Sunday, September 11, 2011



One of my former hospital officers, Mr.Cheong is an ardent Buddhist. Recently he made a pilgrimage to many of the Buddhist shrines in Thailand where the state religion is Buddhism. 
Since he had also gone to northern Thailand, I asked him whether he visited Kanchanapuri. 
Kanchanapuri is the starting point of the Thai/Burmese Japanese Railway. This railway is otherwise known as the DEATH Railway. Because it was built with a huge cost of human lives and human suffering and toil. It was built by forced labour of the prisoners of war from belonging to Britain, Australia, and to a less extent NewZealand and Holland. A few Americans and Canadians were also there. They were captured by the Japanese. 
The main bulk of the worker force was made up Indian and Malay labourers from Malaya.
Here is the breakdown - 

180,000 Asian labourers and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) worked on the railway. 
Of these, around 90,000 Asian labourers and 16,000 Allied POWs died as a direct result of the project. 
This railway was made famous by the movie, 'Bridge On The River Kwai'.
They have a Museum of war relics from the railway.
Mr Cheong said that he visited the JEATH Railway War Museum. 
I was puzzled.
I asked him, "You mean the Death Railway War museum.
"No", he said. "It is JEATH railway. Its called by that name now. 
Then he explained, "JEATH stands for the five countries - Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, and Holland".
I shouted, "Thats not fair. 80000 Malaysian Tamils worked in the railway and most of them did not come back".
He agreed, "Yes, its not fair. But thats how it is".
The following is the Wikipedia article about the JEATH War Museum.
There are other museums related to the railway. But JEATH is the main one.
Thats that.
Tamils fought in the INA against the British. They are unsung although heroes. 
Tamils lost their lives in that infamous notorious Death Railway. 
Their memory is eradicatd and nothing is known about them.
Not even Nam Ke VAstE.

Now the article - 

JEATH War Museum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The JEATH War Museum is one of two war museums in Thailand about the Death Railway built from 1942 to 1943 by Allied POWs under the direction of the Japanese. The museum was founded in 1977 and is located on the grounds of a temple at the junction of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers in Kanchanaburi. The acronym JEATH stands for the four main nationalities involved in the construction of the railway: Japanese, English, Australian, and Thai.

The portion of the museum depicting the construction of the Death Railway is meant to recreate the quarters used by Allied POWs. It includes a prehistoric view on the province as well as the Miss Thailand contest room.

No comments:

Post a Comment