Response to the Press Release of the ‘Rohingyas’ By Khin Maung Saw, Berlin, Germany 2009-wontharnu

Response to the Press Release of the ‘Rohingyas’ By Khin Maung Saw, Berlin, Germany

I. Introduction:

After reading the press release of the ‘Rohingyas’ (see the other attachment), as a Rakhaing I am obliged to write the real Arakanese History during the Mrauk U Dynasty. Apart from that, I like to give some responses to that press release:

First of all, in any case, the racial remarks of the Burmese Consul General in Hong Kong must be condemned, whoever these ‘Rohingyas’ are.

In the mean time a new article appeared in Irrawaddy on 16th Feb. 09, mentioning that those ‘Boat People’ sailed from Bangladesh and not from Arakan as the media informed. They were caned by the sailors who took them to Thailand (See the attachment, migrants —). Now it appears that these ‘Boat People’ have something to do with human trafficking. They are rather illegal immigrants seeking better fortune in more prosperous countries, the so-called “economic refugees” and NOT the political refugees of an ethnic minority group who were tortured and discriminated in their ‘Mother Land’.

Here I would like to suggest all media, Burmese Oppositions, including Irrawaddy, Burma Digest and other newspapers or journals should study the Arakanese History as well as the reports of the British Colonial Officers of the then British India (i.e. including Burma as a part of British Indian Empire) because they were neither Burmese, Arakanese nor the people of the Subcontinent but British, that means they were neutral persons and most of their contributions were for administrative purposes and/or for scholarly researches, needless to say they were objective.

In this paper, the present author will scrutinize all available authentic historical and etymological facts and answer the statements in their press release scholarly without any prejudice by using compare and contrast method.II. Responses to the press release:

In their Press release, the ‘Rohingyas’ claimed that Muslims were in Arakan since the10th Century:

1. Maurice Collis, however, wrote in his paper Arakan’s Place in the Civilization of the Bay: “Bengal was absorbed into this polity [that is, Islam] in 1203 A.D. But it was its extreme eastern limit. It never passed into Indo-China; and its influence from its arrival in 1203 till1430 was negligible upon Arakan”.2. In the 10th century A.D., even the biggest country in Southeast Asia with the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia, was under the Sri Vijaya Empire, which was a Hindu-Buddhist Empire.3. In the tenth century A.D. Arakan was ruled by the Buddhist kings of the Dhanyawaddy Dynasty and that old city site can still be seen near the small town Kyauk Taw. There is not a single evidence of Arabic culture or Islam faith there. The only non-Buddhist evidence found there are the Hindu deities.4. If their claims that their forefathers lived in Arakan since the10th Century AD are true, there is no doubt that their descendants who stayed in Arakan at least ten centuries might have spoken Burmese/Arakanese fluently and known native traditions and cultures like the “Burmese Muslims” in Shwebo District, “Myay Du Muslims” in Thandwe District and “Kaman Muslims” in Arakan. Even the Arakanese (Rakhaings) living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts nowadays, where Bengali plays the role of the official language, can still speak, read and write Burmese. Unfortunately, however, thepeople who are now calling themselves “Rohingyas” do not know any Arakanese/Burmese language and culture. The only language they speak is Bengali Chittagong dialect and the only culture they know is Bengali Culture of Chittagong Area.

III. Was Arakan A Muslim State?

Arakan was and is not a Muslim state. All Arakanese (Rakhaings) were and are devout Buddhists. The history of the Holy Maha Muni Image was and is a proof. Maha Muni Image, a colossal image cast in bronze and inlaid with gold, became the envy of almost all Burmese kings. Whenever they expanded their empire, they tried to rob this holy image. Starting from Anawratha (11th Century AD) to Bodaw U Waing (18th Century AD), most Burmese kings tried to snatch this statue. The Burmese Royal Armies looted this colossal image from the Arakan City or Mrauk U after the Burmese conquest of the Rakhaing Kingdom in the late 18th Century. They used the Arakanese prisoners of war, aboutthirty thousand including the last King of Arakan, Maha Thamada, as slave labour to carry that colossal image across the mountain range and for other slavery works like the reconstruction of Meikhila Lake, the aborted war against Siam etc. etc. Till now some Arakanese, especially from Sittwe and Mro Haung call the Burmese as “Robbers and Thugs of the Holy Image, Maha Muni”, ‘Phaya Thukho, Phaya Damya’. Continue reading “Response to the Press Release of the ‘Rohingyas’ By Khin Maung Saw, Berlin, Germany 2009-wontharnu”