A Study on the Issue of Ethnicity in Arakan, Myanmar
by Abu Anin
A mirror reflects exactly any object that stands before it. So does history reflect the past of a people or a nation? History gives us knowledge of past. But history can be a forgotten past, especially for literally less advanced people. After a few generations, history cannot be remembered unless it is written or recorded, and observation of illiterate tribes all over the world shows, that they are helplessly wrong with regard to the events of their history for more than a couple of generations back. Thus recording of history in various forms took place from the early stage of human society.
Records of history are very important such as roots are for trees. Without proper records of history it is very difficult for a people to go ahead. For future planning we need the knowledge of past.
Hence, I have been studying the history of Arakan in particular and of Myanmar in general and have been collecting some important facts and records related to them. Here some of my friends requested me to compile a brief but precise history of Arakan with special attention to the evaluation of Muslim society there and I complied with their request. Writing a history book needs knowledge and experience. It is a big job for me as it will consume time, mind and energy. At the same time I was not free enough because of my personal engagements. Non-availability of some reference books is another factor. Next most of the history books on Arakan, by Arakanese themselves are found to be irrelevant with the latest researches of scholars. Many facts there are illogical, imaginary and exaggerative in nature.
So to bring historical nucleus in to light with authentic references and correct documentations become an essential part of my task here. Further, facts concerning Muslim’s role in Arakan, traditionally have been covered ‘up or distorted. In this treatise my attempt to bring them in to light may be subject to refutation from some circles. Especially three historical nucleuses here may be found deviated from our traditional concept though they are real and true. The main object of this treatise indeed is to shed light on these points.
These three points (nucleus) of Arakan’s history are:
* The existence of a cultural and political transition from Indian Wethali period to Burmese Lemyo period in early 11th century.
* The fact that genealogically Rakhine people are a branch of Tibeto-Burman in contrast to some Rakhine writer’s attempt to show their origin in the Indo-Aryan’ people of Dannyawaddy and Wethali with whom they of course have mixed up to a limited extent.
* The fact that in the light of racial and linguistic affinity with Wethali people, Rohingya of Arakan today are to be designated as the descendants of those early Indo-Aryan people of Arakan.
These new findings of mine may draw criticism from some circles. But these are historic realities supported by prominent researchers of today like Dr. Pamela Gutman of Australia. So it is up to our new generation to research and bring light on these issues.
Records of Muslim role in Arakan are amply found in the chronicles of India and Bengal. But to avoid refutation and denial from some circles, I gave preference to quote from the works of Arakanese, Burmese and some western historians. Most of the points and facts in this thesis are rarely found in the works of present day Arakanese and Burmese writers. Nonetheless, greater parts of my writing are extracted from the works of eminent Arakanese historians and prominent Arakanese politicians of early period. Some inscriptions recently showing the roles of Muslim Kings in Arakan were brought into the light by the researches of Professor G. H. Luce and Dr. Than Tun of former Myanmar Historical Commission. So I have extracted some portions in my thesis from their writings.
References from English books are kept in its original form, where as for Burmese, I Have tried my best not to deviate from the tract and meaning of original writers.
Traditionally, we see Arakanese chronicles always distort or belittle the roles of Muslims in Arakan. Yet we find in them a lot of valuable facts and points, which substantiate the remote past of Muslims and their role in the sociopolitical life of Arakan.
For some issues, which seem contentious, and subject to criticism from some circles I have tried, here, to substantiate them or to authenticity them with the analyses and commentaries of some Arakanese writers. I used the terminology “Magh” for Rakhine, somewhere in this text, not deliberately but unavoidably to conform to the original writings. I am aware that the Arakanese Buddhists used to disclaim that name.
Anyhow, I hope this attempt of mine will give a clear and precise account of both Arakanese history and the roles Muslims had had in it. It will of course help the readers to have a comprehensive and chronological knowledge of Arakanese history.
Even, Dr. Pamela Gutman, an Australian, specialist on the history of ancient Arakan said, “Many gaps in our knowledge of ancient Arakan are soon to be filled by the publication of the catalogue of Burmese manuscripts by BSPP”1. So this research of mine cannot be said to be perfect and complete. I admit my ability not being able to bring all essential facts and points here, in this booklet. Of course my effort is like a drop in an ocean. History is wide and somewhere much complicated. It is up to our younger generation to research and bring to the light the reality of history for our coming generations.
I have avoided the trend, which some people forcibly want to take. History is history. It should be as it was. It cannot be what I want it to be. Sometimes new findings may overshadow old ideas. Further if someone happens to be in disagreement with some facts and points here, he is advised to see the original text concerned. In chapter XI, Muslim influence in the medieval period, some facts will sound repetitive. It is only to substantiate their authenticity I have to quote the opinions and commentaries of different writers on the same subject or fact.
Here, in this thesis Rohingyas, Muslims, Arakanese Muslims or Rakhine Muslims are used frequently to indicate the same entity Rohingya.
Since this is a precise and chronological study of whole Arakan history, I would like to name this treatise as “Towards understanding Arakan history”.
Publicity of Rohingya’s true historical and legal background is essential to promote their stand among the national peoples of Myanmar. So here in this treatise I did try my best to fulfill that object. It is up to my readers to comment how far my maneuvers are successful in achieving that objective.
Lastly I highly appreciate and acknowledge the help contributed by some of my friends who gave me valuable advices and encouragement, and took a great burden to bring this copy up to its fair stage, especially by computerizing it. Without their cooperation this copy is hardly possible to reach its completion. Presently they prefer to remain anonymous.
BRAJ in Japan is given my consent to publish it there. Copyright otherwise in book form or website is reserved by the author. Welcome your constructive opinions and commentaries through the publisher.
A Researcher of Arakan history Yangon,
Union of Myanmar
Dated: November 2002
Arakan, the western most province of Myanmar, for most part of its history was an independent kingdom. As there were frequent incursions and attacks from the east as well as from the west, its central authority sometimes was weak. For many times Arakanese had to seek help from Burma proper to maintain stability in their country. It fell under Burmese (then Ava Kingdom) rule in 1786 and then under British rule in 1826. After Burmese independence in 1948, it became part of Burmese Dominion again.
Dr. Pamela Gutman says the early history of Arakan has been generally considered to be that of a province of India, and hence its study had been neglected by both Indian and South-east Asian historians.2
There always have been a section of people who disfavor to highlight on any political role played by Muslims of Arakan. The roles of Muslims or Rohingyas have been concealed or belittled, in some cases distorted in the writing of that (said above) circle.
Therefore, an attempt hereby is being made to highlight on Muslim roles, but not neglecting the abridgement of Arakan history as a whole. Main sources of reference here are the works of Arakanese and Burmese writers. As regard to foreign sources, Dr. Kanungo, Dr. Pamela Gutman, Moshe Yegar, D. G. E. Hall, G. E. Harvey, Sir Arthur Phayre and M. Collis are frequently quoted.
In this treatise I give more emphasis on the transitional period from Chandra dynasty (Vesali) to Burmese dynasties after the mid 10th century. Some new facts of researches are brought here about the transition. Until now most Arakanese chronicles described this transitional period in a vague manner. According to Rakhine chronicles, the last king of third Wethali (Vesali) King Sula Chandra was succeeded by two Mro Chieftains, Amarathu and his son (some say his nephew) Paipru one after another. They were attacked by Pyus and Shans. Paipru had to flee to the northwest. In the mean time the Sak (Thek) in the north grew stronger. A Sak king Ngamin Ngadon, whom Rakhine chronicle supposed to be a son of late Sula Chandra, seized the throne of Wethali and shifted the capital to Sambowet, not very far from Wethali. Dr. Pamela said there were invasions of Tibeto-Burman from the east and the Sak had revolted against them. But finally the Burmese or the present Rakhine gained the control of the plain and Ngamin Ngadon was dethroned.3 Ngamin Ngadon’s being son of Sula Chandra is an issue subject to question. Sula Chandra’s wife, Chandra Devi, married Amarathu, a Mru. So her infant son, if there was one, should fall in the hands of Mru, not in the hand of Sak, the rival of Mru tribe, who gain the throne of Wethali after Sula Chandra.
Arakan State Council in its publication of Arakan history says Ngamin Ngadon was killed by the conspiracy of eastern people (the Burmese). He was succeeded by Kettathin, who had shifted the capital to Pyinsa. Establishment of Pyinsa is a change and a new phase of Arakan history.4 It further says Wethali is counted up to the end of Sambowet, by historians. U Hla Tun Pru, an eminent Arakanese politician and historian says “they (the Burman) performed other Yatras which contributed to his'(Ngamin Ngadon’s) ruin. No wonder Ngamin Ngadon fell in a wan with king of Pagan in 380 A. E. (Perhaps 818 A. D. according to Arakanese chronicles and 1018 A. D. according to western writers.). Arakan nevertheless kept her independence. The next king was Khettathin, a grand nephew of Sula Chandra. He set up a new capital at Pyinsa. After his death Arakan continue to be ruled by his descendants.5
Here the interesting thing is Kettathin, the successor of Ngamin Ngadon (a Sak) cannot be a half brother of him or a grand nephew of Sula Chandra as Arakanese chronicles try to say. Pamela says when Kattathin was ruling at Pyinsa, there was a parallel king at Wethali. She refers the Prasasti on the north face of Shitthaung pillar, which indicates an effort of a king of Candra line. The king could have been a legitimate member of old Candra family, attempting to counter act from the old capital (Vesali) the influence of puppet kings (Mro, Sak and Burman) owing their allegiance to Pagan and ruling in the new capital, Pyinsa.6 Pamela Gutman continues to say that the Prasasti on the northern face of Shitthaung pillar is a cry for help from the old capital and the last gasp of an Indianized line and the last Sanskrit inscription in Burma.7 So the puppet king, Kettathin at Pyinsa could not be from the family of Sula Candra. The cause or reason behind the Burmese raid was of course to gain the sovereignty over the land. So the successor on the throne would naturally and logically be a man of their own i.e. a Burmese, not a Klansman of defeated Ngamin Ngadon. Further the name Kettathin and the name of successive kings of his descendants were all Burmese, where as Sula Candra and his descendants had been Indians, and if Kettathin and his descendants had been from Sula Candra family line their name would had been Indianized ones too.
That is why Dr. Aye Chan, formerly from Yangon University history department and an Arakanese himself, said there might have been a great political and cultural change or a great upheaval in Arakan in early 11th century A.D.8
So the question of genealogical and cultural affinity between the people of Wethali and present day Rakhine people is a matter subject, to further researches for scholars. To relate homogeneity between the two groups, in my opinion is short of truth. However we will analyze it further in the next chapters especially in the chapter “transition”.
In this treatise the events of late colonial period and post independence periods are discussed on a lengthy basis. The reader may find many new facts in it.
In the mid of Mrauk-U dynasty (AD. 1430 – 1786) Arakan was on its zenith. Its authority extended to the East Bengal (Arakanese chronicle say up to the border of Nepal) in the west and to Pegu and Marttaban in the east. Yet this empire like-kingdom diminished. It is interesting to study how and why?
Next, the chapters, early Muslim contact with Arakan, Muslim influence in Arakan in late medieval period, and patronizing of Bengali literature by Arakanese kings will portray a picture that Muslims in Arakan are not aliens, as many used to think, but an integral part of Arakan’s socioeconomic life. This little treatise will help the readers to judge the Muslims of Arakan (the Rohingyas) from the right geo-political perspective and understand their historical and legal background. This understanding, I hope, will lead to harmony and unity and finally to prosperity.
Rohingya and Rakhine make the major portion of the population of Arakan. There are some differences between them. But if we judge with broader spectrum we will find a lot of similarities and affinities too. So we must utilize these similarities for our common goods.
Arakan population at present is roughly estimated near about 3 million. Approximately half of this total population is Muslims, who are known as Rohingyas, which literally means settlers of Rowang (alias) Arakan. Arakan formerly was known by various names such as Argyre, Rakhapura, Rakhasa, Rakhasha, Arkhoung, Rakhanj, Rakham, Racham, Recon, Rohang, and Rowang respectively varying on the language of different nations who had had close contact with Arakan. We will find it in the chapters “Etymology of Arakan”.
Finally I have added a new chapter, “The survey of UNHCR”. From this chapter, we can learn the viewpoints of international communities over the socio-economic life of Arakan.
At the end of the book some appendices of illustrative maps, photo copies of coins, historic edifices and Rohingya leaders of early period are attached for better documentation.
A Researcher of Arakan History Yangon
Dated: November 2002
A: THE LAND
The physical boundaries of Arakan determined on one hand the extent of control possible by central authority and on the other the opportunities for migration of people and cultures from Bengal on the west and Burma proper on the east. Through out most of her history, the country reached from Lat. 26° 20′ N to Lat. 16° N at the pagoda point and from Long. 92° 20′ E at the Naf River to Long. 95° 20′ E at the crest line of Arakan Yoma. The latitudinal spread varies from about 160 Km in the north to about 40 Km about the latitude of Sandoway narrowing to a point at pagoda point.9
It is a narrow mountainous strip of land along the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal. It stretches north and south, wider in the north and tapering down to the south. It is cut off from Burma proper by a long range of mountains: Arakan Yoma that has some passes to cross along. It has 176 miles long boundary, both land and water with Bengal i.e. now Bangladesh.
Having a long coastal area, its sea communication has been very easy and there were foreign merchant colonies in Arakan. Moshe Yegar, an Israeli researcher says Arakan extend some 250 miles along the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal and the northern part of it today call May yu district was the point of contact with East Bengal. These geographical facts explain the separate historical development of that area, both generally and in terms of its Muslim population until it was conquered by Burmese Kingdom at the close of 18th century. In addition, from the very beginning of Muslim commercial shipping activities in the Bay of Bengal, the Muslim trading ships reached the port of Arakan just as they did the port of Burma proper. And as in Burma, so too in Arakan there is a long tradition of old Indian settlements Bengal became Muslim in 1203, __ In northern Arakan close over land ties were formed with East Bengal. The resulting cultural and political influence was of great significance in the history of Arakan. Actually Arakan served to a large extent as a bridgehead for Muslim penetration to other parts of Burma, although the Muslims never attained the same degree of importance elsewhere as they did in Arakan.10
The present Rakhine State (Arakan) has an area of a little more than 14,000 sq. miles. According to Albert Fytche, from Combermere bay, twenty miles south of Akyab the coast is rugged and rocky, offering few harbors for ships; Kyauk Pru harbor inside the island of Ramree is safe and easy of approach; and at the mouth of Gwa River further south there is a fairly sheltered roadstead and inner harbor easy of access through a channel with two fathoms of water at low tide; the rise and fall of the tide is seven feet only. The coast is studded with fertile islands, the largest of which are Cheduba and Ramree. Owing to the nearness of the mountain range which bounds Arakan, there are not large rivers; the principal ones are the Naf estuary on the extreme west, the Mroo (May Yu) river and the Kaladan River rising some where near the blue mountain in 23° N Lat. Kaladan is navigable for fifty odd miles by vessels of 300 or 400 tons burden, and on the right bank of which, close to its mouth, is situated the town and port of Akyab, the headquarter town of Akyab district and of the Arakan Division.11
In the east of Kaladan there is Lemyo river on which bank were situated all (except Thabaik taung) ancient cities of Arakan. The high ranges of Arakan Yoma extended from Chin Hills to the pagoda point, forming a series of ridges and spurs reaching to the sea the series of rivers, Naf, Mayu, Kaladan and Lemyo have built up narrow alluvial flood plains. The plains are criss-crossed by tidal streams ringed withmangroves.
Agriculture is the main base of economy. The hot wet tropical monsoon climate allows continuous cultivation through out the year.
Most internal and external communication is by water. Today communication with Myanmar proper becomes easier through Ann, Taung Gup, and Gwa passes. There are airports in Akyab, Kyauk Pru and Sandway.
There are about 2 million acres of cultivatable land, a little more than half of which is presently cultivated. The land is fertile with wood and bamboo reserves. There are some natural waterfalls such as Sein Daing waterfall of Buthidaung. There is reserved crude petroleum too. Salt cooking and fishing are other main sources of economy. Sandoway is famous for its Ngapali sea beach recreation center. The official figure of population in 1983 is a little above 1.9 million. Present population may exceed 3 million. There are 17 towns, northern most towns is Maung Daw and the southern most is Gwa. Akyab is the capital of the State (Arakan).
B- THE PEOPLES
Pamela Gutman, an Australian specialist on ancient Arakan, in her Ph.D. thesis described about the peoples of Arakan as the following. The nature of the population during our period is a complex question and only the broadest outline can be attempted here. The present minority groups Mru, Sak, Kumi and other Chins can be seen to have preceded the Rakhine and the related Chaungtha. A. Phayre noticed that the names of Bilu, or Raksasas, the demon-like creatures in the chronicle accounts of the coming of Buddhist missionaries to Arakan bear a strong resemblance to names common among the Khumi and Chin, and certainly the reputation of some Chin tribesis consistent with the activities of the Bilus. Before the slow drainage and formation of the alluvial plain of the Kaladan valley, the population was confined to limited ecological niches; the ridges, where Taungya agriculture has long been practiced, for now most of the natural tropical rain forest has been replaced by secondary growth and the bank of the streams and rivers where sedentary dry rice and millet productions is possible. These remain the habit of the minority groups today.
Presently the population of Aakan mainly consists of Rakhine and Rohingya. Other minorities are Mru, Sak, Daing Net, Chin, Kaman and Myanmargyi (a) Bruwa. Some of these minorities still live a tribal lives. Most of them have their mainstream clans in Chittagong hill tracts.
MRU: Mruin Arakan numbered 14,000 in the 1931census. Most of them inhabit the northern part of Akyab and the Chittagong hill tracts. Professor Luce considers that the Mru entered Arakan from central Burma, noting that “Linguistic connections with Sak-Cantu, Karen and old Burmese seem certain., a few influences from old Mon likely ”. They are he says essentially hill men, slow in progress from the state of hunters and food gatherers to that of food producers and were never wetrice cultivators. Their original claim to the land is reflected in the Arakanese chronicles, which refer to the Mru as inhabitants of the country when the Arakanese entered it. They are sometimes called Mro, in old Burmese Mru1. Their name for themselves is Maru Ts’a “Children of Men”.12 Arakanese chronicles say there were two or three Mru successive kings in late 10th century. They ruled in Wethali for more than two decades after the last Candra king Sula Candra. In 12th century the Mrus had helped king Datharaza in his search for Mahamuni image.13 This Mrus had some political roles-in Arakan history. Phyare further mentions that once Mrus were a powerful tribe on Kaladan, but were driven out by the Khumis who came from the north.
Most of them presently live on the ridges of Buthidaung, Mrauk-U, Min Bya and Kyauk Taw Townships. They formed a political party in 1990; most of them became Christians recently.
KHUMI: They are neighbors of Mru living on the ridges in Akyab District and western part of Paletwa subdivision. They numbered over 30,000 in 1931 census. About 2,000 Khumi also live over the border in Chittagong hill tracts. They speak a language more akin to the western Tibeto-Burman. Their dialect is nearer to Kukhi Chin than the Mru and regarded them as a Tibetan tribe.14 Now-a-days Khumi has some political alliance with Mru. And they jointly registered a political party before the 1990 parliamentary election.
SAK (THET): U Hla Tun Pru shows some affiliation between the people in Chittagog hill tracts and the Sak in Arakan. According to U Hla Tun Pru the Sak speak a Bengali dialects.15 But Dr. Pamela Gutman says they were probably the next group to move into Arakan. Once they spread over ttle north of Burma, from Manipur perhaps to northern Yunnan, the Sak and the closely reiated Kadu people are fragmented a series of tiny minorities in remote places. Luce describes ttleir Tibeto-Burman language as remarkably pure, as well as old, with little admixture. Pamela Gutman tries to relate this Sak with “Thet” of early Burma. Their numbers in 1931 census was only 691. More than 3,000 Sak live in 14 villages in southern Chittagogn hill tracts, and in others along side Mru and Marmas (Arakanese). The Sak attained higher cultural level than any of the other minority peoples in Arakan. Luce writes it seems from the Burmese chronicles that there were Thets in the Arakan Voma (Macchagiri “the fish mountains”) with whom some early Pagan Kings were rather shame facedly in conflict in particular with Thet-min Kadon, king of Sak. A giant king with a similar name Ngamaung Kadon, appeared in the folk lore of Saingdin valley and waterfall in north Arakan, not far to the east of Dodan. During the Pagan Dynasty the pioneers of the invading Burmans, the Rakhuin, must have been pushing over the passes into north Arakan. Was the giant king really one of the pioneer Burmans whohad met himself the king of the Sak; perhaps it was a result of Burman invasion into central plains that Arakan suffered another Sak invasion, or uprising, in the 10th century. In the 10th century when they are said to have destroyed the Mahamunni Shrine in Arakan. They were pushed to the plain of Arakan in 10th century by invading Rakhine (Burman) and there were Sak insurrection in Arakan in 10th century. When Pai Pru, a Mru king, was attacked by Shan and others he fled away from Wethali in 994 A.D. This time there was Sak upheaval. They grew stronger and their chief Ngamin Nga Don gained the throne of Pai Pru, in Wethali. He shifted the capital to Sambowet. Later, he was attacked by the Burman and he was succeeded by Kettathin, who moved the capital to Pyinsa, 16 on the Lemyo River.
CHIN: Pamela Gutman says the Chins are the Kyekyan of old Burma. They are widely spread and diverse. They usually practice hill cultivation. Professor Luce considered that the Chin might have been in the low land of Burma, east of Chindwin Division from the middle of first millennium A.D. Their infiltration into Arakan had certainly begun before the arrival of Burman Rakhaing. Rakhaing were the last significant group to come into Arakan.17
DAIGNET: Daignet was classed as Sak and their number was 6,159 in 1931 census. But they are mostly regarded to be more akin to modern Chakma of Chittagong hill tracts. They appear to be of Tibeto-Burman origin with strain of Chittagonian blood and speak Bengali. In features they differ from other hill tribes of Arakan. They dress in white and wear their hair at the back of the head and they do not tattoo their bodies. They do not intermarry with other races and speak a corrupted Bengali.18
THE BRUWA: They are also called Mramagyi in Rakhine and Mara Magi in Bangladesh. About Bruwa, Dr. S. B. Kanungo says, the Buddhists of Chittagong belong to three groups; the plain Buddhists, the Magh and the Chakma ————–the plain Buddhists are most closely related to Hindus in appearance, dress and diet than their Magh and Chakma co-religionists.19 They speak a dialect similar but not identical to Rohingya language. There are some differences in vocabularies and accents. Yet they can communicate with one another, without much difficulty. Despite their difference in religion Rohingya and Bruwa, genealogically seem to have a close link in remote past. There are a few thousand Bruwas in Arakan today. SLORC Government designated Bruwa as indigenous race of Myanmar. Arakan politicians try to say Bruwas are from Rakhine group of family. But in language and features Bruwas are more identical with Rohingyas. Unlike the Hindus, Bruwa have no caste distinction and food restriction.
