The literary advancement before the 1932 Revolution

The first volume of Suphapburut magazine (photo from: Museum Thailand)

The literary advancement before the 1932 Revolution by Kittinun Klongyai, 04/07/2017, Prachatai

The 1932 Siamese Revolution was heralded in part by stories, novels and writing groups. The ideals of the People’s Party were nothing new, compared to movements that had already taken place in the literary field.

The 1930s in Thailand have been recognised as a time of change marking the transition from absolute monarchy to democracy, as well as the birth of the first constitution. But the power of writing was given to the people earlier than the power of self-rule. Works from the period are now, in some ways, memorial plaques of the literary revolution that contributed in turn to political revolt.

Revolutionary literature

Preedee Hongsaton, a historian teaching at Thammasat University, told Prachatai that literature must not only entertain, but also reflect the intellect, values, and perspectives of society, conveying efforts to strive towards progress and equality.

During the 1930s, a number of writing groups such as « The Gentleman » or Khana Suphapburut rooted their works in the ideal of equality, just as the People’s Party or Khana Ratsadon stated in their manifesto that, “Everyone will have work to do. Everyone will have equal rights and be free from the slavery of the aristocrats”.

The works of Kularb Saipradit Sri Burapha, the head of Khana Suphapburut, for instance, center around love between classes. “A Real Man” or Luk Phu Chai (1928) stood out in particular as a novel preaching that people should be judged by their own deeds, rather than their family’s fame.

The writer Sri Burapha, a pen-name, deconstructed Thailand’s class system by depicting villains from noble families, showing a disjuncture between class and virtue. Sri Burapha, however, was also skeptical of trends from the Western world, and played with them critically.

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