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The Rohingya and national identities in Burma

By Carlos Sardia Galache.

Earlier this year, the Burmese government held its first census in three decades with the assistance of
the United Nations o!ulation "und #UN"$%. &he census was a ris'y underta'ing from the very
(eginning. Some international organi)ations warned that the thorny *uestion of ethnicity in !articular
was lia(le to generate conflicts.
&he Burmese government assured the UN"$ that it would allow
everyone to identify themselves freely (y the ethnic name of their choice. But this !romise was (ro'en
+ust (efore the census started, when it was announced that ,uslims in $ra'an state would not (e
allowed to identify themselves as Rohingya, and the national military-dominated government claimed it
was under !ressure from the Buddhist .a'hine community.

$s a result, as many as a million !eo!le remain uncounted in $ra'an. &he government denied their right
to self-identify with the term of their choosing and !ushed them to identify as Bengalis. &his is +ust the
latest e!isode in the decades-long !ersecution of the .ohingya (y the Burmese state and .a'hine
nationalists, who have denied them citi)enshi! since the mid-seventies. &he +ustification for such
!ersecution asserted (y the Burmese government, and shared (y many Burmese citi)ens, is that the
.ohingya ethnicity is an invention devised (y illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to ta'e over the land of

"ew !eo!le have made more effort to deny the claims of ethnicity (y the .ohingya than /ere' &on'in,
former British am(assador to &hailand and editor of the we(site Networ' ,yanmar. ,r. &on'in has
reached his conclusions after digging dee!ly in colonial British archives, where he has not found a single
use of the term Rohingya.
1is articles are well researched, and his command of the British colonial
records is nothing less than im!ressive, (ut (y relying almost solely on them he only offers a !artial
!icture, from which 2 thin' he draws incorrect conclusions.

&he de(ate on whether the .ohingya ethnicity should (e regarded as one of the 3national races4 or not,
assumes - im!licitly or e5!licitly - as its framewor' of reference, the definition to (e found in the
controversial Citi)enshi! 6aw !assed in 1780. $ccording to this definition, only those ethnic grou!s
which were already in Burma in 1809 *ualify as 3national races.4 &hat was the year (efore the first
$nglo-Burmese war, when the British anne5ed !rovinces of the Burmese 'ingdom #$ra'an, &enasserim,
$ssam and ,ani!ur, areas that are now !art of 2ndia%.

&his is the (asic conce!tual framewor' within which ,r. &on'in o!erates, the same conce!tual
framewor' within which .ohingya, Burmese and .a'hine historians ali'e hold heated de(ates. .ather
than attem!ting to defend .ohingya claims, 2 shall argue that the notion of 3national races4 itself, and
thus the set of assum!tions hitherto determining the terms of the de(ate, are fundamentally false and
do not facilitate any understanding of the history and !resent social realities of Burma.

&he de(ate over .ohingya identity has (een reduced to a confrontation (etween three different
historical narratives: what we might call 3.a'hine history4 and 3Burmese 1istory4 on the one side #on
this !oint (oth are (asically indistinguisha(le, al(eit there are im!ortant divergences in other as!ects%,
as o!!osed to the 3.ohingya history4 on the other. &hese narratives are mutually contradictory, ma'ing
it im!ossi(le to find any common ground for all sides involved.

&his is not unusual in a glo(al conte5t. ;irtually all ethnic and<or national communities construct
histories a(out themselves in order to advance their nationalistic claims.
& hese histories are often
loaded with myths more or less disguised as fact, anachronisms, and mystifications a(out the origins of
the grou!s involved and im!ortantly, their neigh(ors. &he !ast is inter!reted, constructed, and
sometimes sim!ly invented, to fit !resent !olitical agendas.

Competing historical narratives

Burmese and .a'hine nationalists often accuse the .ohingya of falsifying their history in order to
advance their claims for ethnicity. 2t is true that .ohingya historians tend to minimi)e or ignore
altogether the im!ortance of the migration of la(orers to $ra'an from Bengal during colonial times=
moreover some have made claims that are historically incorrect. $ra'anese history from the .ohingya
!oint of view is littered with statements such as follow: 3in the 1>
century, a num(er of ,uslim 'ings
ruled $ra'an, which was a golden !eriod in the history of $ra'an,4 or 3the ancestors of the !eo!le now
'nown as the .ohingyas, came to $ra'an more than a thousand years ago.4

2n all li'elihood, the origins of the .ohingya !resence in $ra'an are much more recent than that @al(eit
not as recent as the .a'hine and Burmese historians claim. &he idea of 3,uslim 'ings4 is at (est a
misunderstanding, or at worst a willful distortion: in the 1?
and 1>
centuries, some $ra'anese
Buddhist 'ings ado!ted seemingly ,uslim titles (ecause they followed models of rule ta'en from Bengal
in e*ual measure as from the 'ingdoms in central Burma, if not more.

,eanwhile, mirroring the distortions of 3.ohingya history,4 .a'hine historians tend to minimi)e, or to
ignore altogether, the large num(ers of ,uslims living in $ra'an (efore colonial times and to em!hasi)e
only the influ5 of Bengali la(orers during colonial times.
Now .a'hine leaders go so far as to claim that
3illegal immigrants from Bangladesh4 have arrived as recently as a few years ago and have continued
arriving u! to the first wave of sectarian violence in 0B10, a highly du(ious assertion for which there is
no evidence.

Cn the Burmese side, we find assertions of a history of unity and continuity stretching (ac' for hundreds
of years and which was only (ro'en (y the traumatic colonial e5!erience. &hus, in 0BB0, the military
ruler, Senior General &han Shwe claimed that 3than's to the unity and farsightedness of our forefathers,

our country has e5isted as a united and firm Union and not as se!arate small nations for over 0,BBB
$gain, (latantly untrue.

&his version is not only officially sanctioned, itEs actually the official history curriculum taught in Burmese
schools. Secondary school te5t(oo's are full of assertions li'e this, from a (oo' !u(lished in 0BBA:
3agan was (ased on the systematic uniFcation of the accom!lishments of ancientcivili)ations. 2n agan
era, all the indigenous grou!s<national races, yus, ,ons, alaungs, Garens, &augthus, &hets, Chins,
$ra'anese, Burmans, Shans etc., united with solidarity to (uild a ,yanmar nation. &hey lived in
harmony. &hat is why agan (ecame famous and was res!ected (y its neigh(ors.4

&his e5traordinary 'ind of assertion only ma'es sense in the conte5t of the state-(uilding !ro+ect to unify
all the ethnic grou!s under the guardianshi! of the #Bamar-controlled% Tatmadaw #Burmese military%.
&his has (een the ultimate goal for the Burmese state since Ne Hin staged his cou! dEItat in 17A0. 2t is
in this conte5t that, at least during the last two decades, the generals have (een increasingly trying to
!resent themselves as the heirs of the Burmese 'ings and their mission as that of restoring some sort of
3natural Burmese order4 which the British interru!ted.

