Karen National Association

   (KNA)
   Considered by many historians to have been the first genuine political association established in British-ruled India (the Indian National Congress was first convened in 1885), the KNA was founded in 1881 by Christian Karens (Kayins). Its leaders, of whom the most prominent were San Crombie Po and Sydney Loo Nee, hoped to use the KNA to advance the interests of their community within the British Empire. When the Montagu-Chelmsford hearings on political reform for India were held in 1917, the KNA opposed the aspirations of the Young Men's Buddhist Association by arguing that the Province of Burma, because of its ethnic diversity, was not ready for self-government. The KNA lobbied for special communal representation for the Karens in the colonial legislature, and by the late 1920s had begun to advocate a separate "Karen country," to be located in what is now Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) Division, which would be under British rule in a decentralized Burmese federation of nationalities. Dominated by Western-educated Christians, it was only in 1939 that the KNA established a parallel association for Karen Buddhists, who in fact were a majority within the Karen community.
   See also Karen National Union (KNU).

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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