Pridi website

31 05 2009

A new website has been launched to celebrate the life of Pridi Phanomyong and his wife Phoonsuk Phanomyong.

Pridi was one of the leaders of the People’s Party (khana ratsadon) that overthrew the absolute monarchy on 24 June 1932. He was repeatedly accused by his opponents, most of them royalists, of being a republican and communist. Pridi founded Thammasat University as an open university a people’s alternative to the royalist Chulalongkorn University, he held posts as Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance. Pridi was largely responsible for negotiating the treaties revoking foreign extraterritorial rights in Thailand.

During WW2, Pridi led the in-country arm of the Free Thai movement. After the war a number of pro-Pridi governments were formed, including one where Pridi took the premiership, but these were bitterly opposed by royalists including those in the newly formed Democrat Party.

Pridi was eventually ousted and sent into exile following the 9 June 1946 regicide of King Anand Mahidol. He returned twice, but each time was sent back to exile, first to China and then to France. He died in Paris in 1983.

Launching the website, Professor Charnvit Kasetsiri is reported (Bangkok Post, 31 May 2009: “Pridi’s life brought into the 21st century”) claims that the site is recognizing Pridi’s exceptional life. Charnvit is quoted as saying that “Thai history had left out the lives of some respected commoners.”

The new website not only celebrated Pridi and Phoonsuk and “unearth, recover and restore” their places in history, but would also provide a database of other prominent Thais.

At the launch, Thanapol Eawsakul one of the sites developers, said that the the site would include a repository of documents. One of these is a confession regarding the framing of Pridi in King Ananda regicide case.

PPT also notes that the site makes available the excellent book Pridi by Pridi, put together by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit. This is a most useful resource.


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