Ong Keo

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Ong Keo
Died 1910 November
Salavan City, Laos
Monuments Ong Keo Stupa[1]
Other names Phu Mi Boun
Ethnicity Alak
Known for Holy Man's Rebellion

Ong Keo (องค์แก้ว) led Austroasiatic-speaking minorities (formerly called Mon-Khmer) in what in Thailand was called the Holy Man's Rebellion of 1901-1902, where it was a widespread but short-lived cause.[2] Against French and Lao forces, however, Ong Keo continued the struggle until his murder in 1910. After his death, fighting still continued under his successor Ong Kommandam until at least 1937. Local legend holds that Ong Keo survived the murder attempt and lived until the early 1970s.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ong Keo was an Alak, born in Ban Paktai, Muang Thateng, in what then was part of the kingdom of Champasak, but now is in Xekong or Sekong Province.[3]

His father was a village chief. Ong Keo moved rapidly up the leadership ladder because of his charisma and intelligence, and his fluency in Lao and Pali. He performed religious ceremonies on Mount Tayun, which was close to his home village. He advocated that foreigners be thrown out. His following grew quickly and soon they began calling him Pha Ong Keo (พระองค์แก้ว − Wiktionary: prá ong gâew) − "Venerable Precious-Jewel," and a Phu Mi Boun (Thai: ผู้มีบุญ, lit. "person have Buddhist merit"), usually translated in the messianic sense as The Holy Man.[2][3]

Rebellion[edit]

He launched his rebellion in Thateng in response to the destruction of the temple of Ban Nong Mek.[citation needed] This rebellion lasted six years before a truce could be made. Phu Mi Boun surrendered to the French in October 1907 after military defeats, epidemics and famine disheartened his troops. Despite his surrender, he never submitted to the conditions the French laid on him. He continued to use the title of "Great King" that he had given himself, performed Buddhist/Alak religious rites and encouraged his disciples, particularly Ong Kommandam, to carry on his struggle. In 1910, the French Commissioner of Saravane, Jean-Jacques Dauplay, ordered that he be killed for his "arrogant" attitude.[4] Some sources say that Dauplay himself killed Ong Keo after summoning him to a meeting, with a gun he had hid in his hat.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ong Keo Stupa
  2. ^ a b Murdoch, John B. (1974). "The 1901-1902 Holy Man's Rebellion" (FREE). Journal of the Siam Society (Siam Heritage Trust). JSS Vol.62.1 (digital): image 2. Retrieved April 2, 2013. The "Holy Man's" I uprising of 1901-1902 was a large scale popular rebellion involving Northeast Thailand, Southern Laos, and the adjacent portion of the Vietnamese Central Highlands. Scholarship to date has not adequately considered the rebellion's character as transcending present national boundaries, having common leadership, and growing out of common regional causes. Footnote 8) 'Kha' is the common, though somewhat pejorative, term used for the Austroasiatic tribal people of Northeast Thailand, Laos, and Viet-nam. I use it here because it is common parlance in the literature and for lack of a better term. 
  3. ^ a b Polsena, Vatthana; 2006; Post-war Laos: The Politics of Culture, History, And Identity; Cornell University Press; ISBN 0801445035; pp 121-138
  4. ^ Gunn, Geoffrey C.; 1990; Rebellion In Laos: Peasant And Politics In A Colonial Backwater; Westview Press USA; ISBN 0813380278
  5. ^ Moppert, François; Mouvement de résistance au pouvoir colonial français de la minorité proto-indochinoise du plateau des Bolovens au Sud-Laos : 1901-1936; Doctorate Thesis, Université de Paris VII, 1978