About the existence of a historic 'Rohingya' (i.e. before 1823-24), I say this is a point which I agree to disagree. I've already seen the F.Buchanan's 1799 report, but I am not pursuaded. I still hold the view that present-day living & breathing 'Rohingyas' are mainly the descendants of Bengali migrants after the first Anglo-Burman War.
Accuse me of bias on this? I just have to take it with broad shoulder. When we are searching for historical truths, we are like the horse with one-eye blinded, I think, never seen the green grass on the other side. Since I am a Burman, so I must have had certain bias.
Then again, just take a look at this 1847 American Missionary Report ( www.netipr.org/policy/downloads/18470101-JSTOR-notes-on-arakan.pdf ). It is citing 1842 Census report with 20,000 Mussulmans (historic Rohingyas? well some say they now are Rakhines!) and 5,000 Bengalese (recent migrants from Chittagong Area). Since then, numerous other British census in successive years indicated a large influx of migrants from Chittagong/Bengali. So, the Burmese views on current Rohingyas as Bengali migrants cannot be horribly far wayout from the truth.
When talking about the bias and historical truths: you gentlemen sure have read about the King Shah Shuja, who took refuge to the Rakhine King. I first read about it in Moshe Yegar's book "The Muslims of Burma, 1972". Hearsays is the story, it said, but I felt reasonably disturbed about the behaviour of that Rakhine King. The Rakhine King would surely shared his savagery and violence with all other Burmese Kings. Though something is quite unique about the action of that Rakhine King which I really cannot quite pinned.
Anyway, when I looked at the Rakhine historians (Dr Aye Chan & U Shwe Zan) accounts of Shah Shuja, which found to be different. Truth about Shah Shuja? who really knows one may say. But bias and omission of historical accounts can be everywhere when people write about the history of their own kind. On this account, the Rohingya historian Dr M. Yunus would not escape either, since he have omitted Burma/Bangladesh cross-border migration in his 1994 book.
In the end, we all are like one-eyed horses when it comes to history. Consciously or unconsciously, we're just accepting what it is making sense to us, often within our own intellectual comfort zones. Then again, we must not lose sight of current situation at hand which is most important for the betterment of Rohingyas: the issues of their citizenship.
U Ne Oo.
Dear U Ne Oo,
While I am sure most suffering Rohingyas around the globe appreciate your solidarity for the cause of the human rights of the Rohingya people, your comments below do show that you are in doubt whether there was a historic 'Rohingya' in existence in the Arakan before 1823. I am somewhat disappointed to learn that --after all, what Mr. Jilani has quoted about the existence of Muslims in Arakan predating the eventful year of 1823 (or more precisely 1824) is well documented in Bangla archives (see the literary work of Prof. Abdul Karim Shahitya Visharad and others), let alone the British surgeon's own recounting (cited in the SOAS journal) of his own interaction after the fall of Mrouk U kingdom to Burmese king Bodawpaya. So, for someone to claim that the Rohingya name was a post-Mujahid movement phenomenon is grossly wrong.
Every community has the right to define itself. And when we as outsiders deny that right, it is not just infringence, it is a gross human rights violation. Even if one were to work under the assumption that the Buddhists in Arakan were never known as Rakhine, but more commonly as the Magh, they, as a people, have every right to define themselves as the Rakhine people - if that be what they want. When we as outsiders try to impose our criteria to accept or reject that self-assertion, we do a monumental crime. The same goes for any community, including the Rohingya people. As historians have noted the origin of today's Rohingya people can definitely be traced back to early Bengali/Indians who lived there before anyone else. As it has happened in Bangladesh and many parts of India, if those early people later decided to choose Islam as their faith, and by historical accident or whatever, later called themselves the Rohingya people, it is a choice they have made, and we should be respectful. Today's borders chalked out by a colonial entity cannot be the sole criterion by which we define who is an outsider and who is not.
As to the 1982 Burmese law of citizenship, let's not overlook the clear racism that it is all about. Thus, for a Rakhine Magh like Dr. Aye Maung, whose parents, including him, is a migrant from Bangladesh, no such litmus test was required to get Burmese citizenship. But for Muslims, who call themselves Rohingya, they must proof their ancestral origin - what a joke of fairness!
Dear Dr. U Ne Oo,
It appears that you've been PRETENDING for quite a while. What seems to be the real reason behind your pretention? To be honest, your writing has become increasingly irritating and intolerable to good eyes. Every point you made here is SLORC-ish, Ultra-Magh-ish and nothing short of RACIST.
Your point “Chittagonian/Bengalis migrants who most likely entered Rakhine State during 1948 and 1962-64…..”
This proves that to make a point of your WISH, your HISTORY goes back to merely 1948 or even 1962-64. Other time, it goes back to 17th or 18th Century, or even earlier. Really? This truly proves that you are indeed educated in BuRmA, eh!
Do you know what was Chittagong considered before 1948? If you call us, the Muslims of REAL ARAKAN, the “Chittagonians” while we were born and raised in Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathaydaung, etc, what do you call Vet. Aye Mg, and hundreds of thousands Buddh-ish settlers from former-greater-Arakan [aka REAL Chittagoing and Hill Tracks] while they were born and raised [in today’s Bangladesh], and who have been reigning BuRmA and making hell out it?
What additional evidence besides mounts of existing ones showing that the people of Islamic faith lived/has been living in Arakan is called ROHINGYA? You meant to say that all the Muslims or believers of Islamic faith in Arakan [and Burma] have come from somewhere else? In another words, no locals converted or changed their faith? Can you also apply the same logic, if you do understand logic, that all the Buddhists have come from India, and no locals/natives were converted or embraced Buddhism in Burma?
You're making fool out of everyone and forcefully Bangalizing us. Fooling around should have a limit.