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Showing posts with label Arakan History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arakan History. Show all posts

04 January, 2018

Answers to denialism: a piece of latest research finding by U Kyaw Min


Sandi Khan Mosque in Mrauk U and Badar Makan Mosque in Sittwe were recognized as Muslim edifices in almost all chronicles written earlier by native as well as foreign writers, but today some ultra nationalists are denying their authentic historicity. So, here I would like to shed some lights on their being Muslim Mosque where Sandi Khan Mosque was built by King Saw Maun for his Bengal retinues who came to help him regain Arakan Throne which he lost earlier. Here I would like to request to Francis Wade, a Myanmar specialist to allow me to quote his latest research.
Francis Wade’s “Myanmar’s enemy within 2017,” a best seller narrated:
For much of the past millennium the busy trade along the shores of western Myanmar meant Rakhine Kingdom was populated by a large and transient – immigrant community and before its annexation by King Budaw Paya (Burma king) in 1784, Rakhine kings had been compelled to cultivate an inclusive attitude towards their subjects on account of the myriad different religious and ethnic communities that lived there. – – – The early Persian and Indian seafarers who arrived from the ninth early century onwards were small in number and had made only a minor impact on local society, but this began to change around in the fifteenth century – – – Bangali kings that ruled territories to the west of Rakhine had helped several of their Rakhine counter parts to retain the throne against the maneuvering of the rivals. The Rakhine King Min Saw Maun (Narameikla) fled to Bengal in the early fifteenth century following attacks by Burma armies from the east and spent 24 years under the protection of the Sultan of Bengal. When he returned to establish the city of Mrauk U, he built Mosques (such as Sandi Khan Mosques) alongside the pagodas that dotted in their hundreds the hill surrounding the city (Sandi Khan Mosques was demolished some years ago). For two centuries after, Rakhine king would use Muslim designations for their names and mint coins with Persian inscriptions to make the bountiful trade with westerly kingdoms easier. Despite the region soon bearing the marks of strong Islamic influence, religious differences had not provided the source of violent contestation they do now. (Francis Wade P.60)- – –
As the British moved in and imposed their own designs on the foreign land, borders were drawn in place of porous frontiers. Those frontiers had once shifted regularly, causing communities to belong to different territories at different times, or sometimes to none at all. Yet over time, what had been somewhat arbitrary boundaries came to be accepted as natural lines of division between nations and the people that inhabited them – – -. After Rakhine was annexed to Myanmar at the close of the eighteenth century, some 200000 Rakhine , both Buddhist and Muslims , fled west, crossing the Naf River and the mountains that roll down from the Chittagong, to areas of sanctuary where they wouldn’t  be reached by Bodawpaya’s marauding forces. Later convulsions of violence on either side of the border would cause communities to move back and forth repeatedly. Sometimes they stayed and settled, sometimes not. But by the time it was redrawn after the departure of the British in the middle of the twentieth century, the communities of each country had developed a degree of attachment to their land, as did the peoples of post-colonial societies the world over that only a modern-day nation state could generate. [Ibid p-64-65]
In this context Dr. J. Leider, an Arakan expert writes:
among the tens of thousands of Rakhine who fled Arakan for Bengal due to Burmese fiscal oppression and forced labor at the end of 18th century, there were also Muslims but one cannot  guess at their percentage. They assimilated more easily than the Rakhine within the society in Chittagon district where they had earlier came from. Many may have returned to Arakan after British occupation in 1825, but there were no statistical sources about the return of either Buddhist or Muslims.- – – (A J. Leider, competing identities, 2016 p-19) . Leider further writes there was a Muslim community in Rakhine at the moment of the conquest in 1784 and on the other hand, that both Muslims and Hindus were among those hundreds and thousands of Rakhine who had been deported and resettled in upper Myanmar. These Muslims spoke an Indian language of their own in which they called themselves of Rooinga. – – – quoting Dr Than Tun’s  Royal order of 17th November, 1807, Leider further writes “the Rakhine Punnas (Court Brahmins and Ceremonial Specialists who come all from Bengal) were collectively deported to Amarapura and became a new elite at the Konbaung Court. The king appointed Abhisha  Husseini, the head of Rakhine Muslims as head of all the Muslims of Myanmar. (J. Leider: the name, the movement, the quest for identities, 2014, p-10-12)
Francis Wade describes:
at around the same time (when Arakan was annexed to Burma empire) those ethnic Rakhine were fleeing into Bengaladesh in the late eighteenth century, a Scottish physician by the name of Francis Buchanan was moving between the communities of Myanmar documenting the various groups that lived there.  Under the title– “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the languages Spoken in the Burma Empire,” he produced perhaps one of the most comprehensive studies of the peoples of the region prior to the beginnings of colonial rule. In it he noted “three dialects, spoken in the Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohaammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.” [Ibid, P-65]
Rohingya cite this, and subsequent references in European texts to Buchanan’s findings as evidence of their presence in the region prior to the British conquest of Rakhine in 1826 and the influx of workers from the subcontinent that followed it. They also point to the fact that Rohingay were recognized, at least vocally, by U Nu, and served as members of parliament, and even ministers, in the post-independence government. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s officials documents referenced the Rohingya as inhabitants of northern Rakhine state. The denialism that is so pervasive now wasn’t commonplace within the government after independence. The Rohingya could organize politically- the government sanctioned the Rohingya students Association at Rangon University-and the group had its own thrice-weekly Rohingya –language radio broadcast. [p-65-66]
But as the regime sought to fix the ethnic landscape of Myanmar with a rigidity that bore little resemblance to the Myanmar of old, groups considered foreign to the country were gradually excluded. The hardening of an exclusive Rakine Buddhist identity that resulted from the  Burmanisation project, coupled with the removal of the “ Rakhine Muslims” category from the 135-strong index of ethnic groups, compelled the Muslims of the state to cleave more tightly to another label, one that had a history in Myanmar going back to at least the late eighteenth century and one that , at least initially , the government recognized. The Rohingya ethnicity should therefore have stood up to the test of the general’s 1982 citizenship criteria: that of a presence in Myanmar prior to the advent of British rule in 1824. But its absence from British records provided Ne Win, who pushed the notion of an ethno-religiously “pure” Myanmar harder as time went on, with a pretext to exclude an entire group from the nation. [P-66]
The logic that, as Rohingya, they simply can’t belong, underpins their statelessness, but it doesn’t stop at the legal sphere. Instead, it has provided a rationale for denying them even the inalienable human rights that should be conferred regardless of ones’ political status. “It seems,” so wrote the German political theorist Hannah Arendt, who herself was rendered stateless by the Nazis, “that a man who is nothing but a man has lost the very qualities which makes it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow-man”. [p-67]
The architects of Rohingya statelessness would know this too. The alienation of this community from the once- plural society of Rakhine State, and the nation more broadly, and the loss of dignity that accompanied the stripping of their basics rights fuelled a process that, over the decades, has come to see the group dehumanized and ostracized altogether.(p-67-68)
Ambitious new schemes were developed to encourage even more aggressively the systematic weakening of the Rohingya, and shortly after the turn of the decade, a project to re-engineer the social landscape of northern Rakhine State took shape. The animosities that began to simmer more intensively cause Buddhist and Muslims there to grow even further apart, and provided kindling for the fire that started years later, when the body of  Ma Thidar Htwe was discovered beneath the rain tree. (p. 68)
U Hla Tun Pru, a career politician and historian and almost all Rakhine historians recognized king Saw Mons’ getting military help from Bengal king, the settlement of Bengal retinue, and the construction of Sandi Khan Mosque. Arakan was like a vassalage of Bengal for almost two centuries. From then, Mrauk U became a cosmopolitan and multicultural city, very harmonious where tigers and sheeps drink peacefully together at the same water. (Thibaut Hubert and Leider; traders and poets’ at the Mrauk U court, p-94, 2011)
This is a concise reflection of Rohingyas’ historicity. Yet recognizing above authentic and latest historical research finding, I hope, will lead us to a fair, just and win-win solution to the current Rakhine state communal crisis which is a worldwide hot issue today. Coordination and sincere consultative cooperation and engagement with all state holders are the most essential requirements for lasting sustainable peace, harmony and development.