&here is no dou(t that the British coloni)ation of Burma dealt a highly traumatic (low to every
dimension of social order in Burma, from which it has yet to recover. &he British dismantled com!letely
all the !olitical institutions and cultural structures that had more or less glued together the society of
central Burma
#the history of the !o!ulation living in outlying areas li'e the !resent-day Gachin, Chin or
Shan states is a different matter%, and re!laced them with others that the Burmese often did not
understand or refused (ecause they had (een im!osed (y force (y foreign invaders.

But !re-colonial Burma was (y no means an era of uniform !olitical order and sta(ility. 2n fact, not even
central Burma was always ruled (y a single !olitical authority, and the centuries (etween the first
Burmese 'ingdom which managed to unify this territory, the agan dynasty #1B>D-108D%, and the
colonial times was a !eriod in which central authority was only gradually asserted, at every !oint
confronting many difficulties and including long !eriods of anarchy when !etty states com!eted for

$s the scholar ;ictor 6ie(erman has remar'ed: 3the !ost-agan era of civil wars #conventionally dated
108D-1>>>% is usually regarded as a mere interlude= (ut in chronological terms, surely, it is e*ually valid
to view agan as a tem!orary (rea' in the normal !olycentric !attern.4
/uring that long !eriod, the
institutions that under!inned the social order in Burma were far from static and the changes they
suffered were +ust as influenced (y e5ternal forces as (y internal dynamics.

&he relations (etween religious and secular !ower were not always smooth or idyllic. &he fact that
monasteries were e5em!ted from !aying ta5es and the 'ings were e5!ected to give donations #often
land titles% to the Buddhist clergy (led the economy of the agan 'ingdom and contri(uted to its
ultimate demise. &he 'ings attem!ted to unite the Sangha #Buddhist clergy% (ut they failed. Sectarian

rifts within the Sangha, most often a(out small !oints of !ractice rather than doctrinal controversies,
were a !ermanent feature of the religious landsca!e that the 'ings were never a(le to control
com!letely, however hard they tried.

2n any case, (efore the first $nglo-Burmese war, the domains of the Burmese 'ingdom were never
coterminous with those of the !resent Burmese state: in large areas, !articularly in the hills to the North
and East, the gri! of the Burmese 'ings was at (est e5tremely wea'. &he $ra'anese 'ingdom was only
invaded in 1D8?, +ust forty years (efore it was ta'en (y the British.

2t is an anachronism to tal' a(out (orders, as we understand them now, in Southeast $sia (efore the
arrival of the colonial !owers: !ower was centrali)ed from the royal ca!itals and disa!!eared gradually
the farther from them. Cutlying states +ust !aid tri(ute to the central courts, often to different courts at
different times and at times even simultaneously to more than one, and they could !reserve a high
degree of autonomy.

$s the anthro!ologist Edmund .. 6each !ut it more than fifty years ago, !re-colonial Burma was a 3wide
im!recisely defined frontier region lying (etween 2ndia and China4 where 3the indigenous !olitical
systems which e5isted !rior to the !hase of Euro!ean !olitical e5!ansion were not se!arated from one
another (y frontiers in the modern sense and they were not sovereign Nation-States. JKL &he !olitical
entities in *uestion had inter!enetrating !olitical systems, they were not se!arate countries inha(ited
(y distinct !o!ulations.4

&herefore, it ma'es little historical sense to classify any ethnic grou! as a 3national race4 on the (asis
that it already inha(ited before the colonial !eriod a territory demarcated after the (eginning of the
!eriod. $nd, (y im!lication, if there were not clearly demarcated geogra!hical (orders (etween
different 3states4, then the ethnic #or 3national4% distinctions (etween their inha(itants were not as
clear-cut as that of the current world of sovereign and uniformly ruled Nation-States.

Colonial conceptions of ethnicity

Hhat the Burmese, .a'hine and .ohingya historical narratives have in common is an essentialist and
racialist conce!tion of ethnic identities as something !rimordial and fi5ed in time. &his conce!tion also
im!lies that ethnic identities have an o(+ective and a(solute reality. $rgua(ly, this is one of the most
enduring and deleterious legacies of the British rule in Burma and lies at the heart of the now
hegemonic and highly dangerous notion of 3national races.4

Hhen the British arrived in Burma, they found a land with a (ewildering and confusing #for the e5ternal
o(server% variety of human grou!s, and where ethnic affiliations were enormously fluid. &o ma'e sense
of that com!le5 human landsca!e, in order to classify and administer it, they im!osed a rigid grid of

ethnic classification in which they conflated the mother tongue of the s!ea'ers with the category of
3tri(e4 or 3race.4
But the !re-Colonial reality was *uite different.

&he scholar ;ictor 6ie(erman has shown that ethnicity had virtually no (earing at all as a mar'er of
!olitical loyalty to the different 'ingdoms which ruled Central Burma during the 1D
and 18
3&hroughout the &aung-ngu !eriod #c. 1>97-1D>0% the com!osition of the royal service !eo!le #ahmM-
dNns% and of the royal court was sur!risingly diverse. &he crown, chronically in need of man!ower,
invited to the ca!ital area, or forci(ly de!orted, large (odies of non-Burmese who were settled in
se!arate service communities and allowed to retain their ethnic identity.4

Ethnic distinctions were even more (lurred in the 3hill areas,4 as Edmund .. 6each showed in his classic
(oo' Political Systems of Highland Burma. &he distinction (etween Gachin and Shan categories was
rather vague, and it was not uncommon for 3Gachins4 to turn 2nto 3Shan4 or vice versa de!ending on
the social systems in which they decided to live, a !henomenon which 3cannot readily (e fitted into any
ethnogra!hic scheme which, on linguistic grounds, !laces Gachins and Shans into different OracialE

But that is e5actly what the British did. $nd, at times they classified the different !eo!le with names
which had not any racial or linguistic meaning and those very same !eo!les had not used to identify
themselves (efore. "or instance, the word Gachin was a Burmese word which initially referred to a
3vague4 category 3loosely a!!lied to the (ar(arians of the north-east frontiers.4
2t was the British who
gave it a 3racial4 meaning, there(y creating an ethnic category.

2n the case of the Shan, 6each !ointed out that their 3culture, as we now 'now it, is not to (e regarded
as a com!le5 im!orted into the area ready made from somewhere outside, as most of the authorities
seem to have su!!osed. 2t is an indigenous growth resulting from the economic interaction of small-
scale military colonies with an indigenous hill !o!ulation over a long !eriod.4 ,oreover, there was
strong evidence that 3the Shans are descendants of hill tri(esmen who have in the recent !ast (een
assimilated into the more so!histicated ways of Buddhist-Shan culture.4

&he se!aration (etween grou!s (y the British was not merely descri!tive, it was actively enforced for
administrative !ur!oses: 3Cne of the few continuing elements in British administrative !olicy towards
the Gachins was the !olicy of treating Shan and Gachin as se!arate racial elements. Even to the last @in
17?AP@ British officials were engaged in surveying !recise (oundaries (etween Gachin and Shan
territory. &he !olitical de!endence of Shan and Gachin or vice versa was e5cluded (y edict= economic
relations (etween the two grou!s, though not !rohi(ited, were made e5tremely difficult. Everything
!ossi(le was done to deter the more so!histicated Gachins from settling in Shan territory in the !lains.
&his !olicy originated from a desire Oto esta(lish !eace and security within the settled districts,E and it
achieved its end, (ut at a high cost.4


&he colonial officials held a set of views of ethnicity and race strongly influenced (y the social /arwinist
!re+udices of the time, and they attri(uted to the different grou!s !ersonal and innate characteristics:
the Garen or Gachin were stereoty!ed as sim!le and honest !eo!le, included within the 3martial races=4
the Burmans were devious and childish, not to (e trusted, and so on. Cn the (asis of these s!urious
classifications, they recruited !eo!le to their armies using ethnicity as criteria, and favored some grou!s
over others. &hey also tended to em!loy 2ndians as civil servants, rather than Burmese, (ecause they
had more e5!erience with the colonial (ureaucratic system and thus were (etter trained.

