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Human Rights Abuses and Discrimination on Rohingyas by Zaw Min Htut

 Category: History  Publisher: Zaw Min Htut  Published: 3 September 2003  Tags: Human RightsHuman Rights AbusesMyanmar MilitaryRohingya |  Download


The Rohingyas. whose settlements in Arakan dated back to 788 A.D., are an ethnic group developed from different stocks of people. They trace their ancestry to Arabs, Moors, Persian, Turks, Mughals, Pathans. Bengalees, Rakhine, Chakmas, Dutch and Portuguese.  Arakan was an early kingdom of Bengal. The government and people were Bengalees. Mahating Chandra, the first king of Chandra dynasty. ascended the throne in 788 A.D. and founded the city of Wesali. The dynasty came to an end in 957 A.D. by Mongolian invasions.  Rohang/Roshang, the old name of Arakan, was very familiar to the Arab seafarers even during pre-Islamic days. The descendants of the mixed marriage between the local people and Arabs founded the original nucleus of the Rohingyas in Arakan.

In 1406 A.D. the Burmans invaded Arakan and occupied it. Naramieikhla, the king of Arakan took shelter at Guar, the then capital city of Muslim Bengal and stayed for 24 years and studied Mathematics. Natural Science and Monotheistic Belief (Islam). In 1429 A.D. the King of Bengal, Jalaluddin Mohammed Shah, at the request of Naramieikhla dispatched his military  Commander of Chittagong, Gen. Wali Khan, at the head of 50,000 Pathan forces to conquer Arakan and reinstate Narameikhla (Solaiman Shah) on the throne in Arakan.

Wali Khan drove away the. Burman, but betrayed his trust and took control of the powder. Wali Khan ruled Arakan for one year. Naramieikhla went back to Sultan. The Sultan sent a second Party of Pathan forces under Gen. Sandi Khan who over through  Wali Khan  who ultimately restored  Naramieikhla (Solaiman Shah)  to the throne in 1430A.D.  Most of the Pathan soldiers of Wali Khan and Sandi Khan never went back to Bengal. They were the ancestors of Rohingyas who settled in Arakan since 1430. Solairnan Shah deployed the Army of Sandi Khan throughout the borders of Arakan and the security guards of the palace.

Narameikhla shifted his capital to a new site known as Mrauk-U or Pattahri Quilla in 1433. He introduced Persian as a state language. He decorated the courts like Guar and appointed Qurazis (Muslim Judges). In this way Arakan became a Sultanate. Contact with a modern civilization resulted in a renaissance of Arakan.  Arakan became a feudatory to Muslim Bengal from 1430 to 1530 A.D. The time Atlas of world history revealed that Arakan was an independent Muslim State in 14th and 15th Century. In 1531, Zabuk Shah (Min Ba Gyi) ascended the throne. With him the Arakanese graduated in their Islamic studies and the Arakanese Empire was founded.

After spending 24 years in Bengal. Naramreikhla   was restored to the throne by the Sultan of Bengal. Since he was dethroned from his palace in Laungart earlier, he decided to build his capital at a strategically secured place. As he might have felt that living among the Muslim community would be safer and wiser, he chose a large Muslim village inhabited by the descendants of Moorish Arabs rehabilitated by the King of Arakan, Mahating Chandra (788-810) after ships wreck. The city was named Mrauk-U. The term Arakan is of Arabic or Persian origin having the same meaning in both these languages. It is a slight variation of theword Rukn. The name may be given by the early Arab traders or by the Arakanese kings while Persian was the official language of Arakan up to 1845.

In 179-5. Francis Buchanan (1162- 1829) was attached its surgeon to captain Michael Symes’ Embassy to Ava, the capital of Burma. In his account ”A comparative vocabulary of some of the languages, spoken in Burma Empire,” about the language of Arakan  Buchanan wrote,” the  Muslim who have long settled in Arakan  and  who call themselves – Rooinga or native of Arakan … the Muslims who settled in  Arakan..called  the country Rovingaw,  the Persian call it Rukon.”

There is a historic stone pillar-of-Vesali Chandra dynasty (788-957 C.E.) which now lies close to the Shittaung Phara  pagoda’s entrance. Out of the73 lines inscription of the northern side of the pillar, 69 lines were written in Proto-Bengali script. In the 42nd line, the name of Arakan (country) was written ”Arakandesh”. The Legendary Hanifa Tonki and Khayafuri Tonki (both are shrines) in the Mayu territory, the shrines of ”Baba-gyi Shah Monayan of Arnbari and Bader Mokkarn,” situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal at Akyab, all bear evidence of the arrival of Muslim saints in Arakan in the early period of history.

The people of Burma are today struggling to reclaim their rights and freedom of their country from one of the world’s cruelest longest lasting dictatorships.  The cost is high. Thousands of peaceful democracies, activists have been killed. Many have been tortured and imprisoned. Yet even individuals fall prey to repression, the democratic sprit of Burma’s peoples refuses to die.