29 November, 2017

Rohingya: The descendants of ancient Arakan

  • Published at 06:49 PM October 12, 2017
  • Last updated at 07:54 PM October 14, 2017
Rohingya: The descendants of ancient Arakan

Myanmar wasn't always such a horrible place for Muslims, far from it

Thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh to escape genocide. Hundreds have died on the journey, and thousands did not even get the opportunity for escape. The exodus of the Rohingya population has captured headlines across the world, but in Burma itself, there is still widespread disbelief and denial of the persecution faced by this population.
Of the many excuses put forward by the Burmese authorities, one common one is to deny the existence of the Rohingya community themselves, painting them as Bangladeshi migrants who have crossed the borders and laid claim to Burmese land. This piece is my research on the falseness of this statement, and an introduction to the history of the Arakan region and the multiculturalism that once infused it.

Multicultural from the start

From long before the 8th century, the area now known as North Arakan was the seat of Hindu dynasties until 788 AD, when a new dynasty, known as the Chandras, founded the city of Vaishali. This city went on to become a noted trade port, with as many as a thousand ships coming to it annually. In fact, its territory extended as far north as Chittagong, although the empire itself was ruled from modern day Munshiganj. Research suggests that the inhabitants of this city were “Indian” or descended from Aryans geneologically, with followers of Hinduism as well as a Mahayanist form of Buddhism.
A History of South East Asia by Hall details how the Burmese do not seem to have settled in Arakan until possibly as late as the tenth century AD. Pamela Gutman’s research also delves into the Rakhines, the last significant group to come to Arakan, and who appear to have been an advance guard of Burmans who began to cross the Arakan Yoma (mountain) in the ninth century. Genealogically, this population was not similar to the people of Danyawaddy or the Wethali dynasties of Arakan.
In old Burmese, the name Rakhine first appeared in inscriptions from the 12th century, and was found from the 12th to 15th centuries on stone inscriptions of Tuparon, Sagaing. However, the scripture of those early days in Arakan were similar to early Bengali script and not the language that is spoken in present day Rakhine, indicating the existence of a culture that was more similar to the one of ancient Bengal under the earlier Hindu dynasties.
However in medieval times, there was a reorientation eastward; the area fell under Burman dominance, and Arakanese people began to speak a dialect of Burmese, something that continues to this day. With Burmese influence came ties to Ceylon and the gradual prominence of Theravada Buddhism.
How the Burmese do not seem to have settled in Arakan until possibly as late as the tenth century AD

The influence of Islam

Arabs were the earliest people to travel to the east by sea, and they were in contact with Arakan even during pre-Islamic days. The Arakanese first received the message of Islam from ship wrecked Arabs in 788 AD.

This Arab presence, with the message of Islam, made up the beginnings of Muslim society in Arakan. Thus, historical research indicates that the Arakanese inhabitants of Wesali practised Hinduism, a Mahayanist form of Buddhism as well as Islam. This is even confirmed by the Burmese military regime in its official book Sasana Ronwas Htunzepho, published in 1997 – “Islam spread and was deeply rooted in Arakan since 8th century from where it further spread into interior Burma.”
In fact, the Arab influence increased to such a large extent that in Chittagong during the mid 10th century, a small Muslim kingdom was established, possibly from the east bank of the Meghna River to the Naf, ruled over by a Sultan. After the advent of Muslim rule in Bengal in 1203, the Muslim population of Arakan increased, especially during the Mrauk-U dynasty. There were large scale conversions of Buddhists to Islam from the 15th to 18th centuries.
Later, when Dutch industrialists were ordered by the king to quit Arakan, they were afraid of leaving behind the children they had had with local women – the pious Dutch Calvinists were horrified at the idea of them being brought up as Muslims.

