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ANALYSIS ON THE ROHINGYA ISSUE:


STUDY FROM THE WESTERN ARAKAN HISTORY TO EXPLORE WAY OF PEACEFUL SOLUTION

Name of the land and the people:


RAKKHAPURA > RAKHAING-PRAY (ARAKAN): [My collections]

The native name of Rakkhapura > Rakhaing-pray is internationally known as Arakan. It was the land of the people of the Rakasha > Rakhasa > Rakkha > Rakkhaing > Rakhaing who founded Rakhaing-pray or the land of Rakhaing since time immemorial. In primitive stage, the Rakasha were cannibals but in civilized world, the people of Rakhaing bore the title of Rakkha > Rakkhaing > Rakhaing as the symbol of preservation of their national identity and ethics. Beside the Sanskrit word Rakkha also means to preserve. The primitive inhabitants on this land since the Stone Age was the Negritos, and then, the Dravidians, the Tibeto-Morungs (Mongoloid) and the Indo-Aryans migrated into this land from the north and north-west of the country. The Rakhaing race originated from the mixed blood of the Indo-Aryans-Tibeto-Morungs. Its language was a branch of Austro-Asiatic family. Arakan is well-known in history as Dhanyawaddy or Dynyavadi (derived from a Sanskrit word meaning the Grain Country) referring to abundant production of rice in the land. -In Pali, the land where the Rakkhas inhabited was called Rakkhapura (Rakkha meaning to preserve, and Wadi or Vati meaning land, which in later period became Rakhaing-pray, meaning Land of Rakhaing, pray in Arakanese meaning is Land); -In Ptolamys record in 2nd century AD, the land is referred to as Argyra (silver country); -In the Ananda Chandra Stone Inscription of the 8th century AD (now preserved in Shitthaung Temple, Mrauk-u, Rakhine State, Burma) in Arakan Wesali Dynasty, it is mentioned as Araksadesa or Arakkhadesa (which means the same, Araksa is Preserving, and Desa is Land or country. In Arakan Wesali Dynasty (4 th-8th century AD) one thousand foreign trading ships harboured at Arakan Wesali port every year. Arakkha > Arakkhan > Arracan >Arakan. -In Arab travelers record, 8th century AD, Al-Recon or Al-Rokon (Al in Arabic means the definite article the while Recon or Rokon means Rakhaing, since there is no equivalent of the syllable Kh or ing in the Arabic alphabet, the Arabs always called the Rakhaing as AlRokon . Rakkha Rakhaing Rakhan Al-Rakhan Al-Recon Arracan ARAKAN: -In Pagan Inscription (1299), the Rakhaing is Rakhuin; -In Nicola Contis record (1428-1430), Rachani; -in the 16th century Portuguese records, Arricon (Silver Country); -In the Turkish navigator, Sidi Ali Chelebis record in mid-16th century, Rakanj; -In English Ralf Fitchs record, 1584, the Chittagonian Bengalees pronounced Roun, Roang -In Bengal and India, Rakhaing was called, Magh, while today many Rakhaing living in the Tripura state of India are officially called as the Maghs. Sir Arthur Phayre noted as the descendents of ruling race from Magadha, India. From this short analysis we can come to the point that, the evolution of the name of Rakhaing is like above-mentioned. Rakhaing and Rakhaing-pray is our national name and Arakanese and Arakan is the name called by the westerners, now internationally used.

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Geographical position:
Arakan lies to the south-east of Bangladesh. Today the Arakan Roma (range) separate the rest of Burma from Arakan. The present-day Arakan is situated between Lat.1600 N and 2120 N; and between Long. 9220E and 9520E. It is bordered by India in the north, Chinland in the northeast, Burma in the east, Kyaukchwan river in the south and Bay of Bengal in the west and Bangladesh in the north-west. The present area of Arakan or Rakhaing/Rakhine State is 14,200 sq. ml. In the past, the limits of old Arakan Kingdom have been varied from the Hugalee (Hoogli) River in the west to the west bank of the river Irravadi (Irrawaddy) in the east according to the prowess of the ruling kings. The Chittagong region extending up to Feni River was under the sovereign Arakan from 1450 to 1666. Beyond that Comilla and Tripura were under the Tripura kings. Chittagong region obviously was often the soil of contention between the two kingdoms.

