Wednesday 10 October 2012

History of Chittagong and Arakan

Source, 10 Oct
Ne Myo Win
@Mike and alike,
I have worked in Maung Daw for two years as a NGO worker. Therefore, I have fair shares of knowledge on Arakan. During my working period, I had good rapports with both people, Rakhines and Rohingyas.
I have something to share you all. And please keep an open-mid while reading. I don't expect anyone to be a paranoid and Oxymoron!
1) British has recorded Muslims in Arakan as Chittagonians or Mohammedans. So, in everyone's opinion, this is the rightest term Biritish used for Muslims in Arakan. So, British's records are most correct. If so, what term did the British use for Buddhists in Arakan? Rakhine? Obviously not! If yes, is there any evidence for the fact that British refered the Buddhists in Arakan as Rakhines? British are right and honest because they refered Muslims in Arakan as Chittagonians. The same British are wrong and dis-honest because they refered Buddists in Arakan as Maghs. Why double standards?
2) Screw both religions, Islam and Buddhism, and both names, Rakhine and Rohingya here. Let us put some logical arguments. Everyone will agree if we say that there were the periods called Dhannyawadi and Vesali in the history of Arakan. No one will deny this. OK, then. Can anybody tell us that the kings or rulers in these two historical periods, which dated back to more than 2000 years, belonged to which stocks of human race, Indo-Aryan (i.e. Indian-look-alike people) or Mongoloid (Mongolian look-alike people)? What are the meanings of terms Dhannyawadi and Vesali (Vaishali)? From which language these terms were derived from? In which stock of human race did Siddartha Gautama Buddha and most of earliest follwers, because of whom Buddhistism had spreaded throughout the region, belong to?
3) We know there was a people called Rakkhasha (in Pali meaning Cannibals) who used to eat even human beings who are stragers to them. The word has varied through historical periods from Rakkhasha to Rakkha to Rakkuain now to Rakhine. According some other people, Rakhine was derived from Pali word Rakkhita (meaning people who look after and take care of their race). Yet, it doesn't matter to us. According to the historians, the place was called Rakkhapura (again in Pali). Has the whole region of Arakan including Chittagong area been called so? Have the cannibals used to live throughout the whole region? How did these Rakkhasha people look alike, mongoloid, aryan, caucasians, negroid? Why was a Pali word "Rakkhasha" used to address cannibals? Who named these cannibals as Rakkhasha by using a Pali word? Wasn't there be a paralell people to Rakkasha, who named them so using Pali word? Or have they named them "Rakkhasha" (cannibals) by theirselves using a Pali word? Was Pali the language of cannibals? Wasn't Pali an Indian literature and language? Isn't it originated to India? Arakan was the name of a land, not that of people or race. The word Arakan is the plural form of the Arabic word "Rukn" as well. But I don't mean that Arakan was derived from the Arabic word. It might or might not be.
4) Indo-Arayan people have been living in Arakan since B.C. 3323 according to the book with the title "Za Lok Kay Pho Lay?" (written by San Kyaw Tuan, (Maha Wizza), a Rakhine from Rathedaung, foreworded by the late Dr. Aye Kyaw and contributed by scholars like Dr. Aye Chan, Khin Maung Saw) page No. 81]. Who were these Indo-Aryans? Were not they forefathers of the people called Rohingya today? Are Rakhines descendants of Indo-Aryan race? In which group of human stocks did Rakhines fall, Indo-Aryan or Mongoloid?
5) Burmese Junta and some extremist Rakhines don't want to recognize the name "Rohingya " not because they want their real identity so as to give them "Nationality" but because once they become successful in branding them as Bengalis, it will become easier for them to drive them out of Arakan land. Ultimately, Junta's dream of making Arakan into purely Burmanized Bhuddhist region will come true. Junta wants neither the people called Rakhines nor the people called Rohingyas. Thus, Juta has been setting up modal villages by bringing Bamars from central Burma. Rakhines are well aware of that. Some of the Rakhines simultaneuosly want to fight Junta on one side and Rohingyas on another side in order to have an independent land. It is a very wrong tactic. History has proven that. Hitler lost in the war because he fought Soviet Union on one side and English and French on another side.
6) Furthermore, we think everybody knows Mexico and Argentina, people there are of spainish origin and speak spainish language. Why don't people call them Spainish instead of Mexican and Argentinian? Americans speak English language and most them are of English. Why don't people call them English in stead of Americans? The word "Rohingya" is a slight variation of the word "Ruahonga" (in Rakhine meaning "from old village") because the place where Rohingyas used to live was called Ruahong. Rohingyas have the habit of calling someone by the place name where they live. For example, if somebody is from Man-Aung, he will be called as Man-Aunggya, if from RatheThaung, then RatheThaungya and if from ButhiTaung, then Buthi-Thaungya etc. The word Rohingya has formed exactly the way Rakhine has formed from Rakkhasha.
7) I have learnt that during British Colonial period, migration from one place to another (within its colonised countries) was absolutely legal. Therefore, some members of Rohingyas might be immigrants but not illegal ones. Therefore, how can someone call them illegal immigrants as a whole?
8) At the same time, one has to apply the same logic to the Rakhines as well. They also migrated from one place another during British time and it can't be denied. And they are living both sides of the countries, Burma and Bangladesh. If they (the same Rakhines) can be citizens of both countries, why can't Rohingyas be citizen of Burma? Why?