THE KAMANS: They are a branch of Muslims. They are said to be the descendants of palace guards of Rakhine kings. U Hla Tun Pru says the followers of prince Shujah were also merged with them in the unit of archers. They recruited new members from northern India. They grew in number later as some Rakhine personal of the same unit converted to Islam. They speak Rakhine language. They are nearer to Rakhine in all aspects except their religion.20 The Kaman version of their history is not far away from this. More about these Kaman will come in the next chapters. The word Kaman (a Persian word) comes for bow and arrow. Kamanchi means bowman.
RAKHINE: Rakhine is greater in number than other ethnic peoples in Arakan. The composition of Rakhine and Rohingya is roughly half and half in Arakan’s population. Rakhine people is educationally advanced and control almost all government departments in Rakhine State (Arakan) and they have ethnic as well as cultural affinity with Burman and that is a reason they gets upper hand in socio-political life of Arakan. The latest research of Australian researcher of Arakan history, Pamela Gutman, says Rakhine were the last significant group to come into Arakan. The date of their arrival is contentious, the chronicles exaggerating the antiquity of their hold on the land. Both culturally and linguistically the Rakhine are closely related to the Burman, although they regard themselves as the older branch of the race. It is well known the Rakhine language preserves a number of archaisms, particularly the use of r and y, no doubt because of the relative isolation by the Yoma, but the same isolation have also led to the development of new forms.21 Hence there are sayings in Burmese “Ping Reik manaing Rakhine Mey (i.e. Ask the Rakhine for correct spelling)”, and “Rakhine vocabularies are Burman’s glossaries”.
Lincanzo Sangermano says “the Rakhine people is ethnically related to the dominant Burman, which had descended from central Asia, hence their physical resemblance and affinities of language with the people of Tibet.22
J. Layden on the Arakanese language states, the Rakhaing race is admitted to be of the same radical stock as the Burman or Burmans, and is understood to have greatly preceded that nation in civilization they consider the Rekheng as the most ancient and original dialect of the Burma language.23
Today, some Rakhines live in Chittagong hill tracts. They call themselves Mrama. Encyclopedia Britannica narrates; most of the tribal people of Bangladesh inhabit the Chittagong hill tracts in the southeast, the least densely populated area of the country. Of the approximately 12 ethno-linguistic tribes of Chittagong hill tracts the four largest are the Chakma, the Marma (Magh), the Tripura (Tipera) and the Mrus.24
An eminent Rakhine politician and historian U Hla Tun Pru says Arakanese and Burmese have affinities of blood, language and alliance between them indeed; does not a celebrated Burmese classic “Lawkidbitna Nagat” declare.25
w&mh wyg; vlrsdK;rsm;ukd pum;om,m/
ed’gef;jzmvdrfh/ jrefrmwvkdif;/ &ckdifxm;0,f/
ckESpfwefukd jrefrm rkcsa&xGufqav
Meaning “Let me say to hundred of tribes, Myanmar, Taliang, Rakhine, Tavoy, Barem, Taungthu and so called Katyan are all the seven groups counted as Myanmar”.
A related group of Rakhine, speaking an almost identical language, the “Chaung Tha” river son live as their name implies, along the bank of the rivers, principally practiced Taung Ya (Hill) cultivation.26
As Rakhines are educationally advanced there are many historians amongst them. U Aung Tha 00, Mang Aung Piya, Sayadaw U Nyana, San Shwe Bu, U 0o Tha Tun and many others have written Arakan history. But most of them differ in their opinion about the etymology of the term Rakhine. So here I would like to take the official version of BSPP and the analysis of Major Ba Shin and Nai Pan Hla, both of who are from Burma History Research Society (Burma History Commission).
Rakhine is said to have derived from the ancient flame of the land Rakasa (Pali), Rakhasha (Sanskrit). First it became Rakhit. Then Rakhain.27 Both Dr. S. B. Kunango and Pamela Gutman say the name Rakhuin, Rakheng were found in Myanmar inscription from 12th to 15th century. Dr. Kunango says perhaps the name Rakhaing was given to the Arakanese by Burman.28
Formerly in India as well as in the west, Rakhine is known as “Magh”. The new English Dictionary states, that the word Mog, Mogen, Mogue (“Bengali Magh”) appears as name of Arakan and the people there, in fifteen and sixteen centuries.29
Some say Rakhines are called Magh, because they came from Magheda, India. It is true, people from Magheda had been compelled to flee eastwards around first century A.D., some of whom ultimately took shelter in the kingdom of Candras.30
But to postulate the Rakhaing people who entered Arakan in about 10th century, have ethnic relationship with those Moghedi people of first century A.D. is very difficult. Moreover, nowadays linguistic influence and ethnic affinity of Maghdi people are only found in Rohingya not in Rakhine. Historians of Bengal say the dialect spoken in Chittggong originates from Maghadhi Parakrit or Maghadhi Apabharamasa ———-According to S.K. Chatterjee, dialect of Chittagong evolved from Maghadhi Parakrit. This Maghadhi Parakrit overflowed into Chittagong through the progress of Aryanization and infiltration of Maghadhi settlers.31 Here Chittagong language and Rakhine language are quite different. Ethnically Chittagonians and Rakhine cannot be at the same par. Rakhine people do not like to be called Magh. They disclaim the name. So far scholar did not find out the etymology of the terminology “Magh”. It is subject to further researches. Burmese senior politician and writer U Thein Pe Myint writes; on his journey to India in 1942, he found Magh police officer and Magh settlers in the side of India along Myanmar-India border. He further says they (Maghs) are Myanmar-Rakhines and are heavily influenced by Bengali culture.32
ROHINGYA: Presently Rohingyas are not in the official list of so-called indigenous races of Arakan, though they constitute almost half of the total Arakan population. In the context of religion almost all Rakhines are Buddhists, Bruwas and Dainets are Buddhists too. Kamans and Rohingyas are Muslims. Most other tribal races are mainly animist whereas a few low Landers of them are Buddhists. It is found in the late 1980 s that most of the Mru had converted into Christianity.
There were some European hybrids during 17th and 18th centuries, when there were intense European intercourses with Arakan; especially Portuguese were given many privileges during .this period. There were intermarriages, especially with Portuguese. These hybrids were not allowed to take away by Arakanese law then.33 These hybrids today are assimilated in the Arakanese society.
In the words of Albert Fytche, the kingdom of Arakan or Magh, has for many years been the resort of Portuguese settlers. It has thus contained numerous Christian slaves or Portuguese half-breeds; as well as Europeans called from the various parts of the world. It has been a place of refuge for fugitives from Goa, Ceylon, Cochin, Malacca and other Portuguese settlements in India. No persons were better received than those who had deserted their monasteries, married two or three wives or committed great crimes. Those people were Christian only in name. In Arakan they threw off all restraints, their levies were more detestable. They massacred or poisoned one another without compunction or remorse. They sometimes assassinated their ownpriests, and to confess the truth, the priests were often no better than their murderers.
The king of Arakan lived in a perpetual threat of great Mogul. So he kept these Christian foreigners as a kind of advance guard for the protection of his frontier. He permitted them to occupy a seaport called Chittagong and made them grants of land in its neighborhood. They were in no way amenable to government; it is therefore not surprising that their only trade was rapine and piracy. 34
Lastly there are some other minorities such as Hindu, Sanche, and Heins who are very little in number today. Some of them are assimilated to the nearest communities.
The prime object of this treatise is to explore all aspects of Rohingya’s life, which we will analyze in the next chapters. So I am not going into details of Rohingya here.
ETYMOLOGY OF ARAKAN
Arakan has a long coastal Area. It has been open to the Shipping of many countries from the west. It falls on the way from India to Malacca. According to Ptolemy, the 2nd century A. D. geographer, there were about 198 trade centers or towns along the coast of Arakan. He called the country Argyre from Naf River to Pagoda Point. His records mention Parapura a town in the extreme north and Sandoway at the farthest south.35
In Arakan, a number of trading centers were established along the coast, engaged in the export of forest products of the hill tribes. By the beginning of 3rd century this has resulted in the emergence of local chiefs, half remembered, in the early historical portion of Ananda Candra’s prasasti (11.9 -17) as the ancestral monarch whose power extended beyond the limits of the village or group of villages. However, the narrow plains behind the coastal towns of Sandoway, Ramree and Man Aung prohibited the formation of agriculturally; based urban centers; and it was not until the second half of the 4th century A.D.that Dvan Candra Established the city of Dhannya Vati (Dannya Waddi) on the rich alluvial plain of Kaladan Valley.36 (Some say it was not Dannya Waddi but Wethali).
So from the early Christian era there were the presences of many foreign nationals. Many nations had commercial contacts. Each people from different nation called Arakan in its own term. Some names called by different nations are similar with slight difference of accent. The root cause of this difference is difficult to explore, the naming of a place by a nation may base on its myth, language, and culture and on some historic facts.
China is a western term where as Arab called it Sin and we Burman call Tayoke. Why are these differences? In this way we will find in this chapter Arakan has been called by different names historically.
Phayre said the name Rakhaing is traditionally derived from Pali Rakha, Sanskrit Rakhasha synonymous with the Burmese Bilu. The country is named Yakkapura by Buddhist missionaries from India, because of the ferocious nature of its inhabitants.37
Parmela Gutman in her book writes it is interesting to note that the old Tamil word for demon (Bilu), derived from Sanskrit Rakhasha, is Arracan. There appears to be some connection here with Tamil Arracan, “Shallac”, which is said to have derived from the Lexical Sanskrit “Raksa” “Lac”. It may be that Arakan in .the first century Christian era was a major Source of Lac, still a product of its oldest hill tribes. The earliest trade route to Arakan originated in the south of India. Ptolemy, whose informants seem to have obtained their information, on coastline of South Asia from South India, may have been inclined to equate Tamil Accalan or Kannadaaragu with Argyre.38 (South Indian language is Tamil). So early traders from the west (perhaps) got the name from south Indians and the Persian called it Recon and the Arab called it AI-Recon.
Classical geographers referred to South East Asia as the golden land, Chryse and the silver land, Argyre. Ptolemy in the second century A. D. referred Arakan as Argyre, his name for the country stretching from Naf River to Cape Negris.39
Pamela Gutman writes the fragmentary Prasasti on the north face of Shitthaung Pillar written in the mid 11th century A.D. mentions Areka Desa. She further says in the inscriptions of Pagan, Ava from 12th to 15th centuries, the country is referred to as Rukuin or Rakhaing.40 She explains we find in Hobson-Jobson, Srilankan chronicles and Tharanat history; the names in various forms, such as Arakan, Arraccan,Rakhanga, Racchami, Rakhan and Recon. Nidcolo dei Conti in 1420 A.D. called it Raccani where as Babosa quoted in 1516 as Arraccan.41 Srilankan chronicle says Rakhanga, which in Bengali became Rohang, because Bengali pronounces “kh” as “h”. Khan in Bengali is pronounced as Han.
According to Dr. S. B. Kunango, in Persian source book the name Arakan is written as Arkhaunk and in its slight variation.42
The name Rakhine, it seems is of much antiquity. Sir H. Yule wants to identify the country named Argyre in Ptolemy with Arakan, the name being supposed to be derived from silver mines existing then.43
Yule’s assumption is supported by M. C. Crindle and D. G. E. Hall.
In Rashiddudin’s (14th century Indian historian’s) work the name appeared as Rohan. He said the country of Rohang was subjugated to Khan44 (Mongul Khans). Sidi Ali a Turkish navigator belongs to the middle of 16th century wrote it Rakhanj or Rakhang. The authors of Aini-i-Akbri, Bahristan Gaibi, and Siarul Mutha Kharin write Arkhaung, which appears also with a slight change in Alamgir Nama and Fathya-i-Barial.45 In the medieval Bengali works and Rennell’s map the name is written Roshang.46 ————– In colloquial Chittangonian dialect the country is called Rohang; “SH” being replaced by “H” [Still today, we found Hindu Bengali say Roshang, where as Muslim Bengali say Rohang].
Here as people of Chittagong are called Chatghannya, so do people of Rohang are called Rohangya. It is very comprehensive from linguistic point of view of Bengali language.
Medieval Portugue and other European travelers mention it as Recon, Rakan, Rakhanj, Arracao, Oracao, Aracan and Vanlir Schoter writes it Arakan, which is nearest to the present name.47
Ralf Fytch, an English merchant toured India and Burma in the last decade of 16th century. He writes Arakan as kingdom of Ruon. So A. P. Phayre quoting Ralf Fytch, described Arakan as Ruon48, which sounds like Rowang.
Rajamala chronicle (Tripura chronicle) says their king Dania Maneikha conquered Roshang in mid 16th century. His commander was named “Roshang Mardan” i.e. conqueror of Arakan. He returned after keeping Roshang Mardan as Governor of Chittagong.49 In the records of Italian traveler Manucci, it is said Recon, r ferring Persian source.
There are names of places in Bangladesh indicating reference to Arakan. A section of people, east of Shanka River in Bangladesh still today are called “Rowangi” meaning people of Rowang or Arakan. Due to racial suppression, which we will see in the next chapter many Muslims took refuge in Bengal in Rakhine period.
Rohingya classified the Rakhine as Rohingya Magh and Anaukiya Magh, which means Rakhine from Arakan and Rakhine from Anouk Pyi (Bengal). So here Rohingya means settlers of Rohang alias Arakan. Thus Rohingya is synonymous to Arakanese.
There were many many Bengali courtiers in the palace of Arakan Kings.They were encouraged by the Kings to flourish Bengali literature. Daulat Qazi and Shah Alaol were two ministers and writers in the time of both Thiri Thudama and Sanda Thudama in mid 17th century. In their works, Arakan is Roshang or Rohang and its people are Rohingya. Even there was a narrative poetry book in the name of Roshang Panchali.50
Still today there are some people who say Rohingya is a creation. This term has no historical background. This is just an imaginary terminology, created by some political circle. Some say it was given by Pa-Ta-Sa Government. Yet some other say it was given by Thakin Soe, formerly Red Flag Communist Party boss.
What so ever we find researches of foreigners to authenticate the antiquity and historicity of Rohingyas. Gil Christ and F. Buchanan researched about this people and their language. Buchanan was an English diplomat in the Embassy of Michael Syme, in Ava. Francois Buchanan studied the languages of Burmese Empire. He said Burmese language has four dialects, that of Burma proper; that of Arakan; that of Yo and that of Tanasserim. About the languages of Arakan, F. Buchanan writes: I shall now add three dialects spoken in Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of Hindu nation. He details the first (language of Arakan) is that spoken by Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who calred themselves “Rovinga” or native of Arakan. The second dialect is that spoken by Hindus of Arakan. I procured it from a Brahmin and his attendant, who had been brought to Amarapura by the king’s eldest son, on his return from the conquest of Arakan. They call themselves Rossawn, and for what reason I don’t know they wanted to persuade me that theirs was the common language of Arakan. He (Buchanan) further states the last dialect of Hindustani, which I shall mention is that of a people called by the Burman Ayokobat, many of who are slaves in Amarapura. By one of them I was informed that they call themselves Banga, that formerly they had kings of their own; but that in his father’s time, their kingdom had been overturned by the king of Manipura, who carried away a great part of the inhabitants to his residence, when that Manipur was taken last by Burman fifteen years ago. This man was one of the many captives who were brought to Ava from Manipur.
Buchanan said the native Mughs of Arakan dill themselves Yakain, a name given by Burman. By the Bengal Hindus, at least by such of them as have been settled in Arakan, the country is called Rossawn _____ the Mohammedans settled in Arakan called the country Rovingaw, the Persian called Rekon.
Buchanan continued, Mr.Gil Christ has been so good as to examine these dialects, which come nearest to the Hindustani spoken on the Ganges.
They have studied comparatively the three dialects, which appeared in the Asiatic researchers, Calcutta, Vol. 5, 1801. This study of Mr. Gil Christ and F.Buchanan proved the antiquity and historicity of Rohingyas.
In the late 8th century, some ships wrecked Arab having been washed ashore on an Island in the west coast of Arakan, called the land Raham-bri in Arabic, which means the land of Allah’s blessing.51 Later the whole land of Arakan was called Raham-bri or Mukh-e-Rahmi; the same meaning in Arabic. The term Raham-bri is still in vague with slight corruption in Burmese as Rambree.
Arab geographers refer to this place as Jazirat-ur-Rahmi, or Mulk-Rahmi. Here both Mulk and Jazirah means (in Arabic) country. Ibn Khudadbhi, an Arab geographer of 10th century said “Jazirat-ur-Rahmi” come after Sarandip (Ceylon) and contain peculiar unicorn animals and little naked people.52 AI Masudi mentioned it as a riparian country after Sarandip (Ceylon) and on the Indian Ocean. Yacut’s identification placed it as the farthest land of India towards the Strait of Malacca.53 Sulaiman the merchant who lived in the middle of 9th century A.D. mentioned that the king of Rahmi was a powerful ruler with fifty thousand elephants and an army of 150,000. 54
In fact Jazirat-ur-Rahmi of Arab geographers was attributed to the kingdom of Rohang, because it still has elephants in the north.55 Persian was official language of Muslim Indian rulers for many centuries. They used Arab or Persian terminology in naming places. So people in India called Arakan in Persian term Rohang. Besides, many different places, rivers and mountains in Arakan also bear names of Persian or Arabic origin. These include Rambre (Island), Akyab (the capital), Kaladan, Naf, Kalapanzan (rivers) and so on.
In early 12th entury A.D. there was Kamal Chega son of Rama Thonza became king of “Rohang”. During his reign there was war in the country and the Chakmas (Daiknets) migrated to that country.56
It is a fact that Arakan in Bangladesh is colloquially called Rohang, Roshang, and Rowang with a little difference of accent, region wise.
Rohingya is a mixed race. They trace their origin to Arabs, Moors, Turks, Persians, Moguls, Pathans, native Bengali and Rakhine. But some Rakhine people reject the notion that Rohingyas have Rakhine blood or Muslims in Arakan consists of some Rakhines. The real phenomenon is, a great many “kids of Rakhine” are found to have been brought up in Muslim households. Next, there, though very rare especially in the north, are some mixed marriages. Finally there are authentic chronicles testifying mass or group conversion of natives in 15th and 16th centuries. Rakhine Maha Razwin (Great History of Arakan) by Panditta U Oo Tha Tun Aung, an honorary archeological officer of Mrauk-U Museum, gives a clear description of how Rakhine or natives of Arakan did convert to Islam village by village in the time of Zelata Min Saw Mun, the 9th king of Mrauk-U dynasty. [See detail in Chapter X].
In this context the remark of a British army officer is noticeable. Anthony Irwin, a front commander of Second World War remarked about the ethnic character of Arakan Muslims as follows:————– and to look at, they are quite unlike any other product of India or Burma that I have seen. They resemble the Arabs in name, in dress and in habit. The women and more particularly the young girls have a distinctive Arab touch about them.57
Rohingya language is an admixture of different languages as Rohingya is composed of different ethnic groups. They wrote in Persian alphabets when Persian influence was great in India as well as in Arakan. Some even say the official language of Arakan, since early Mrauk-U period till the coming of British was Persian. However, I don’t have clear proof to testify it, but Burma Gazetteer Akyab District states, about the historic Badr Mokam of Akyab. It says there are orders in Persian in the deputy commissioner’s court at Akyab dated 1834 from William Pam pier, Esq., commissioner of Chittagong and also Dichenson, Esq., commissioner of Arakan, to this effect that one Hussein Ali (then the thugyi “Headman” of Buddawmaw circle) was to have charge of Budder Mukam in token of his good services rendered to the British force in 1825), and to enjoy any sum that he might collect on account of alms and offerings.58 Since official orders in early British time was in Persian, it can be assumed that Persian was official language until then.
But later when Bengali courtiers got high-ranking posts in Arakan palace in 17th and early 18th centuries, Rohingyas used to write their language in Bengali alphabets, many copies of, which are, still in the possession of Rohingya people in Arakan, In remote past i.e. during the Wethali period they used Nagari letters to write as was proved in the inscriptions of that period.
There are region wise names for the Burmans. Upper Burmans are called “Anyatha” or “Pagantha”, lower Burmans are called “Auktha” and people in Arakan are called “Rakhaintha”. On the same pattern, Rohingyas call “Chatghannya” to Chittagonians, “Rambizziya” to Rambrians and “Rohingya” to people of Rohang alias Arakan Proper.
Here one thing, some senior Burmese politicians and imminent personalities such as Saya Chae formerly a member of Myanmar election commission used to raise the question why the Rohingyas are all Muslims? Is there a race with a singular religion? In fact all the native peoples in ancient Arakan were called Rohingya disregard of their faith just as all the people of Burmese extraction in Arakan have been called “Rakhine Thar” by Burmans. Whatsdever there are today in the world so many ethnic peoples whose religion is the same. Further we get the answer of the said question in Arakan itself. In Arakan all Bruwas and Dainets are Buddhists where as all the Kamans are Muslims. So Rohingya’s being all Muslims in no way infringes to their being an ethnic group.
Generally Muslims, all over the world are not called by their ethnic names but only as Muslims. Muslims too prefer to be called Muslims. So in Bosnia, Philippines and in many other places peoples know there are Muslim problems. In fact these peoples involved in problems have their own ethnic origin. The same log worked in Arakan; Rohingyas in the early periods were recorded as Muslims.
This fact reduced the weight of Rohingya’s historicity. However, in the context of socio-political background of Arakan, Rohingya is Muslim and Muslim is Rohingya though there are a few people of other faiths who are also Rohingyas and they indeed have genealogical affinity with Rohingya.