&hese !olicies reinforced, and in some cases generated, animosities that survive to this day. &hey
solidified ethnic divisions and identities that had (een much more fluid and less !rominent in !re-
colonial times. &he ethnic ta5onomies that were im!osed (y the colonial a!!aratus were not always
consistent and often were determined (y !eo!le with little 'nowledge of realities on the ground, (ut (y
their very im!osition, ended u! sha!ing social divisions u! to this day.

&his is not a !rocess uni*ue to Burma, (ut to many coloni)ed countries which after inde!endence have
found themselves ensnared in seemingly intracta(le ethnic conflicts. $s /onald 1orowit) remar'ed, 3the
colonialists set in motion a com!arative !rocess (y which a!titudes and disa(ilities were to (e
evaluated,4 and, 3li'e the new !olity and economy in which the dis!arities were em(edded, the
evaluations too' hold.4

Hhile not every(ody in Burma necessarily agree with this or that concrete classification, it seems that
the form of classification itself is acce!ted (y an overwhelming ma+ority of Burmese. "or instance, the
!resent official list of 19> 3national races4 was derived from the census carried out (y the British in
and it has (een highly contested (y many ethnic organi)ations= (ut none of them has challenged
the e5istence itself of such a list.

&wo years ago, 2 interviewed the activist Go Go Gyi in the head*uarters of the 88 Generation Students
Grou! #later renamed 88 Generation eace and C!en Society Grou!%, in a room over which !resided a
!ortrait of the anti-colonial hero of Burma, $ung San. Go Go Gyi defended the list, and the e5clusion of
the .ohingya from it, arguing that 3we Jthe BurmeseL havenEt invented it, it was ta'en from the British.4
&he !arado5 here #which 2 donEt 'now if he was aware of%, is that an authoritative argument was made
em!loying as the authority the very same !ower whose defeat mar's the very foundation of Burma.

&he anthro!ologist ". G. 6ehman identified the !ro(lem more than fifty years ago in his study 3Ethnic
Categories in Burma and the &heory of Social Systems.4 $ccording to him, (efore the colonial !eriod,
3the Burmans had a reasona(ly correct tacit understanding of the nature of their relations with
(ordering !eo!les, tri(al and non-tri(al,4 an understanding which was lost due 3to the im!ortation of
very e5!licit Euro!ean ideas a(out nations, societies and cultures.4

6ehman suggested that when !eo!le identify themselves as mem(ers of an ethnic grou!, they were
merely 3ta'ing !ositions in culturally defined systems of intergrou! relations,4 and that those ethnic

categories were 3only very indirectly descri!tive of the em!irical characteristics of su(stantive grou!s of
!eo!le.4 &herefore, local or regional grou!s were 3inherently li'ely to have recourse to more than one
ethnic role system and more than one OidentityE.4

$s a conse*uence of the fluidity of these roles, 3we cannot reconstruct any demonstra(le discrete
ancestral grou! for some Oethnic categoryE @no matter whether we define such a !ossi(le ancestral
grou! as a discrete dialect grou!, or as a grou! with relatively shar! discontinuities from its neigh(ors.
2n this case there should also (e evidence that the category has never achieved the degree of cultural
and<or linguistic discreteness from its neigh(ors that it may claim for itself or have claimed for it (y
o(servers treating it as having a glo(al culture conse*uent u!on a distinctive history.4
But it is
!recisely this 'ind of 3discrete ancestral grou!s4 what the notion of 3national races4 assumes as certain.

&here is no need to go into detail here on the !ost-inde!endence history of conflict (etween the central
Burmese government and the different ethnic minorities. $fter decades of war (etween the Tatmadaw
and different minorities fighting for their !olitical rights and the control of natural resources in BurmaEs
3(order areas,4 ethnic identities that were to some degree 3imagined4 (y the British have (ecome
dee!ly felt (y millions of !eo!le to the !oint of sacrificing their lives in their name, and therefore have
(ecome very 3real.4

But we should 'ee! in mind the su(+ective and !olitical elements inherent in any ethno-nationalist
affiliation, (e it Bamar, Gachin, .a'hine, .ohingya or any other. $s ,a5 He(er !ointed out, ethnic
grou!s are 3those human grou!s that entertain a su(+ective (elief in their common descent (ecause of
similarities of !hysical ty!e or of customs or (oth, or (ecause of memories of coloni)ation and
migration= this (elief must (e im!ortant for the !ro!agation of grou! formation= conversely, it does not
matter whether or not an o(+ective (lood relationshi! e5ist. Ethnic mem(ershi! #Gemeinsamkeit% differs
from the 'inshi! grou! !recisely (y (eing a !resumed identity, not a grou! with concrete social action,
li'e the latter. 2n our sense, ethnic mem(ershi! does not constitute a grou!= it only facilitates grou!
formation of any 'ind, !articularly in the !olitical s!here. Cn the other hand, it is !rimarily the !olitical
community, no matter how artificially organi)ed, that ins!ires the (elief in common ethnicity.4

Arakan: The Palestine of the Farther East

2n 1871, the Swiss ali scholar and archeologist Emil "orchhammer wrote a small (oo' a(out $ra'an
which he descri(ed it as the 3alestine of the "arther East,4 (ecause, as he !ut it, $ra'anese Buddhism
was the ins!iration of the Buddhism !racticed in the rest of Burma. ,ore than two hundred years later,
the com!arison has a different resonance: as in alestine, $ra'an is the land of a conflict with some
religious undertones (etween two communities. $s in alestine, the conflict involves a clash of historical
narratives. $nd, as in alestine, one of the two communities has (een stri!!ed of its !olitical rights.