Blurred boundaries and communal harmony

The relations between Arakan and Chittagong were based on historical, geo-political and ethnological considerations. The Chittagong region was under the Vesali kingdom of Arakan during the 6th to 8th centuries, and under the Mrauk U kingdom of Arakan in the 16th and 17th centuries, meaning these close political, cultural and commercial links have existed between these two territories for centuries.

The 15th century is a turning point in the history of Arakan; during this time, a large contingent of Muslims entered Arakan from Bengal by invitation of the ruling princes. The cause was political. Here, the history of Arakan intersects with the history of the Indian subcontinent, especially with Bengal. While Bengal and Arakan had had the same rulers as far back as the 6th century, this was the time when Muslims became an integral part of the political system in Arakan, becoming rulers, administrators and kingmakers for over 350 years.
In 1430, after nearly three decades in exile in the Bengali Royal city of Gaur, the Rakhine king Narameikhla, also known as Min Saw Mun (1404-1434), returned to Arakan at the head of a formidable force largely made up of Afghan adventurers, who swiftly overcame local oppositions and drove off the Burmans and Mons. In fact, it was the Bengal King Sultan Jalal Uddin (1415-1433 AD) of Gaur, a Muslim convert from Hinduism, who helped king Narameikhla. According to Dr Maung in The Price of Silence, “He (Narameikhla) spoke Persian, Hindi, and Bengali on the top of his mother tongue Rakhaing.”
This was the start of a new golden age for the country – a period of power and prosperity – and creation of a remarkably hybrid Buddhist-Islamic court, fusing tradition from Persia and India as well as the Buddhist worlds to the east. This cosmopolitan court became great patrons of Bengali as well as Arakanese literature. Poet Dulat Qazi, author of the first Bengali romance, and Shah Alaol, who was considered the greatest of seventeenth-century Bengali poets, were among the eminent courtiers of Arakan. Mrauk-U kings adopted Muslim titles like “Shah” alongside Buddhist names and titles, appeared in Persian-inspired dress and the conical hats of Isfahan and Mughal Delhi, minted coins and medallions inscribing kalima (Islamic declaration of faith) in Persian and Arabic scripts, and spoke several languages. Persian and Bengali languages were patronised and used as the official and court languages of Arakan.
According to Dr Ko Ko Gyi, “This was because they (Arakanese kings) not only wished to be thought of as sultans in their own rights, but also because there were Muslims in ever larger number among their subjects.”
Arakan was virtually ruled by Muslim from 1430 to 1531
This period in history is filled with examples of close relations between different communities and religions in the region, and a time when art and literature flourished. For example, the 17th century king Narapadigyi trusted and loved Magan Thakur, a noted poet of medieval Bengali literature, so much that at the hour of his death, he left his only daughter under Magan’s custody. When this princess became the principal queen of Tado Mintar, she entrusted the Chief Ministership to Magan Thakur, realising the guardianship she enjoyed in childhood.

From ministers to refugees

In those days, it was not uncommon for Muslims to occupy chief administrative posts in government. Burhanuddin, Ashraf Khan, Sri Bara Thakur were distinguished Lashkar Wazirs (Defence or War Ministers); Magan Thakur, Syyid Musa, Nabaraj Majlis were efficient Prime Ministers; and Syyid Muhammad Khan and Srimanta Sulaiman were capable ministers in Arakan. There were lots of other Muslim ministers, high civil and military officers who contributed to the growth of Islamic culture in Arakan. In fact, Arakan was depicted as an Islamic state in the map of The Times Complete History of the World, showing cultural division of Southeast Asia (distribution of major religions) in 1500.

Noted Burmese historian Col. Ba Shin, ex-chairman of the Burma Historical Commission, wrote in a research paper that “Arakan was virtually ruled by Muslim from 1430 to 1531.” From 1430 to 1645, for a period of more than two hundred years, the kingdom of Arakan followed an imperial, administrative order similar to the ones in Gaur and Delhi, with the head of officials known as Qazis. Some of them were prominent in the history of Arakan, such as Daulat Qazi, Sala Qazi, Gawa Qazi, Shuza Qazi, Abdul Karim, Muhammad Hussain, Osman, Abdul Jabbar, Abdul Gafur, Mohammed Yousuf, Rawsan Ali and Nur Mohammed etc. Gradually, a mixed Muslim society and culture developed and flourished around the capital.
By the 17th century, Muslims had entered Arakan in a big way on four different occasions; the Arab traders; two big contingents of the Muslim army in the course of restoring King Saw Mun to the Arakanese throne; the captive Muslims carried by pirates in the 16th-17th centuries, and the family retinue of Shah Shuja in 1660 A.D. Of them, the army contingents entering Arakan were numerically very great and influenced Arakanese society and culture greatly.
According to court poet Shah Aloal, “The Muslim population of Arakan consisted roughly of four categories, namely, the Bengalee, other Indian ethnicities, Afro-Asians and an indigenous population. Among these four categories, the Bengalee Muslims formed the largest part of the total Muslim population of Arakan.”
Thus, the Rohingya, with bona fide historical roots in the region, have evolved with distinct ethnic characteristics in Arakan from peoples of different ethnical backgrounds over the past several centuries. Genealogically, Rohingya are Indo-Aryan descendants. Genetically, they are an ethnic mix of Bengalis, Indians, Moghuls, Pathans, Arabs, Persians, Turks, Moors and central Asians, and have developed a separate culture and a mixed language, which is absolutely unique to the region.
The author is Chairman of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO). He can be reached at nuromor@yahoo.com


17 July, 2017

ရခိုင္လူမ်ိဳး ႏွင့္ “ေမာဂ္” ဟူေသာ ေဝါဟာရ အမည္၏ ဇစ္ျမစ္မ်ား ျဖစ္တည္ လာရာ သမိုင္း မွတ္တမ္း အက်ဥ္း ဖြင့္ဆိုျခင္း