During Burmese invasion of Arakan, ironically, Muslim infantry assisted both Burmese and Rakhine forces. On Burmese side King Bodaw Pya enlisted a Muslim force (originally) migrated from Arakan to Ava in early 18th century), which had served as bodyguard in his palace for years. Settled in 1784, the unit served as a standing army posted to Thandowe (Sandway). Their descendants, albeit few in numbers still live in Thandowe and are called Myedus. The British census of 1931 enlisied 5,160 Myedus in total. From outsiders perspective they cannot be distinguished from their Rakhine neighbors, but by their religious habits. As their ancestors lived near Myedu in the district of Shwebo, they are called Myedu Kalah.59
(A) ANCIENT PEOPLE OF ARAKAN
The early most settle s before Indian or Indo Aryan infiltration into Arakan were said to be Austroloid or proto Austroloid, who were also known as Rakhasa or Rakhasha. These peoples were also described by historians as demons, half man half monsters. So this land formerly was called as Rakhapura, land of Demons by Indian missionaries.60 Buddhist people from north and northeastern India drove out this wild people.The terminology Rakhaing is said to have derived from Rekhasa or Rekhasha. First it became-Rakhait, and then it turned into Rakhaing.61
(B) INDO – ARYAN SETTLEMENT
Arakan chronicles trace its history nearly two millennium back. Mostly their chronicles were based on legendaries. But we have records or inscriptions showing historical facts of last millennium. The most authentic record is Anada Sandra Monument or Shitthaung stone pillar still stands on the ground of old Palace in Mrauk-U. The Dannya Waddy (Dannya Vadi) dynasty of pre-Christian era and the Wethali (Vesali) dynasty of Candra (Sandra) king was said to have rooted from early Christian era. Wethali dynasty lasted until mid 11th century. Judging from the point of their literature and culture, they are said to be an early Indian people, like the one in east Bengal. All eminent historians researching ancient Arakan recognized it.
H. W. Wilson says before 10th century A.D. in Arakan only Indians and Indian culture including the literature were found. Burmese and Burmese cultures are found only after 10th century.62
Major Tun Kyaw 00 (Rtd.), formerly chairman of a political party, in his party’s booklet Vol. VII explains about the setters of early Arakan. He writes it is obvious settlers in Dannya Waddy and Wethali were from central lndia. They are extractions of Indo-Aryan people. The political system of Wethali and Dannya Waddi were autocratic king systems like that of central India. In early period there exist caste systems in Dannya Waddy as Hinduism flourished there.In Wethali period Buddhismbegan to take root in Arakan, caste systems were not found in temples but in social life there still exist some segregated tendencies. The language, literature, culture, religion, food and even cooking systems were similar to that of central India. So these peoples were not called Rakhine in those days, but they were just the peoples of Wethali. Their language was not like that of present day Rakhine and Burman. Rakhines are basically Mongoloid in blood; later they mixed with Kashitriya Indo-Aryans and became the Rakhine race.63
The Arakan chronicles were mostly based on legends. In this regard, R. B. Smart says the early history of the country is involved in mist; the existing records, compiled by the Arakanese, are filled with impossible stories invented in many cases, and in others based on tradition but so embellished as almost to conceal their foundation and all made to show for the glories of the race and of the Buddhist religion.64 U San Than Aung, former Director General of Higher Education Department and an Arakanese himself, recognized that there are in fact discrepancies in chronicles written by Arakanese.
According to D. G. E. Hall, from very early days the older and purer form of Buddhism, the Hina Yana or less vehicle, was established there. It must date from before the arrival of the Burmese in the 10th century, when Arakan was an Indian land with population similar to that of Bengal.65 If we are to point out a people in Arakan today similar to abovementioned Bengali, Rohingya shall not be discounted. Those Bengalis became Muslims by the works of Arabs and other Muslim missionaries.
Maurice Collis, who is generally regarded by Burman as a fair-minded western historian, says the Hindus of early centuries A.D. migrated eastwards via Arakan, founding kingdoms as they went. The present Akyab district being nest door to Bengal, was necessarily the first kingdom they founded and may date before the first century A.D. For thousands of years it was an Indian land, dynasty following dynasty. Then in 957 A.D. the whole area was overrun by Mongolian incursions from the north the Mongolian mixed with the Indians and created the Rakhine race.66 Maurice Collis say this is an answer to his question about the Rakhine race, by U San Shwe Bu, an honorary archeological officer of Mrauk-U Museum: Maurice Collis further says when he asked about the Arakanese language, which is very similar to Burmese, whether the invading Mongolians were Bruman? Collis says (U San Shwe Bu’s) opinion was that; it was a matter for experts, though common sense assumption seemed to be that either the original Mongolians or succeeding waves of Mongolian immigrants imposed the Burmese language on the area.
Maurice Collis asked U San Shwe Bu, and what happened after 957? U San Shwe Bu replied Arakanese history proper then began and lasted eight centuries until the Burmans conquered the country.67
D. G. E. Hall says too, the (present) people of Arakan are, basically Burmese. Writers in the past have applied them the name Mugg (Bengali – Magh), but the Arakanese disclaim the name and apply it only to the product of mix marriages on the Bengal frontier. So far scholars had failed to discover its etymology.68
Rohingyas claim to be the descendants of this early Indian people of Arakan. Linguistically and Genealogically Rohingyas are the only people to have shown affinity with those early Indians in Arakan. Language of early inscriptions in Arakan is much similar to Rohingya language than any other languages in Arakan. Early people were Hindus and Buddhists. Religian alane is nat a factar to. disawn Rahingyas their genealagical link with thase early peaple. At that time Bangladesh presently a Muslim majority state, too was a Hindu or Buddhist dominated region.
(C) ANCIENT CITIES
The cities or capitals were successively Thabeik Taung, Dannya Waddy (Dannya Vati), Wethali (Vesali) dawn to 11th century. Then came Sambawet, Pyinsa till 1118 A D., Parin 1118-1167, Hkrit (1167-1180), Pyinsa (again) (1180-1237), Launggyet (1237-1433) and Mrauk-U (1433 -1785). All were in Akyab district on or near Lemyo River except Thabaik Taung, which stood on the Yochaung River.69 There are of course some discrepancies of dates between Arakanese and western chranicles.
The authenticity of chronicles written by Arakanese or their correctness is subject to further researches. Still these chronicles say there were three dynasties in Dannya Waddy period. They are:
* Marayu Dynasty (B.C. 3325 – 1507) 57 kings ruled far 1818 years. Note: There were dynasties in the name of Marayu in India, too.
* Kamaraja Dynasty (B.C. 1507 – 580) 28 kings ruled for 927 years.
* Chandra Suriya Dynasty (B.C. 580 – A.D. 326) 25 king ruled for 907 years.70
Then came the Wethali (Vesali) Dynasty. Sometimes it is called Wethali Kyauk Hlega (stone ladder) period. The issue of the root of wethali is contraversial. Some say first Wethali was rooted before Christian era. Some say it was 4th century A.D., the city of Wethali was established. What so ever Wethali and Chandra family have some connections? Perhaps someone from Chandra Suriya family had established first Wethali city, which we can postulate by observing the Shitthaung Stone Pillar. Thus there were Wethali periods in Arakan and it has three phases. That is first, second and third Wethali; most of the historic facts of this period, are found in some inscriptions though Wethali is not yet completely excavated by Archeological Department of Myanmar.
There are variations in the narration of U Hla Tun Pru 71 and U San Tha Aung 72 both of whom are Arakanese, in regard of Wethali periods and times. U Hla Tun Pru says Wethali period extends from AD. 327 to A.D. 818. Where as U San Tha Aung says Wethali period began from B.C. 518 and lasted until 10th century.
U Hla Tun Pru described Wethali as follows:
* DVEN CHANDRA Dynasty (AD. 327 – 557) 13 kings ruled for 230 years.
* MAHAVIRA Dynasty (A.D. 557 – 686) 9 kings ruled for 129 years.
* BALA CHANDRA Dynasty (A.D. 686 – 818).
Further U Hla Tun Pru categorized Arakanese political history as fallows:
* Dannya Waddy period B.C. 3325 – A.D. 327 3, 652 years
* WethaliPeriod A.D. 327 – A.D. 818 491 years
* Lemyo period A.D. 818 – A.D. 1430 612 years
* Mrauk-U period AD. 1430 – AD. 1784 354 years
* Burmese period AD. 1784 – AD. 182 6 42 years
* British period AD. 1826 – AD. 1948 122 years
Bala Chandra period of U Hla Tun Pru is not found in the description of U San Tha Aung which is based on Shitthaung Pillar inscriptions. So here we must accept the fact that there are discrepancies on some date and facts between Arakanese chronicles and inscriptions.73 U San Tha Aung writes it is learned there are 48 chronicles written by Rakhines. Each of them differs in regard of kings and the time of their rule. It is difficult to choose the right one. All these are written in our present day language. So facts of the period prior to 10th century AD are not reliable. Annanda Sandra Stone Pillar of Shitthaung Temple is a valuable record of Arakan history. So we must say these inscription is more authentic and reliable.74
&ckdif&mZm0if tvkd a0omvDacwf at’D 327
ol&D,auwk.om; r[mpjENm; ESifh tpjyKjyD;
794 plXpjENm;rif;om; irif;iwkH ESifh at’D 794 rSmqkH;onf?
There were at least three breaks in Wethali period: first in early 4th century, second in late 7th century and third in late 8th entury. During these breaks the rule of Candra kings was destabilized, but finally they could reorganize and maintained their family rules.
The Chandras called themselves Chandra Vamshi, descendants from the moon, and they worshipped the moon. After the end of third Wethali the rule of Candra family line was over and the country turned from Indian to Burman. After Sula Candra’s death two Mru successively got the sovereignty of Arakan from 957 A.D.
Arakanese chronicles say Kanraza Gyi the eldest son of Abhi Rajah who founded the kingdom of Tagaung some 3,482 years before Christian era, founded the first Dannya Waddy dynasty. During third Dannya Waddy period about 554 B.C. in the reign of Sanda Thuriya a statue (Image) of Buddha, who flied to Arakan on his Divinely Journey was allowed to erect. But western historians say the reign of Sanda Thuriya was A.D.146 -198. This variation lead to the differences of dates throughout Arakan history between Rakhine’s and westerner’s Chronicles.
Pamela Gutman says the last king of third Dannya Waddy, first built the city at Kan Thon Sint and shortly after moved southwards and built Vesali in A.D. 327.
The city of Vesali 9.6 Km south of Dahnna Vati, is flanked by Rann Chaung, a tributary of Kaladan to the west and the ridge between Kaladan and Lemyo valleys in the east. The city was also known as the city of stone stairs.
According to Rakhine chronicles, first Wethali dates back in 4th entury; second Wethali in 6th and the third Wethali in 7th century. But the inscription on the Shitthaung Pillar says first Wethali rooted in some centuries before Christian era.
The political situation in Wethali found in 4th century became very confused. The king saw some Evil Omens. The control of center deteriorated. But at the beginning of 6th century Bala Candra again maintained the stability. And a king (described in Shitthanung Pillar as Maha Vira) from the west established the third Wethali, but it too lost stability in mid 7th century, which again was controlled by a king of Chandra family Maha Taing Chandra, rebuilt the capital near the old city in 788 A.D. This Wethali or the last dynasty of Chandra kings lasted until mid 11th century. Sula Taing Chandra (A.D. 951 – 957) wasn’t last king of Chandra family in the Wethali as some used to assume. North face of Shitthaung Pillar indicates that there was Chandra Kings even in 11th century.
All students of Arakan history accept Shitthaung Pillar of Mrauk-U, as the most authentic historical record. But some portions of this Pillar are unreadable. Yet scholars have tried to bring the best from the worst. The following are the recorded Wethali Dynasties as shown in the Shitthaung Pillar inscription. This inscription was in Nagari script and Indian language. Dr. John Stan and Dr. Sarcir read it. According to Shitthaung Pillar inscription;
(a) First Wethali Dynasty
Sr: No. Name of King Period of Rule
1 Unreadable B.C. 518 – 398
2 Unreadable B.C. 398 – 278
3 Unreadable B.C. 278 – 158
4 Bahu Boli B.C. 158 – 38
5 Raya Palhi B.C. 38 – A.D. 82
6 Unreadable A.D. 82 – 202
7 Sandra Daya A.D. 202 – 229
8 Anna Waka A.D. 229 – 234
9 Unreadable A.D. 234 – 331
10 Ribia Pwa A.D. 331 – 334
11 Kawer Ram Devi A.D. 334 – 341
12 Uphawira A.D. 341 – 361
13 Zahguna A.D. 361-368
14 Lanki A.D. 368-370 75
The version about Wethali in Arakanese chronicles seemed incomplete. Chronicles say Wethali was founded in 327 A.D. and lasted up to 794 A.D. Only 12 kings ruled during this period. According to them Sula Sandra is the last king.76 Some say Wethali period is from A.D. 370 to A.D. 818.77 Some even say (Wethali) or Sandra rule in Arakan was from 8th to 10th century. To them there were 9 kings from Mahataing Sandra to Sula Sandra.78
But the name of kings and time of their reign mentioned on coins and Shitthaung Pillar are familiar. The records of inscriptions are more authentic.79 So quoting the inscriptions I mentioned the king list of first wethali, which took root in a remote time before Christian era in contrast to the descriptions of other Rakhine chronicles.
The list of second Wethali dynasty according Shittaung Pillar as was read by Dr. Sarcar is:
Sr: No. Names Reigning Years
1 DvenCandra A.D. 370 – 425
2 Raja Candra A.D. 425 – 445
3 Bala Candra A.D. 445 – 454
4 Deva Candra A.D. 454 – 476
5 Yajna Candra A.D. 476 – 483
6 Candra Bandhu A.D. 476 – 483
7 Bhumi Candra A.D. 483 – 489
8 Buthi Candra A.D. 489 – 496
9 Niti Candra A.D. 520 – 575
10 Vizya Candra A.D. 575 – 578
11 Prifi Candra A.D. 578 – 590
12 Prethvi Candra A.D. 590 – 597
13 Dhrli Candra A.D. 597 – 600
During the second dynasty the capital was moved to Kan Thon Sint and later to Wethali, some say to Dannya Vati, which seemed safer. Lying further south, Vesali was even more open to the western influence than Dannya Waddy. More easily reached by over land route, and it also took advantage of increased trade in the Bay of Bengal during 6th cntury and later. When that trade was interrupted by Cola invasion of mid 11th century and increasing incursion of Myanmar from the east; the economic viability of the .city was undermined. The next period was characterized by the establishment of smaller capitals of Lemyo Valley, resulting in the influx of population and cultural influence from the east.80 Dvendra Candra, the founder of second Wethali is said to have conquered the usual number of 10 kings and to have built a city complete with walls and moat. The city can be identified as Dhannya Vati (Sanskrit), Dannya Waddy (Burmese) where the archeological evidence points to occupation in late 5th and early 6th centuries. Nothing is mentioned of the capital shiftment to Vesali, which apparently took place at the beginning of 6th century. The name Chandra Bandhu suggests that he was a re-unifier of the country and he must have ruled in a period of confusion, which led to the move, southwards. The threat of kingdoms emerging in Bengal and Assam following the disintegration of Gupta Empire, and possibly a Sak invation in the east, led to the transfer of the capital to Vesali further south at the beginning of 6th century.81
After Dhrti Candra, the country passed a period of instability, which again was maintained by Mohavira, a king of the same Candra line and from the west perhaps connected with Candras in east Bengal. So here, taking Sarkar’s chronology we have our third Wethali:
Sr: No. Name Duration Regin
1 Mohavira A.D.600 – 612
2 Wiyazab A.D 612 – 624
3 Sevinran A.D. 624 – 636
4 Dharmma Sura A.D. 636 – 649
5 Wizziya Shakti A.D. 649 – 665
6 Dharmma Vizaya A.D. 665 – 701
7 Narindra Vizaya A.D. 701 – 704
8 Dharmma Sandra A.D. 704 -720
9 Ananda Candra A.D. 720
When we study Shitthaung Pillar (also called Ananda Sandra Stone Monument, because it was erected and inscribed by King Ananda Sandra), we find on the east face of the inscriptions, some descriptions, which are assumed to have taken place before sixth century A.D. The inscriptions on the west face are postulated to have written in 729 A.D. North face of the monument is in early Bengali script and is estimated to have written in 10th century. [So here those Arakanese chronicles, which show the end of Candras at early 9th century, is found to be incorrect.]
First dynasty have 15 kings, some of them are unreadable. The second dynasty had 13 kings and the third had from Mohavira to Sulatiang Sandra, 18 kings. The Candra line of kings established their reign first at Dannya Waddy and then in Wethali.
U San Tha Aung says Arakanese chronicle denotes Candra kings ruled Arakan from 8th to 10th centuries. There were successive kings. That succession ceased in 957.82 (This very year a Mro chief, Amarathu, came to power in Arakan. First he makes a capital in Mrauk-U. Then his successor Paipru, attacked by the Shans, fled to Thabaik Taung).83
That 957 was a landmark in Arakan history. Morris Collis Says, it was the beginning of Rakhine (Burman) domination. After making a thorough study of coins, chronicles and ruins of the city, M Collis reached a conclusion that Wethali (Vesali), the Arakanese capital must be regarded not an early Burmese but a late Hindu State.84
On the north face of the Shitthaung Pillar, there exists the list of the kings who ruled at Vesali from about 788 -1050 A.D.85 But we also learned a Mru Chieftain gained sovereignty of Arakan in 957. Hence there were parallel reigns of Chandras and the others (Mru, Sak and Burman), which we will discuss, in next chapters in detail.
Note: The researches of Pamela Gutman say, “in so called Wethali the Candra ruled of course. But the capital was first Dannya Vati and only at the beginning of 6th century, it was shifted to Wethali, further south.
The last lineage of kings from Candra family from 788 to 1050 A.D. as seen in Rakhine chronicles is as follows:
Sr: No. Name Time of Reiqn
1 Moha Taing Candra A.D. 788 – 810
2 Suria Taing Candra A.D. 810-
3 Maula TaingCandra
4 Paula Taing Candra
5 Kala Taing Candra
6 Tula Taing Candra
7 Thiri Taing Candra
8 Seingha Taing Candra A.D. 935 – 951
9 Sula Taing Candra A.D. 951– 957 86
The next kings of Sandra lineage after Sula Taing Sandra are not recorded in Rakhine chronicles but found on the north face of Shitthaung Pillar.
Maha Taing Candra of this lineage restored the Mohamuni as a royal shrine.87 They renovated it many times.
Pamela says the historicity of Chandra dynasty is confirmed by the coins issued by the 4th king to 13th king of second Wethali and the two routine inscriptions. The inscriptions state that 16 kings ruled for 230 years where three short-lived kings were excluded in the list.88 Their rule lasted from A.D. 370 to A.D. 600. Still Mohavira dynasty from A.D. 600 to 720, Bala Candra dynasty and Maha Taing Candra dynasty are also related to the Candras. The capital of these dynasties was Wethali.
There was a period of confusion after Ananda Candra who got the throne in A.D. 720, and before the reestablishing the dynasty by Maha Taing Candra in 788 A.D. In a way Maha Taing Candra is the retainer of Candra dynasty in Arakan though there were attacks from many sides.
The cult of Saivism and Buddhist Tantricism gained royal patronage during the Chandra Rule (788-957 A.D.) in Arakan-Chittagong region. The discovery of Tantrik sculpture in Wethali (Capital of Chandras) shows that, besides Mahayanism, Buddhist Tantricism also gained footing in the kingdom of Chandras.89
The rule of Chandras (788 -957 A.D.) in Arakan-Chittagong region bear witness of the overflow of Saivism and Tantricism. Noticing this Sir Arthur Phayre remarks: From coins still existing and which are attributed to the kings of the dynasty coupled with obscure references to their acts in the chronicles of Arakan. In the chronicles of Arakan it appears probable that they (The Chandra kings) held Brahmanical doctrine.90
The 11th century, however, saw the increasing influence of Burma proper and the gradual adoption of Theravada. However the later culture of Arakan and indeed of Burma proper was to retain many of the political and religious institutions evolved at Dannya Waddy and Vesali.91
So far the Bala Chandra dynasty of U Hla Tun Pru (A.D. 686 – 718) is not found in the narration of U San Tha Aung.Pamela Gutman,too, does not describe the name of Bala Chandra.Nevertheless the chronicles of India and Bengal go into much details of Bala Chandra.
The literary, epigraphic and numismatic sources give evidence of some dynasties of same surnames in Arakan. The Shitthaung Temple Pillar inscriptions supply a long list of Chandra rulers 92 reigning for more than five hundred years in Arakan and its adjoining areas. The first king of this lineage was Bala Chandra who was also the founder of the dynasty. This king Bala Chandra seems identical with king Bala Chandra in Thanarath’s history. The Shitthaung Temple inscription doesn’t specifically mention the territorial jurisdiction of the kings who reigned several hundred years earlier than the time of engravement of the inscription. Tharanath’s history states that king Bala Chandra was driven out of his ancestral kingdom. He established a new kingdom in Bengal. It might be that one of his successors conquered Arakan and established an administrative headquarter there.93 Here Pamela says, the Ananda Candra’s Prasasti even implies that a king from across the Naf River ruled Vesali between 600 and 612 A.D. He might be Mohavira (The so called founder of Wethali) because his capital was said to be on Parapura on Naf.
Here again Mohavira, the first king of third Wethali in A.D. 600-612 was named as king of Purempura, which by adjusting with Ptolemy’s record, localized on Pruma, on the Arakanese bank of Naf River. It was, according to Ptolemy, a commercial center at that time. It is likely that a ruler of this area with its economy based mainly on maritime trade would seek to extend his territory to rich alluvial plains of Arakan when opportunity allowed.94
The inscription implies Candra dynasty collapsed in 600 A.D. Conditions were confused in Arakan with the rule reverting partly to indigenous kings. But Mohavira (A.D. 600) founded his kingships some where in the west (perhaps on Naf River) and contracted the whole kingdom of Vesali, but the dynasty again collapsed in late 8th century, which was reintegrated by Maha Taing Candra.