$ra'an is se!arated (y a range of mountains from the rest of Burma, ma'ing it relatively isolated from
the 2rrawaddy delta and central Burma. "or most of its history, $ra'anEs relations with the 'ingdom of
Bengal in the west were +ust as rich and close as with the Burmese 'ingdoms in the north, if not more,
thus creating a culture distinct from that of Burma. "or instance, the historian G. E. 1arvey wrote in his
(oo' History of Burma, !u(lished in 170>, that 3dou(tless it is ,ahomedan JsicL influence which led to
women (eing more secluded in $ra'an than in Burma.4

$s in the rest of Southeast $sia, there were not clear (orders (etween $ra'an and Bengal in !re-modern
times, and the areas of influence of (oth 'ingdoms overla!!ed and were constantly fluctuating.
$ccording to 1arvey, the $ra'anese 'ing Basaw!yu #who wore the ,uslim<Bengali name Galima Shah%,
occu!ied Chittagong in 1?>7, and $ra'an controlled it u! to 1AAA. &hroughout the ,iddle $ges, 3when
Bengal was in the ascendant, some 'ings sent tri(ute to Bengal and when the $ra'anese were in the
ascendant they received tri(ute from the Ganges delta, O&he &welve &owns of BengalE.4
$t that time,
the Bengali court !rovided a !olitical model for the $ra'anese 'ingdom, and from the 1>
to the 1D

century, it was common for the 'ings to use ,uslim<Bengali designations and to issue coins with the
kalima, the ,uslim !rofession of faith.

Nevertheless, as 1arvey !oints out, though the geogra!hical isolation of $ra'an from Burma 3rendered
her immune to attac' on the east, the resultant !eace did not give her unity, (ecause her territory is a
long thin stri! of coast intersected (y hill torrents.4
&his fragmentation made the $ra'anese 'ings
more tolerant than the Burmese 'ings to the religious (eliefs of the different communities under their
rule. 2n his doctoral dissertation, Where Jambudipa and slamdom !on"erged# Religious !hange and the
$mergence of Buddhist !ommunalism in $arly %odem &rakan '(ifteenth to )ineteenth !enturies*, the
!rofessor ,ichael Charney wrote: 32n $ra'an the royal center was not sim!ly indifferent to !romoting
one !articular religious identity over another, (ut rather was one of the chief (arriers restricting the
emergence of a &heravada Buddhist orthodo5y in the $ra'an littoral.4

$ra'anese 'ings showed a religious tolerance that stands in star' contrast to the !ositions of
contem!orary .a'hine nationalist leaders. &hey usually did not try to esta(lish a 3Buddhism 'ingdom4
or centrali)e the Sangha, as their Burmese counter!arts did, (ut wor'ed through local !atron-client
networ's and tried to !resent themselves as the !atrons of whatever religion was !racticed at a local
level, (e it Buddhism, 2slam or even Catholicism in some ortuguese communities in the coast.

Charney argues that this !ractice of the $ra'anese 'ings to win over the hearts and minds of their
su(+ects !revented for centuries the creation of communal identities (ased on religious (eliefs, Buddhist
or ,uslim= and that these did not emerge until the late 18
century, even then only under e5ternal
influences. 3By 1D8>, the $ra'an 6ittoral was effectively divided in two, northern $ra'an (eing a(sor(ed
(y an essentially ,uslim and 2ndian !olity, and central and southern $ra'an (y a &heravada-Buddhist
2rrawaddy ;alley (ased !olity.4


&he origins of the ,uslim inha(itants of $ra'an are the su(+ect to much controversy, and it is to (e
e5!ected that this controversy will not (e solved in the foreseea(le future. &here were ,uslims there as
early as the Ninth century (ut, as Charney asserts, 3there is little reason to (elieve that they formed
OcommunitiesE in the $ra'an littoral on a !ar with those that develo!ed in the seventeenth century.4
&hey were 3castaways, mercenaries, intermediary service elites #that is, court functionaries, such as
scri(es, eunuchs who handled matters involving the royal (odyguard and so on%, and itinerant

2t was in the si5teenth and seventeenth centuries that the $ra'anese and ortuguese communities
settled in Southern Bengal #then under the authority of the $ra'anese court% started to raid Bengal and
transferring thousands of its inha(itants to $ra'an. "or the ortuguese it was a lucrative trade= they
could sell the slaves to the /utch, (ut they had to handle at least one-fourth of them to the $ra'anese
crown. ,eanwhile, for the $ra'anese, the slave trade was a way to get man!ower to !o!ulate a harsh
area with few inha(itants. &he $ra'anese 'ings settled most of these slaves in Northern $ra'an, (ut
too' the well-educated in ,rau'-U to serve in the court as functionaries.

2t is not clear how many slaves were ta'en to $ra'an, (ut the ortuguese 'e!t detailed records of their
s!oils. $ccording to CharneyEs calculations, the ortuguese too' around 1?D,BBB ca!tives (etween 1A1D
and 1AAA. ,any died on the way, others fled (ac' to Bengal or were sold to the /utch, (ut 3a
conservative estimate for the num(er of Bengalis who survived their resettlement to /anra-waddy
Jnorthern $ra'an, including Sittwe and ,rau'-UL (y the end of the seventeenth century was !erha!s
si5ty thousand, !ro(a(ly much higher.4

Before its con*uest (y the Burmese in 1D8?, there was already a su(stantial rural ,uslim !o!ulation in
$ra'an. 3erha!s u! to three-*uarters of /anra-waddyEs !o!ulation (y the 1DDBs may have (een
,uslim,4 asserts Charney.
,eanwhile, 3some Bengali ,uslims in ,rau'-U !artici!ated in the
develo!ment of an elite ,uslim culture in the royal city, !erha!s reflecting their !rivileged (ac'grounds
in Banga JSouthern BengalL.4

$fter the Burmese invasion, u! to one *uarter of the !o!ulation, (oth Buddhist and ,uslim, fled $ra'an
across the (order to Bengal,
which was then !art of the British Em!ire. Cn the other hand, the
con*uerors too' with them to $ra'an the royal family, and tens of thousands of !eo!le, including
,uslims from ,rau'-U. But there is no reason to (elieve that this forced migrations in (oth directions
altered su(stantially the demogra!hic ratios (etween Buddhists and ,uslims.

1owever, the Burmese invasion changed the $ra'anese religious landsca!e in other ways. &he Burmese
not only (rought to ,andalay the ancient ,ahamuni statue, sym(ol of $ra'anese Buddhism, (ut also
3tried to centrali)e Buddhism $ra'anese religion under their authority in various ways, most of all (y
(urmani)ing $ra'anese Buddhism through Burman mon's, te5ts, and a sangha organi)ation that
reached from $ra'anese villages to the Burman court.4


2t is worth mentioning that the (order along the Naf .iver (etween the British-controlled Bengal and
$ra'an did not have the same meaning for the British and the Burmese. 2f, as 6each !ointed out, !re-
colonial Burma was a 3wide im!recisely defined frontier region lying (etween 2ndia and China,4
was a 3frontier region4 (etween Burma and Bengal. Eastern Bengal was not only environmentally and
geogra!hically coterminous with $ra'an, (ut for the Burmese it seems to have (een also a !olitical !art
of it. 2n 1D7D, (efore di!lomatic relations (etween the British and the Burmese were irredeema(ly
!oisoned (y the incursions of $ra'anese into the Burmese side and the Burmese $rmy in the British to
chase them, the Burmese court entertained the idea of claiming East Bengal to the British on the
grounds that $ra'an had ruled the region in the !ast, and a +unior minister suggested informally to the
British envoy in .angoon that the British and the Burmese should share the revenues of the region.