People of Arakan:
Along with the Rakhaing ethnics, there are 12 indigenous peoples in Arakan like (1)Mro, (2) Mrone (also known as Ushai Tripura or Brung), (3) Khami, (4) Thauk (also Chak or Asak), (5) Dynek, (also Daingnak/Tonchangya/Chakma) (6) Chin, (7) Shandu, (8) Anu, (9) Khaungso, (10) Chaw, (11) Marmagree (Barua) and (12) Kaman and Bengalee (Muslim indigenous to Rakhaing who have been serving the Rakhiang kings since long in the past). The Bengalis (Muslim and Hindu), Burman, Mon, Persian, Mughal, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, etc. settled in Arakan during the heyday of independent Arakan Kingdom. All foreign settlers settled by the Arakanese sovereigns before fall of Arakan (under the alien Burman occupation since 1784) well deserves the rights of indigenous status. Arakan lost her sovereignty and independence to the Burman invasion by the end of 1784. Again, the British occupied Arakan in 1826 after the first Anglo-Burman War in 1824-26. During the British colonial rule, the bulk of Indian immigration who settled in Arakan were the Chittagonians from her contiguous land of Chittagong District of British-India.

Indigenous peoples in Chittagong region:


The Chittagong region is close to the Bay of Bengal, and one of its important seaports, Chittagong. Chittagong has been a flourishing seaport for centuries where the Portuguese, the Mughal, the Chinese and the Indian seafarers again and again conducted business, trade and commerce. Naturally with hard to reach high hill ranges in the east and open sea in the west, Chittagong enjoyed a happy congregation of peoples from the hills and the Bengalis from the plains. The racial rainbow of the area consists of the following peoples, often named by the Bangladeshis as tribes, (1) The Chakmas, (2) Marmas, (3) Tipara (Tripura or Mroong), (4) Mro, (5) Bawm, (6) Khiang, (7) Tongsongya (Tangchangya), (8) Chak, (9) Lushai, (10) Pangkhwa, (11) Khami, (12) Assamese, (13) Khasia, (14) Riang, and the Santals and some Nepalese tribes besides predominantly Bengali Chittagonians.

The Western Arakan History:

[Extracts from renowned Bengali Historians Records] Dr. Abdul Mabud Khan mentioned that.. The ancient name of Arakan is Rakkhapura or Rakhaingpray. Its origins go back to remote past. The word Rakhaing is derived from the Sanskrit word Raksha, the original primitive tribe of Rakhaing-pray and Pali Yakkha signifying monster or demon. However, the civilized Arakanese society adopted the Pali word Rakkha to Rakhaing as their identity, designation in honor with traditional concept of safeguarding