It is difficult to give a correct picture of the political condition of Chittagong at the time of Muslim invasion in western and northern Bengal. According to Tharanath’s evidence a king named Babla Sandra was the king of Chittagong and Tripura, sometime after the fall of Maghadha at the hands of Turks. It further says that his first son was the king of Arakan.95
According to Tharanath, a Buddhist dynasty ruled in Bengal before the Palas. Their names end in Chandra. He (Tharanath) writes: in the east, Vimla Chandra (Bala Chandra) extended his power to Tirhat and Kamarupa. At this tirpe the elder son of king Harsha ruled Maghadha. But in Shitthaung inscription king Bala Chandra is said to be the first king of the Shri Dharma Rajanuia Vamsa. Scholars express the opinion that King Bala Chandra of Shitthaung Temple inscription is identical with King Bala Chandra of Tharanath narration. According to Mr. Hirananda Shastri, the inscription is written in characters resembling those of the late Gupta Script.96
Shri Jogendra Chandra Gosh tentatively puts the date of king Bala Chandra of inscription “sometime between 647 A.D. and 833 A.D.97 This roughly corresponds to the date of king Bala Chandra of Taranath’s narration. All these evidences and opinions naturally give an impression that king Bala Chandra of Taranath narration and the king of the same name in Shitthaung Temple inscription were identical person….,It is likely that king Bala Chandra Held both Eastern Bengal and Arakan under his away and established his capital at Chittagong, which held central position in (his) empire.98
The cultural history of this period was largely the outcome of multifarious political influence on the country.99
The first principle task of kings at Dannyavati and Wethali was making arrangements for water supply. The king’s secondary role was that of protector of the people in the four quarters of the country of Arakan against the inroads of hill tribes and occasional foreign invaders.100
In regard of culture, Pamela writes: the early inscription on an image of Mahamuni Shrine is in the script used by the Guptas in central India in the second half of the 5th century.While certain central Indian characteristics are retained in the first half of the 6th century,notably in the two Prasasti on the east face of Shitthaung Pillar and the reverse of Suria Image, the form generally belong to the script used in Bengal and Assam during that period – The remaining epigraph, the north face of the Shitthaung Pillar, is again in a script derived from East Bengal in the mid 10th century.
Maha Taing Candra is said to have rebuilt Veasali on the side of an older capital and late 8th century sculptures found there, confirm this. The great hero of the dynasty Sula Taing Candra is said to have sent an expedition to Chittagong in 953 A.D., when the Candras dynasty of southeast Bengal was gaining power and prestige under Sri Caildra.101 Soon after his return he set out for either China or Tagaung suggesting a threat from Ta-Li. After his failure to return, his queen, Chandra Devi, married two Mro tribesmen in succession, indicating that the hill tribes were becoming urbanized and were taking advantage of the confused state of the country. Vesali was abandoned, the country invaded by Shan and Pyus, while the Mons of Pegu occupied the south for eighteen years. A new capital was eventually established at Pyinsa (Panca) with the aid of the Sak (Thet). From around the beginning of the 11th century, Arakan became increasingly Burmanized as can be noticed in the frequent use of Burmese names and titles in the king list of chronicles and the name of Arakanese in the inscription in Pagan.102 The situation is reflected in the archeological remains at Vesali, which show a gradual limiting of Indian influence to the northeast, particularly to Bengal, and an increasing contact with central Burma.
Arakanese chronicles say historians count Wethali period up to 1018 A.D., the end of Mro reign in Arakan. From there the Arakan history proper (or) Lemyo age began. The last king of Mro (some say Sak) age was Ngamin Ngadon 994-1018 A.D. who was attacked and killed by eastern Mongolian (Burman) and was succeeded by Kettathin, who shifted the capital to Pyinsa. His descendants ruled Arakan for next century.103
Concerning about the expedition of Cula Taing Candra to Chittagong, there is a legend in Arakanese chronicles. The most reputed and eminent historian as well as politician of Arakan, U Hla Tun Pru says, the 9th king of Vesali (of Moha Taing Candra’s lineage) Cula Taing Candra in 953 invaded the Thuratan of Bengal; the Thuratan sought to appease his anger by sending him a Princess and a tribute in money. His nobles advised him not to make war with a king who acknowledged his sovereignty. Not to make war means in Burmese “Sitmataik-gong” which later changed into Sittaikgong or Chittagong. He returned without making war. From that time onward the town acquired the name “Sitmathaikgong” which later shortened to Chittagong.104
But latest researches of eminent historians say Cula Taing Candra was in the lineage of Candra family. His culture and language was Indian. His language was not Burmese. Then how can the name of Chittagong take root from Burmese word “Sitmathaikgong” as is described in Arakanese chronicles. Probability of his (Cula Taing Candra’s) speaking Burmese is very faint.
Whatsoever Pamela Gutman says, the mid 11th century was a period of great stress in the country; the dynasty was under pressure from Pagan, where Anawrattha (B.C. 1044 – 77) was attempting to unite Burma for the first time. Both Burmese and Arakanese chronicles refer to his incursion into Arakan, which seem, however, to have eventually retain semiautonomous status. In the west, Candra dynasty of southeast Bengal had fallen, or was about to fall, threatened by the Varmans and the Palas. The Cola raid into Bengal in A.D. 1013 – 23 had also no doubt weakened the Candras; the great Cola raid of Southeast Asian ports in 1025, although apparently not actually included Arakan, would have disrupted her important sea routes.105
By the mid 11th century, the economy was weakened after the Cola raids and a temporary decline in the power of Srivizia in east Bengal, and control of the kaladan valley was threaten by raids from wild tribes and Pala expansion to the East Bengal. The capital (in Arakan) was moved to the east to the Lemyo valley and central Burma dominated Arakan history for the next three hundred years. 106
Here we have seen that up to early 11th century Arakan was politically, culturally connected with India, where as its relation with Burma was deepened from mid 11th century. So there was indeed a transformation politically and culturally. Thus a systematic study of this transitional period and its phenomena are essential to understand Arakan history from its correct angle.
THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD
The more deeply we study the history of Arakan the clearer we will see, there was great political and cultural change in 11th century. The latest research of Dr. Pamela Gutman will enlighten us better on this subject. Frankly to admit, the writer of this treatise is much attracted to study history of Arakan by reading her thesis on ancient Arakan. Thanks to Major Tun Kyaw Oo (Rtd.) an Arakanese, who provided me a copy of her thesis, to study for a long period. First of all, let us see what the Rakhine chroniclers say,“The evaluation of Arakan History Vol.I”(Rakhine Pyi Phyitsin Thamine Vol. I) Published by Rakhine State Council in 1984, comments on the destruction of Wethali. It says official excavation of the old Wethali ruins is not completed yet. So the earth doesn’t testify how it (Wethali) ruined. We can only say the following, basing our opinion on the Rakhine Chronicles. Sula Candra, the last king of (third) Wethali perished at Cape Nagerais on his return from Tagaung journey where he lived for three years. This time three Mros (father and sons) got the throne and ruled successively. They erected a Palace at Kettare Taung in Mrauk-U. They also made Sandra Devi, the queen of late Sula Candra, their queen, perhaps for the legitimacy of their succession. But these father and sons were not united. Pyu from the east invaded. King Paipru repels them in 976 AD. (U Hla Tun Pru says, Paipru is the nephew of Amarathu, the first Mro king.(Arakan chronicles indicated the dates always 200 years ahead of other chronicles). Then in A.D. 978 the Shan (Mongolian) invaded again. Paipru was overpowered and could not resist. Finally he had to flee to upper Yo Chaung where he died one year later. The Shan destroyed the city, looted its valuable belongings including the jewelleries from the Mahamuni Temple, and return after 18 years. They took away a lot of inhabitants as captives from Ramree Island too. This time Sandoway was under the rule of Mons, for decades. In this period of chaos, the Sak in the north grew in strength. A Sak leader Ngamin Ngadon107 (Arakanese chronicle say Sula Sandra’s son), got the throne. He shifted the capital to Sambowet, not very far away from old Wethali. The chronicle say Ngamin Ngadon was brought up in the midst of Sak as his father died before. But in 818 (Arakan chronicle), 1018 A.D. (Western chronicles) he was attacked from the east. Pagan king Khin Saw Hnit invaded him for the second time. He was killed in the hands of Eastern people (Burman) by conspiracy. Kettathin a half brother108 of Ngamin Ngadon (U Hla Tun Pru says, grand nephew of Sula Candra) got the throne or enthroned. He shifted the capital to Pyinsa. So, Kettathin’s getting throne in 1018 A.D. is marked by historians as the end of Mro age and counted it as the beginning of Lemyo period.109
U Hla Tun Pru says Ngamin Ngadon fell in the wan with the king of Pagan. Kettathin became king. Arakan nevertheless kept her independence. Kettathin set up a new capital at Pyinsa. After his death his descendants ruled Arakan for next centuries.110 Here we find that Sula Candra was of Candra family, and Candra’s names sound Indian where as the name of Kettathin and all his successors sound Burmese. Further it is not logical that the invading Burman would enthrone a family member of Ngamin Ngadon whom they killed to get the sovereignty of the country. Further if Ngamin Ngadon were the son of Sula Taing Sandra as said in Rakhine chronicles, he would have been brought up by the Mru, not by the Sak, because Sula Taing Sandra’s widow queen Chandra Devi married the Mru, not the Sak.
In this regard Pamela Gutman says, during the Pagan dynasty, the pioneers of invading Burman, the Rakhuin must have been pushing over the passes into the north Arakan. It was the giant king really one of the pioneer Burman, who had made himself king of the Sak.111 Pamela further clears that the mid 11th century was again a period of great stress in the country and the dynasty (Candra dynasty) was under pressure from Pagan, when Anuruddha (B.C. 1044 – 77) was attempting to unite Burma for the first time. Both Burmese and Arakanese chronicles refer to his incursions into Arakan, which seems, however, to have eventually retained semi-autonomous status. In the west Candra dynasty of southeast Bengal had fallen, or about to fall———- and it would have disrupted her (Wethali’s) important sea trade.112
It is difficult to say when they (the Sak) began to cross the Yoma, although their infiltration to Arakan had certainly began before the arrival of Burman Rukhuin, as considerable fighting is recorded between the two groups. 113
Another point of Kettathin’s not being from Sula Candra’s family can be assumed from Pamela Gutman’s research.
She says, the north face of Shitthaung Pillar may therefore have been written by a king who traced his line, if not to the old Candra kings, at least to the family which gained power around the end of 8th century; reestablishing \/esali as the capital and barely managing to survive the tumultuous events of two centuries. The king could have been a legitimate memberof the old family, attempting to counter acts from the old city, the influence of puppet kings owing their allegiance to Pagan and ruling in the new capital of Pyinsa. The Prasasti is a cry for help from the old capital and it was the last gasp of an Indianized line and the last Sanskrit inscription in Burma.114
Here we can see parallel reign in Wethali, with Pyinsa. If the king of Wethali then is from the family of Candra, how can his rival in Pyinsa be of the same family too? So Kettathin being Sula Candra’s nephew is postulated to be a negation.
About the transitional period Pamela writes: From the 9th century A.D. the Mranma must have been infiltrating over the Yoma, where they eventually gained control of low lands and became Rakhaing king of northern Arakan. The Rakhine invasion of Arakan coincides with the first appearance of Candra in Bengal, whose connection with Arakan have often been postulated, but never proved. The Candra dynasty, according to the inscriptions of its kings is said to have originated in Ruhitagiri Bhujamvamsa, “the family ruling of the red mounlainers”.
Today the hills around Vesali are red and, it is likely the “Rohitagiri Bhujam-vamsa” could be euphemism for the Arakanese Candras, unwilling to admit the defttat by the Rakhine in their Bengal scription.115
Pamela remarks, perhaps it was the result of Burman invasion into central plain, that Arakan suffered another Sak invasion or uprising in the 10th century. The Rakhines were the last significant group to come to Arakan……. In old Burmese the name Rakhine First appeared in slave names in the inscriptions of 12th century.116 [Here Dr. S. B. Kunango, a Bengali researcher said the name Rakhine was given by Burman and it was found in 12th to 15th century Stone inscriptions of Tuparon, Sagaing]
The date of their arrival is contentious or controversial. Their chronicles exaggerated the antiquity of their hold on the low land. Both culturally and linguistically the Rakhine are closely related to the Burman.
The transition from Indian to Burman, from Wethali to Lemyo, is of course a phenomenon all students of Arakan history accept. U San Shwe Bu, an archeological officer and writer, said the proper history of Arakan began from 957 A.D. (See into the Hidden Burma by M. Collis). U Hla Tun Pru said for Arakanese and Burmese have affinities of blood, language and alliance between them indeed.117
A more extensive and clearer opinion is given by Dr. U Aye Chan, who himself is an Arakanese. He highlights the point of transition in a Rakhine Tasaung Magazine.118 He writes the Marayu and Dannya Waddy dynasties so described in Rakhine chronicles dated back 2666 B.C. The fact that these dynasties really existed is not certain. At least the dates of those dynasties described in Rakhine chronicles are short of accuracy. However, in the light of Sanskrit inscriptions found in Arakan, we can say, there certainly was a dynasty of Sandra kings from not later than 3rd century A.D. Buddhism flourished there and culturally and literarily they were quite advanced. The north face of Shitthaung Pillar was in Sanskrit with Nagari letters. It’s reading indicates it was written in 10th century A.D. It is further true before Mrauk-U age writing language of Arakan was Sanskrit with Nagairi characters. During the early period not a single inscription, in our present day speaking Rakhine language was found. Vesali was overwhelmed by north Indian culture, which was proved by coins, and inscriptions found there. A stone inscription found in Ngalung village, Sandoway was in Sanskrit, written in 8th century. It was a record in memory of a charity, dedicated to their parents, by two laymen Mega and Thanama Danma. Here it is proved that not only the ruling class but also the public used this Sanskrit. We can imagine here how great was the cultural link between Arakan and north India. We find inscriptions in our present day Rakhine language only during the period from 11th to 15th century. For example, Dasaraza Stone inscription.
This is why we can draw a conclusion that there was a transition from wethali to Lemyo period. Lemyo period in Arakan is contemporary to Pagan period in Burma. In the 9th century when the Pyu are in disarray, Myanmar entered the Irrawaddy valley. It is the time when Nan Shans were attacking (the kingdoms in Burma), the Tibeto-Burman infiltrated into Burma and some of them did enter into Arakan, too. Due to continuous infiltration and incursions of Burmans, Vesali collapsed. Indeed there was a great cultural and political change in Arakan in the mid 10th century. 119 This is the version of Dr. Aye Chan in regard of ancient Arakan history.
So there was a transition indeed. This transition was from Indian to Burman. Though the kings were dethroned or fled to somewhere, their subjects, the Indian or Bengali people remained in Arakan, where their descendants are still found amidst the Burmese (the Rakhines). These are Rohingyas.
WETHALI DYNASTY IN EAST BENGAL
Candra kings had been ruling in Arakan since the early Christian era. Dr. S. B. Kanungo of Chittagong University says there was a dynasty of the same name in east Bengal before the Pala invasion of 10th century. He says the lineage of kings surnamed Chandra (Candra/Sandra) ruling East Bengal and its adjoining territories need specific atte.ntion as their seat of administration is stated to be Chittagong. He says incidentally we carne across another lineage of kings’ surnamed Chandra in the Shitthaung Temple inscription of Arakan. According to the chronological table, king Bala Chandra is said to be the first king of the Shri Dharma Rajanuia Vamsa. Scholars express opinions that king Bala Chandra of Shitthaung Temple inscription is identical with king Bala Chandra of Tharanath’s narration. Many other evidences and opinions naturally give an impression that king Bala Chandra of Tharanath’s narration and the king of same name in Shitthaung Temple inscription (in Arakar) were identical person……… It is likely that king. Bala Chandra held both East Bengal and Arakan under his sway and established his capital at Chittagong, which held central position in the empire.120
The Shitthaung Temple inscription does not specifically mention the territorial jurisdiction of the kings who reigned several hundred years earlier the time of engravement of the inscription. Tharanath’s history states that the Bala Chandra was driven out of his ancestral kingdom. He established a new kingdom in Bengal. It might be that one of his successor conquered Arakan and establish his administration there.
The Chandras of both Arakan and Eastern Bengal belong to the same period and both lines were Buddhists in faith; but they patronized Saivism, Trantricism, Vaissnavism and even Brahmanism. Monarchs of both lines used either Nagari (Sanskrit) or the scripts belong to the eastern group, in their coins and inscriptions. The design of coins issued by both these lines has much striking similarities, that one may confuse the coins of one country with those of the other. But there is no evidence to prove that the two royal families were related to each other. The inscriptm of Eastern Bengal have no reference to Arakan and the inscriptions of Chandra of Arakal in their turn have a very faint reference to their counterpart of East Bengal. Modern scholars, however, have endeavored to establish some sort of connection between the Chandra ruler of Vesali and those of Eastern Bengal.121
The first half of 11th century was a period of catastrophe for the two dynasties. In Eastern Bengal the Chandra dynasty was reduced to submission by Rajendrachola, a ruler of the Deccan. The Chandra dynasty of Arakan was overthrown by Pagan ruler of Burma.122
Here the genealogical link of present day people of Arakan with those of Chandra period is a matter of interest and further research.
THE LEMYO PERIOD
Rakhine chronicles say the last king of Candra dynasty Sula Taing Candra died in a disaster at Cape Nagerais on his return journey from Taguang in 957 A.D. A Mro chief of Mraw Chaung Amarathu became the king. He married Candra Devi the queen of Sula Candra. Arakan chronicles say he passed the test of Candra Devi, with a magic ring, which was kept with her by king Sula Candra, to test a man to succeed him, in case of his death on his Tagaung journey. Amarathu was succeeded by his nephew Paipru. Towards the end of 10th century the Pyu king of Prome invaded the kingdom, but was unable to bring his army across the Yoma mountains, and a few years later the capital was removed to Kyethre Taung, in Mrauk-U. In 976 A.D. A Shan prince conquered the country. Paipru was overpowered. He fled to Thabeik Taung on the 17th year of his reign. He died there after one year. The Shans occupied Arakan for 18 years. They looted the country, stripped off the Mahamuni its gems. On their return after 18 years, they took away a lot of inhabitants from Ramree as captives.
At the meantime southern Arakan (Sandoway) was under Mon occupation. During this time, the Sak in Saing Daing region in the north mobilized themselves and grew in strength. In 994, Sak leader Ngamin Ngadon became King. He removed the capital to Sambwet on Lemyo River. He could repel an invasion by the Burman. He reigned about 24 years. But during a second invasion by the king of Pagan he was killed. He was succeeded by Kettathin in 1018 A.D. He established his capital at Pyinsa. 123 Rakhine chronicles say Kettathin was a cousin of Ngamin, Ngadon and Grand Nephew of Sula Sandra. [Here, the cause of Burmese invasions was to make a King of their own not to enthrone a clan’s man of Ngamin Ngadon whom they killed to gain the sovereignty of the land. So Kettathin’s being related to either Ngamin Ngadon or to Sula Sandra is a controversial issue, which needs correct research]. The cause of Burmese invasion was not to enthrone a Klansman of Ngamin Ngadon, but to make a Burmese king. The last date of Candra dynasty was 957 A.D. Then the Mro age began from 957 and ended in 1018 A.D. Here is the beginning of Lemyo age. According to U San Shwe Bu, the proper history of Rakhine began from there and it lasted for 800 years. 124
From around the beginning of 11th century Arakan became increasingly Burmanized as can be noticed in the frequent use of Burmese names and titles, in the king lists of the chronicles and the names of Arakanese in the inscriptions of Pagan. The situation reflected in the archeological remains of Vesali, which showed a gradual limiting of Indian influence to the northwest, particularly to Bengal and increasing contact with central Burma.125
Lemyo period began from early 11th century with its capital at Pyinsa (Panca) on Lemyo River in central Arakan.
In the words of Sir Arthur Phayre, Kettathin reigned for ten years and succeeded by his brother Sindathin in 1028 A.D. Sindathin and four of his descendants reigned in succession. In the reign of the fifth, Minpyagyi, a noble usurped the throne; another noble deposed him. But in the year 1051, the son of Minpyagyi, Minnanthu ascended the throne, reigned (for) five years, the third in descend from him, named Mindu was slained by a rebellious noble named Thin Kaya who usurped the throne in the year 1078 A.D. The heir apparent Min-re-bya escaped to the court of Kyansittha, king of Pagan. The usurper reigned for fourteen years, his son Min Than succeeded him in 1092 A.D. and reigned eight years; on his death his son Minpadi ascended the throne. During this period, the rightful heir to the throne, Min-re-bya was residing unnoticed at Pagan: he had married his own sister Su Pauk Ngyo and there born a son named Letya Min Nan. The exiled king died without being able to procure assistance from Pagan court for the recovery of his throne. At length the king of that country, Alaung Sithu, the grandson of Kyan Sittha, sent an army of 100,000 Pyu and 100,000 Talaings to place Letya Minnan upon the throne. This army marched in the year 1102 A.D. and after one repulse, the usurper Minpadi was slain and Letya Minnan was restored to the throne of his ancestors. A Burmese inscription of Stone discovered at Buddhagaya serves to confirm the account given in the history of restoration of Letya Minnan or as he is called in the Stone inscription, Pyu-Ta-Thein-Min i.e. lord of a hundred thousand Pyus. It is evident, from the tenor both of history and inscription, that the Arakan Prince was regarded as a dependant of Pagan king to whom he had, from his birth, been a supplicant for aid; in return for the assistance granted him for the recovery of his grandfather’s throne, he was to aid in rebuilding the temple of Buddhagaya, in the name of Pagan sovereign. The royal capital was established at Launggyat, but that site proving unhealthy; Parin was established in the year 1106 A.D. Four kings followed in quick succession, after whom Gauliya ascended the throne in 1153 AD. He is described as a prince of great power, to whom the king of Bengal, pegu, Pagan and Siam did homage; but his chief claim to distinction lies in his having built the Temple Mahathi,a few miles south of present town of Arakan, (Mrauk-U). The idol, in which was in-sanctity, inferior only to that of Mahamuni.
He was succeeded by his son Dasaraja, who upheld his father’s name, and repaired Mahamuni Temple, which was partially destroyed by Pyu in the time of Letya Minnan. In 1165 he was succeeded by his son Anan Thiri. Due to his cruel rule, a general uprising occurred; he was deposed and killed, and his younger brother Min Punsa reigned in his stead. In the year 1167 A.D. this prince established his capital at Chrit on the Lemyo River. There was a Shan invasion but not successful. He died after 7 years of prosperous reign.
In the reign of his grandson Gama-Yu-Ban a noble named Salin Kabo usurped the throne, but proving oppressive, was murdered in the first year of his usurpation. Midzu Thin, the younger brother of Gamayuba was now raised to the throne. He removed the capital to Pyinsa (for the second time), close to the present town of Arakan. Arakan struck coins in this time. This Prince was surnamed Taing Chit or country beloved. With characteristic extravagance he is said to have reigged over the Burmese dominions and a great part of India as far as the river Naraingana and to the borders of Nepal. The succeeding 10 kings passed like shadows, without anything writing of notice except their short reign. The last of these kings was deposed and his son Letyagyi ascended the throne in 1210 A.D. and he was succeeded by Alanmapru in 1237 A.D. and removed the capital to launggyet. [This Launggyet dynasty lasted until 1406 AD.].