Hhatever (order there was (etween $ra'an and Bengal, it disa!!eared com!letely after the first $nglo-
Burmese war #180?-180A%, when $ra'an !assed to British hands. $t that time, Charles aton, the su(-
Commissioner of $ra'an, estimated that, from a total !o!ulation of 1BB,BBB !eo!le, AB !ercent were
O,ughsE #.a'hine%, 9B !ercent were O,ussalmanE #,uslims% and 1B !ercent OBurmeseE.
2t is clear that
those were highly tentative figures, (ut at the same time itEs im!ossi(le to deny that there was a
su(stantial ,uslim !o!ulation in $ra'an (efore the arrival of the British. 2t is also evident that the
Gaman, the descendants of royal guards ta'en in the late seventeenth century from Bengal to the
$ra'anese court and who e5erted a great !olitical influence over it, were +ust a tiny minority
concentrated in .amree 2sland.

2t is also undenia(le that there was migration of ,uslims from Chittagong during colonial times, and
that not all of the newcomers were seasonal la(orers.&his immigration was encouraged (y the British,
something that was resented (y the Buddhist .a'hine !o!ulation and contri(uted to reinforce the
communal divisions (etween ,uslims and Buddhists in the region. &here is no need to re!eat here the
arguments demonstrating this, the reader can review the convincing article !u(lished (y ,r. &on'in in
+emocratic ,oice of Burma to find e5tensive evidence for that.

But, as 2 have already suggested, the classifications made (y the British must (e read with a certain
degree of s'e!ticism: as &on'in himself recogni)es, the ,aramargyi were classified 3incongruously4 as
3Chittagonian Buddhists.4 2t is also necessary to em!hasi)e that those 3Chittagonians4 who migrated to
$ra'an during colonial times cannot (e regarded as 3illegal immigrants:4 at the time there was no
(order (etween $ra'an and Bengal, so any migration was !erfectly legal.

2 would li'e to venture another !ossi(ility: given the uninterru!ted relations (etween the 'ingdoms of
Bengal and $ra'an, the lac' of clear (orders in !re-colonial times, the fluctuating s!heres of influence of
(oth 'ingdoms, and the almost constant transfers of !o!ulation= who is to say that at least some of the
migrants who arrived to $ra'an in colonial times are not descendants of !eo!le who had inha(ited that
land in !revious timesQ


&he !oint is that there was a migratory wave of ,uslims from Bengal in colonial times that +oined an
already si)ea(le ,uslim !o!ulation made u! of the descendants of the slaves ta'en (y the ortuguese
and the $ra'anese during the si5teenth and the seventeenth centuries. resent-day .ohingya are the
descendants of (oth waves of migration, which intermingled to such a degree that now it would (e
im!ossi(le to distinguish who descends from one or the other.

2n any case, as 6ehman !ointed out, it would (e im!ossi(le 3to reconstruct any demonstra(le discrete
ancestral grou!4
for the !eo!le who now have chosen to call themselves .ohingya, as it would (e
im!ossi(le for any other Burmese ethnic grou!. But that does not im!ly that the .ohingya ethnicity is
not real now. Cr, to !ut it another way, its reality is no more #or less% !ro(lematic than that of any other
ethnicity in Burma and elsewhere. 2n any case, the .ohingya identity was not 3invented4 recently out of
the (lue, as some claim. $s 2 ho!e 2 have shown, it had (een 3gestating,4 so to s!ea', for at least three
hundred years, and the term itself was not new.

The R!"ord

&he origins of the term 3.ohingya4 are e5tremely difficult to trace. &he first 'nown record of a very
similar word used to refer to the ,uslim inha(itants of $ra'an is to (e found in an article a(out the
languages s!o'en in the 3Burma em!ire4 !u(lished (y the Scottish !hysician "rancis Buchanan in 1D77.
1e wrote: 32 shall now add three dialects, s!o'en in the Burma Em!ire, (ut evidently derived from the
language of the 1indu nation. &he first is that s!o'en (y the ,ohammedans, who have long settled in
$ra'an, and who call themselves .ooinga, or natives of $ra'an.4

$!!arently, Buchanan did not use the word in any other of his writings, and it does not a!!ear in any
wor' (y other writers at the time, e5ce!t as *uoting Buchanan almost ver(atim. 2t has (een argued that
.ooinga #or .ohingya% derives from .ohang, the word used in Bengal to refer to $ra'an, and thus was
+ust another way to say $ra'anese. ,ichael Charney suggests tentatively that 3.ohingya may (e a term
that had (een used (y (oth 1indu and ,uslim Bengalis living in .a'haing J$ra'anL since the si5teenth
century, either as resident traders in the ca!ital or as war ca!tives resettled in the Galadan .iver ;alley.4
But he is careful to !oint out that in the !ast 3.ohingya and .a'haing J.a'hineL were not mutually
e5clusive ethnonyms. .a'haingRs to!ogra!hy may have led to .ohingya and .a'haing emerging as
se!arate versions of the same term in different geogra!hical conte5ts that came, in the eighteenth
century to (e associated closely with the !redominant religious ma'eu! of the local area concerned.4

&he evidence availa(le shows that the term .ohingya was not widely used to descri(e a distinct ethnic
grou! until the twentieth century. 2 would argue that the e5!lanation for this is as sim!le as that there
was no reason for the .ohingya to distinguish themselves in such a manner until the rise in Burma of the
Bamar and other ethno-nationalisms against British colonialism.


2n colonial times, the indigenous Burmese !o!ulation was as resentful of the British as it was of the large
num(ers of 2ndians, (oth 1indus and ,uslims, who migrated to Burma in their wa'e. &his anti-2ndian
sentiment was com!ounded (y the !referential treatment dis!ensed (y the British to the 2ndian
migrants, (ecause the British authorities !referred to recruit 2ndians in the $rmy and in the

Cn the other hand, the (eginnings of the Burmese nationalist movement were strongly Buddhist in
character, and some of the first nationalist leaders were mon's.
&hus, Burmese nationalism ac*uired a
religious hue from the (eginning. But it is often forgotten that this did not always necessarily entail anti-
2ndian 5eno!ho(ia, and many Burmese nationalists were strongly influenced (y the 2ndian National
Congress. U Cttama #18D7-1797%, !erha!s the most famous 3!olitical mon'4 of the era, and an ethnic
.a'hine (orn in Sittwe, advocated the unity of ,uslims, 1indus and Buddhists in the struggle against the
British, he declared that Burmans and 2ndians were friends, and su!!orted !u(licly an anti-British
,uslim re(ellion that too' !lace in 2ndia in the early twenties.

Nevertheless, Buddhism and (oth Bamar and .a'hine nationalism were, and still are, closely
intertwined. U Nu, the first !rime minister of inde!endent Burma was a fervent Buddhist who
s!onsored Buddhist !ro+ects throughout all his tenures and won his last election on the !romise of
declaring Buddhism the state religion. &his decision was not well received (y the followers of other
faiths.2t contri(uted for instance, to the creation of the Gachin 2nde!endence $rmy #G2$% in 17A1@ and
he was forced to (ac'trac' (y the introduction of a constitutional amendment which granted !rotection
to other faiths. $ num(er of Buddhist mon's reacted violently to the amendment storming a mos*ue in
.angoon and 'illing two ,uslims.