’’ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံသမိုင္း’’ စာအုပ္၊ စာမ်က္ႏွာ(၄၇)တြင္ ’’ဘဂၤလားသားမ်ားက ရခိုင္လူမ်ိဳးတို႔အေပၚ မဂ္ (Mag)သို႔မဟုတ္ ေမ့ဂ်္(Mage) ဟူေသာ ေဝါဟာရ’’ေခါင္းစဥ္ေအာက္၌ ဆာအာသာဖယ္ယာက ေအာက္ပါ အတိုင္းတင္ျပထားပါသည္။
မြန္ဂိုလြိဳင္အႏြယ္ဝင္ ရခိုင္သားတို႔သည္ ဤအသံုးအႏႈန္းကိုမသိၾကပါ။ ဤအသံုးအႏႈံးမွာ ဘဂၤလား သားတို႔က ရခိုင္သား တို႔အားေပးထားေသာ အမည္ေဝါဟာရျဖစ္သည္။ စစ္တေကာင္းခရိုင္အတြင္း အမ်ားအ ျပားေန ထိုင္ၾကၿပီး မိမိတို႔ကိုယ္ကို ’’ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီ’’ဟုေခၚေသာ သူတို႔အားလည္း ဘဂၤလားသားတို႔က ဤအမည္ျဖင့္ ပင္ ေခၚေဝၚသံုးစြဲၾကပါသည္။
မိမိတို႔သည္ ရခိုင္မင္းဆက္တစ္ခုႏွင့္ လူမ်ိဳးခ်င္း အတူတူပင္ျဖစ္ ေသာေၾကာင့္ ဤအမည္ကို ခံယူျခင္းျဖစ္သည္ဟု ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီတို႔က ဆိုပါသည္။ သူတို႔သည္ဗုဒၶဘာသာကိုး ကြယ္သူမ်ားျဖစ္ၾကသည္။ စစ္တေကာင္းေဒသိယ စကားကိုသံုးေသာ ဘဂၤလီဘာသာစကားေျပာဆိုၾကပါ သည္။ ထူးျခားေသာ မ်က္ႏွာေပါက္ရွိေသာ္လည္း မြန္ဂိုလီယန္ မ်ားမဟုတ္ၾကပါ။
ဤစစ္တေကာင္းခရိုင္ရွိ ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီဦးေရမွာ ၁၈၇ဝ-၇၁ႏွစ္သန္ေခါင္စာရင္းအရ ၁ဝ၈၂၅ ဦးျဖစ္ပါသည္။ (’ဟန္းတား’ ေရး ’ဘဂၤလား’၊ အတြဲ ၆၊ စာ ၂၅ဝ)။ စစ္ေတြခရိုင္တြင္ အနည္းအက်ဥ္းေတြ႔ရွိရပါသည္။ ဤသူ တို႔သည္ ေသြးေႏွာလူမ်ိဳးတစ္ စုျဖစ္သည္။ ၁၇ ရာစုအတြင္း ရခိုင္ဘုရင္မ်ား စစ္တေကာင္းကို သိမ္းပိုက္ အုပ္စိုးၾကေသာအခါ ဘဂၤလီအမ်ိဳး သမီးမ်ားအား မိဖုရားေျမွာက္ၾကျခင္းျဖင့္ ဤသို႔ ဆင္းသက္ေပါက္ဖြား လာျခင္းျဖစ္မည္ဟု ယခင္က ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္ယူ ဆခဲ့ပါသည္။
ေနာက္ထပ္ေလ့လာဆင္ျခင္ၾကည့္ေသာအခါ ယခင္ကႏွင့္ ကြဲျပားျခားနားေသာ နိဂံုးခ်ဳပ္ခ်က္ တစ္ခုကို ရရွိလာခဲ့ ပါသည္။ သီးျခားကိုယ္ပိုင္ဟန္ရွိေသာ ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီတို႔သည္ မာဂဒါမွ ရခိုင္ျပည္တြင္းသို႔ ေျပာင္းေရႊ႔ဝင္ေရာက္ လာသူမ်ားထံမွ ဆင္းသက္လာသူမ်ားျဖစ္ေပမည္။ ဘဂၤလီမ်ားက ေခၚေဝၚေသာ အမည္မွာ လည္း သူတို႔ဆင္းသက္လာေသာ လူမ်ိဳး၊ သူတို႔ထြက္ခြာလာခဲ့သည့္တိုင္းျပည္ကိုအစြဲျပဳ၍ မွည့္ေခၚ ျခင္းျဖစ္မည္ဟု ယခုအခ်ိန္တြင္ ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္ယူဆထားပါသည္။
ရခိုင္ျပည္တြင္စိုးစံခဲ့ေသာ ႏိုင္ငံျခားမင္းဆက္တစ္ ခုသည္ ဘီဟာနယ္ေတာင္ပိုင္းမွျဖစ္သည္မွာ ေသခ်ာ သေလာက္ျဖစ္ ပါသည္။ လူမ်ိဳးျခားတို႔ မင္းျပဳခဲ့ သည့္အျဖစ္ကို ယခုေခတ္တြင္ သိပ္ၿပီးခံတြင္း မေတြ႔ၾကေစကာမူ ရခိုင္ရာဇဝင္ဆရာတို႔က ဤအခ်က္မွန္ကန္ ေၾကာင္း ေဖာ္ထုပ္ျပဆိုခဲ့ၾကၿပီးျဖစ္သည္။ ဘီဟာနယ္ေတာင္ပိုင္း၌ ယခင္အုပ္စိုးခဲ့ေသာ မင္းသားမ်ား၌ ’မဂၢါ (Maga)’ဟူေသာလူမ်ိဳး အမည္ ရွိၾကသည္ဆိုျခင္းမွာ မျငင္းႏိုင္ေသာ အခ်က္တစ္ခုပင္ျဖစ္ပါသည္။
ေဒါက္တာ ဖရန္စစ္ဘူခ်ာနန္၏ သုေတသနျပဳခ်က္၊ ေဒါက္တာဒဗလ်ဴ၊ ဒဗလ်ဴ၊ ဟန္းတား၏ေနာက္ပိုင္း ေလ့လာေတြ႔ရွိ ခ်က္တို႔ကယခုေခတ္ပတၱနာခရိုင္အတြင္းရွိ ရာဇၿဂိဟ္တြင္ မဂဒါမင္းမ်ား အုပ္စိုးခဲ့ၾကေၾကာင္း ျပသထားပါ သည္။ ဤမင္းမ်ားသည္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာဝင္မ်ား ျဖစ္ၾကပါသည္။ ဤလူမ်ိဳးထဲမွမင္းဆက္တစ္ခု ရခိုင္ျပည္ကိုအုပ္ စိုးခဲ့သည္ဟူေသာ အဆိုမွန္ကန္ေၾကာင္း မွတ္ယူႏိုင္ပါသည္။