King Alanmapru made war upon pagan sovereign and received tribute from the king of Bengal. He died after a reign of six years. His son Razathugyi succeeded him. [Here Rakhine chronicle (Rakhine Razwin Thit Vol II P-342) says in A.D.1128 Chittagong revolted against Arakan, which was suppressed, but again in A.D.1246, there broke a rebellion; Rakhine repulsed it and marched up to Lakchipur and they brought 47,500 captives to Arakan. This chronicle of Rakhine highlights the point that there was Bengali or Muslim population in Arakan even before the founding of Mrauk-U dynasty in 1430.]
In the reign of Razathugyi, the Talaing invaded the southern portion of the kingdom, but were repulsed by Arakanese general Ananthugyi. Nothing worthy of notice occurs until the reign of Nan Kyagyi who ascended the throne in 1268 A.D. This king oppressed the people with heavy taxes, and levied contribution of goods, which he stored up in his palace. By various act of tyranny he incurred the hatred of many influential men; and even the priest whose religion forbids them to notice worldly affairs are represented as inimical to him.Eventually he was killed in the fourth year of his reign and was succeeded by his son Minbilu, who married the daughter of the Sithabin, or commander of bodyguard, the conspirator against the former sovereign. This prince is described as being, if possible, moce hateful than his father. Being jealous to the supposed, high destines of his infant son, Mindi, ordered him to be cast into the river, but the child was miraculously preserved, rescued by fishermen, and was sent to a remote part of the kingdom. These and other similar acts inflaming the mind of the people against the king, he was slain in a conspiracy headed by the Si-Thu-Bin, the king maker, now usurped the throne, out was himself killed in the third year of his reign. The son of Minbilu, named Mindi, was then raised to the throne, but he was only seven years of age.
[A.D. 12th century was an unstable period, usurpers ruled amidst chaos. The public was very much frustrated. Harvey says about this period: settled government was the exception. In the middle of XII century even the famous Mahamuni Image could not be found for it had been overgrown with jungle in the prevailing anarchy.The Burmese under Pagan dynasty (1044 – 1287) successfully established their sovereignty over north Arakan, but not over the south, and even in the north the kings merely sent propittatory tribute and continued to be hereditary kings not governors appointed by Pagan, Here Pamela Gutman also said king Dasaraza 1135-1165 A.D. had repaired Mahamuni Temple which was partially destroyed by the Pyu army of Letyaminnan and was remained neglected. The king had to seek the help of the Mrus to find out the Mahamuni, which was then covered by dense forest].
King Mindi gave general satisfaction, and enjoyed a long and prosperous reign. In the year 1294 A.D. the Shans invaded the kingdom but were repulsed. The king of Thuratan or Eastern Bengal named Nga-pu-kin (Bahadur Khan) courted his alliance and sent presents of elephants and horses. In pursuance to get rid of attacks, from various sites by the Shans, the Burman, the Talaing, and theThet: he personally marched in person in the year 1312 A.D. to repel the Talaing in Sandoway. His uncle Uza-na gyi was sent with an army to attack Pagan. Salingathu, his brother-in-law, advanced into Pegu, and the general Raza Thirigyan was sent against the Thet tribes. The city of pagan was taken, the Talaing were overawed and the expedition against the Thet, after being once repulsed was eventually crowned with success. After this the general Razathingyan subdued the country along the seacoast as far as Brahmaputra River. In the year 1327 A.D. the Pagan sovereign made an attack upon the island of Ramree and carried away a number of the inhabitants who were planted upon the Manipur frontier. After this the Sandoway viceroy having gained possession of a relic of Gautama brought from Ceylpn, by virtue of which he expected to obtain sovereignty rose in rebellion, but was finally reduced to obedience. Soon after this, Mindi died, after a reign of 106 years at the age of 113. Nothing worthy of notice occurred until 1394 A.D., when the reigning sovereign marched to attack the Pagan Empire, the capital of which was established at Ava. During his absence the Governor of Sandoway revolted, and seizing the boats, which had conveyed the king’s army along the seacoast, and were now left on the shore for his return, made the best of his way to Laung Kyet the capital, where he setup king, the king’s infant son, Razathu. The king returned without delay, but his army deserting him he was slain and his son was proclaimed King. The Sitha-bin as the rebellious governor was called, not long after sent the young king to the southern extremity of the kingdom and governed in his name. But becoming unpopular, he was after two years deposed and killed by a noble named Myin Saing-Gyi who in his turn became disliked and had to fly to the Burmese dominions when the lawful king Razathu was restored. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Thinga- Thu. This prince after a reign of three years was murdered by the chief priest of the country in a monastery, with the connivance of his nephew, Min Saw Man; who then succeeded to the throne in the year 1404 A.D.
Worn out by his cruelties the people rose against him and called in the aid of Min Shwe, a king of Ava who dispatched a force of 30,000 men under the command of his son. Min Saw Mun fled to Bengal, found refuge with the ruler of Thuratan, who, being engaged in war himself, could render no assistance. Arakanese chronicles states that when Min Saw Mun was in Bengal the king of Delhi came to attack the chief or king of Thuratan who was greatly assisted by the fugitive; this most probably refers to the invasion of Bengal by Sultan Ibrahim of Joanpur.126
In the absence of Arakan king, Min Saw Mun, there was rivalry between the Burmese and Talaing to control Arakan. R. B. Smart comments the king of Ava had no intension of resigning his grasp on Arakan, whilst the Arakanese had no intension of allowing them (the Burmans) to remain in possession of the country. Aided by the Talaing who formerly occupied Arakan made constant endeavor to drive out the Burman. Attack and counter attack continued for more than a decade. Yet Arakanese did not get the grasp of their country. Thus Rakhine sovereignty in Laungkyet came into an end.
Note: The chronological list of Kings during Lemyo period is not included here.
EARLY MUSLIM CONTACTS WITH ARAKAN
Before passing to the period of Mrauk-U, the most shining one, in Arakan history, let us first study how Muslims got contact with Arakan in the early days. How Islam spread there. It is a contentious subject for those vvho try to portray Muslims in Arakan as aliens.
I found a booklet named “Bengali in Arakan and their historical problem”. It was a publication of Arakan Democratic Front, a registered political party on the eve of 1990; parliamentary election. The publisher is U Saw Maung. The booklet’s main objective is to portray Muslims in Arakan as aliens or illegal immigrants from Bengal. That very book referring old Rakhine chronicles says; Chittagong revolted in 1128 A.D. and Rakhine had suppressed it; again it revolted in 1256 A.D. which too was suppressed by Rakhine: but this time Rakhine occupied up to Lakchipur and brought 4,700 captives.127 Here is the question; where are these captives or their descendants gone? Of course these captives and their descendants assimilated in the general population of Arakan. Most of them might be Muslims and had mixed up with Rohingya Muslims.
Arabs are the earliest people to travel to east by sea. Through the Arabs, Islam spread across Thailand, Malaya and Indonesia. There are records that these Arabs reached Arakan coast too. In this context R. B. Smart and many other historians say: about 788 A.D. when Maha Taing Candra ascended the throne of Wethali founded a new city on the site of old Rama Waddy and died after a reign of 22 years. In his reign several ships were wrecked on Ramree Island and the crews said to have been Mohammedans, were sent to Arakan proper and settled in villages. [Arthur Phayre calls Akyab and part of Kyauk Pru district as Arakan proper].128 The study of inscriptions of that period says the natives of that time were Indo-Aryans or a people similar to that of Bengal. These natives got the religion Islam from these ship wrecked Arabs. Today they are part and parcel of Rohingya community in Arakan proper.
This is why researchers’ remark Muslim influence on the Arakanese society was not an outcome of some sudden occurrences. It was the result of an age long intercourse between Arakan and Muslim countries that dates back to the period of Arab contact with Arakan. Arakan came into contact with Muslims as early as the ninth century. Arakanese chronicles give references to the Muslim settlement in Arakan during the reign of Maha Taing Candra 788 – 810 A.D.129
Father Farnao Guerreiro, in the beginning of 17th century observed: The moors ——-would always be garibos, that is very submissive with no other desire but to live under his (king of Arakan’s) protection.130 Niccolao Mannnucci, a Venetian traveler says Shah Shujah during his stay in Arakan found many dwellers, Maghul and Pathans. Muslims from lower Bengal contributed much to the ever-increasing Bengali Muslims in the Arakanese kingdom.
The Arakanese call Muslims Kalah. But Muslims introduce themselves as Rohingyas 131 to others. Martin Smith a specialist on Burmese history observes too; Muslims settled in Arakan since 9th century. Name of places, rivers, and towns, such as Ramree, Akyab, Kaladan, Naf and Kalapanzan were connected with Muslims.132
For about eight centuries they (the Arabs) monopolize the trade between east and west. It is from 8th century and it continued down to the coming of Europeans in the first quarter of sixteen century. 133
Further Muslim Fakirs and Dervishes used to visit Arakanese coast, one of widely known facts of this is the existence of Shrine called Badr Makam, scattered along the coastline of Arakan ……..Muslim Saints and sailors happened to land at the coast of Arakan as early as fourteen century.134
Arakanese chronicles give reference to the travel of Muslim mystics in that country in Pagan period. The chronicle referring to an accident during king Anawrattha’s Rule (1044-1077 A.D.) states: When he (an attendant of the king) entered the forest, he found a man possessed of mystic wisdom dead with the marks of violence upon him.135 Dr. Kanungo said the event proved that not only Muslim merchants but also Saints and Dervishes used frequently this port of coast of the Bay as early as the 11th century. 136
The early Portuguese visitors saw the port of Chittagong (then under Arakanese rule) crowded with Arab sails, Duarte-de-Barbosa, Pyrard de Laval and many other European voyagers noticed Arab merchants, staying in Chittagong on trade purposes.137 Chittagong and the ports of Arakan have had close commercia! connections.
D. G. E. Hall points out, in the eastern sea they (the Portuguese) excelled the Moors (Arabs) in both fighting and navigating their ships, and the ships themselves were in every respect, superior to those of Arabs, which were built for sailing only under favorable monsoon conditions.138 So in early 17th century the Portuguese got control of the coast of Bengal- Arakan.
Harvey remarks after 10th century the country was professedly Buddhist, not withstanding the spread of Mohammedanism, which by XIII century had dotted the coast from Assam to Malaya, with the curious Mosques known as Badr Makan. Doubtless it is Mohammedan influence, which led the women to being more secluded in Arakan than in Burma.139
Moshe Yeagar an Israeli researcher states that, in addition from the very beginning of Muslim commercial shipping activities in the Bay of Bengal, the Muslim trade ships reached the ports of Arakan, just as they did the ports of Burma proper. And as in Burma, in Arakan too, there is a long tradition of old Indian settlement ——————– Bengal became Muslim in 1203 ………. in northern Arakan close overland ties were founded with east Bengal. The resulting cultural and political Muslim influence was of great significance in the history of Arakan. Actually Arakan served to a large extent as a bridgehead for Muslim penetration to other parts of Burma, although the Muslims never attained the same degree of importance elsewhere as they did in Arakan.140
This fact is recognized by Myanmar’s present government (SPDC Government), in its
publication of a book “Sasana Yaungwa Tunzepho”, concerning the evolution of religions in Myanmar. It says Islam took root in Arakan since 8th century and from there it spread into
Further an eminent Myanmar historian once the Chairman of Myanmar History Commission, Dr. Than Tun says, because of north Arakan’s close overland ties with Bengal, Islam penetrated into this side of border many centuries ago. Some Muslim Chieftains and warlords perhaps shifted into Arakan at the aftermath of their political struggle, so as they could settle down there. And perhaps the present day Rohingya in May Yu are their descendants who claimed to be on that region at least for ten centuries. He further remarks in 14th century Chindwin Valley inscriptions, there were names of Muslim Chiefs and Muslim Kings who were in a very good relationship with Ava kings.141
Dr.Than Tun based his opinion on the book “The Phases of old Burma” by G.H.Luce, once a history piofossor ol Rangoon University.
More noteworthy is the narration of Dr.Khin Mauiig Nyunt, a prominent Burmese historian. His narration is an answer to those who tend to deny Rohingya’s deeply rooted ancestry in Arakan. He states the religion of Islam started from Arabia since 7th century A.D. These Arabs reached to the eastern countries not only for trades but also for the propagation of their religion. Because of their preaching, Islam took root in eastern countries including Arakan. Next the Portuguese marauders plundered the villages along the Bengal coast and brought captives from there and sold them in Arakan. These captives included many persons of high birth and good reputation and intellect in Arakan. Rakhine, Arabs and Hindu households bought them for their household works. Most of them were employed in Agricultural works by the Rakhine kings.142
Arabs led the trade with eastern world from the beginning of early Christian era up to
16th century Westerners arrived in this region. (In some cases with help of the Arabs) only after 16th century.143 These Arabs had established trade colonies in Java, Sumatra, Malacca,
Myanmar and Arakan.144 These Arabs had not only established colonies but also founded their
political dynasties, as the case in East Bengal. These Arab colonies in Mrauk-U weie found
even at the time of Shah Shuja and king Sanda Thudama crisis in the 17th century. So Moshe
Yegar remarks during this (Shuja)case all foreigners and Muslim trading vessels were sent
away, so that they would not know what was happening (in Mrauk-U, the capital of Arakan)
Referring to Augustine Priest Sebastian Marique who was in Arakan from 1629 to 1637.
Moshe Yegar says, he saw these were Muslim Captives, Muslim army units, Muslim trade
colonies, and Muslims holding key position in the Kingdom.145
Further, Muslims have their own legendries some are still in records in book forms. There is the legend of one Arab History which conguered a native queen Qy-yapun mainedher and settled in May Yu region making their palace on Qy-yapuri Tonki. i.e. Minglagyi mountain now. There is another legend. It is said a king called Amir Hamzah in Gaulangi area, northern portion of Pruma River, was reputed for his just rule. He tried to expand his borders by fighting with kings in Wethali. But this legend did not say that he ruled or conquered Wethali.146 Next the Shrine of a Saints, Babagyi at Ambary village, Akyab and many others along the coast including the famous Badr Mukan bear conclusive evidences of early Muslim settlement in Arakan
D G E Hall once a Professor of department of Histmy in Rangoon University says, in the reign of Anawratlha. Pagan asserted its authority over Arakan, but after 1287 this lapsed, although Narameikhla established Mrohong (Dynasty) in 1433, there were from time to time Burmese and Mon interferences. Arakan contacts with Mohammedan India were probably closer than those with Burma. None of its river uses in Burman and through out history its water communications with Bengal were much easier than its overland communication with Burma ……… Mohammedanism spread to Arakan but failed to make much impression on its Buddhism. Mrohong had its Sandhi Khan Mosque and its king assumed Mohammedan titles but the predominance of Buddhism was never shaken.147
Maurice Collis and San Shwe Bu rightly says, Arakan being adjacent to Mohammedan Bengal, it might had had a considerable Muslim population even before Mrauk-U dynasty.148
The latest popular politician and writer of Arakan, U Saw Maung, Vice President of Arakan People’s Democratic Front, published a short treatise, where indirectly admitted Muslim presence in Arakan before Mrauk-U. The treatise emphasized the Pathan force came to help Min Saw Mon, betrayed him, and seized power of Arakan for three months and built Sandhi Khan Mosque. Min Saw Mun kept it out of Mrauk-U city due to his belief that non-Buddhist should not be kept inside the city compound.149 If the Pathan commander betrayed Mm Saw Mon and ruled only for three months, how could he build a Mosque with stone in three months? Actually he ruled foi many years.
ROHINGYAS ARE NOT ALIENS BUT NATIVES.
In previous chapters we have seen how the terminology Rohingya evolved historically. It is an antiquity not an invention of recent past, though in some records Rohingyas has been termed as Muslims. This Rohingyas have their ethnic root in the people of Wethali dynasty. Inscriptions found in Wethali today are very much nearer to the language of Rohingya. The people in Wethali, during the Candra dynasty indeed were Indians rather than Mongolians. Thus linguistically and genealogically Rohingya alone has greater affinity with the people of Candra age. Most writers overlook this historic reality and only try to judge Rohingyas as Muslims, as if they infiltrated into Arakan or they came to settle down there from some alien coun ies. It is true; from cultural point of view this Rohingya got a religion, which is not the product of their birthplace. Genealogically they are bonafide Arakan products. Many centuries ago, the whole Bengal was a Hindu or a Buddhist land. Today 80% of Bangladesh population is Muslim. How did it happen? How did this change take place? The same logic is true for Rohingyas in Arakan, whereas their ancestors were Hindus or Buddhists. We will find in the next chapter “Muslim influence in Arakan”, how the missionary works of Muslim Saints and Preachers had been successful. Arakanese chronicles amply described how did Islam spread in Arakan. Today, a notion that Rakhine has no Muslim is an extremity and short of truth.
From legal point of view, a people living in Arakan, as its permanent homeland prior to British occupation is an indigenous race of Myanmar, no question whatsoever is his religion or his ethnic background. Bogyoke Aung San, father of this nation knew in detail of these Rohingyas. He knew about the communal crisis of 1942. In May 1946 he met Rohingya elders in Akyab. He assured them full guarantee of nationality and protection. Some of the people who met him at Akyab are still alive, though very aged. Assessing from historical and legal point of view Bogyoke had allowed Rohingyas to represent in 1947 Constitutional Assembly. The most remarkable thing is on the very day of Bogyoke’s death, i.e. on 19th July 1947, he had had a special appointment with Muslim M. L. Cs., from Arakan.150 So the conclusion is Muslims of Rohingyas are not aliens but natives of Arakan.
MRAUK-U DYNASTY (1430 – 1786 A.D.)
Some Rakhine chronicles try to divide Mrauk-U period into three phases:
First Mrauk-U From 1430 -1531 A.D.
From Min Saw Mun to Minkaung Raja.
Second Mrauk-U From 1531 -1638 A.D.
From Min Bagyi to Thiri Thudama
Third Mrauk-U From 1638 – 1784 A.D.
From Min Haree or Min Sane to Maha Thamadda
Mrauk-U period is the most splendid time throughout Arakanese history. During this time Arakan’s sovereignty extended to Taung Ngoo and Martaban in the east, up to the borderline of Ganges River in the west. Its kings were said to be Buddhists but most of them, save the kings in the third phase, have Muslim titles. Persian is said to be their official language. But I have no concrete document concerning it. But in early British period office orders were found in Persian. Arakan court system is said to have based on the system of Muslims of Bengal and Delhi. Its relations with external forces, such as Mogul, Portuguese, Dutch, Tripura, Pathan, Mon and Burma was very complex and delicate. It is very interesting to study it.
As we have seen Min Saw Mon fled to Bengal. Laungkyet was under Burmese occupation. Rakhines with the help of Mon tried many times to repel the Bruman but were not successful.
In the year 1426, Gaur Sultan Nazir Shah sent an army headed by Wali Khan (Rakhine chronicle, U Lu Khin). Gaur Sultan was highly satisfied with service Min Saw Mun rendered during his war with Delhi. Min Saw Mun’s military craftsmanship was highly appreciated and the Sultan determined to help enthrone Min Saw Mun in Laungkyet. But commander of the army, Wali Khan who was sent to help Min Saw Mun, betrayed his trust. In collaboration with a Rakhine noble, U Zeka (some chronicles say in collaboration with Ananda Thin, Mayor of Dahlet), imprisoned Min Saw Mun and declared himself king. R. B. Smart mistook this Rakhine noble with a Mon Governor in his description of this event. Wali Khan removed the seat of Government to Parin and built the city. According to Bengala District Gazetteer, Wali Khan introduced Muslim Judicial system there.151 In the year 1429 (that is after three years) two emissaries from the court of Delhi killed him. [In fact it was from the court of Gaur].152 There was Muslim Judicial system, only because there were considerable Muslim inhabitants.
