The words ‘Myanmar Pyay’ (ျမန္မာ ျပည္)are seen on a stone inscription dated 597 ME (Myanmar Era) or 1235 CE. The stone is from the reign of Kya Swar, (1234-1250) son of King Htilo Minlo (Nadaung Myar), Bagan.
It is known as the Yadana Kon Htan Inscription written in early Burmese script, It is at present in Bagan in the collection of the Archaeological Department, stone number 43.
The front side of this 3ft-high stone is damaged in the middle section. The reverse side, better protected from the elements, has on the first line of the inscription the two words ‘Myanmar Pyay’(ျမန္မာ ျပည္) which means Myanmar Country.The ‘na’ letter accent of the sound of ‘an’ of the first syllable ’Myan’ is written in the old script that has been disused for some centuries. Other letters of many words are also in the shape of old script which is square and not round like in present usage.
This is the earliest written record of the name of the country. The date of the inscription as read by scholars is 597 of the Myanmar
Era, and adding 638 to it turns it into 1235 of the Roman calendar, a fact that testifies beyond doubt that Myanmar is an Ancient name we are still using to this day.
Even during the British colonial era and after when the English name Burma (given by the British) was used by the world as well as the various governments of the country, the official name in the local language has always been Myanmar.
Other points to consider are that the sound ‘ur’ of Burma is unknown in the Burmese Language. Also the sounds ‘ang’ and ‘oon’ of Rangoon, plus the ‘R’ sound, do not exist in the Burmese language.
Acknowledgement: Original text by Ma Thanegi