ဤမ်ိဳးႏြယ္စုအၾကြင္းက်န္တို႔က ေနာက္ပိုင္း ကာလမ်ားတြင္ ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီဟူေသာအမည္ကို ခံယူခဲ့ၾကသည့္ ရည္ရြယ္ ခ်က္မွာ သူတို႔သည္ ရခိုင္မင္းမ်ားႏွင့္ မ်ိဳးႏြယ္တစ္ခုတည္းျဖစ္သည့္အေနျဖင့္ သူတို႔၏အေရးပါမႈကို ခိုင္မာေစလိုျခင္းပင္ျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ဤေဝါဟာရ ကို ရန္ဂပူခရိုင္ေန’’ခ်ႏၵလာ(စႏၵလ)မ်ာႏွင့္ အျခားေသာ ဇာတ္နိမ့္ တို႔ကလည္း ခံယူသံုးစြဲဖူးၾကပါသည္။ ယခုေဆြေႏြးေနေသာလူမ်ိဳးထဲတြင္ သူတို႔လည္း ပါဝင္သည္ ဟူ၍ ခိုင္ခိုင္ လံုလံုမတင္ျပႏိုင္ပါ။
မြန္ဂိုလြိဳင္အ ႏြယ္ျဖစ္ေသာ ရခိုင္ျပည္သူလူထုတစရပ္လံုးကို ’’မဂၢါ’’ ဟူေသာအမည္ျဖင့္ ေခၚေဝၚႏိုင္ျခင္း ဆိုသည္ မွာ မ်ိဳးႏြယ္ေဗဒအမွားတစ္ရပ္ျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ဤအမွားသည္ ဥေရာပသား စာေရးသူမ်ားအၾကား အရႈပ္အေထြးျဖစ္ ေပၚေစခဲ့ပါသည္။ သို႔ရာတြင္ဘီဟာနယ္မွ ေရႊ႔ေျပာင္းေနထိုင္လာၾကသည္ဟူေသာ အမွန္တရားကမႈ ဤအမွား ေၾကာင့္ ေမွးမွိန္ေပ်ာက္ကြယ္သြားျခင္းမရိွပါ။
အထက္ပါအေၾကာင္းအရာတို႔သည္ လက္ခံယံုၾကည္ႏိုင္ေလာက္ေသာ ေဆြးေႏြးတင္ျပႏိုင္ခ်မ်ားျဖစ္ ဟန္မရွိ ေသာ္လည္း ၁၈၈၃ ခုႏွစ္ကတည္းကပင္မည္သူကမွ် တံု႔ျပန္ေဆြးေႏြးမႈ မျပဳလုပ္ၾကပါ။
အထပ္ေဖာ္ျပပါ စာတမ္းကို ပံုႏွိပ္ထုပ္ေဝသည့္ ၁၈၃ ခုႏွစ္မွစ၍ ယေန႔ထိတိုင္ ဤစာတမ္းပါအခ်က္ အလက္ တို႔သည္ ျပန္လည္ေဝဖန္ဆန္းေဆြးေႏြးမည့္သူမရွိဘဲ ရပ္တည္ေနႏိုင္ခဲ့ပါသည္ ။ ေနာက္ပိုင္း သုေတသန ျပဳခ်က္မ်ား၊ ေလ့လာစံုစမ္းခ်က္မ်ားမွ ရရွိလာေသာအခ်က္အလက္မ်ားက စာတမ္းပါအခ်က္ အလက္ အားလံုးကို ျငင္းဆိုပယ္ခ်လိုက္ပါသည္ ။ “ ေမာဂ္ ” သို႔မဟုတ္ “ မဂၢါ ” ဟူေသာေဝါဟာရသည္ ဖယ္ယာေျပာသကဲ့သုိ႔ ေတာင္ပိုင္းဘီဟာနယ္မွလာသည္ဟု ယူဆၾကေသာ မဂၢါလူမ်ိဳးတို႔ႏွင့္တစ္စံုတရာ ဆက္စပ္မႈမရွိပါ ။
ရွီဟာဘူဒင္ လာလစ္ရွ္၏ ေခတ္ၿပိဳင္ပါရွန္မွတ္တမ္း ၊ ဘိုဒလီယန္းလက္ေရးစာမူ ၊ စာမ်က္ႏွာ ၅၈၉ တြင္ အတိအက်  ေဖာ္ျပ ထားသည္မွာ “ ေမာဂ္ ” သည္ “ မူဟာမိလ္အီ-ဆဂ္ ” ဟူေသာ စကား၏ အတိုေကာက္ျဖစ္ၿပီး ‘ စက္ဆုတ္ဖြယ္ ေကာင္းေသာေခြး ’ ဟု အဓိပၸါယ္ေဆာင္သည္ဟုဆုိပါသည္ ။ ဘဂၤလား အေရွ႕ပိုင္း တြင္ေန ထုိင္လ်က္ရွိၿပီး ပင္လယ္ဓားျပလုပ္ငန္းႏွင့္ အျခားေသာ ဒုစရုိက္လုပ္ငန္း တုိ႔ျဖင့္ ေခတ္ၿပိဳင္ မိုဟာေမဒင္တို ႔အား အရွက္တကြဲ ျဖစ္ေစခဲ့ေသာ ဂုဏ္သိကၡာညႇိဳးႏြမ္းေစခဲ့ေသာ ရခိုင္လူမ်ိဳးတို႔အေပၚ သိကၡာ ခ်ေခၚေဝၚေသာေဝါဟာ ရျဖစ္ပါသည္။ (မဂိုအိႏၵိယေလ့လာခ်က္ ၊ ဆာကား ၊ စာ ၁၁၈ ) ။
ဤယူဆခ်က္ကိုေထာက္ခံသည့္ အေျခအေနမ်ားစြာရွိသျဖင့္ အထက္ပါရွင္းလင္းခ်က္၏ မွန္ကန္မႈကို အနည္းငယ္မွ် သံသယျဖစ္စရာမရွိပါ ။ ‘ ေမာဂ္ ’ ဟူေသာ ေဝါဟာရ၏ တည္ရွိမႈကို အသိအမွတ္ျပဳၾကေသာ္ လည္း မည္သည့္ရခိုင္တစ္ဦး၊ မည္သည့္ရာဂ်္ဘန္စီတစ္ဦးကမွ် မိမိကိုယ္ မိမိ ေမာဂ္ဟူ၍ ေျပာလည္းမေျပာ ၊ ေရးလည္းမေရးၾကပါ ။ အေျပာေရာ အေရးပါ ႏွစ္ခုစလံုး၌ ဤေဝါဟာရကို သံုးစြဲ ေနၾကသူမ်ားမွာ မိုဟာေမဒင္တုိ႔သာ ျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။ ဤေဝါဟာရကို ပထမဆံုးသံုးစြဲေသာကာလမွာ ၁၆ ရာစုအဆံုး သို႔မဟုတ္ ၁၇ ရာစုအစပိုင္း ျဖစ္ဖြယ္ရွိပါသည္ ။