In connection to the betrayal of Wali Khan, U Hla Tun Pru, an eminent historian of Arakan Says: the infamous general Wali Khan eventually make a coup by throwing Narmeikhla into jail. The Sultan of Gaur, however, immediately reacted by sending a new well-equipped army punish the perfidious general. The Sultan was not satisfied until the skin of Wali Khan was converted into a covering for a drum to proclaim his perfidy throughout his dominions by drum beating.153
The second general Sandi Khan took action against Wali Khan, restored Naramekhla (a) Min Saw Mun to his throne in Laung Kyet. Two years later a new capital, Mrauk-U was founded and the Muslim troops (came to help him) settled in the area in numbers. They built a Mosque, known still today as Sandi Khan Mosque, three miles away from the palace. The stones used in building the Mosque were like that of the Palace. The king provided them.154
The turmoil of foreign inroads showed that Laungkyet was ill fated and the omens indicated Mrauk-U as a lucky site. So he decided to move there; though the astrologers said that if he moved the capital, he would die within the year; he insisted saying that if the move would benefit his own people and his own death would matter little. In 1432 he founded the city and in the next year he died.155
About Narameikhla, historians said, “The Arakanese king lived there (in Gaur) for 24 years, leaving his country in the hands of Burmese …….. He turned away from what was Buddhist and became familiar to what was Mohammedan and foreign. In so doing he loomed from medieval to modern, from the fragile fair-land of Glass Palace Chronicles to the robust extravaganza of thousand and one night.156 From this time Arakan became closer to Bengal, culturally and politically. Nevertheless, they remained Buddhist. In this time of Narameikhla, Abdu Min Nyo wrote his famous Rakhine Minthami Ayechan. This writer’s name sound Muslim. Below is a list of Kings of Mrauk-U Dynasty:
Sr.No Name of kings Relationship MuslimTitles Time of Rule
1. Narameikhla (a) King of Laungkyet Sulaiman Khan 1430 A.D.
Min Saw Mun Son of Razathu
1. Min Khari (a) Brother of Sr.NO.1 Ali Khan 1433 A.D.
1. Ba Saw Pru Son of Sr. NO.2 Kalima Shah 1459 A.D.
2. Daulia Son of Sr. NO.3 Maghul Shah 1482 A.D.
3. Sa Saw Nyo Son of Sr. NO.2 Mohamed Shah 1492 A.D.
4. Rang Aung Son of Sr. NO.4 Nuree Shah 1494 A.D.
5. Salinka Thu Maternal Uncle Sikandar Shah 1501 A.D.
6. Min Raza Son of Sr. NO.7 Ili Shah 1513 A.D.
7. Gazapati Son of Sr. NO.7 lIyas Shah 1515 A.D.
8. Min Saw Oo Brother of Sr. NO.7 Jalal Shah 1515 A.D.
9. Thazatha Son of Daulia Ali Shah 1515 A.D.
10. Min Khaung Son of Daulia 1521 A.D.
Sr.No Name of kings Relationship Muslim Titles Time of Rule
1. Min Bin (a) Son of Min Raza Zabauk Shah 1431 A.D.
Min Ba Gyi
1. Min Dikha Son of Sr. No.1 1553 A.D.
2. Min Saw Hla Son of Sr. No.2 1555 A.D.
3. Setkya Veti (a) Son of Sr. No.2 1564 A.D.
5. Min Phalaung Son Min Ba Gyi Sikandar Shah 1571 A.D
6. Min Raza Gyi Son of Sr. No.5 Salim Shah I 1593 A.D.
7. Min Khamaung Son of Sr. No.6 Hussein Shah 1612 A.D.
8. Min Hari Son of Sr. No.7 Salim Shah II 1622 A.D
1. Min Sane (a) Son of Sr. No.8 1638 A.D.
Thadu Min Hla
Sr.No. Name of kings Relationship Muslim Titles Time of Rule
1. Kuthala Narapatigyi Great grand son of 1638 A.D
1. Thadu Mintra Son of Sr. No.1 1645 A.D.
2. Sanda thudamma Son 1652 A.D.
3. Uga Bala Son 1672 A.D.
4. Wera Damma Raza Brother 1685 A.D.
5. Mani Thudamma Raza Elder brother 1692 A.D.
6. Sanda Thuna Damma Younger Brother 1694 A.D.
8. Ngatin Nawrahta Son 1694 A.D.
9. Marupai Usurper 1696 A.D.
10. Kala Kandala Usurper 1697 A.D.
11. Naradipati Son of Sr.No.7 1698 A.D.
12. Sanda Wimala Raza Grandson of Sr. No.2 1700 A.D.
13. Sanda Thuria Raza Grandson of Sr. No.3 1706 A.D.
14. Sanda Wiziya Raza Outsider 1710 A.D.
15. Sanda Thuria Raza Son-in-law 1730 A.D.
16. Naradipadi Son 1734 A.D.
17. Narapawara Raza Brother 1735 A.D.
18. Sanda Wizila Raza Cousin 1737 A.D.
19. Thuratan Raza 1737 A.D.
(Kala Ketya Min)
20. Mettras Raza Brother of Sr. No.17 1737 A.D.
21. Nara Abay Raza Son of Sr. No.15 1742 A.D.
22. Thirthu Raza Son 1761 A.D.
23. Sanda Perma Raza Brother 1761 A.D.
24. Aboya Maha Raza Brother-in-law 1764 A.D.
25. Sanda Thumana Raza Brother-in-law 1773 A.D.
26. Sanda Thumala Raza Outsider 1777 A.D.
27. Sanda Thakitta Raza Outsider 1777 A.D.
28. Maha Thamada Raza outsider 1782 A.D
Note: 1 No. 13, 15, 11, 16 and 14, 18 are same name but different persons.
2 Muslim titles are corrupted and Arakanized in some Rakhine chronicles.
3 The list of Kings here is drawn by adjusting U San Tha Aung’s Arakan Coins and Arakan State Council’s History of Arakan Vol. I.
Alongside with this far ranging commercial links with Bengal, close cross-cultural ties were thereafter immediately fastened between the Rakhine kingdom and East Bengal. Because Narameikhla and his family had spent over 20 years in exile amid Muslim culture and as a nominal vassalage of the Sultan of Gaur, the Rakhine kingdom was strongly influenced by Bengal culture. Hence Narameikhla employed Muslim tittles in his coins and inscriptions…….. He had to assign the revenue of his dominions in Bengal to the Sultan of Gaur to meet the expenses of helping him to recover his throne. He was succeeded by his son (in fact, his brother), Ali Khan reigned (1434-1459 A.D) who have adopted a Muslim name, which the Sultan of Gaur recognized in memory of notable services his brother had rendered to the house of Gaur.157
In fact the gradual Muslim infiltration into political and cultural life of Arakan became more forceful during the reign of Min Saw Mun, who with the help of Sultan of Gaur, Jalaludding Mohammed Shah (some say with the help of Nazir Shah) regained his throne.158
Moshe Yegar says Nrameikhla ceded certain territory to the Sultan of Bengal and recognized his sovereignty. As proof of his vassalage and despite being Buddhist, he and his heirs took Muslim tittles in addition to Arakanese tittles. He also introduced Nazir Shah’s system of coins bearing the Kalimah (Verse of Muslim confession of faith) as used in Bengal since the Muslim conquest of 1203. Later on he strikes his own coins, which had the name of the king in Burmese letters on one side, his Muslim title in Persian on the other. Arakan was subject to Bengal until 1531. Her kings received their Muslim titles from Bengal Sultans. Nine vassal kings received Muslim titles. Even after becoming independent of Bengal Sultan, the Arakan kings continued the custom of using the Muslim title in addition to the Burmese or Pali titles. This was because they not only wished to be thought of as Sultans in their own right in imitation of the Mogul, but also because there were Muslims in ever larger numbers among their subjects. Court ceremonies and administrative methods followed the customs of the Gaur and Delhi Sultanate. There were eunuchs, harems, slaves and hangmen; and many expressions in use at court were Mogul. Muslims also held eminent posts despite the fact that the kingdom remained Buddhist.
The Arakan kingdom was closely connected with the Muslim territories to the west in other ways as well. After the death of Narmeikhla, Arakan started expanding northward, and there were regular Arakan forays and raids on Bengal. Early in the 17th century, the Portuguese reached the shores of Bengal and Arakan. At that time, too, the raiding Arakanese ships reach the shores of Bengal. They came into contact with the Portuguese and permitted them to establish bases for operation and also granted them commercial concessions. In return the Portuguese helped to defend the Arakan boundaries in 1576, Akbar the great, Emperor of Delhi, was efficiently ruling Bengal so that Arakan was now facing the Mogul Empire itself and not only Bengal. The Portuguese’s knowledge of firearms and artillery was more advanced than that of Moguls, and Arakan Profited much thereby. Joint Arakan Portuguese raids on Bengal continued until the end of 18th century and ceased entirely only with the strengthening of British naval force in the Bay of Bengal.159
An Arakanese writer Aung Zan says, it is further to be noticed that Ba Saw Pru (Kalima Shah) conquered Chittagong in1459 A.D. and struck silver coins with Persian inscriptions to promote trade with the rest of Asia. The Muslim title of Arakan kings, according to Aung Zan are: Ali Khan (1433-1459), Kalima Shah (1459-1482), Mawku Shah (1482-1492), Mohammed Shah (1492 – 1494), Nuri Shah (1494), Sheikh Abdullah Shah (1494-1501), IIi Shah (1501-1513), Ali Shah (1513 – 1515); and there were Salim Shah I (Minrazagyi) and Salim Shah II (Thirithudamma).160
One Arakanese historian, Panditta U Oo Tha Tun Aung of Mrauk-U, an honorary archeologist of Mrauk-U museum, in his Rakhine Maha Razawin (Great History of Arakan) says, until the 9th king of Mrauk-U about 145 years, Arakan remained the vassalage of the Sultan of Gaur. In the reign of Zalatta Min Sawmuan the 9th King of Mrauk-U, in 887 B.E., three missionaries from Delhi headed by (Abdul) Qader came to Mrauk-U and propagated Islam, building Mosques in various places. People in groups, village by village converted to that religion, which was later prohibited by Min Bagyi (1531-1551) in response to a complaint from Saya U Mra Wa.161
The early days of the restoration of Mrauk-U monarchy in 1430 equally saw steady influx of population of Islamic faith, chiefly mercenaries from Afganistan, Persia and even Turkey as well as traders from other parts of Muslim world. This influx of Muslim population did not modify significantly the demographic structure of Rakhine kingdom, however, as they were few in numbers.The last mentioned settlers were calling themselves (and were designated as) ROhingyas.162
Moshe Yegar further remarks: Thus one may be warranted in emphasizing that part of the reason for such customs (as introduced by Narameikhla) may be ascribed to the fact that there were Muslims in ever greater numbers among their subjects, a number of them holding eminent posts in the kingdom.163
Maurice Collis says, it took the Arakanese a hundred years to learn that doctrine. (The doctrine of administration of Indian Muslim Sultan) ……. from 1430-1530, for hundred years Arakan remained feudatory to Bengal.164
U Hla Tun Pru, once a State Councilor (The highest state organ) writes: Hamayun the Mogul Sultan of Delhi sent Abdur Kadir as ambassador to recognize his (king Min Bar’s) kingship and to confer on him the Mo ammedan title of Zabauk Shah according to a practice which began with Min Saw Mown, the founder of Mrauk-U dynasty. Min Saw Mown recovered his throne at Laungkyet with the help of Afgan (Gaur) troops, an act of assistance for which he assigned to Nazir Shah (Sultan of Gaur) a long term lease of the 12 towns of Bengal forming the greater part of the Ganges basin in Bengal territory between Ramu and Decca in the east and Murshidabad in the west.165
The notion that there were no Muslim inhabitants in Arakan before or during the Mrauk-U period save a few captive slaves brought from Bengal coastal area is short of truth. These all Muslim populations still discussed here are prior to the bringing of captives from Bengal as well as the followers of Shah Shujah in 1660, who later become the palace guard of Kaman Unit. In this regard, two Persian inscriptions found in Chittagong said to be engraved in 1494-1495 A.D., refer to the names of a Muslim Governor and his subordinate officials holding Persian titles, thus testifying Islamic penetration into Arakan166 before the bringing of captives.
Minkhari (a) Ali Khan (1434-1459)
He succeeded Min Saw Muwn in 1434 A.D. Rakhine chronicles say he occupied Ramu. Perhaps at that time it was no man’s land, otherwise it is not proper to go against the Bengal king who helped them restore their throne in Arakan.
Ba Saw Pru (a) Kalima Shah (1459-1482)
He succeeded Ali Khan. Rakhine chronicles described him to be an efficient king. He is said to have occupied Chittagong. But there is the question that Min Saw Muwn only three decades ago, had given the lease of 12 towns of Bengal to the king of Gaur. It may be that Chittagong then was not under Gaur king. And Chittagong had been under fluctuation of power of Tippera, Muslims and Arakan. For most part of the history it was under Rakhine sovereignty until 1666 A.D., when it was seized by Aurenzeb, the emperor of Delhi, in retaliation of the murder of his brother Shah Shujah and his family, who took asylum in Arakan.
After Sa Saw Pru the successive kings until Min Bagyi (1531-1553) were not very important ones. Nothing much noteworthy was recorded during their reign. They were not strong kings. During this period Rakhine lost the control of Chittagong. Dr. Kunango says king of Bengal had extended his sovereignty onto a portion of Arakan proper during this time.
Minbin (a) Z abouk Shah (1531-1553)
After 1532 the coast, though poor and largely uninhabited, was liable to pillage by Phalaung (Feringyi, Portuguese). It would have been a bad age for Arakan because king Minbin unable to cope with the aggressive Tabin Shwehti, the king of Pegu. Foreseeing trouble, he put the defenses of his capital, Mrohong into repair with a deep moat filled with tidal water. This and the fact that a long seize would have exposed the Burmese to attack from Arakanese craft, were the reason why the Burmese failed to take the city (Mrohong). Minbin kept Ramu and Chittagong in spite of raid there by the Tippera tribes while he was engaged with Tabin Shwehti, and coins bearing his name and styling him as Sultan, were struck at Chittagong. He built at Mrohong the Shitthaung, Dukkanthein, Lemyathna and Shwedaung Pagodas and the Aandaw Pagoda to shrine a Ceylon tooth relics.
Arakanese maintained sea-going crafts, and Chittagong bred a lot of capable seamen. For centuries they were terrorizers in the Ganges delta and at times they hampered effectively the Portuguese shipping. Finally they united with the Portuguese free boaters and thus brought about the greatest period in Arakanese history. The Portuguese subject to no control from Goa, had settled in numbers at Chittagong, making it a thriving port, since the middle of XVI century. It was always held by a brother or faithful clansman of the king, with an Arakantse garrison: every year the king sent a hundred boasts full of troops, powder and ball, and then the garrison and boats sent in the previous year returned home.167
After Minba, Mindikha, Min Saw Hla and Min Setkya ruled successively until 1571. There was ingbility during their time Dr. Kunango says Chittagong was a bone of contention between Muslim king of Bengal, Tippera and Arakan. He says Mohammed Shah conquered Chittagong in 1554 and minted coins in the name of Arakan. But after his death, it fell under Tripura king Daniya Manikka. Finally the Arakanese reoccupied it in 1571. Min Palaung had some trouble with Portuguese He strengthened his defense of Mrauk-U, to protect it from the attack of Burmese and hill tribes. He was succeeded by his son Min Razagyi in 1593.
Min Razagyi (a) Salim Shah I (1593 -1612 A.D.)
He was one of the powerful kings of Arakan. He founded the Parabow Pagoda in Mrohong and employed Debretio in the expedition against Pegu. It comprised land levies, which went over the passes as well as a flotilla from Chittagong and Ganges delta. According to the narration of Dannya Waddy Ayaedawbon, (The upheaval of Arakan) the flotilla consists of 50,000 (fifty thousand) Kalahs. The expedition was successful. It conquered up to Moulmein. [The word Kalah is a Rakhine usage for Muslims. The Muslim force in this expedition built a Mosque at Thantalen quarter at Moulmein, which until today known as Rakhine Mosque. There are also other versions about the historicity of this Mosque. But I think that the one I am referring here is more correct]. Arakan received vast loot, brought back by its raiders from Pegu together with Nanda Bayin’s daughter and white elephant. In this period Dutch East-India Co. seek trade relation with Arakan, but Arakan was found to be in need of naval and military assistance to face the Frenghi of Diang.
On return journey from Pegu expedition, the wise minister Maha Pinnya Gyaw, lord of Chittagong died and was buried by the Hmawdin Pagoda at Negaris; he had served the king from youth up, and his compilation of legal precedents Maha Pinnya Gyaw Pyatton which placed the interpretation of the Manu Dhammathats on a definitely Buddhist basis, was thereafter among the most valuable works of its kind throughout Burma.
The Portuguese became more of a liability than an asset. Debritio, whom U Hla Tun Pru said to be son of Begum Pasida, daughter of Humayun, the Emperor of Delhi, who was offered as a present to King Minba, was playing his own game at Syriam though normally in the service of Arakan, he was suspected of planning to unite with Dianga pirates in a conspiracy to conquer Arakan. So to forestall it Min Razagyi attacked their place and massacred hundreds of Frenghis in 1609. But some years after, Sebastian Gonzalez collected a formidable force and carried a most successful episode against the Arakanese king. But this attack of Portuguese was repulsed by the help of Dutch. Arakan king could seize up the Sandip Island, the center of Portuguese pirates. The followers of Gonzalez had deserted him.
Meanwhile, Min Razagyi was succeeded by the crown prince, Min Khamaung (1612-1622 A.D.). He was once captured by De Britio, but his father was successful to get his release by diplomatic way. He gained the friendship of Dutch. He got rid of the Portuguese in 1617 and occupied Sandwip. Later the scattered Portuguese ceased to be his enemies and became his tools. These Portuguese settled at Chittagong and served the Arakanese king in holding lower Bengal. They centered at Chittagong and worked off their superfluous energy by annual slave raids in Bengal. Harvey said in a single month, February 1627, they carried 1,800 captives from the southern parts of Bengal. The king chose the artisan about one fourth, to be his slaves and the rest were sold at prices varying from Rs. 20 to Rs. 70 a head.168 Min Kamaung was succeeded by his son Min Hari (a) Thiri Thudamma (a) Salim Shah II.
Thiri Thudamma (a) Salim Shah II (1622 -1638 A.D.)
Thiri Thudamma was an efficient king. Arakan prospered much in his time. There were extensive foreign trades. According to Dr.Than Tun, many currencies were in circulation in Arakan at that time. Cowry Shells brought from Maldives were used for petty bazaar transactions. Mogul Tanga and the Riyals were also used. D.G.E. Hall said, in the 16th century Arakan was a sea power of some importance.—————The city of Mrohong was an eastern Venice, like modern Bangkok, a city of lagoons and canals, and connected with the sea by tidal rivers.
Relations with Portuguese again deteriorated. Thiri Thudamma was planning a further dose of medicine with which Dianga (Portuguese strong hold at the mouth of Ganges) had been treated in 1607. Friar Sebastian Manrique, Vicar of Diang, therefore was sent to Mrohong in 1630 to persuade the king to call off the projected attack. His mission was successful, and during his six months’ stay there he got on as such good terms with the king that he obtained permission to build a Catholic Church in the suburb of Daingri-pet for the use of Portuguese mercenaries serving in the Royal Guard. He also saw, like Floris (head of a trade mission of Dutch to Arakan), the Pegu loot, the white elephant and Nanda Bayin’s daughter (then a widow and the grand Dowager of the court). She told him, with deep emotion, the story of her sufferings.
In 1633, Manrique was again in Mrohong this time as the adviser to Portuguese envoy sent from Goa to treat with the king Thiri Thudamma. His stay was a lengthy one, and in 1635, he witnessed the long deferred coronation of the king. In his journal of his travels, he described the situation of Mrohong then in glowing colors. It was a truly remarkable document, and English translation was published in 1927 by the Hakluyt Society. It painted a vivid picture of Mrohong in the days of its prosperity and power. Thiri Thudamma cultivated friendly relations with Dutch at Batavia and persuaded them to open a factory at his capital. They were in urgent need of regular supplies of rice and slaves for their Indonesian settlements, and could obtain large quantities of both in Arakan. The slaves were the fruits of Frenghi raids on Bengal. After Thiri Thudamma’s death the Dutch quarreled with his successor Narapadigyi (1638-1645) and for years withdrew their factory and it was not reopened until the reign of Sanda Thudamma (1652 -1684 A.D).169 Thiri Thudamma was poisoned by his Queen Natshin Mai, and her paramour, Maung Kuttha, the Governor of Laungkyet. Maung kut-tha was imprisoned and Min Sane, the son of murdered sovereign, proclaimed king, but only to be poisoned within seven days by his mother, who by her intrigues succeeded in effecting the release of Maung Kut-tha, who she married, and who ascended the throne and reigned for seven years.170 He massacred a large number of Royal Klansmen and influential ministers; some of them had fled to Chittagong. Kut-tha (a) Narapadigyi was succeeded by his son Thadu Mintra and he was again succeeded by his son Sanda Thudamma (1652 -1674 A.D.).
Sanda Thudamma (1652 -1674)
Sanda Thudamma is celebrated in Arakanese chronicles as one of the noblest of their kings. During his long reign, Arakan pursued a far more enlightened policy towards European traders than its neighbor Burma. Unlike Burma it used coined money. In 1653 he signed a commercial treaty with Batavia, Dutch and trade centers and factories were reopened. Mogul Tanga was used in its ports and its own coinage was stuck. For small Bazaar transaction Cowry Shells, imported from Maldives and sold in the rate of 48 Viss for a Rupee, were used. There were many expertises in Cowry transaction business. These experts were known as “Punch cowry” (expert of Cowry business) in Arakan. There are places, villages and Mosques in the name of so-called Panch Cowry.
Dutch relation with Sanda Thudamma interrupted in 1665, through an incidentfamous in Mogul annals.171 This incident is very important in Arakan history too, because from this time Arakan relinquished its power, never held up its position again as before. So some say it is the beginning of the downfall of Arakanese Empire.
Mogul Prince Shah Shuiah Exiled in Arakan
Shah Jahan, son of Jahangir, grandson of Akbar was the possessor of “Kohinoor” (Mount of light) Diamond, now one of the English crown Jewels, was on the throne of Delhi. He was brought to a close in 1658. He had four sons, Shah Shujah, Aurenzeb, Murad and Dahra. Shah Shujah, Viceroy of Bengal, was involved with his brothers in scramble for the throne, which, arose out of their father’s serious illness in 1657. It was won by Aurenzeb who managed to secure the throne in the following year.172
Shujah was unable to hold Bengal against his brother’s attacks and he fled to Decca and took a ship for Arakan together with his family and a great quantity of treasures, in 1660. Arakan king promised him shelter and ships for the journey. A Portuguese fleet was sent to carry the Prince. The Dianga Frenghi relieved him of much of the treasure before he reached Mrohong. His advertised plan was to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and Sanda Thudamma promised him ships for that purpose.173
Albert Fytche says Shujah embarked with his wife, his three sons and some daughters. They reached Arakan safely but some scoundrels managed to open some of his chests and robbed him of many of his jewels.
Dr. Kunango says, the local ballads (of Bengal) states that Shujah was accompanied by his wife Piara Banu or Pairibanu and his three daughters on his journey to Arakan. His daughters were named as Gulrukh Banu, the eldest; Roshanara Begum, the second; and the third was Amina Begum.174 A contemporary manuscript of Arakan mentions, in the party was a sister of Shujah, Sabe Bee.175
Alamgirnama mentions, Zainuddin, Buland Akhtar and Zainul Abiddin are the names of Shujah’s sons. Gerrit Van Voorverq, the Dutch chief factor at Mrohong mentions Bon Sultan also spelt as Sultan Bang as the eldest son in a letter to the headquarter at Batavia.176
Alamgirnama says the Prince bid Hindustan farewell on 6th May 1660 A.D. On the following day, the day after starting towards Arakan, they met a number of war boats of Arakanese and Portuguese on the way, sent by Governor of Chittagong to assist Shah Shujah and his party, by the order of king of Arakan.177
Khafi Khan (assistant to Mirzumla, commander of Aurenzeb army) said the Prince loaded two boats with his personnel effects; vessels of gold and silver, jewels, treasures and other appendages of Royalty.178
Shujah first arrived at Chittagong and sojourned temporarily there. Almost all contemporary sources, including the Dutch Dag Register, English factor, Alamgirnamah and other travelers such as Bernier and Manucci, all are in agreement that the Prince temporarily resided at Chittagong. From Chittagong to Arakan, Shujah took the land journey. This road, which Shujah took to travel Arakan, is still known as Shujah Road. Shujah Road originates from the left bank of Karnapuli River passes through Bandre, Anawarah and then crossing the Shanka River at Chandpur it meet the Arakan Road near Chatkania.———–This part of the road runs either through the hills or Parallel to the hill ranges. Local traditions ascribed the name of Dulahzara to Shujah’s respite for few hours with the thousand Palanquins (Carriers) carrying the harem ladies. The place where Shah Shujah preformed his Eid Prayer was named as Edgoung.179
Arthur Phayre writes, from thence (Chittagong) they traveled through a difficult country to the Nat River crossing which they entered Arakan. The road through Teknaf is mountainous and extremely hazardous. The local Ballads say the Prince has undertaken land journey for thirteen days and thirteen nights with a troubled mind in a strange land before he reached seashore. On the eastern side of the Naf River, he made a halt for three days. This place on the eastern bank of Naf River, half a mile north of Maungdaw town is still known as Shujah Village.180 Some of the Prince’s retinues remained there because the rest of the journey to Mrohong was safe for the Prince since they were out of the reach of Aurenzeb’s army. These retinues later settled at that place.