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ethnicity and ethics, and thus, they proudly introduce themselves as Rakhaing and their motherland as Rakhaing-pray meaning Rakhaing country. 1-1 [Rakhaing-pray is Rakhaing language] The earliest inhabitants of Arakan belong to the Negrito group. Arakanese Chronicle mentioned them as bilus (I.e, cannibals) Ethnically most of the Arakanese belong to the Mongoloid race The whole tract of Arakan is inhabited by hetrogenous population of many religious groups presenting a variety of physical features and strains. Majority of the Arakanese belong to the Rakhaing group which constitutes the important segment of the Arakanese population and had given name to the country in the past By religious persecution the Rakhaings are Buddhist of the Theravada School. 1-2 Dr. Abdul Karim mentioned that..Arakan is a modern name, in ancient times the country was known as Rakhaing. A.P. Phayre says that Rakhaing was (derived from Raksha) the name of a tribe in old Arakan. The Muslim writers called it Rakhang or Arkhang. Arakan is derived from the Arabic word Al-Rekan or Al-Rukan, the Turkish Admiral Sidi Al-Reis called the place Rakanj and in the Bengali Punthi literature both Roshang and Rakam are used.So by evolution the old name Rakhaing was turned into Rakhang or Arakhang of Muslim writers and later it becomes Arakan. It is stated above that the last capital of the kingdom of Arakan was at Mrauk-U. .. Mrauk-U was called by the Bengali poets Roshang which in the mouth of the local people of Chittagong became Rohang. sha being turned into ha and thus people came to be known as Rohangi or Rohingya 2-1 Modern Arakanese Rohingya Muslims believe for certain that those Arakanese kings adopting Muslim names accepted Islam (Dr Yunos illusion). Such belief is baseless and there is no historical proof in support of this kind of misbelieve and misstatement 2-2 As we, in our time, are following the western cultures in all aspects, similarly in those days it became a fashion to imitate Muslim culture. The 15th-16th century was the glorious period in India of the Moghal and Pathan rule, and it was also the glorious period of Mughal and Pathan civilization. So the Arakanese kings considered it glorious for them to inscribe Muslim names and Muslim creed (Kalima) in their coins along with their Buddhist names. 2-3 So Robertson suggested that to cultivated lands and to grow rice and other agricultural commodities, farmers from Bengal particularly Chittagong should be sent to Arakan and settled there.. Mr. Paton supported his opinion about importing Muslim agriculturists from Chittagong to Arakan.He gives the population figure in Arakan as follows: Maghs 60 thousands, Muslims 30 thousands and Burmese 10 thousandon the date of the conquest of Arakan by the English.around the year of 1825. Then followed another wave Muslim migration into ArakanThis time they were encouraged by the English rulers because their settlement was essential to encourage agricultural. 2-4 ..It may be mentioned here that those Chittagonians who went to Arakan during this time, include both Muslims and Hidus.. The report of British official, in 1826, the total population of Arakan was one lakh, of which 30 thousand i.e. 30% were Muslims. Now according to 1911 cencus, in Akyab district alone, the number of Muslims increased to 178,647. The 30 thousand Muslims of 1826 were descendants of early settlers.. With occupation of Burma by the English, they encourage the foreigners mostly farmers from Bengal and the neighbouring district of Chittagong to come and settle in Arakan.2-5 ..The Muslims of Arakan are divided into Thambaikkya, Zerbadi, Kamanchi and the RohingyaThe Rohingyas form about 80% of the Muslim population of Arakan 2-6 .. Naf river is the border between Bangladesh and Arakan, so the Rohingyas settled on the Arakanese side of the Naf.. villages and places where the Rohingya settlement is most predominant2-7

Phases of Muslim migration into Arakan:


Dr. Abdul Mabud Khans verification of the settlement of Muslims in Arakan consists of four groups:

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The Tambukias, trace their history back to the 8th century when their ancestors from Arab were allowed to settle in southern Arakan by the temporary king Maha Taing Chandra (766-810). (8th Century AD) (2) The Turko-Pathan, consisting of Turks and Pathans are mostly found in the outskirts of Mrauk-U, the last capital of Arakan situated in the northern parts of Arakan. The Arakanese king Min Soa Muwn alias Narameikhla (1430-33) recaptured his throne with the help of their forebears who were in the army of Bengal. (15th Century AD) (3) The Kamanchis, meaning archers, came in the train of Shah Shuja, the Governor of Bengal (1639-59) who took shelter in Arakan with his family and retinues after being overthrown by his brother Aurangzib. Their descendants are to be found mostly in the Ramree Island. Their physiognomic features and fairness of complexion still speak of their descent from the north-west India. (17th Century AD) (4) The Rohingyas, are the descendants of the Muslims who hailed from Chittagong and now they are mainly concentrated in northern Arakan. Their migration in the past happened usually during the agricultural season when Arakan faced the problem of the shortage of agricultural labourers. (19th Century AD)
(1)

According to Dr. Abdul Mabub Khan, there are four groups of Muslim immigration into Arakan in different periods from different origins; among them, the descendants of the Muslims who hailed from Chittagong and now they are mainly concentrated in northern Arakan. The elite people of this community have mentioned themselves as Rohingya Muslims. 1-3 With the establishment of the British rule in 1826 communication between Arakan and eastern Bengal developed. Consequently, a large number of people migrated to Arakan from south-eastern parts of Bengal as workers and cultivators who cleared jungles and bought marshy land under cultivation. Roads were constructed, trade and commerce also expanded. It facilitated the development of the socio-cultural life of the Arakanese. 1-4