&he e!isode shows that the !henomenon of Buddhist mon's engaging in anti-,uslim violence is not
new in Burma. &hese events and other anti-,uslim riots, li'e those of 1798, also show that the
Burmese have always viewed 2ndians with sus!icion, and !articularly ,uslims. $t that time, the general
!u(lic did not distinguish much (etween Burmese ,uslims and 2ndian ,uslims, so Burmese ,uslims
felt they needed to distance themselves from 2ndian ,uslims throughout the country.

&he tensions (etween Buddhists and ,uslims in $ra'an, which had (een mounting during colonial
times, came to a head in the Second Horld Har. Hhen the British retreated to 2ndia and the Sa!anese
advanced in $ra'an, the .a'hine Buddhists sided mostly with the Sa!anese and the Burmese
2nde!endence $rmy of $ung San. $t the (eginning of the war, the Buddhists e5!elled thousands of
,uslims from the Sa!anese-controlled areas in Southern $ra'an, and many were 'illed. &he ,uslims
retaliated from British-controlled territories and were armed (y the British when they retreated from
Northern $ra'an. Summing u!, the Second Horld Har soon turned into a civil war (etween ,uslims
and Buddhists. Hhen the war ended, the north was mainly ,uslim, the south was mainly Buddhist, and
the communal divisions reached a !oint of no return.
$s /avid Geen !ointed out, 3conflict generates


2n the aftermath of the war and during the first years of inde!endence, $ra'an was !lagued (y three
insurgencies: .a'hine re(els in the south, Communists hiding in the $ra'an ,ountains and a ,uslim
,u+ahid insurgency in the north.
Burmese and .a'hine nationalists often recall that ,u+ahid re(ellion
to demoni)e the .ohingya. $s the goal of some of the insurgents was the anne5ation of northern $ra'an
(y East a'istan, .ohingya are accused of disloyalty to the Burmese State. But there was scarcely any
!o!ular su!!ort for the re(ellion, and many of its victims were .ohingya. 2n fact, some .ohingya leaders
demanded U Nu to !rovide them with wea!ons in several occasions, a demand which was never met.

,eanwhile in .angoon, .a'hine nationalists were !ushing for a se!arate $ra'an State, while .ohingya
!oliticians, wary of their .a'hine neigh(ors after the Second Horld Har sectarian violence, demanded a
se!arate region in the north for them ruled directly (y .angoon.
2t is necessary to recall that during the
arliamentary !eriod #17?8-17A0% and the first years of Ne HinEs dictatorshi!, there were not only many
.ohingya organi)ations, (oth in $ra'an and .angoon, (ut the government recogni)ed .ohingya as a
Burmese ethnic grou!, as documents com!iled (y /r. Tarni show.

2t was the government of Ne Hin and its military successors who denied .ohingya their rights and (egan
to !ersecute them, from the mid-seventies until now. No other ethnic grou! has undergone such
marginali)ation. $nd it can (e argued, that !arado5ically, nothing has done more to reinforce the
.ohingya identity than the attem!ts to su!!ress it.

$nother accusation directed against .ohingya is that they are illegal immigrants that arrived from
Bangladesh after inde!endence u! until as recently as the first wave of sectarian violence in Sune 0B10.
1ard data a(out migrations (etween !ost-inde!endence East a'istan<Bangladesh and Burma is non-
e5istent, so these claims are difficult to verify. 2n the 17>Bs there were accusations (y the Burmese
government that the ,u+ahid re(els were encouraging illegal immigrants from East a'istan to cross the
(order to Burma.
But there were also movements in the o!!osite direction= for instance, in 17>1 The
)ew -ork Times re!orted that 0>B,BBB refugees had fled from $ra'an to East a'istan in the !revious
three years.

Hhen Bangladesh fought the war for its inde!endence from a'istan in 17D1, an undetermined num(er
of refugees crossed the (order to $ra'an. 6ater on, 1D,BBB of them returned, (ut it is not 'nown how
many stayed.
&hen, in 17D8 the Ne Hin government launched the o!eration 3/ragon Ging4 in $ra'an
and u! to 0>B,BBB ,uslim refugees crossed the (order to Bangladesh. ,ost of them returned after a
few months under !ressure from the Bangladesh government.
"rom then on, the Burmese
government reinforced security at the (order and it (ecame much more difficult for illegal immigrants
to cross into $ra'an state,
!rovided they wished to do so.

&o demonstrate that many .ohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, it is argued that they do
not have identity cards. But many Burmese of other ethnic grou!s lac' them as well, es!ecially in
remote (order areas. ,oreover, .ohingya have argued that in 17A0, when the Burmese government
issued identity cards, they were given "oreigner .egistration Cards instead of National .egistration

Cards, which most of them refused. &he few who acce!ted them were forced to give them (ac' to the
authorities in 17DD.

$nother argument is that many of them are una(le s!ea' Burmese. &hat should not come as a sur!rise,
considering that the government !olicies have denied most .ohingya access to education in the last four
decades and have confined them to areas from which they cannot move freely. But this argument was
de(un'ed (y the Burmese Su!reme Court itself as early as 17AB: in one case, the Court revo'ed orders
of de!ortation issued (y immigration authorities against a grou! of .ohingya ruling that, in a country
with so many ethnic grou!s as Burma, it was !erfectly !ossi(le to find Burmese citi)ens who did not
s!ea' Burmese and whose customs were different from those of the rest of the !o!ulation.

2n any case, the scarce demogra!hic data availa(le a(out $ra'an does not show an increase of its
,uslim !o!ulation since 17>9. $nd given that, (y any measure, $ra'an is much less develo!ed than
Bangladesh, it would ma'e little sense for Bangladeshi economic migrants to try to find a (etter life in
Cn the contrary, the data availa(le and recent history show a constant stream of .ohingya
trying to esca!e their !light in Burma to Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Burma and its national identities

6i'e many other !ost-Colonial societies, Burma emerged from British rule as a country dee!ly divided
along ethnic and sectarian lines. &here is no historical !recedent for an inde!endent !olitical entity for
Burma as it e5ists now, and the different grou!s that ma'e u! the com!le5 ethnic ta!estry of Burma
were never under the authority of a single government (efore the arrival of the British. &he ideas
themselves of nationalism and ethno-nationalism were im!orted and, li'e virtually all nationalist
movements, during the !rocess of nation-(uilding after inde!endence, Burmese nationalists have often
read the !ast according to the !olitical agendas of the !resent and their !lans for the future.

2n the Burmese case, there is not +ust one nationalism, (ut several com!eting ethno-nationalisms with
different visions and !ro+ects. &he Bamar was in some ways an under!rivileged grou! during the colonial
era (ut, after turning the ta(les in the Second Horld Har, since inde!endence it has (ecome the
!rivileged grou!.
$s a result of these com!eting nationalisms, and the re!eated attem!ts of the Bamar
ma+ority to im!ose its centrali)ed vision of a Nation-State, the Burmese state has failed to generate a
su!ra-national identity !owerful enough to include and transcend the several ethno-nationalisms that
awo'e during colonial times. Hhat !redominates in contem!orary Burma is a series of 3organic
nationalisms4 which loo' to ideali)ed !asts for ins!iration, rather than a 3civic nationalism4 focused on
(uilding a common future.