On the fourth day, the Prince undertook the sea journey again and finally reached the Arakanese Capital. R. B. Smart says, on the frontier he was received by an envoy who assured him of welcome and on nearing the capital, the Prince, his family and the followers were met by an escort who conducted them to the quarters set apart for them.181
Harvey says he came to Arakan as the king promised to provide him some of his famous ships to take him to Mecca where he wished to die in retirement, at that Holy spot. But when he arrived in Arakan with a beautiful daughter (in fact three daughters) and half a dozen camel loads of gold and jewels, the temptation was too great for king Sanda Thudamma. Such wealth had never been seen in Arakan before, for the Mogul court was one of the most splendid in the world. The king demanded Shujah’s daughter in marriage. Shujah refused for he was a blue-blooded Mogul of the Imperial House, and in any case a Mohammedan lady cannot marry out of her religion. The king told him to go within three days. Having no ships, and being virtually a prisoner Shujah instigated the Mohammedan settlers in the capital to revolt. But the palace guard put them down and Shujah disappeared in the struggle. The king seized his treasures.182
Moshe Yegar, an Israeli researcher, quoting Bernier, a French Physicist who was in India during 1658-1667, writes: Months after months passed, the favorable season arrived, but no mention was made of (the promised vessels) to convey them to Mecca, although Sultan Shujah required them on other terms than the payment of the hire, for he yet wanted not Rupees or gold and silver or Gems. He had indeed a great deal of them; his great wealth being probably the cause of, at least very much contributory to his ruin………..The king turned a deaf ear to his entreaties and made a formal demand of one of his daughters in marriage. Sultan Shujah’s refusal to accede to his request exasperated him to such a degree that the Prince’s situation became quite desperate. What then ought he to do? To remain inactive was only quietly to wail destruction. The season for departure was passing away; it was therefore necessary to come to a decision of some kind.
There were many Mohammattans mixed with the population of Arakan. …… Sultan Shujah secretly gained over these Mohamattans, who he joined with two or three hundred of his own people, the remnants of those who followed him from Bengal, and with these force resolved to surprise the house of the king ……… and made himself sovereign of the country. This bold attempt had certain feasibility to it. I, (Bernier), was informed by several Mohammattans, Portuguese and Hollanders who were there on the spot. But the day before the blow was to be struck, a discovery was made of the design ……..The Prince endeavored to escape to Pegu. He was pursued and overtaken within twenty four hours, after his flight; he defended himself. But at length overpowered by the increasing host of his assailants, he was compelled to give up the unequal combat. They were brought back and thrown into the prison and treated with utmost harshness. Sometime after, the women were set at liberty.183 Harvey said in this struggle Shujah disappeared.
D.G.E. Hall says in the December 1660, some of Shujah’s retinues ran amuck and nearly succeeded in firing the Palace. The Arakanese massacred them and the refugee Prince’s own life was only spared through the intercession of the king’s mother who argued that it was unwise for him to teach his subjects so dangerous a spot as that of killing a Prince.184
Moshe Yegar says in the words of Bernier sometime after the first uprising, however, they were set at liberty and treated more kindly, the king then married the eldest Princess …….. while events were happening; some servants of Sultan Banque joined the Mohammattans whom I have spoken in a plot to the last. The indiscreet zeal of some of the conspirators led to the discovery of the design on the day on which it was to be struck. In regard to this affair, too, I (Bernier) have heard a thousand different tales; and the only fact I can relate with confidence is that the king exasperated against the family of Shujah as to give order for its total extermination. Even the Princess who he had himself exposed, and who it was said advanced in pregnancy, was sacrificed according to his brutal mandate. Sultan Banque and his brother were decapitated with gruesome looking axes, quite blunt and the female members of his ill-fated family were closely confined in their apartment, and left to die of hunger.185 The second source of information of the period is the archives (Degh register) of the Dutch Indian company in Batavia. The company’s representative and director of the Dutch trading post, who was in Mrohong at the time, reported the events to Batavia. He too was not an eyewitness, but wrote according to rumors heard in the city. He described the warm welcome given to Shah Shujah by Arakanese king and his promise to supply the refugees with ships to take them to Mecca. Eight months passed, the promise had not been kept: According to Dutch representative the reason for this was that king Sanda Thudamma asked Shah Shujah for a daughter in marriage. ………. Shujah proudly refused to submit to what he regarded as a grave dishonor and as a result friendly relation between him and the king ruined.
This incident was preceded by an event not mentioned in any source other than the Dagh register. The report tells of an additional group of Muslims who came to Arakan to join Shujah. The ensuing clash between them and some Arakanese ended in the execution of Muslim group, and he was only dissuaded by his mother and some of the grandees from visiting Shah Shujah with the same treatment. In his letter the Dutch East Indian Company representative states that Shah Shujah’s followers were murdered in February 7, 1661 because the Prince intended to escape from the king’s palace and conquer the kingdom of Arakan for himself. During these events all foreigners and all Muslim trading vessels were sent away from Arakan so that they would not know what was happening. The Dutchman also gives two versions of Shah Shujah’s death. One was that he was killed during the first battle; the second that he escaped and was later captured and stoned to death by his pursuers. On the Dagh register of 1664, it reports that, following upon the second plot of Shah Shujah’s son in 1663, two years after the first plot, the sons of Shujah and everyone found wearing a beard in the Moorish fashion had been beheaded.186
On the other hand Arakanese source of that period tells that Shah Shujah was only too happy to give his daughter to the king of Arakan in gratitude for the asylum granted; however, when he saw that he had lost the Mogul throne, he decided to conquer Arakan and make himself king with the help of his own soldiers, the Muslim soldiers in the king’s army, and the Muslim populace. Here these Muslim army and Muslim population are exclusive of archer units of king’s army. So these Muslims are bonafide Burmese citizens in the light of Burmese law.
Sir Arthur Phayre thinks that the Arakanese chronicles conceal their king’s ugly behavior and emphasize the Prince’s abortive experiment to capture the palace by neglecting to mention the preceding provocations of not providing the promised ships, the king’s request to have one of Shah Shujah’s doughter in marriage and his wish to molest the Prince’s riches. A. Phayre quotes no source for this opinion, which is apparently his personnel view, but a decidedly acceptable one.187
Albert Fytche writes, the king of Arakan had been offered a large bribes by Aurenzeb to deliver up Shujah and that he only delayed until he had decided as to the course which would be the most of his advantage. Shujah sent messengers begging that the king of Arakan would give him a ship according to his promise. The king gave a deaf ear to the messengers; he grew cool and uncivil; and reproached Shujah for not having paid him a visit. The fact was, Shujah was afraid to enter the palace; he was alarmed that the king would imprison him; and plunder him of all of his treasures. Accordingly he sent his eldest son to the palace. The young Prince presented the king with rich Brocades, and rare pieces of gold smiths works; he apologized for his father’s absence on the plea of ill health and implored the king to provide the promised ships. The visit proved a failure. Nothing could induce the barbarian king to fulfill his engagement.
Shujah gained secretly a number of Muslims there and joined with two or three hundred of his own men and tried two or three times to capture the palace, probably to make the Prince, King. Each time their plot failed resulting in their disasters. The king of Arakan then, married the eldest daughter.
At the same time the Queen mother of Arakan expressed a strong desire to be married to the eldest son of Shujah. The Mogul Prince was probably disinclined to the union; at any rate he hatched another plot of the same character as the previous one. It was discovered in the like manner. It failed too.188
It is learned the fugitive Prince and his family were highly admired by the people. U Hla Tum Pru writes: in particular, the beauty of the young Princesses was toasted everywhere in the capital as may be seen from the following verses popularly attributed to the young king whose love they had reciprocated.
yv#rf;xifI/ xdyfjyifOD;pGef;/ va&mifxGef;okd@/ wkd@u|ef;tm;vkH;/ ukd,fa&mifzkH;onf/
wifhqkH;0if;ajymif/ vSxGËfacgifrl/ jzLa&mifjzmxGm;/ a&$tom;ESifh jrvm;pdefoG,f/
vukd,fES,fodk@/ -uifbG,fvSwifh/ ajcmufjzpfv$ifhI/ vSjcif;t&nf/ajcmufxyfjynfvnf;/
&Sdrnfrxif/ jrifv#ifukdvkH;oufqkH;wdrf;rwf/ cEWmjzwfvdrfh/ ewfvnf;rwl/ vlvnf;ru/
It was a poetry characterized by local public for the beauty of the Princess.
A rough translation:
Shine as the moon, the foreheads reflect the rays, the whole isle covered with the reflection of their body, excelled in beauty, diamond and Sapphire like golden body, absorbed in moon, lovely second to none. Free from six drawbacks, standard of beauty is incomparable in the world as well as in the heaven, the place of angels. So attractive one cannot take breath; body and soul will depart whence glance at: This is not angel but more than man. Oh! What charity of the past made you so beautiful, we ever saw.
To sum up there might have been three attempts to plot. According to D. G. E. Hall first attempt to coup Arakan palace was in December 1660. Some say there was an uprising on 7th February 1661. I think these two dates concerned to the first plot. The variance is due to the writers. Yet Dutch East Indian Company representative says, some months later some new comers of Shujah’s followers had staged the second uprising, which was repelled by the King’s army. These followers of Shujah, who came sometime later to help him, were either his retinues who remained in Shujah Village, Maungdaw or his former supporters from Bengal. The last plot was hatched by Shujah’s eldest son in 1663. He gained the support of local Muslims. Each attempt failed. Every time there were general massacres of the Muslims in the city. So most of them had to flee to safety, especially to Bengal. In Bengal some of the descendents of these exiles are still found in the name of “Rouwiagn” i.e. people from Rowang. Some re-entered Arakan when British occupied it in 1826 A.D.
The Aftermath of Shuiah’s Assylum in Arakan
D. G. E. Hall says, the news of Shah Shujah and his family reached Delhi. For some time before the last incident, the Mogul Viceroy of Bengal had been sending urgent massages for surrender of the Princes, Sanda Thudamma paid no attention to them and on the occasion of the last massacre even went as far as to imprison a Mogul envoy. Fearing reprisal, he encouraged the Frenghi of Dianga to redouble their efforts in raiding Bengal. Thus in 1664 their galleasses sailed up the river towards Decca, broke up a Mogul flotilla of 240 vessels and laid waste far and wide. The Mogul government therefore decided that the pirate nests must be finally destroyed. Aurenzeb’s maternal uncle, Shaista Khan who had become Viceroy of Bengal prepares to make a supreme effort. Both sides need ships and both plied the Dutch with insistent demands for help. Matters came to a head in 1665, when the Dutch stubbornly clung to their neutrality, Shaista Khan threaten to expel them from their Bengal factories, if they did not at once evacuate Arakan. So one dark night in November of that year they loaded four ships with everything they could carry from their Mrohong factory, and before the king of Arakan realized what was afoot, they were beyond pursuit. Aurenzeb demanded Shujah and his family. The news of their massacre angered him and decided to take action.
Shaista Khan was already attacking the Frenghi outpost on Sandwip Island. A few months later in 1666 he captured and destroyed the formidable port on the mainland that for a century had wrought such devastation to reach Delta land of Ganges. Two thousand of these slaves hunters were themselves sold into slavery. Others were permitted to settle as peaceful citizens at Frenghi Bazaar, twenty miles south of Decca where their descendants are still found.189
Harvey says, the Frenghi accepted the offer (of Shaista Khan) and suspecting that the king (of Arakan) would exterminate their families, deserted to Shaista Khan with their families in forty-two galleys laden with munitions.
In 1666 Shaista Khan’s forces of 6,500 men and 280 boats took Chittagong in thirty-six hours and occupied Ramu. They captured and sold 2,000 Arakanese into slavery. Such of the Arakanese Garrison was escaped and tried to march home, but they were attacked by their former slaves, the kidnapped Mohammedans of Bengal who had been settled on the land.
The fall of Chittagong was a terrible blow to the prosperity of Arakan, and with it, their century of greatness came to an end. Sanda Thudamma’s long reign saw the power of his race passed its zenith and his death is followed a century of chaos. The profit of piracy had gone but the piratical instinct remained, rendering governments, and they continued their sea raid. Chittagong could never be recaptured by the Arakanese in spite of their occasional raids.190 From then on Arakan could never hold up their political supremacy enjoyed before, century long chaos and strife passed, finally Bodaw Paya of Ava, in respond to invitation of some Arakanese, invaded and occupied Arakan in 1786 A.D.
The Kaman Race
The advent of Kaman race in Arakan is a remarkable thing. They are the descendants of a martial race. Today they are designated as an indigenous race of Myanmar. They are mostly educated and served in various civil and military departments as senior officials. Justice U Sei Bu, who executed the trial of Galon U Saw, the murderer of Bogyoke Aung San, was a Kaman from Akyab. Present Deputy Minister of Ministry of Immigration, Major Maung Aung (Rtd.), is U Sei Bu’s son.
Harvey says, Shujah’s followers in 1661 were retained as archers in the guard of the Palace who drew a salary of Rs. 4 a month, equivalent to ten times that amount of present currency (British time). They murdered and set up kings at their will and their numbers were recruited by fresh arrival from upper India. In 1692, they burnt the palace and for twenty years roamed over the country, carrying fire and swords where ever they went. Finally they were broken by a lord who set up as King Sanda Wiziya (1710-1731 A.D.); he deported them to Ramree; their descendants still exist, under the name Kaman (In Persian Kaman means a bow). They speak Arakanese dialect but retain their Mohammedan faith and Afghan features.191 Today all Kamans are found to be Muslims in contrast to the narrations of Rakhine Chronicles that there were Rakhine (Buddhist) in Kaman Units of Rakhine Kings.
Former history professor of Rangoon University Mr. Desai, remarks them as king makers of Arakan.
Here, Arakanese version concerning the Kaman is a bid different but favorably accepted by the Kamans themselves. According to U Hla Tun Pru, Shujah’s followers were experienced archers. The archers who escaped the massacre were later admitted into the king’s bodyguard as special archers unit, called Kaman or Kamanchis (from Persian bow, Kaman; bowman, Kamanchis). Uggabala, son and successor of Sanda Thudamma, was assassinated by his bodyguard of 42,000 strong men, at his own palace, Khraik Town. They burnt down the palace and killed the Queen and other relatives of the king. The force is mainly consisted of a large number of Mogul archers that Shah Shujah had brought with him into Arakan. U Hla Tun Pru says these followers of Shujah were merged with original Kaman units established from the time of king Kalima Shah (a) Ba Saw Pru. Some Rakhine Kamans converted to Islam. Especially in the time of Min Bagyi, Muslim missionaries headed by U Kadir came from Delhi and preached Islam and some Rakhines converted to Islam. Thus today’s’ Kamans are Muslims.192
These Kamans are mostly educated. U Pho Khaing was a British time M.L.C and his daughter Daw Aye Nyunt was Parliamentarian in post independence Burma. Kamans speak Rakhine language and their customs too are like Rakhine. The census of 1931 registered a total of 2,686 Kamans. Islam has no caste system. So marriage among Muslims is freely exercised. There have been ample intermarriages between Rohingyas and Kamans. In the Southern Arakan there have been some instances of intermarriages with the Rakhines too.
The death of Sanda Thudamma in 1684 marked the beginning of a period of anarchy and riot in the kingdom during which the Muslim Kaman units played a decisive role as makers and displacers of kings. These units were being continually reinforced by fresh Afghan mercenaries from northern India. From 1666 to until 1710 the political role of Arakan was completely in their hands. Ten kings were crowned and dethroned. In 1710 king Sanda Wiziya (1710-1731) succeeded in gaining the upper hand over them and most of them were exiled to Ramree. Their descendants live in Ramree and in a few villages near Akyab and still bear the same name.193
In the time of Sanda Wiziya there were a general suppression of Muslims. So 3,700 Muslims along with their families fled into Burma. Ava king, Sane, then on throne, resettled them in twelve towns separately. These places are Shwebo, Mauksoebu, Myedu, Dapeyein, Sagaing, Rameithin, Yindaw, Pyinmana, and Taung Gnoo. Their descendants were recruited in the army of Bodaw Pya. They were employed in Bodaw Pya’s Arakan campaign. They were assigned in Sandoway. Since they were from Myedu of Upper Burma, their descendants in Arakan were known as Myedu Muslims or Myedu Kalahs. In 1931 census their number is 4,681. Muslims have no caste system making social integration easy. Thus these Muslims do not remain as separate caste or race, they formally integrated with other Muslims in Arakan.
When king Sanda Thudamma died in 1684, the Rakhine kingdom became prey to internal disorder. Another 25 kings came to the throne, but none could maintain stability in the Kingdom. So, finally the army of the Burmese king Bodaw Pya invaded the kingdom and deposed the last king in 1785.
Muslim King in Late Mrauk-U Period
Sanda Wiziya was murdered in 1731 A.D. He was succeeded by ten kings, all of whom except Nra Abya had short reigns. The country was gradually falling into anarchy. Chaos arose. The massacre of Muslims by Sanda Thudamma in 1664-1665 were fresh in the mind of Muslims. The Kaman palace guards who were deported to Akyab and Ramree were still active. Here one thing questionable is if the Kaman units of Arakan kings consist of Rakhine Buddhists too, as said by the Rakhine historians, why all the deportees were Muslims? There was an organized uprising of Muslims in 1738 all over the country. We find this fact in the history book, complied by Rakhine State Council. We can say it is an authentic chronicle because Rakhine State has always been very much cautious to mention any role of Muslims in their official documents. Yet that very book mentions: The kings after Sanda Wiziya were more unqualified. So there in 1738, was a countrywide revolt by Kalahs (Muslims). [Rakhines use the term Kalah for Muslims]. It was almost uncontrollable. Only when king Nra Abya (1742-1761) came in power, he tried to stabilize the country, to get rid of the rebellion. It further emphasize it was only in the reign of Abya Maharaza (1764-1773) the country got some stability. In the very Rakhine State Council’s chronicle on page 127, the 19th king of third Mrauk-U dynasty is shown as Kalah Thuratan Raza or Kalah Ketiya Min in 1737. Arthur Phayre in his History of Burma notes that a foreigner, Katra, rules for a short time. Here Kalah Thuratan Raza of 1737 and Kalah rebellion of 1738 might of course had some relationship. It indicates, there was a Muslim king indeed, though his reign, in that chronicle, is shown to be only for months.
Here we can postulate, only when and where there were substantial population, they could try to make a king of their own. The Muslim group who attempted to make a king of their own clans in Mrauk-U was not intruders from any other country. They were permanent settlers of Mrauk-U and neighboring towns. So these permanent settlers are, according to Burmese Constitutions and Citizenship Laws, indigenous race of Burma. Nowadays many without historical background of these people, just judge them by seeing their features and culture, as aliens.
Muslim Title of Arakanese Kings and its Controversy
Mrauk-U dynasty began from 1430 A.D. Narameikhla exiled for 24 years in the kingdom of Bengal under Sultan of Gaur. With the help of Gaur king Nazir Shah, some say: Jalaluddin Shah, Narameikhla regained his throne in Laungkyet in 1430. Next year he shifted his capital to Mrauk-U and Mrauk-U dynasty, the most shining one in Arakan history began. It lasted until 1786 A.D., when Arakan was occupied by Bodaw Pya of Ava. From Narameikhla to Thiri Thudamma (1622 – 1652 A.D.) about 19 Arakanese kings were seen with Muslim titles, in addition to their Arakanese or Pali names.
Arakanese chronicles say Narameikhla had conceded to adopt Muslim titles in obtaining the help of Bengal Sultan. It is more probable that as a sign of vassalage he was bound to adopt Muslim title and he had to hand over East Bengal to Sultan of Gaur. U Hla Tun Pru says it was a tradition from the time of Narameikhla to adopt Muslim titles and the Muslim king of Bengal and Delhi chose these titles, U Tha Tun Aung of Mrauk-U, in his great history (Maha Razwin) of Arakan says, Ambassador U Kadir arrived Mrauk-U to offer Min Bagyi, the Muslim title chosen for him by Emperor Humayun of Delhi. Some say only the vassalage king of Arakan had had Muslim titles. But we find some poweriul kings such as Min Ba, Min Phalaung, Min Khamaung, Min Razagyi and Min Thiri Thudamma also had Muslim titles.
Yet there is another notion that it was just to appease to their Muslim subjects. Some argue that only those king who got hold of Chittagong, kept Muslim titles, to style themselves as the Sultan of Bengal and Delhi. Here for example, Narameikhla and his brother Min Khari (a) Ali Khan did not extend their sovereignty over Chittagong and yet they had Muslim titles. Dr. Kunango justified it by pointing out Ba Saw Nyo (a) Mohammed Shah died in 1494 A.D., after a short reign of two years and was succeeded by Rang Aung, son of Dawliya (a) Mogul Shah. The throne in the very year was captured by Tsalingha Thu, maternal uncle of Rang Aung. The absence of their Muslim name indicates their loss of hold over Chittagong.194 They might lose the hold over Chittagong but research shows that they yet had Muslim titles. Rang Aung was Nuree Shah where as Tsalingha Thu was Sheikh Abdullah Shah.
Dr. Kunango’s argument is that from Rang Aung 1494 to Thazata 1531, the kings failed to hold authority over Chittagong. Their rule was a time of tension and unrest in Arakan. They lost Chittagong to Bengal Sultan Mohammed Shah. The reason for loss of Chittagong, according to Dr. Kunango, is not their having Muslim titles. Again we find Min Raza 1501- 1513 was Ilyas Shah, Gozapati (1513-1515) was Ilyas Shah, Min Saw Oo (1515) was Jalal Shah and Thazatha (1515-1521) was Ali Shah.195 Another version, especially some Muslim writers try to say these kings were actually Muslims in faith. But there is no concrete evidence to prove that they are Muslims. We can just postulate.
