The 65th Independence Day of Cambodia at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in New Delhi, 2018 - KNT Diary

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

The 65th Independence Day of Cambodia at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in New Delhi, 2018


Royal Embassy of Cambodia in New Delhi celebrated the 65th Independence Day of Cambodia. Cambodian people in New Delhi were happily presented. The interesting part of the celebration was the Khmer foods.

However, to celebrate the Independence Day, we should not forget the fact that, according to the late Prof Ian Harris, independent movement started in Buddhist temples led by Buddhist monks like Acharya Hem Chiev (through his Dhamma talks) and former monks and others (through their publication of Nokor Wat magazine).

The protest, which turned into what it is called the 1942 umbrella war, staged against the arrest of defrocked Acharya Hem Chiev (who was sent along with others to, and died a year later, in Koh Tralach terrible prison in Kampuchea Krom) by the French was the peak of the movement which inspired and motivated the later movements for independence prior to the so-called Royal Crusade, a peaceful, diplomatic missions for independence launched by Prince Norodom Sihanouk who took the whole credit and became Samdech Preah Beyda Ekareach Cheat or the Father of the National Independence.

When thinking of a hero of independence struggle against the French, we quickly remember Prince Norodom Sihanouk. However, Acharya Hem Chiev’s contribution to the nation and nationalist movements for independence was acknowledged by the Khmer Republic which entitled him Boros Rath, a National Hero. Neither the Sangkram Reastr Niyum nor the later governments ever officially acknowledged his priceless sacrifice for the nation.

My suggestion is that Buddhist temples, if not the state, should mark the day in which the Umbrella War happened as a national day as a tribute to Acharya Hem Chiev’s and his colleagues’ heroism and nationalism. This would remind the younger generations about Cambodian Buddhism in contributions to the country.

As we are celebrating the 65th Independence Day, let also remember his heroic contribution to this national cause.

Long Live Kingdom of Cambodia!

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