrawaddy. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Daw Khin Kyi, Burmese Leader's Widow, 76". Associated Press. New York Times. 28 December 1988. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Abrams, Irwin (1999). Peace 1991-1995. World Scientific. pp. 13–15. ISBN 9789810227234. 
  11. ^ Aung Zaw (18 October 2011). "A Spirit That Never Dies". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  12. ^ BBS U Win Tin (6 February 2012). "Shedding light on shadows from our country's past". Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Shwe Yinn Mar Oo (13 February 2012). "Daw Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed in delta 'home'". Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Bengtsson, Jesper (2012). Aung San Suu Kyi: A Biography. Potomac Books. ISBN 9781612341590.