History is not God given and it is potentiality of man research and his conscience and historical evidences. The work of History research is humanitarian and academic concern. The Myanmar Junta is being engaged in anti-humanity activities for why we can’t expect a true history from Burma. The historians prepare History of mankind what they thought best even not tracing out adequate authentic backgrounds or evidences. For us, we should first see when mankind commenced inhabiting in Arakan, what were their religion, Language and culture. According to the History, mankind started to inhabit in Arakan since 6th century. But one thing is not proved that whether only Buddhist inhabitants were exclusively commenced to inhabit in Arakan. So, it is no doubt that Muslim inhabitants were among them. May be the figure of Muslims was smaller than Buddhists. Most of the Buddhists migrated from India and the Muslims migrated mostly from Arab countries and few from Bengal. But the growth of Muslim population was speeder than Buddhists because Islam allowed to keep four wives at a time. Arakan was an Independent state until 1784. Arakanese Kings ruled Arakan until the Burman invasion 1784. Some Arakanese Kings were found bearing Muslim Names. Some historians said that Muslim Kings also ruled in Arakan and some historians said that Some Buddhist kings were bearing Muslim names to please the Bengal kings because whenever Burman attacked Arakan, they sought help from Bangle kings and the Bangle Kings sent troops to Arakan to defend them because Muslims were also inhabiting in Arakan.
Ethnic Name Issue (Rohingya: Ethnic Identity)
Historically it was clear that two major different religion ethnic groups have been inhabiting in Arakan since 6th century by maintaining peaceful co-existence and amity. There is another important thing that contradiction of racial or ethnic names of the major two ethnic groups of Arakan. Racial name is not God given, but there is a trend that the different ethnic groups invent their racial/ethnic name as their ethnic identity in order to enjoying their fundamental rights from their central Government. But it depends on demographic and geographical situation of the ethnic groups. Muslim is not a name of ethnic group because ethnic name not depends on Religion. For example, Pakistan consists a lot of ethnic groups. But they all are Muslims. So, Rakhine Muslim or Arakan Muslim never and ever be a name of ethnic group. At first the Rakhine were called with the name of Magh . Later when the Rakhines became more educated and politically conscious they changed their name from Magh to Rakhine because they thought that the name Magh is not ennobled . So, racial names are always invented by self. In other hand, in the early period, Arakan Muslims were also less educated and politically not so conscious. First they called themselves “Rohangi”. But after 16th century when they become politically conscious they were realizing that a meaningful ethnic name is crucial for them as identity. So, they themselves invented a name ” Rohingya” as ethnic identity. But none can give guarantee of 100% reality on historical facts. In this contest, we must agree that “Rohingya” is an inherited ethnic name. Some Rakhine brothers raised a question that ” Why the historical evidences about the Rohingya Muslims were ignored in Burma history ?”It is clear that Burma history was a fabricated history because the history was compiled as per direction of the military rulers. Burma history is discriminated and incomplete because the real history of an ancient ethnic group of Arakan was intentionally ignored and the other history writers from out of Burma quoted historical back grounds from Burma history because the junta imposed restriction on free movement of History researchers. I mean the real historical evidences of Rohingya Muslims were hidden and distorted.
For instances, in 1974, a lecturer of geography department of Sittwe college profiled a file regarding the Rohingya in Arakan state, but it was not allowed for editing by Bomo Kyaw Maung (Rakhine), the Arakan state peoples` council chairman. The chairman also banned distributing a text book of geography in High Schools across the country for class nine and ten because it has a map of Burma on which “Rohingya race” was written locating Arakan state. After the Bomo`s instruction , the Government recollected all the text books from the schools which had already been distributed to schools across the country.
Rohingya-Phobia and its Impact
Nowadays, Ethnic Rohingyas are globally introduced due to Rohingya refugee influx to neighbor countries for why no strength or deterrence could be able to erase this name even Rohingya themselves. People of a country migrate in to other countries when the atrocities of their own ruler become out of tolerance and for survival they try to migrate near by countries. When Arakan was occupied by Burman in 1784 many Buddhists migrated in to Chittagong Hill Tracks and they obtained citizenship of Bengal and later became Citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Not only that they acquired “Self Determination”(autonomous ) in Bangladesh, but also quota from government service, and admission in medical colleges are reserved for the Buddhists of Hill tracks. So, why the Rohingya Muslim in Arakan were rejected their Citizenship despite they have been inhabiting on Arakan soil for centuries. It was due to Religious and political discrimination. But there was no religious discrimination in Burma until the Democratic U Nu Government was existed. U Nu government recognized Rohingyas as Citizens of Burma and enjoyed fundamental rights. Not only that there was a special Rohingya Language program in Burma Radio until Ne Win seized power. After down fall of democratic government in Burma, the military Junta( dictatorship) adopted policy of ” Divide and Rule” only for different religious ethnic groups such as Rohingya Muslim, Karen, Ko Kang etc.,. The junta is being implemented many kinds of Rohingya cleansing policies and operations one by one caused huge Rohingyas left Arakan to escape the severe persecution of Junta.