ထုိထက္ေစာေသာ မည္သည့္မွတ္တမ္း၌မွ် ဤေဝါဟာရကို ေျခရာခံ၍ မရပါ ။ ေနာက္ဆံုး အေနျဖင့္တင္ျပရလွ်င္ ‘ ေမာဂ္ ’ ဟူေသာေဝါဟာရတည္လာေအာင္ အဓိက လွံဳ႕ေဆာ္ေပးေသာ အရာမွာ စစ္တေကာင္းပင္လယ္ဓားျပ၏ အေရွ႕ ဘဂၤလား ျမစ္ဝကြၽန္းေပၚေဒသတစ္ခြင္ လႈပ္ရွားမႈမ်ားျဖစ္ပါလိမ့္မည္ ။ ထုိေခတ္ မိုဟာေမဒင္ စာေရးဆရာမ်ားသည္ ပင္လယ္ဓားျပတို႔က်ဴးလြန္ေသာ ဒုစရုိက္လုပ္ငန္းမ်ားကို ဖတ္ခ်င္စဖြယ္လည္းျဖစ္ ၊ ယံုၾကည္အားထား၍လည္းရႏိုင္ေလာက္ေအာင္ စာေပျဖင့္ မွတ္တမ္းတင္ ထားခဲ့ၾကပါသည္ ။
ဤပင္လယ္ဓားျပတုိ႔ ( ေပၚတူဂီႏွင့္ ရခိုင္လူမ်ိဳးမ်ား) ၏ ဖ်က္ဆီးမႈမ်ား မည္မွ် အကြက္စိပ္သလဲဆုိလွ်င္ စစ္တေကာင္း မွသည္ ဒကၠာအထိ ျမစ္ကမ္းဝဲယာရွိ အိမ္တစ္အိမ္မွမလြတ္ဟုဆုိပါသည္။ ပင္လယ္ဓားျပ တုိ႔သည္ ဟိႏၵဴႏွင့္မူဆလင္တုိ႔အား ဇာတ္နိမ့္ဇာတ္ျမင့္မေရြး ၊ ေယာက်္ားမိန္းမမေရွာင္ သိမ္းက်ဴံး လ်က္ လက္ဝါး ကိုေဖာက္၍ ႀကိမ္ႏွင့္တဲြသီကာ ဖမ္းဆီးယူသြားၾကပါသည္ ။ ေပၚတူဂီတို႔လက္ေအာက္သို႔ ေရာက္ရွိသြားသူမ်ားမွာ ေစ်းတင္အေရာင္းခ့ၾကရပါသည္ ။ ရခိုင္တုိ႔ကမူ ဖမ္းမိသူတို႔အား ရခိုင္ျပည္ လယ္ယာ လုပ္ငန္း၌ ခိုင္းေစရန္ ေခၚယူသြားၾကပါသည္ ။
နာမည္ႀကီးပင္လယ္ဓားျပ ဒီလားလ္ခန္၏ စြန္႔စားခန္းတို႔ကို ဆင္းဒဝစ္ကြၽန္းတြင္ ယေန႔အထိ အမွတ္တရ ရွိေနၾကဆဲ ။ သူ႔အေၾကာင္းကို ပံုျပင္သဖြယ္ ေျပာဆုိေနၾကဆဲ ျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။ ဒီလားလ္ခန္သည္ ပင္လယ္ ဓားျပ လုပ္ငန္းတြင္ သူမတူေအာင္ ကြၽမ္းက်င္လိမ္မာသူျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။ ေတာပုန္းႀကီး ေရာ္လင္ဟုသ္ကဲ့သုိ႔ပင္ သူသည္ ဆင္းရဲသားမ်ားအား အကူအညီေပးပါသည္ ။ အကာအကြယ္ ေပးသည္ ။ လူခ်မ္းသာကိုသာ တုိက္ခိုက္လုယက္ သူျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။
( ဘဂၤလားေရာက္ ေပၚတူဂီသမုိင္း ။ ကမ္ေပါ့စ္ ၊ စာ – ၁၅၇ ။ ေဂ်- အီး-ဝက္ဘ္စတာ၏ ႏိုဝါခါလီေဂဇက္ တီးယား ၊ စာ ၁၉ ႏွင့္ ၂၀ လည္းရႈ ) ။ ( စတီးဝပ္ ၏ ဘဂၤလားသမိုင္း ၊ စာ – ၃၆၂ လည္းရႈ ) ။ အကၠဘာ ဘုရင္ လက္ထက္မွစ၍ ဘဂၤလားပင္လယ္ဓားျပ လုပ္ငန္း သည္ ရိုးရိုးရွိစဥ္လုပ္ငန္းတစ္ရပ္ျဖစ္ခဲ့ပါသည္ ။ ေအဒီ ၁၆၆၆ ခုႏွစ္ ၊ ဇႏၷဝါရီလ ၊ ရွားအီစတာခန္ လက္ထက္က်မွ ပင္လယ္ဓားျပလုပ္ငန္း နိဂံုးခ်ဳပ္ သြားျခင္းျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။
သို႔ျဖစ္ရာ အေရွ႕ဘဂၤလားသားမ်ားအေနျဖင့္ မိမိတို႔၏ အိုးအိမ္စည္းစိမ္ဥစၥာတို႔ကုိ ဖ်က္ဆီးလုယက္ ခဲ့ၾကေသာ ရခိုင္သား တို႔အား မုန္းတီးျခင္းမွာ ေလ်ာ္ကန္ သင့္ျမတ္ သည္ဟု မွတ္ယူႏုိင္ပါသည္ ။ ရခိုင္သား တို႔အား ‘ ေမာဂ္ ’ ဟုေခၚေဝၚၾကျခင္းမွာလည္း သူတို႔၏ အခဲမေက်ႏုိင္ ေသာ ရန္သူမ်ား အေပၚထားရွိသည့္ ျပင္းျပေသာ အမုန္း တရားမ်ားကို ေဖာ္ျပခ်က္သက္သက္သာျဖစ္ပါသည္ ။
ရခုိင္ျပည္ဆုိင္ရာ ဂုဏ္ထူးေဆာင္ေရွးေဟာင္းသုေတသနအရာရွိ
( Report of Honorary Archaeological Officer , Arakan .
( For the Year Ending 31 st March , 1992)