&he sociologist ,ichael ,ann e5!lained that 3ethnic hostility rises where ethnicity trum!s class as the
main form of social stratification, in the !rocess ca!turing and channeling classli'e sentiments towards
&hus a (reeding ground for ethnic cleansing is created, and this indeed is the case

in Burma, a country with huge class ine*ualities and no social +ustice, (ut where truly !rogressive class
!olitics are almost com!letely a(sent, even within the mainstream 3democratic o!!osition,4
where ethnic identification seems to overrule any other affiliations.

&he idea of 3national races,4 understood as those which had settled within the !resent (orders of
Burma (efore the arrival of the British in 180?, is not an invention of the military regime= it gained
currency on the eve of inde!endence as an attem!t to rally all the ethnic grou!s around a common
!ro+ect of nation-(uilding and it was already enshrined in the Union Citi)enshi! 6aw !assed in 17?8.

But that act did not sti!ulate it as the sole criterion of citi)enshi! and did not contem!late different
layers of citi)enshi! as the 1780 law did.

&his conce!tion of citi)enshi! (ased on ethnicity is also shared (y many in the !ro-democratic
o!!osition, including the late U Hin &in, who told me in an interview two years ago that the Burmese
!eo!le 3cannot regard them Jthe .ohingyaL as citi)ens, (ecause they are not our citi)ens at all, every-
one here 'nows that,4 and added: 3they want to claim the land, they want to claim themselves as a race,
they want to claim to (e natives and this is not right.4 $s ,yo Uan Naung &hein, director of the Bayda
2nstitute, !ut it: 3&he military, $ung San Suu Gyi, the 88 generation students and the !oliticians, we all
share the same o!inion a(out national identity.4

2t is not clear whether the .ohingya were included among the 3national races4 during the arliamentary
!eriod, (ut their ethnicity and the name was recogni)ed (y the government at the time. 2t was under Ne
HinEs dictatorshi! that they were stri!!ed of citi)enshi! and their ethnicity started to (e officially
denied, a!!lying retros!ectively a new law in a way which would not stand u! to serious legal scrutiny
and which seems to have (een designed s!ecifically to target them.

&he ethnogenesis of the .ohingya which 2 have tried to s'etch out in this article does not ma'e it a more
3artificial4 or 3invented4 ethnicity than any other, (ut it does not fit easily in the all too narrow conce!t
of 3national races4 as is currently understood in Burma: ethnic grou!s which were already formed as we
'now them now in !re-colonial times. Cthers, !erha!s the Gachin or the Chin, would also fail the test,
(ecause the test itself stems from a misunderstanding of ethnicity and grou! formation, (ut it is the
!olitical conte5t that has determined that the .ohingya, and the .ohingya alone, should fail it. &heir
mere e5istence as a !eo!le is a serious challenge to the wea' mainstream historical narrative im!osed
(y the military regime.

&his, and the .ohingyaEs cultural, religious and linguistic differences, has made them e5!edient
sca!egoats in the conte5t of a failed !rocess of nation-(uilding. Nothing glues together a divided
community more than a common threat, real or imagined, and nothing has united the .a'hine and the
Bamar more than identifying the .ohingya as their common enemy. &he conse*uence is a cam!aign of
ethnic cleansing that has (een going on for decades.
2n this situation, it would (e very naVve to (elieve
that they are suffering such !ersecution (ecause they have choose to call themselves 3.ohingya,4 a

claim for ethnicity that they have as much right to ma'e as any other community in Burma, instead of
acce!ting the designation 3Bengalis4 enforced (y the Burmese regime.

2f, as ,r. /ere' &on'in claims, the word .ohingya 3is offensive to many Burmese,4 that tells us more
a(out those Burmese than a(out the .ohingya themselves= who are e5cluded from (eing Burmese also
defines who the Burmese themselves are. &he !light of the .ohingya !eo!le is not an issue which only
concerns them and their .a'hine neigh(ors. Hhat is at sta'e in the way that the Burmese nation treats
and identifies the .ohingya and other ,uslim communities is not only the future of those communities,
(ut also the way that the Burmese at large identify themselves and the Burma they want to (uild for

!arlos Sardi.a Galache is a freelance /ournalist based in Bangkok0 -ou can "isit his website here0