Rohingya Muslims:
Dr. Suniti Bhushan Qanungo describes that .. Dr. P. C. Mahanlonobis, in connection with his analytical study of different races of Bengal observes: (The Muslims) from East Bengal do not show any resemblance with the eastern tribes. In spite of geographical proximity they do not appear to have had any relations with the eastern tribes. [J.A.S.B MS, XXIII(1927), 318]. So far as the Muslims of Chittagong are concerned, the opinion of our scholar is a subject of an investigation. Muslims of some part of southern Chittagong who are known as Rohang or Rosang Muslims have a considerable amount of Magh blood in their veins owing to the intermixture with that tribe. The Muslims of some part of southern Chittagong who are known as Rohang or Rosang Muslims,. Most of the Muslims, residing in the area between the Karnaphuli and the Sankha (Sangu) rivers are the descendents of the captives brought by the Arakanese and the Portuguese pirates from the Lower Bengal during the heyday of the Arakanese regime. They were allowed to settle in that region as peasants cum boatman under the over lordship of the Portuguese commanders. While Chittagong was under Arakans sovereignty from 1450-1666. 3-1 We have it on the authority of the Arakanese Chronicle that a king named: Tsu-la-taing Tsandaya after conquering Bengal set up a stone pillar as a trophy memorial at the place since called Tset-ta-gaung as a limit of conquest. This Arakanese king ascended the throne in Maghi year 311 corresponding to 952 AD. He conquered this place two years later. The stone pillar with the inscription Tset-ta-gaung meaning to make war is improper cannot be myth.
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Extract from The Indian Immigration Report (1939):


In fact, they were the descendants of Chittagonian immigration after the British colonial invasion and occupation over the British-Burma from 1824 to 1942. In The report of Indian

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Immigration (1939), it clearly mentioned that the bulk of Chittagonian immigration into Arakan in 1872-1939 under the British colonial rule from 1826 to 1942. There was an Arakanese Muslim community settled so long in Akyab District that it had for all intents and purposes to be regarded as an indigenous race. There were also a few Mohamedan Kamans in Arakan. 4-1 The Indian population figures for the censuses 1881 to 1911 inclusive are probably too high. There is reason to believe that some of the Arakanese Mohamedans returned an Indian vernacular as their mother tongue since although they use Burmese in writing, among themselves they commonly speak the language of their ancestors. The number of Arakanese Muslims who returned an Indian vernacular in 1921 was estimated in the 1931 census report at ten to fifteen thousand persons. 4-2 To the extent that the language returns in the 1881 to 1911 censuses give an Indian population higher than the real one mainly because of the inclusion of a proportion of the Arakanese Muslims. 4-3 Arakan Division

Census. 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931

Total Population 587,513 671,899 7612,102 839,896 909,246 1,008,535

Indian Population 113,557 137,922 173,884 197,990 206,990 217,801

Indian Percentage 196 205 228 23,5 231 216

For the reason already given, the 1881 to 1911 Indian population figures are probably too high since they are believed to include a considerable number of Arakanese Muslims. In 1911, for example, the Hindu and Mohamedan populations in Arakan together amounted to 202,320 persons or only 4,330 more than the number who returned an Indian vernacular. As the indigenous Mohamedans in the Arakan Division numbered 25,955 at the time of the 1921 census, it is obvious that in 1911 there could not have been 197,990 Indians out of a total Hindu and Mohamedan population of 202,320. 4-4

The Muslim Movements in Arakan:


(1) The fundamentalists of Muslim elders from Buthidaung and Maungdaw founded the Jamiat-ul-Ulemah before partition of British-Burma from the British-India in 1937. (2) The Mujahid Party led by Jafar Kawal (1947) and Kassim (1954), the first Muslim armed group in Arakan, fighting the aliens' rule on the communalist platform. It was prejudiced by Muslim fundamentalists to establish an autonomous North Arakan Muslim State. 5-1 (3) The Mujahid Party led by Zafar Sani and Mustabis [Mustafiz] (1963) accepted Master Sultan's guiding strategy of creating North Arakan an autonomous Muslim State. 5-2 (4) Rohingya Independence Force (RIF) led by B. A. Jafar in April 1964. Its strategy was to create the North Arakan an "Autonomous State". 5-3

