Burma image, WA1428. Kachin village.
This is the village of Lagang Shinglwi in the Triangle, where a column had arrived to release 'slaves'. The enforcement of slave release was the most important administrative policies of the British colonial government in Burma towards the Kachin peoples. Colonel Green felt sure, and was proved correct, that such a policy would result in massive disruption to Kachin culture and society and so he set about writing as full an account of the social system of 'slavery' as he could in the knowledge that all opportunities to study it would soon be lost. His account as it appeared in his 1934 dissertation for Cambridge University subsequently appeared as an Appendix in Edmund Leach?s anthropological classic 'Political Systems of Highland Burma' [London, 1954]. The government paid the owner a set amount to redeem the freedom of each 'slave' and this would be recouped from the released slave over a number of years when they had started to support themselves through farming. In practice, the social system of 'slavery' remained a contentious issue in Kachin society and even today assurances have to be given when getting married that one is not descended from a slave family.