The aim and object of the Junta is to make Arakan a Rohingya free state. At the same time from the same venue with the same tune, the conservative Rakhines are raising slogan that ” Rohingyas are Bengali, they came from Bangladesh”. They said they never heard the name “Rohingya” in Arakan. It is like a joke. But they don’t understand about the Impact of “Rohingya-Phobia”. They are openly supporting and conducing junta’s policy of religious discrimination. Some so called Rakhine historians said that the ethnic name “Rohingya” was invented around in 1950. They are trying to misguide the Arakan people and coordinating Junta. But they will never refuse the existence of Arakan Muslims(Rohingya) since Arakan was discovered.
Comment and Suggestions
I would like to let all to know with grief and exciting that Mr. Aye Chan had written a book titled “Influx Viruses”. In that book he branded the Rohingya people as being viruses . The book suggested that Rohingya people are like viruses to the human Rakhines and the Burmese. He implies that they should be exterminated. In this deadly campaign Mr. Aye Chan is not alone, there is the Xenophobe trio Aye Chan, Aye Kyaw and Ashin Nayaka. All three from Arakan are actively engaged in this Xenophobic works. The Xenophobe Rakhines tried to convene an exclusive Historical seminar in UK in August,2009 on the topic of Ethnic Rohingya issue. But the ill-mooted attempt was successfully foiled by Rohingya brothers residing in UK . We should express thanks and gratitude to those who resisted the conspiracy in time.
Here I am very much optimistic that Mr. Aye Chan will repeal his contentious and refutable book titled ” Influx Viruses” for the mutual interest of the two major ethnic groups of Arakan and also hopeful that he will not be rigid in this regards for why we can expect brotherly relationship between the Rakhine and the Rohingya without any political, racial and religious discrimination and confrontation in future. I would like to request them to keep the history books aside for a while and ask their conscience for the reality of ethnic Rohingya and their deserving rights as sons of soil of Arakan , then they will get real answer if they are neutral and patriotic.
Eventually, I would like to suggest to the conservative Rakhine brothers to erase “Rohingya-phobia” from their minds and get ready to embrace them because when the prospective Democratic Government in Burma is established, the government will not be able to reluctant and show persistence on citizenship issue of Ethnic Rohingya due to international and internal pressure. Then when the government announces its amnesty to those who are living in exile, more than 20,00,000 ( 20 Lac ) exile Rohingyas will be repatriated in to their Native place, Arakan, Burma. So, very possibly the Rohingya can play a majority role in Arakan politics which cannot be derided for why the conservative so called Rakhine historians are disparaging with their Xenophobic activities. But it will be a political blunder for them for why as impact of it, the Arakan people must be in a great trouble in future and they will have to atone for their political blunder one day. The Rohingya Muslims do not believe in retaliation but they like to solve the political issues through reconciliation and mutual understanding. The Junta declined the citizenship of Rohingya by introducing Citizenship Act 1982 for why the ethnic name “Rohingya” was excluded and the military government destroyed all Rohingya related documents of U Nu government’s tenure.
I again would like to opine to my conservative Rakhine historians not to create repulsive and provocative situation in Arakan and recognize Rohingya Muslims as of your Arakan brothers in order to conducing the movement for restoration of real Democracy in Burma and peace and harmony in Arakan as well. I would like to express thanks and appreciation to Ko Aye Chan for his recent writings to me with receptive mind and I am expecting decisive response from him and others because I feel that formation of a joint Rakhine and Rohingya political Organization through reconciliation is crucial and imperative for joint action against dictatorship. I am very optimistic that the Rakhine brothers will understand its importance for why I am hopeful that they will refrain from raising argument on Rohingya ethnic Issue and creating deterrence in detracting Rohingyas from enjoying their born rights and heritage. Otherwise, there will be a political blunder for them if show negative attitude and persistence on this outrageous dilemma.
In conclusion, I would like to comment from guessing all facts and circumstances that the two major ethnic groups of Arakan will not be able to be isolated from each other in order to forging for self determination when an amicable situation comes up in future, if the both major ethnic groups of Arakan are firmly committed to retain their solidarity and political understanding.