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The Jakarta Post
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Your letters: The Rohingya is the indigenous Arakan

  • The Jakarta Post

| Tue, September 4 2012 | 11:52 am

A detailed study of the recorded history reveals that both the Rakhine and the Bamar races are illegal immigrants in occupied Arakan, the homeland of the Rohingya Nation, who are the earliest known original indigenous people of the land of occupied Arakan.

Before the eighth century, the area now known as Occupied Arakan had been the seat of Hindu dynasties of Indoy-Aryan people. They were the very first ancestors of the Rohingya people.

788: A new dynasty, known as the Chandras, was founded in the city of Vesali. Arab and Persian seafarers after the advent of Islam carried on trade by the sea-route with many parts of the world including Arakan and Burma or now Myanmar since 7th century AD.  Arab Muslims settled in Arakan and Chittagong coasts in the eight century. Centuries-long intercourse of the original Indoy-Aryan people of Arakan with Arab Muslims gave rise to a unique group of people, who are now known as the Rohingya Nation.

957: Amyathu, the chief of Mro tribe (Mongolian) of Arakan hills invaded Arakan, destroyed the Chandras and seized the throne of Vesali.

1044: Rakhine people (Tibeto-Burman) came into existence after Burmese King Anawrahta’s invasion of Arakan State (First Burmese Invasion of Arakan by Burma).

1406: Invasion by Burmese king Min Khaung Yaza (Second Burmese Invasion of Arakan by Burma).

1430: Arakanese king Narameikhla (aka Meng Soamwun, son of king Rajathu)  was the founder and first king (reigned 1404–34) of the Mrohaung dynasty in Arakan. He was forced in the first year of his reign to flee to Bengal, where he became a vassal to king Ahmad Shah of Gaur. He regained control of Arakan in 1430 with the help of King of Bangal. He built a new capital at Mrohaung (in 1433), which remained the capital of Arakan until the 18th century. As a vassal of the Muslim kings of Gaur, Narameikhla used Muslim title, Sulaiman Shah.

1732: Arakanese Muslims were called by different names, Muslims, Mohamaden, Muhamedan, Bagalis, Chittagonian, Rohan, Roshan, but the word Rohingya (derived from Mrohaung, meaning the inhabitants of Mrohaung) was used in 1732 for the first time (Churchill, Collection of Voyages and Travels, London, 1732, Vol-6, page-697), (The Classical Journal for September and December, London, 1811, vol-4, Page-107).

1799: Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, in his 1799 article “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire,” stated: “I shall now add three dialects, spoken in the Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan”.

Thus the Rohingya are not Bangladeshis, who recently illegally migrated to Burma after its independence from the UK in 1948, and that the term Rohingya was not invented by Bangali immigrants in 1950s.

1784:  Third invasion of Arakan by Burma; king Bodawpaya invaded and colonized Arakan.

1824–1826: The First Anglo-Burmese War ended in a British victory, and by the Treaty of Yandabo, Burma lost territory previously conquered in Assam, Manipur, and Arakan. In 1852, the Second Anglo-Burmese War ended in the British annexation of Pegu province. In 1885, the British conquered the remainder of Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War resulting in total annexation of the country to British India.

1948: Burma became an independent country with Arakan as one of its Divisions. All Rohingya Muslims also became Burmese citizens according to the  Constitution of the Union of Burma.

Thus the Rohingya are the original people of Arakan, who inhabited the land of Arakan from time immemorial.

Aung Ming


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