See the re!ort 3Ethnicity without ,eaning, /ata without Conte5t: &he 0B1? Census, 2dentity and Citi)enshi! in
Burma<,yanmar,4 Burma Policy Briefing )r0 12, &ransnational 2nstitute, "e(ruary 0B1?, availa(le online here:
/ere' &on'in, 3&he .-word, and its ramifications,4 +emocratic ,oice of Burma, 1D $ugust 0B1?. $vaila(le online
here: htt!:<<dv(.no<analysis<the-r-word-and-its-ramifications-(urma-myanmar-rohingya<?90D1
Eric S. 1o(s(awm, )ations and )ationalism since 1345, Cam(ridge University ress, 177B, !. 10.
$(dur .a))a* W ,ahfu)ul 1a*ue, & Tale of Refugees# Rohingyas n Bangladesh, Center for 1uman .ights, /ha'a,
177>, !. 1>. Xuoted in ,ichael H. Charney, Where Jambudipa and slamdom !on"erged# Religious !hange and the
$mergence of Buddhist !ommunalism in $arly %odem &rakan '(ifteenth to )ineteenth !enturies*, h/
dissertation, University of ,ichigan, 1777, !. 9.
,ichael H. Charney, 3Buddhist or ,uslim .ulersQ ,odels of Gingshi! in $ra'an #Hestern Burma% in the
"ourteenth to "ifteenth Centuries,4 un!u(lished !a!er, 0BBB. $vaila(le online here:
See $ye Chan, 3&he /evelo!ment of a ,uslim Enclave in $ra'an #.a'hine% State of Burma #,yanmar%,4 S6&S
Bulletin of Burma Research, 9:0, $utumn 0BB>. $vaila(le online here:
S/C, 0BB0, nformation Sheet7 -angon7 %yanmar. C-01B9 #1%, Sanuary 9B. Xuoted in ,artin Smith, State of
Strife# The +ynamics of $thnic !onflict in Burma, East-Hest Center Hashington, Oolicy StudiesE No. 9A, 0BBD, !. 1B.
,yanmar ,inistry of Education, History Te8tbook# Grade 9, 0BBA. Xuoted in Nicolas Salem-Gervais W .osalie
,etro, 3$ &e5t(oo' Case of Nation-Building: &he Evolution of 1istory Curricula in ,yanmar,4 Journal of Burma
Studies, 1A:1, Sune 0B10.
&hant ,yint-U, The %aking of %odern Burma, Cam(ridge University ress, 0BB1, !!. 017-0??.
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;ictor 6ie(erman, Strange Parallels# Southeast &sia in Global !onte8t7 c0 455:1425, Cam(ridge University ress,
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;ictor 6ie(erman, 3.einter!reting Burmese 1istory,4 !omparati"e Studies in Society and History, 07:1, Sanuary
,ichael ,endelson, Sangha and State in Burma# & Study of %onastic Sectarianism and ;eadership, Cornell
University ress, 17D>.
&hongchai Hinicha'ul, Siam %apped# & history of the Geo:Body of a )ation, University of 1awaii ress, 177?.
&he (oo' deals with &hailand, (ut the argument can (e e5tended to Burma or any other Southeast $sian country.
Edmund .. 6each, 3&he "rontiers of OBurmaE4, !omparati"e Studies in Society and History, 9:1, #Cct. 17AB%.
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;ictor 6ie(erman, 3Ethnic olitics in Eighteenth-Century Burma,4 %odern &sian Studies, 10:9, 17D8.
Edmund .. 6each, Political Systems of Highland Burma# & Study of =achin Social Structure, 1arvard University
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Y(id, !. ?1.
Y(id, !. 97.
Y(id, !. 0??.
/onald 6. 1orowit), $thnic Groups in !onflict, California University ress, 0BBB, !. 1A?.
Y(id n. 1, !. 0.
". G. 6ehman, 3Ethnic Categories in Burma and the &heory of Social Systems,4 in eter Gunstadter #ed.%,
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Y(id, !. 1BD.
Y(id, !. 1B8.
,a5 He(er, $conomy and Society# &n 6utline of nterpretati"e Sociology, University of California ress, 17D8, !.
Emil "orchhamer, Report on the &nti>uities of &rakan, Government rinting and Stationary, .angoon, 1871, !. 9.
$vaila(le online here: htt!:<<www.scri(<doc<1?99A>98D<.e!orts-on-the-$nti*uities-of-$ra'an-(y-/r-Emil-
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Y(id, !. 1?B.
Y(id, !. 19D.
,ichael H. Charney, Where Jambudipa and slamdom !on"erged# Religious !hange and the $mergence of
Buddhist !ommunalism in $arly %odem &rakan '(ifteenth to )ineteenth !enturies*, h/ dissertation, University of
,ichigan, 1777, !. >. $vaila(le online here: htt!:<<www.scri(<doc<7D188?00<Hhere-Sam(udi!a-and-
Y(id, !. 9B?.
Y(id, !. 1?D.
Y(id, !!. 1A?-1A>.
Y(id, !. 1D1.
Y(id, !. 181.
Y(id, !. 0A>.
Y(id, !.0AB.
Y(id n. 1>.
See G. . .amachandra, 3Ca!tain 1iram Co5Es ,ission to Burma, 1D7A-1D78: $ Case of 2rrational Behaviour in
/i!lomacy,4 Journal of Southeast &sian Studies, 10:0, Se!t. 1781.
Charles aton, & Short Report on &rakan, $!r. 0A, !. 9A. $vaila(le online here:
Y(id n. 07, !. 1?8.
Y(id n. 0.
Y(id n. 0?.
"rancis Buchanan, 3$ com!arative voca(ulary of some of the languages s!o'en in the Burma em!ire,4 &siatic
Researches A, 1D77. $vaila(le online here: htt!s:<<'<s((r<editions<fileA?0DA.!df
,ichael H. Charney, 3Buddhism in $ra'an: &heories and 1istoriogra!hy of the .eligious Basis of Ethnonyms,4
!a!er su(mitted at $ra'an 1istory Conference, Bang'o', 0BB>. $vaila(le online here:
See U ,aung ,aung, (rom Sangha to ;aity# )ationalist %o"ements of Burma7 1B?5:1B@5, South $sia Boo's,

/onald Eugene Smith, Religion and Politics in Burma, rinceton University ress, 17A>, !!. 7D-78.
Y(id, !!. 09B-08B.
,oshe Uegar, The %uslims of Burma# & Study of a %inority Group, Ctto 1arasowit), 17D0, !!. 1BD- 119.
Y(id, !. 7>.
/avid Geen, 3Har and eace: HhatEs the /ifferenceQ4 nternational Peacekeeping, D:?, 0BBB.
,artin Smith, Burma# nsurgency and the Politics of $thnicity, Ted Boo's, 1777, !. A?.
Y(id n. >1, !. 7D.
Y(id n. >1, !!. 1B0-1B>.
See htt!:<<www.rohingya(<0B19<B><the-official-evidence-of-rohingya.html
Y(id n. >1, !. 1BB.
3a'istan Harns Burma: Says 2nflu5 of $ra'an ,oslems ,ay Cause /istur(ances,4 The )ew -ork Times, 0B
/ecem(er 17>1.
,oshe Uegar, Between ntegration and Secession# The %uslim !ommunities of the Southern Philippines7 Southern
Thailand7 and Western BurmaC%yanmar, 6e5ington Boo's, 0BB0, !. >?.
Y(id, !!. >>->8.
.o(ert 1. &aylor, 3&he 6egal Status of 2ndians in Contem!orary Burma,4 in $. ,ani Gernial W Singh Sandhu #eds.%,
ndian !ommunities in Southeast &sia, 2nstitute of Southeast $sian Studies, 0BBA, !. AD?.
Y(id n. AB, !. >A.
The Guardian, .angoon, 0D Ccto(er 17AB, *uoted in ,oshe Uegar, The %uslims of Burma# & Study of a %inority
Group, Ctto 1arasowit), 17D0, !. 1BBn.
See /avid /a!ice W Nguyen Zuan &hanh, !reating a (uture# <sing )atural Resources for )ew (ederalism and
<nity, 1arvard Gennedy School, Suly 0B19= !articularly 3$!!endi5 $: ,uslim o!ulation Growth and ,igration
from Bangladesh into .a'hine State: Hhat /o He GnowQ4 $vaila(le online here:
,atthew S. Halton, 3&he OHages of Burman-ness:E Ethnicity and Burman rivilege in Contem!orary ,yanmar,4
Journal of !ontemporary &sia, ?9:1, "e(. 0B19.
,ichael ,ann, The +ark Side of +emocracy# $8plaining $thnic !leansing, Cam(ridge University ress, 0BB>, !. >.
"or this argument, see my 3&he 6ady doth !rotest too seldom,4 +emocratic ,oice of Burma, 1B Novem(er 0B19.
$valia(le online here: htt!:<<www.dv(.no<analysis<the-lady-doth-!rotest-too-seldom<9?071
$vaila(le online here: htt!:<<www.(urmali(<docs<UN2CN[C2&2TENS12[$C&-17?8.htm

Carlos Sardia Galache, 3"ear, loathing and lies in .a'hine state,4 The Bangkok Post, 0 Se!tem(er 0B10.
$vaila(le online here: htt!:<<www.scri(<doc<11??187?9<"ear-loathing-and-lies-in-.a'hine-state
See 1uman .ights Hatch, D&ll -ou !an +o s Pray#E !rimes &gainst Humanity and $thnic !leansing of Rohingya
%uslims in BurmaFs &rakan State, $!ril 0B19. $vaila(le online here: htt!:<<<re!orts<0B19<B?<00<all-