Note: မ်တ္ခ်က္။    ။ ရခိုင္ျပည္အုပ္ခ်င္ေရးမွူး Robinson  ႏွင့္ Mr Patonတို့၏ အစီရင္ခံစာမ်ားတြင္ ရခိုင္ ကိုေမာဂ္ ဟု သုံးစြဲထားျပီး ကုလါး ကို အာရကန္မြတ္စလင္လို့လို့သုံးစြဲခဲ႔ရတဲ႔အေျကာင္းကုိ ရွင္းလင္း တင္ၿပ ထားၿခင္း မရွိေပ။

11 April, 2017

Arakan Before 1000 AD By Aman Ullah

The earliest name of Arakan was ‘Kala Mukha’ (Land of the) Black Faces writes Noel Francis Singer in his book ‘Vaishali and the Indianization of Arakan’. It was inhabited by these dark brown-colored Indians who had much in common with the people (today’s Bangladeshis, or more particularly Chittagonians) living on the north-western side of the Naaf River, along the adjoining coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal. The resemblance was not limited to physical features like skin color, shape of head and nose alone, but also in shared culture and beliefs.
It had been a Hindu land since time immemorial. As evidenced by numerous archeological finds, it is obvious that the Hindu colonists, fuelled by their need for trade and commerce, gold and silver, first colonized the region in the early 1st century CE. By the 3rd century, the coastal regions of Kala Mukha had been settled, with the colonists dominating and coexisting warily with the aboriginal tribes. The Lords of the Solar and Lunar dynasties from far off Bharatavarsha had indeed arrived. In the major habitation sites, Sanskrit was the written language for the ruling classes, and religious beliefs were those current at the time on the subcontinent.
Dr. Emil Forchhammer, a Swiss Professor of Pali at Rangoon College, and Superintendent of the newly founded Archaeological Survey [1881] described this fertile region that, "The earliest dawn of the history of Arakan reveals the base of the hills, which divide the lower course of the Kaladan and Lemro rivers, inhabited by sojourners from India, governed by chiefs who claim relationship with the rulers of Kapilavastu. Their subjects are divided into the four castes of the older Hindu communities; the kings and priests study the three Vedas; the rivers, hills, and cities bear names of Aryan origin; and the titles assumed by the king and queen regent suggest connection with the Solar and Lunar dynasties of India.”
The second phase of Indianization of Arakan occurred between the 4th and the 6th century CE, by which time the colonists had established their kingdom, and named their capital Vaishali. As a port city, Vaishali was in contact with Samatat (the planes of lower Bangladesh) and other parts of India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Historically, these early rulers came to be known as the Chandras and controlled the territories as far north as Chittagong.
Dr Johnston, an epigraphist of Balliol College, Oxford, who translated the Sanskrit inscription (circa 729) of Ananda Chandra felt that the region had come under the control of the descendents of the [Licchavi] ruling family from Vaishali, Bihar, when they fled from the ascendancy of the Imperial Guptas (circa 300-467). According to him, as the time scale corresponds with the second surge of Hindu migration into Southeast Asia, and the creation of the new Vaishali, when the Licchavi, under Dven Chandra (circa 370-425) established a Chandra vamsa (Lunar dynasty); previously the Licchavi claimed to be of the Surya vamsa (Solar dynasty).
The Anand Chandra Inscription, which contains 65 verses (71 and a half lines) and now sited at the Shitthaung pagoda, provides some information about these early rulers. Interestingly, neither the name of the kingdom or the two premier cities – Dhanyavati and Vaishali – is mentioned. This 11-foot high monolith, unique in entire Burma, has three of its four faces inscribed in a Nagari script, which is closely allied to those of Bengali and north-eastern India.
The script on the panel on the east face is believed by Johnston to be the oldest. According to Pamela Gutman it was similar to the type of script used in Bengal (Bangladesh) during the early 6th century CE. As to the panel on the north face, Johnston mentioned that several smaller inscriptions in Bengali characters had been added in the 10th century. Gutman however felt that the principal text in this section is of the mid-11th century CE. The panel on the west face, which is reasonably preserved, is believed by Gutman to be of the earlier part of the 8th century. This priceless document not only lists the personalities of each monarch but also some of the major events of every reign.
So who is this Ananda Chandra? In verse 64, it clearly says that he was a descendant of the Saiva-Andhra monarch whose kingdom was located between the Godavari and Krishna Rivers of Bengal, and close to the Bay of Bengal. The founder of this new dynasty was Vajra Sakti who reigned circa 649-665 CE. His successor was Sri Dharma Vijaya, who reigned from circa 665-701. As noted by Singer, and much in contrast to Rakhine claims, Dharma Vijaya was not a Theravada Buddhist, but probably a Mahayanist. The next in line was Narendra Vijaya who reigned from circa 701 to 704 CE. The next to rule was Sri Dharma Chandra, who reigned from 704 to 720 CE. He was the father of Ananda Chandra who was a munificent patron of Mahayana Buddhism and Hindu institutions.