9) During the time of the agreement between Aung San and Aktle, he (Aung San) promised that he would recognize everyone as citizen of Burma who were living within its territory. How can someone today revoke Aung San's agreement?
10) Besides, one should not forget that Chittagong region of Bangladesh and Arakan of Myanmar were combined and one land used to rule by the same rulers. It is not strange if one finds similarities among the people of Arakan and Chittagong region. Besides the people called Rohingyas, Chakmas (Thaks) and Baruas also speak a Chittagonian dialect and similar cultures with the people of Chittagong. How could you (our honorable historian Dr. Aye Chan) deliberately and conveniently leave it out in your speeches and books while you point out the similarities between Rohingyas and Chittagonians?
11) Besides, Rohingyas are being branded as Chittagonian Bengalis because there are some similarities between their languages. Similarly, Rakhines look like Bamsa, their language is almost same to Bama Language and they worship same religion. Should we call there were no Rakhines in history but Bamas. You people call Rakhines are a different ethnic people. How can we believe that? You also need to check up your DNAs to confirm your distinct and different ethnicity (Rakines) from Bamas. Will you do that?
12) In history, Rohingya didn't feel to call them as Rohingya because the situation and the time had not forced them to call so. It doesn't mean that this people didn't exist before. So, if someone says there is no word as Rohingya in the history of Arakan, then there is no word as Rakhine either.
13) Some people like Mike here claim that Muslims in Arakan cannot be nationals of Myanmar simply because they can't speak Burmese. One would be wrong to say so because the educated Muslims in Arakan can speak Burmese fluently. Some of the Rakhines in rural areas of Maung Daw can't speak Burmese either but they speak Rakhine language which is a different dialect of Burmese Language. Besides, some of Kachins, Chins etc can't speak Burmese. And some my relatives back to Mon state can't speak Burmese fluently. Are not they citizens of Myanmar? This fact cannot be a judgmental factor in deciding the nationality of the people in Myanmar.
As far as I am concerned, many Rohingyas in Arakan can't speak Burmese because these people are locked mostly in northern Arakan and there are no proximity and close relationships between Bamars and these people. Many of them cannot find a single Bamar to speak with. So, how can they speak Burmese? We have to think logically rather than on arbitrary basis. But those (Rohingyas) people who have close relationships with local Rakhines can speak Rakhine fluently. The worse thing is that even many high school students in Maung Daw and Buthidaung cannot speak Burmese fluently because they are, in their schools, taught in local Rakhine dialect even though the books are in Burmese language.
Let's put some arguments regarding this language factor whether or not it affects one's nationality in other countries of today's modern world. In India, most of the people like Tamils, Telugus, Malayalams, Tulus etc don't even know what the (official) Hindi language is let alone speaking it. Are not they citizens of India? In Bangladesh, people in southern regions cannot properly speak original Bengali language. Are not they citizens of Bangladesh? In China, Mandarin and Cantonese are two different languages and there are many more on top of that. In spite of that, are not all they Chinese and citizens of China? In Thailand, people in southern part cannot properly speak Thai. Does it mean that they are not citizens of Thailand? In Malaysia, despite the very close relationships between Malays and Chinese, Chinese can't properly speak Malay. As all know, Chinese are citizens of Malaysia. I wonder why only Myanmar has so many problems like this. Therefore, it is the high time to stop thinking stereotypically and think out of the box.
14) It is really ridiculous that people like MIke refer Wikipedia to back up what they say. It shows who and what they are! Besides, many of our people like Mike here call all Rohingyas terrorists as a whole. On what basis (Wikileaks???)? [This information sent to US in 2002 by US embassy in Yangon was provided by the former MI (Military Inteeligence) supervised by ex-general Khin Nyunt, who has been long knowns as anti-Rohingyas] May be because their scholars dress like Arabs or Indians? What is the definition of the terrorist? It is quite natural that, when one is severely persecuted, made unemployed and restricted access to modern education, he or she might have tendency to behave like a terrorist or join terrorist gangs. Just like when someone is kept starved without any food, he or she will eat anything to survive. Who is responsible for that? Shouldn't our government give them a good education to leave the way of extremism instead of killing them (human beings). So far, no terrorism occurred in Arakan because of them. All are baseless and wrong-propaganda spread by the state-sponsored media. No International Media or Independent Observers are given access to the region where the riot has been taking place. Therefore,the only terrorists there, I think, are the Military. In this riot, neither Rakhines nor Rohingyas are clean winners but the Military themselves that again made people believe that only the military can protect the country.
15) I feel Rohingyas who are of Indo-Arayan descendants (i.e. Indian origins) are hated by many bigots in Myanmar just because they look different from mainstream of people (who are of mongoloid origin) and practice a different religion.
I have just put a logical argument here. I don't expect people to bluff here just because they have the mouths but to answer my points.

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