Yes. I am aware that your father, our first President, reported to have made such a remark re: Rohingyas. I do not think we can simply quote from one sentence that he have (or may have) said. We have to understand the whole environment and examine in which context have he said those words. Otherwise, we shall be in danger of mis-interpreting the speech of a national leader. It is unfair to him and, also to us, trying to ascertain whether he had said is valid or legitimate. It is impossible to analyse now, I think.
In this respect, we've got some luck with General Aung Gyi's 1961 speech. We've got obtaining the original newspaper items and the entire speech that were retrieved. I put an analysis re: Rohingya on www.netipr.org/policy/node/20.
When it comes to the debate on indigenousness of Rohingya, these two events are most important: Burma's independence (1947) and the first Anglo-Burman war (1823/24). Historically, the concept of mordern nation-state of Burma is started with the first Anglo-Burman war. The Rohingya (Bengalis) who entered Burma as the part and percel of British colonization are considered as aliens. To Burman nationalistic views, the alien influence and presence must be rejected and be repelled. That nationalist sentiment is pretty well reflected in the 1982 Citizenship Law. That nationalist sentiment, especially who are the indigenous races of Burma, as described in that 1982 Citizenship Law, is not that of General Ne Win's invention. These considerations go back to as early as the time of 'Dobama Asiayone'(We Burmese Association).
More unfortunate for Rohingyas(Bengalis) is the separatist Mujahid rebellion of 1950s, which seek the territorial annexation to Pakistan. The Burmese military will never forgive or forget about this. Further, this rebellion reinforced the notion that the Rohingyas are aliens. Interpreting Burmese State's harsh trement to Rohingyas, the racial and religious hostility played only some part. But underlying Burmese nationalist political thinkings do have major influence.
In terms of Burmese politics, these nationalist sentiments are non-negotiable. Anyone or anything try to compromise them will be considered as an assault on Burmese national identity and will be strongly rejected. All campaigners (pro-Rohingya, human rights etc.) need to keep in mind of this fact.
As I write this note, I remember your elder brother Chao-Tzang. That was the times of CRDB activists. He was always generous with his thoughts and writings. Time like this, I sure missed him!
U Ne Oo.
Dear U Ne Oo,
There is certainly a lot of confusion about who the Rohingyas are and who they include by definition. It has been reported that my father, a Shan or Tai, Sao Shwe Thaike, Saopha of Yawnghwe(1926-62) and First President of the Union of Burma 1948-52 & Speaker of the Chamber of Nationalities, 1953-1957, was asked in the 1947 Constituent Assembly if the Rohingyas are indigenous to the Union of Burma. He is said to have replied that "if the Rohingyas are are not indigenous, neither am I".
Arakanese Muslims have lived in Arakan and faithfully served the Kings of Arakan at their Court until the Burmese/or Burman King Bayinnaung annexed the Arakan Kingdom in the 18th Century; & destroying also the Mon Kingdom of Hongsawadi and torching Ayuthiya and killing the old Thai Royal Family during the sacking & looting of the old Thai Capital.
Is term the "Rohingya" limited to the descendants of Arakhan Muslims subjects of the Arakan Kings and pre-1947 Arakan Muslims when the Union of Burma came into being in 1948?
Your clarification would be most useful, but I do not condone the killings & atrocities against Arakan Muslims now living in Arakan State.
Dr. Than Tun said that the existence of Rohingyas were 800 years back. According to Tiger Yawngwe," My father (Sao Shwe Thaike ) and U Nu agreed that there in North Arakan Muslims settled for centuries. We all came from some where else." The historians agreed that before 10th century there were no Rakhines in Arakan and the country was ruled by Indian, ruling over a population similar to to the Rohingyas of today.
In 1430 Gen. Wali khan led 30,000 soldiers to restore the throne to Narameik Hla. Then Sendhi Khan led another 30,000 soldiers to throne Narameik Hla after dethroning Wali khan. Narameik Hla settled all the soldiers of Wali and Sandhi for his safety. So please refer those 60,000 soldiers to Rakhines instead of your reference of the Rohingyas of 1948 - 62 which wrong and a great mistake as there were no such a case of entering Bengali. That is only a tool used by Rakhines and Others. Imigination of Buddhist people including neo - Nazis, Wirathu 969's genocide movement, Buddhist terrorits and militants, U Thein Sein, Ye Htut, Mu Zaw etc.
to be continued as I am in a hurry-----
Dear U Ne Oo,
Islam in Burma: Thasana Yongwa Htoon Ze Pho, pages 65 to 73, A SLORC publication;
Muslims arrived and settled in Burma since last 1000 years. Many Arab ships were wrecked near Rambree Island while Arakan was ruled by the King Mahataing
Sanda (788 - 810) and crews and traders were being MUslims and they were sent to Arakan proper and settled there.
Two maps in the " Time Atlas of the World History" edited by Geoffrey Burraclough clearly in dicated that Arakan was a Muslim country in 14th century.
In 17th century the Portuguese with the cooperation of Magh raiders committed in-human atrocities in lower Bengal. They seized from the river bank goods and persons. Large number of the captives were sold as slaves in Arakan, where the rice crop was sown and reaped by them. Coins and State emblems were inscribed with 'Kalima', and 'Aqimuddin' (establishment of God's rule over the earth) in Arabic script. Persian was adopted as a state language, which continued up to 1845.
Many important posts like Chief Minister, Senior Minister, Governors, Quazis (judges),court poets, doctors and army higher officials were also Muslims. (Dr. S.B. Qanungo - A History of Chittagong p. 291). Those high ranking Muslims used to converse with the kings on equal and friendly terms.
The king (Salim Shah 11) Thiri Thudama made Ashraf Khan his Chief Minister and the commander of his army. Ashraf Khan was virtually in Charge of conducting all state affairs. (Missing links in Arakan History by S. N. Goshal p - 258)
In a memorandum to the government of Burma wrote that we merged themselves with Burma in good faith that they will be treated on the same lines as Burman and will be given equal rights. Now instead of giving equal rights the government carried out genocide against the Rohingyas and other Muslims.