The question here is if the Arakan kings adopted Muslim titles to appease their subjects in Bengal then why those kings who lost hold of Bengal too keep Muslim titles. It is clear that there were a vast majority of Muslims in Arakan proper and to appease them the kings kept Muslim titles though they were Buddhists in faith. Even we can see coins in the name of Tsalinga Thu (a) Sikander Shah, Min Raza (a) IIi Shah and Thazata (a) Ali Shah. Their coins were in Persian script.196 These were not Indian coins but struck in Arakan, with the designation of Arakanese kings.
Coins of these Arakanese Kings:
This indicates Muslim influence in the kingdom was great. Even the kings were culturally influenced by Muslims. After Minbin (1431-1453) three successive Kings, Min Dikkha Min Saw Hla, Min Setkya of course did not have Muslim titles. It may be due to their short reigns and incursions of Bengal King Mohammed Shah and Trippera King Oaniya Manikhya. From King Narapatigyi (1638-1645 A.D.) to King Sanda Thudamma (1652-1684 A.D.), their control remained over Chittagong. But they did not have Muslim titles. So the notion that to appease the subjects in Bengal or Chittagong, the Arakan kings kept Muslim title is questionable.
Keeping of Muslim title is most probably to appease their subjects in Arakan proper and partially to show themselves as prestigious as the kings in Bengal and Delhi.
Muslims in Arakan formerly were treated with respect and they were given fair and equal rights. So kings in first and second phases of Mrauk-U dynasties adopted various Muslim cultures including their names. But from late 16th century due to plundering of Bengal coast and bringing of its inhabitants as captured slaves, the social relation between the Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists began to deteriorate. Especially the Shah Shujah crisis had a deep impact on Rakhine and Muslim relation. Discord between the two groups grew greater. Suppressive mechanism was introduced. So called Kaman forces were deported in Sanda Wiziya’s time of 1710-1731 A.D. Hence the kings in late Mrauk-U or third Mrauk-U did not keep Muslim titles at all.
One interesting thing is the coins 197 found in Mrauk-U, indicate the name Tsazatha (a) Ali Shah on reverse side and the Muslim confession of faith on obverse side, which read as follows: The script was in Persian.
Obverse side: Lailaha iIIalah muhammadur Rasulluah, Khalad Allah Mulkahu.
Meaning: There is no god but Allah; Mohammed is the messenger of Allah. May Allah perpetuate his Kingdom.
Reverse side: AI-Rahman Abu AI Muzzaffar Ali Shah Sultan Khallad Allah Mulkahu.
Meaning: Sultan Ali Shah, Father of Victorious and Merciful. May Allah perpetuate his Kingdom.
Diameter of Coin = 29 mm
Weight = 10.17 gm
The kingdom of Bengal Gaur was captured by Mogul (Delhi) king in 1557 A.D. Narameikhla took asylum under Gaur king. If there were any conditions imposed on Narameikhla, it was by Gaur, not by Delhi king. So when there was no Gaur king, Arakan was no longer under any compulsion to adopt Muslim titles. Hence Min Phalaung (a) Sikandar Shah (1571-1593 A.D.), Min Razagyi (a) Salim Shah I (1593-1612 A.D.), Min Khanaung (a) Hussein Shah (1612-1622 A.D.) and Thiri Thudamma (a) Salim Shah II (1622-1638 A.D.) kept Muslim titles voluntarily not under any obligation or compulsion.
Even after becoming independent of the Bengal Sultans, the Arakan kings continued the custom of using Muslim titles in addition to their Pali titles. This was because they not only wished to be thought as a Sultan in their own right in imitation of Moguls, but also because there were Muslims in ever larger numbers among their subjects. Court ceremonies and administrative methods followed the custom of Gaur and Delhi Sultanates. There were eunuchs, harems, slaves and hangmen and many expressions in use at court were Mogul. Muslims also held eminent posts despite the fact that the kingdom remained Buddhist.198
It is true, Muslim culture dominated all aspects of life in Arakanese period. Rakhine Buddhists communicate with Muslims (Rohingyas) in Rohingya language. Thus Rohingyas never felt necessary to learn Rakhine language and further Muslims never think of, or are compelled to think, of keeping Rakhine or Burmese names. Some assume Rohingyas to be fresh aliens, for not being affluent in speaking Burmese and not having Burmese names. In fact it is not for being fresh comers from other country but because of their being bonafide and dominant people of the land, Arakan, preserving their own culture, which had been ever superior.
The notions of Burmese names, speaking fluent Burmese, Burmanization, Citizen and alien and many other, are just the products of post independent period.
The most remarkable thing in Arakan Kings’ period is though they were at odd with Delhi Muslim Kings; Muslims in Arakan proper had never been discriminated and generously honored with high ranking official posts. It was hardly possible the functions of the state mechanism without these Muslims.
To be continue, see Part II
1. Dr. Pamela Gutman, Ancient Arakan P-325. BSPP means Burma Socialist Program Party (The political organ of U Ne Win’s time)
2. Pamela Gutman. Ancient Arakan. Preface. P-II
3. Ibid P-68
4. History of Arakan by Rakhine State Council, 1984, P-71.
5. U Hla Tun Pru; The Sandra Kings of Arakan and their Successors. (History of Arakan a combination of articles).
6. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P- 74
8. Dr. Aye Chan; Rakhine Magazine Vol. 14. P-197
9. Pamela Gutman: Ancient Arakan 1972 P-3 “Over land contact with Bcngal is possible yia the coastal road passing from Chittagong and Cox Bazaar to Ramu crossing the Naf River near the mouth and by furcating, either along the coast to Akyab or passing over the ridges to Buthidaung on the May Yu river and Paletwa on the upper Kaladan, from which the early cities could be reached by boat or by road. (Pamela P-7)”
10. Moshe Yegar, The Muslims of Burma: Chapter “ Muslim settlement in Arakan ” 1972 P-19
11. Licut. Gen. Albert Fytche, CSI late chief Commissioner of British Burma; Burma past and present Vol. I London 1878.
12. Pamela Gutman: Ancient Arakan; P-10
13. A- Phayre: On the history of Arakan P-34, B- San Shwe Bu ” The history of Mahamuni JBRS Vol.VI P-227
14. Pamela Gutman: Ancicnt Arakan; P-14
15. U Hla Tun Pru: The Minorities of Arakan 1981
16. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P- 15
17. Ibid P- 23
18. Ibid P- 24, See also Burma Gazetteer, Akvab District Vol.A P-91
19. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong Vol.I. P-25
20. U Hla Tun Pru; The Minorities or Arakan 1981 PP. 46-47 Also see “The fall of great Arakanese Empire” by the same author.
21. Pamcla Gutamn: Ancicnt Arakan. 1972. P-16
22. Lincanzo Sangermano: The Burmese Empire hundred years ago; Introduction by john jardine, Third edition Publish in West Minster 1893.
23. J.Layden; On theLanguage and Liturature of Indo Chinese nation,P-Vll, Asiatic Researches Vol. X 1911 PP- 223-224.
24. Encyclopedia Britannica (1994- 1998)
25. U HIa Tun Pru; The Whither, the When, and the Why of Arakanese history (an article 10 Dec. 1958).
26. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P- 16
27. (a) History ofBurma Vol. 1 Compiled by BSPP. (b) Major Bashin, Myanmar Naing Ngan before Annawrahta. (c) Naing Pan HIa (Formerly a member of Myanmar History Commission), article in working Peoples Daily (10/12/77).
28. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong Vol. A 1978
29. Foot note in the article King Berring, JBRS fiftieth anniversary publication No. 11, P- 443.
30. G. M. Gush: Magh Raiders of Bengal.
31. S. K Chatterjee, A History of Aryan special in India.1926. P-205. See also Dr. Kanungo P-42. P-106
32. U Thein Pe Myint; Traveler in the War. Chapter Magh Police Officer, PP 167 – 168
33. Dr.Than Tun: Myanmar Dhanna Magazine July 1999 Issue. P-68.
34. Alberl Fytche; Burma past and present Vol. l PP. 49-50
35. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan PP. 44, 45.
36. Ibid P-3l7.
37. A P .Phayre; On the History of Arakan. Also see Proff. G. H. Luce; The Advent of Buddhism to Burma; in L. Cusins etal(eds).Buddhist studies in honor of I.B. Horner 1974, PP-120, 121
38. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P-2
39. Cf..Mc. Crindle’s Ancient India as described by Ptolemy 1885. Reprint in Calcutta in 1927.
40. 963a U.B.194 Sagaing Htu Payon Pagoda inscription obverseII 20-23.804 S (1442 A.D.).
41. Pamela Gutman, Ancient Arakan P-23
42. Dr. S. B. Kanungo; History of Chittagong Vol. A 1979.
43. Sir H. Yule, Proceeding of Royal Geographical Society Nov. 1882.
44. Elliot and Dowson: “History of India as told by its own Historians”. P-73.
45. Dr. Abu Fazl. Aini-i-Akbri (Trans: H. Blochman. Calcutta (1871 – 1877). Mirza Nathan, Bahristan Ghaibi; (Trans: Borah, Gohati. (1936).,Shihabuddin Ahmed, Fatiya-Barria (Trans: 1. N. Sarkar, Bodlein Library, Oxford).
46. Dr. S. B. Kanungo; History of Chittagong Vol. A, 1979 P-132.
47. Ibid P-133.
48. A-P. Phayre: History of Burma P-34
49. Dr. S. B. Kanungo; Hislory of Chittagong PP 23 – 235.
50. Ibid; chapler II Sect. 3.
51. CH. Mohd; AF Narary, in the Dacca Review: Burma an Arab land in the east P-35
52. Ibn Khurdadbhi: C. P. Cit 65.
53. Al Masudi; Muruj-al-dhahab wa Makaddim al Juwahar.Cairo Edition1938 Vol.II,PP129 – 130
54. Silsilat-al-Tawarikh. Extracts from statement in Elliot and Dowson, Op. Cit. P-5. 5,
55. Dr. S. B. Kanungo, PP 233 – 234.
56. Bangladesh District Gazetteer, Chittagong hill tracts, PP 33 – 34.
57. Anthony Irwin: Burmese Outpost. P-22
58. R. B. Smart Burma Gazetteer. Akyab District Vol. A P-38.
59. Moshe Yegar; Muslims of Bunna, P-120.
60. JASB XXVIII (1864). P-24, Also See: Major Ba Shill, Burma before Anawralta and Burma by Arther Phyare.
61. (a) The history ofRakhine Pyi, compiled by Rakhine State Council in 1982, P-55.,(b) The Culture of National Peoples (Rakhine) BSPP 1976, PP. 149 – 150., (c) History of Myanmar, SSPP Vol. III. P-] 92.
62. H. W. Wilson; the history of Indian people, PP. 189 – 204.
63. Major Tun Kyaw Oo; Party Booklet Vol. VII, PP. 8 to 16. Ahmyothar Party (Who is Rakhine?, Who is Rohingya?, Who is Bengali?).
64. R. B. Smart; Burma Gazetteer, Akyab District Vol. A. P-18
65. D. G. E. Hall; Burma, 1950, P-57.
66. Maurice Collis, Into Hidden Bunna, P-134.
67. Ibid; P-7.
68. D.G.E. Hall, Burma; Hukchinson University Library. 1950. P-57.
69. Harvey; Outline of Burmese History. P-90.
70. U Hla Tun Pru; Sandra kings and their successors.
71. U Hla Tun Pru; (Former member of Myanmar State Council, the highest executive organ in the country) The Sandra Kings of Arakan and their successors (in the history of Arakan, a combination of his articles).
72. U San Tha Aung (Formerly Director General of Higher Education Department); The Coins of Arakan.
73. History of Arakan; Vol. I, Compiled by Rakhine State Council, P-54
74. U San Tha Aung; Annanda Sandra Stone Pillar; Book II. P-2I6.
75. U San Tha Aung: Arakan Coins P-7. (His writing is based on the reading of John Ston). Note: There are slight difference of dates in the reading of John Ston and Mr. Sarcir.
76. History of Arakan by Rakhine State Council (Sep. 1984). P-114
77. Ibid; P-62
78. U San Tha Aung: Arakan Coins. P-7
79. Ibid P-8
80. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P-2l
81. Ibid P-43
82. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P-40, U San Tha Aung; Arakane Coins P-117
83. Arakan History;Vol.1 Rakhine State Council P-114
84. JBRS 50th Anniversary Publication. 1960. P-488.
85. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P-42.
86. U San Tha Aung; Arakan Coins (1979) P-7.
87. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan. P-325.
88. Ibid; P-41.
89. JBRS, 50th Anniversary Publication, (1960) P-487.
90. Ibid P-45.
91. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan, P-225.
92. ASI (1925 – 1926), PP. 146 – 148.
93. Dr. Kanungo: History of Chittagong Vol. A. P-66.
94. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan PP. 44-45.
95. Dr. Kanunngo; History of Chittagong Vol. A. P-71.
96. ASI (1925 – 1926) PP. 146 – 148.
97. J. H. Q. VII (1931).
98. Dr. Kanungo: The History of Chittagong Vol. A P-55.
99. Pamela Gutman: Ancient Arakan. P-321.
100. Pamela Gutman: Ancient Arakan. PP. 48 – 49.
101. A.S.Dani;”Mainamati Plates of Candras”Pakistan Archeology III 1969.PP.34-35
102. (a) Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan, P-73., (b) Phayre; “On the History of Arakan”JASB XIII (1844) P-49, lB 391(29),15(27),42(10),117 (a6),188(23) It is noteworthy that many of the Arakanese mentioned in Pagan inscriptions were slaves.
103. The Evaluation of Arakan History; compiled by Rakhinc State Council Vol. I (1984), P-114. Also see, U Hla Tun Pru; The Sandra Kings of Arakan and their Successors.
104. U Hla Tun Pru: The Sandra king of Arakan and their Successors, (In Arakan history, a combination of his articles).
105. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan P – 74 Also See: Codes; Indianized States PP.142 -143
106. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan. P-321.
107. Ngamin Ngadon’s being a son or Sula Candra is a question needed clarification. How can an untutored Sak be a son of Aryan Candra?
108. Again, Kettathin’s being Ngamin Ngadon’s half brother or a grand nephew of Sula Candra is a matter of question. It needs scrutiny for correctness.
109. The Evaluation of Arakan History by Rakhine State Council (1984) P-114.
110. U Hla Tun Pru;The Candra Kings of Arakan and Their Successors.
111. Pamela Gutman;Ancient Arakan.P-14.,Also see 1.H.Luce “Phases of old Burma”.
112. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan. PP.73 – 74.
113. Ibid, P-15.
114. Ibid. P-74.
115. Ibid, PP. 15 -16.
116. Pamela Gutman: Ancient Arakan. PP. I () – 17.
117. U Hla Tun Pm; The Whither. The Whcn and The Why of Arakancse History. (10 Dec. 1958).
118. Dr. U Aye Chan; An article in Rakhine Tasaung (I 975-76). Vol 14
119. Ibid; His article was in Burmcse. I havc tricd my best not to deviatc from the original meaning.
120. Dr. S. B. Kanungo; History of Chittagong. Vol. L P-55,
121. Ibid; Vol. I (1974), PP. 67 – 68.
122. Ibid P-69.
123. R. B. Smart: Burma Gazetteer. Akyab District, Vol. A. P-20.
124. M. Collis: Into Hidden Burma. P-7.
125. Pamela Gutman; Ancient Arakan PP. -1-6 – -1-7. P-73.
126. These paragraphs concerning Lemyo period (except those in parenthesis) are the extractions from R. B. Smart’s Burma Gazetteer, Akyab District. Vol. A. where R. B. Smart himself extracted from Arthur Phayrc.
127. Rakhinc Razawin Thit (Rakhine New History) Vol. II P-352
128. R. B. smart: Burma Gazetteer. Akyab District Vol. A. P-20.
129. JASB XIII. (1844) P-36, See also Dr. Kanungo. History of Chiuagong. Vol. I. Chaptcr XI. Scction III.
130. Guerrciro. Farnao: P-196
131. Mannucci; Storia De Magar, Vol. I, P-374 (Trans. By William Irrive, London).
132. Martin Smith; Bunna’s Muslims Border Land sold down the river. C. S. Quarterly 13 (4), P-68.
133. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong, Vol I. P. III.
134. lbid; Chapter Xl, Sect. 3.
135. Tin and Luce; Op. Cit, P-75. :
136. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong, Vol.I. P-75. .
137. lbid: P-II3.
138. Hall. Op: Cit. P-239.
139. G.E Harvey, Outline of Burmese History (1947). P-90
140. Moshe Yagar, The Muslim of Burma, “Muslim settlement in Arakan” P, Also see A SPDC government publication, “Sasana Yaungwa Tunzepho”  P-63
141. Dr.Than Tun ; Mrauk-U Rakhine, an article in Kalia Magazine, Aug 1994.
142. Dr. Khing Maung Nyunt, Myanmar prominent professor, An article in University silver Jubilee Magazine
143. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong, Vol I. P. III.
144. Nafis Ahmed; Muslim Contribution to the Geography, P-121
145. Moshe Yagar, The Muslim of Burma, P. 121, P.
146. (a)M.R Rahman, History of Burmese and Arakanese Muslim in Urdu (1944), (b) Dastance Amir Hamza: A Bengali fable like book written by an anonymous writer.
147. D.G.E. Hall, Burma. PP 57-58 , Bengali in Arakan and Their Historical Problem P-10, Published by U Saw Maung (RPDFparty) 1990
148. M.Collis, Arakan Place in the Civilization of the Bay, JBRS, 5th anniversary publication No.2. P-488
149. Bengali in Arakan and Their Historical Problem P-10, Published by U Saw Maung (RPDFparty)
150. Takkatho Ne Win: Bogyokc Aung San. P- . (Then M. L C. Member .Vir.,lbid Carb from DU ,lbid:1long told the “Titer in Rangoon about this fact).
151. Bengal Disl. Gazetteer: Chittagong 1798, P-63
152. R. B Smart: Burma Gazetteer. Akyab District. Vol. A P-7!
153. U Hla Tun Pru: In Rakhine Tasaung Magazine, English section. Vol. 21. (1998), P-148.
154. For a more detailed account in connection this, see D.G.E.Hall. History of Southeast Asia. London Macmillan. 1958. P-328.
155. G. E. Harvey: Outline of Burmcse History. P-91.
156. JBRS Vol II. Arakan Place in the Civilization of Bay P.49
157. U Hla Tun Pru: Rakhine Magazine. Vol. 21, 1998. P-151, See Also: A. Joseph, A Nation within a Nation. P-17.
158. JBRS XV, P-34.
159. Moshe Yegar. The Muslims of Burma. P-10.
160. Aung Zan. The Family Tree and the king of early Mrauk-U Dynasty; Rakhine Magazine Vol. 21. P145.
161. Panditta U Oo Tha Tun Aung: Great History of Arakan. PP. 40, 41.1288 B.E.
162. P.Nicolas: A Brief Account on the History of Muslim Population in Arakan. An UNHCR compilation. 4 Aug. 1995. P-I.
163. Moshe Yegar: cites Maj. Ba Shin, Coming of Islam to Burma down to 17th century AD. A lecture before Asian History Congress (unpublished) New Delhi 1961.
164. JBRS, 50th Anniversary Publication No.2. Arakan Place in the civilization of the Bay, by M. Collis, PP. 491 – 498.
165. U Hla Tun Pru. The Life and Time of King Minba; an article in a book published by Takkatho Min Lwin.
166. JASP (VI) 1966.p-123
167. All above paragraphs arc extracted from Harvey’s Outline of Burmese History.
168. This slave raids in Bengal will be discussed separately in a special chapter. Also see Harvey; Outline of Burmese History, Chapter Arakan.
169. D. G. E. Hall: “Burma”, PP. 59,60.
170. R. B.Smart Burmese Gazetteer. Akyab District. Vol. A. P-26.
171. D. G. E. Hall; Burma. P-60.
172. Albert Fytche: Burma a Past and Present. P-62.
173. D. G. E: Hall; Burma. P-60.
174. JASP,X (1966) 206, P-60 Contribution by M. A. Siddiq Khan.
175. Ibid: P-206,
176. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong. Vol. PP-305
177. AIamgirnamah; PP. 556 – 562.
178. Elliot and Dowson; VII, P-254.
179. Dr. Kanungo: History of Chittagong. Vol. 1. PP. 305. 306.
180. Ibid; P-307. Also See Purba Bangia. Gitikar: Pt lV NO.2 P-456.
181. R. B. Smart: Burma Gazetteer. Akyab District. Vol. A. P-26.
182. Harvey: Outline of Burmese History, PP.95 – 96.
183. Moshe Yeage; The Muslims of Burma, Chapter Muslim Settlement in Arakan (1972), PP. 59 -60.
184. D. G. E. Hall; Burma, Hutchison University Library, (1950), P-61
185. Moshe Yegar Quoted Bernier in his “The Muslims of Burma”.
186. Moshe Yegar; The Muslims of Burma. M. Yegar extracted these parts from Bernier’s records. D. G. E. Hall: Dutch Relation with Arakan Part II, BRS 50th Anniversary publication No.2, 1960 Yangon. Shah Shujah and the Dutch Withdrawal in 1665.
187. Moshe Yegar; The Muslims of Burma. P- .
188. Albert Fytche; Burma Past and Present. Vol, I. P-66.
189. D. G. E. Hall; Studies in the Dutch relation with Arakan. Part II (Shah Shujah and the Dutch withdrawal in 1665). JBRS 50th anniversary publication NO.2 (Rangoon, 1960), See also Hall, Burma 1961.
190. Harvey; Outline of Burmese History, P-96
191. Harvey; Outline of Burmese History, P-97
192. U Hla Tun Pru; National Race of Arakan. Sapay Beikman Publishing House, PP. 46 – 48.
193. Moshe Yegar; The Muslims of Burma. Chapter Muslim Settlement in Arakan. P-26.
194. Dr. Kanungo; History of Chittagong, P-153.
195. Mogul Raiders of Bengal by J. M. Gosh, P-56.
196. M. Robinson; the Coins and Bank Notes of Burma, Ed. L. H. Shaw. PP. 49 -50.
197. M. Robinson: The Coins and Bank Notes of Burma. Ed, L. H.Shaw. PP. 49 -50.
198. Moshe Yegar; The Muslims of Burma. P-19.
To be continue, See Part II