(5) B. A. Zafar transformed RIF to Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF) in September 1973. Its strategy was fighting for right of self-determination to the Rohingya people. (6) Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) led by Dr Mohamad Yunos in 1978 merged as an outcome of "King Dragon Operation" of BSPP in 1977-78. (7) Arakan United Front (AUF) led by Karim Ulla in1984. It was a moderate faction but forced to abolish in 1986 by the Rohingya extremist groups. (8) In 1986, the RSO split into two groups, one led by Dr. Yunos and the other, by Nurul Islam. The RPF also split, one led by B. A. Zafar and the other, by Sabbir Hussein. (9) RSO (Nurul Islam), RPF (Sabbir Hussein) and Rohinjya Liberation Army (RLA) of Rashid Ba Maung united and founded Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) on September 15, 1987. Its strategy was to bring indigenous right of self-determination to the Rohingyas in Arakan (Burma). (10) The Jamat-ul-Ulima led by Molvi Hanif surfaced in 1986. It was scrapped later. (11) Arakan Liberation Organization (ALO) led by U Maung Tin (Yacoob) and U Kyaw Hla (Kamal) was established in 1986. It was the only Muslim armed group from Akyab and MraukU laying down their strategy on Arakan independence in line with Arakanese groups like AIO, ACP, ANLP, etc. This moderate and indigenous Muslim group who turned down the name of Rohingya was also finished up by the Rohingya group (ARIF) in 1987. (12) In 1995, the RSO and ARIF formed an alliance under the banner of the Rohingya National Alliance (RNA) but it was scrapped in just a month. (13) In 1998, the two factions of RSO (Dr. Yunos and Prof Zukaria) and the ARIF attempted reunification. In the last quarter of the year, Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) was merged. Its strategy was same to the ARIF, to bring right of self-determination to Rohingyas in Arakan (Burma). Six months later, the RSO faction left from the united ARNO. Indigenous Rights:
The definition, which UN has adopted as the working definition, given by the special rapporteur of UN Mr. Martinez Cobo in 1984 is as followsIndigenous communities, people and nations are those which having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and precolonial societies that have developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of the society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as people, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems. In short, indigenous people are their descendents of their original inhabitants of a territory overcome by conquest or settlement by aliens. __________________

Khin Maung President National United Party of Arakan Arakan

Date: 25th March 2011

Notes: This analysis paper has been initiated since the SLORCs Dragon Operation in 1978 and modified one year after making alliance with ARNO in 2000. It has been updated in June 2004 after EBO 2003-conference, reviewed after ENC policy draft on Rohingya in 2006, and before and after declaring ANC Statement on Rohingya in 2007 to be a policy paper for Arakan National Council (ANC).

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References:
1. THE MAGHS: The Buddhist community in Bangladesh Dr. Abdul Mabud Khan M.A., M. Phil. (Dhaka), Ph. D.(Cal),
The University Press Limited: First Published in 1999

1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4

-page (3) -page (8) -page (9) -page (35)

2. THE ROHINGYA: A short account of their history and culture Dr. Abdul Karim M.A., Ph. D. (Dhaka), Ph. D. (London), FASB First published in June 2000 2-1 2-2 2-3 2-4 2-5 2-6 2-7 -page (6) -page (30) -page (31) -page (108) -page (109) -page (111) -page (112)

3. A HISTORY OF CHITTAGONG Vol. I Dr. Suniti Bhushan Qanungo M.A., Ph.D University of Chittagong 3-1 3-2 -page (19) -page (15)

4. REPORT ON Indian Immigration By Resolution of July 15th, 1939, the Government of Burma appointed Commission of Inquiry to examine the question of Indian immigration into Burma. 4-1 -paragraph (4) 4-2 -paragraph (8) 4-3 -paragraph (9) 4-4 -paragraph (11) 5. THE ROHINGYA: Their quest for Justice ATK Jilani, December 1999. 5-1 5-2 5-3 -page (171) -page (235) -page (240)

6. The publications of RPF, RSO, ARIF etc. 7. My own account and other collections on this issue since 1978, the first Muslim influx into Bangladesh from Arakan.