Archaeological remains, many historical and numismatics evidence confirms that it was a Hindu Indian state in the style of that period. According to MS Collis, “The area now known as north Arakan had been for many years before the 8th century the seat of Hindu dynasties; in 788 A.D. a new dynasty known as the Chandra, founded the city of Wesali; this city became a noted trade port to which as many as a thousand ships came annually; the Chandra kings were upholders of Buddhism, guarding and glorifying the Mahamunni shrine; their territory extended as far north as Chittagong; the dynasty came to an end in 957 A.D. being overwhelmed by a Mongolian invasion. The conclusion to be drawn from this MS. is that Wesali was an easterly Hindu kingdom of Bengal, following the Mahayanist form of Buddhism and that both government and people were Indian as the Mongolian influx had not yet occurred.”
History does not help us in forming an idea of Burmese infiltration into Arakan before 11th century. Hall and others described the Araknese (Rakhines) of today as “basically Burmese with an unmistakable Indian admixture …It is only about the 11th century that we can speak of a people of Indo-Mongoloid stock, from an ethnic group in the intermixture of tribes of various ethnic origins, such as, Australoid, Mongoloid and other elements now known as Arakanese Buddhist.
The Rakhines were the last significant group to come to Arakan. They appear to have been an advance guard of Burmans who began to cross the Arakan Yoma in ninth century. And they “could not be genealogically the same as to the people of Dannya Waddy and Wethali dynasties.” In old Burmese the name Rakhine first appeared in slave names in the inscriptions of 12th century. Dr. S.B. Kanango, said the name Rakhine was given by Burman and it was found in 12th to 15th century stone inscriptions of Tuparon, Sagaing. In early days not a single inscription was found in present day speaking Rakhine language. “The scripture of those early days found in Arakan indicate that they were in early Bengali script and thence the culture there also was Bengali.” Hence earlier dynasties are thought to have been Indians, ruling over a population similar to that of Bengal”
But in medieval times there was a reorientation eastward; the area fell under Pagan’s dominance, and Arakanese people began to speak a dialect of Burmese, something that continues to this day. With Burmese influence came ties to Ceylon and the gradual prominence of Theravada Buddhism.
Arabs were the earliest people to travel to the east by sea. They were in contact with Arakan even during the pre-Islamic days. The Arakanese first received the message of Islam from the ship wracked Arabs in 788 A.D. Such ship-wrecks were occurred over and over in the coasts of Arakan and Chittagong.
This Arab presence, with the message of Islam, made up the nucleus of Muslim society in Arakan. Thus in Wesali the Arakanese practiced Hinduism, Mahayanist form of Buddhism and Islam. The Burmese military regime affirmed in its official book Sasana Ronwas Htunzepho, published in 1997, “Islam spread and deeply rooted in Arakan since 8th century from where it further spread into interior Burma”.
MS Collis, in collaboration with San Shwe Bu, wrote in his article ‘Arakan place in the civilization of the Bay’ that, “Such was the kingdom of Wesali, an Indian state in the style of the period. But in 957 A.D. occurred an event which was to change it from an Indian into an Indo-Chinese realm and to endow the region of Arakan with its present characteristics. The "True Chronicle" records that in the year 957 A.D., a Mongolian invasion swept over Wesali, destroyed the Chandras and placed on their throne Mongolian kings. This important statement can fortunately be amply substantiated. Over the border in Bengal the same deluge carried away the Pala kings. The evidence for this latter irruption is fully cited in a paper by Mr. Banerji and there is no doubt that the Mongolian invasion, which terminated the ruler of the Palas, closed also the epoch of the Chandras. But while in Bengal the Hindus regained their supremacy in a few years, it would seem that in Arakan the entry of the Mongolians was decisive. They cut Arakan away from India and mixing in sufficient number with the inhabitants of the east side of the present Indo-Burma divide, created that Indo-Mongoloid stock now known as the Arakanese. This emergence of a new race was not the work of a single invasion. The MSS record subsequent Mongolian incursions. But the date 957 A.D. may be said to mark the appearance of the Arakanese, and the beginning of a fresh period.”
Wilhelm Klein, in his book ‘Burma the Golden’ wrote that, ‘all sudden, Arakan changed. The invading tribes made the country face east, away from India. As Burma began to flex its muscles, the profound changes born at Pagan started to transform Arakan... over the centuries the physiognomy of the Arakanese people changed. The racial admixture of Indo-European with only recently arrived Central Asians became predominantly Mongoloid, an ethnic mixture which still characterizes today’s Arakanese.’

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ဘဂၤလားေဒ့ရွ္သည္ လူဦးေရေပါက္ကဲြၿပီး ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္အတြင္း ၀င္ေရာက္လုပ္ကိုင္ စားေသာက္ ေနၾကသည္ဆိုသည့္အခ်က္ကို ျပန္လည္သံုးသပ္ေစလိုဟု ဘဂၤလားေဒ့ရွ္စစ္သံမွဴးက ေျပာ

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