No Image Available

A History of Arakan: Past & Present by Dr. Mohammed Yunus

 Category: Culture, History  Publisher: Dr. Mohammed Yunus  Published: 1 January 1994  Tags: ArakanNatives of ArakanRohingya |  Download


After a little over two centuries under colonial rule Arakan — the once flourishing maritime Muslim Sultanat extending from Dhaka and Sandarbans to Moulmein, a coastal strip of a thousand miles in length and varying from 150 to 20 miles in depth — has now become almost a forgotten land. The irony is that a full, comprehensive history of Arakan has not yet been complied by any unbiased historian.

Whatever sofar have been written about the events that took place in Arakan by modern historians are found either as a separate chapter in the books of history or as titbits here and there in other subjects written with relevance to the history of Arakan. The old Arakanese chronicles, and books and articles written in Burmese language on Arakan by different authors are controversial and some time derailed far away from truth. There are concrete evidences of distortion of the history and heritage of the Arakanese people by vested interest of prejudiced and powerful groups. The world is still, more or less, in the dark as to the realities that governed once the lives of the people of Arakan. one cannot draw the right conclusion in the matter of socio-culture, political and religious life of the people of Arakan without in depth studies of the contemporary histories of India, Bengal, Tripura, Burma and South-east Asia in particular and the Islamic world in general which had, in the course of a long period, close interrelation and interaction with Arakan. To fathom the truth it is important also to study various chronicles written about the region, coins and other archeological findings, monuments and shrines, language and scripts and names of places, rivers and mountains etc. etc. that bear considerable reflections on the history of Arakan.

There is not the slightest doubt that those who occupied Arakan and wished to colonise it forever are deliberately distorting the historical facts to fulfil their sinister design. They use all weapons —racial, religious, political, economic and propaganda — to mislead and divide the two sister communities of Arakan. Today they shamelessly claim that ” there is no such thing like Rohang and Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma); it is invention of certain insurgent groups.” It is hoped that as the pages of this treatise are unfurled, all the misunderstandings, delusions, false notions and misleading interpretations shall be removed from the minds of unbiased readers.

The colonisers of Arakan and their fanatic collaborators have done much wrong to our nation by misleading innocent people. Much water had flowed down the Kaladan. It is time that the two sister communities should be able to learn a good lesson from the bitter past, recognise the machination of the enemy, amend their wrong attitude and join hands for the restoration of their glorious past. I wish that this humble work may serve as an eye-opener to our sister community whose appreciation of the realities of Arakan is inevitable for a peaceful and prosperous future. The ur ge to write this short history on Arakan has been intensified in the backdrop of our enemy’s attempt to completely erase the truth of our past and legacy as an indigenous ethnic community of Arakan. It is to be noted that I am not a professional historian; only the prevalent circumstances had compelled me to take up this job. In spite of various shortcomings and handicapped by dearth of source material this task has been undrtaken with hope that it may serve as a harbinger of truth in Arakan.

Research into the history of a nation is not one man’s job; it is a collective and continuous responsibility of its people. I shall consider myself fortunate enough if this humble work would serve at least as a book of reference for future researchers of the history of Arakan. As an acknowledgement of thanks to those who had a part in making this work possible, I would like to register the name of my colleague Br. Mohammed Ali, first, who had very kindly collected various source materials for me. I offer my grateful thanks also to Br. Prof. Mohd Zakaria and Br. Sayedur Rahman who continuously encouraged me to undertake this work and provided me with most valuable advice time to time. My sincere thanks are also due to Brother Rashid Ahmend who has ungrudgingly carried out repeated typings of the manuscript amid various preoccupations. I would like also to convey my thanks to those who had gone through the manuscript and made valuable suggestions. May Allah Almighty shower His bountiful blessing upon them.

Above all and everything all praises and thanks are due to Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala without whose infinite mercy and blessings, I could not have mustered enough courage to undertake this work.

I expect nothing but the sweet pleasure of Allah Almightly only in carrying out this work. He is the best of seers.

Dr. Mohammad Yunus