‘One blood, one voice, one command’. You cannot build unity with such a slogan especially when 40% of your population is different.-Harn Yawnghwe Director of the Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office.

This excerpt is from Abid Bahar’s book Burma’s Missing Dots-the Emerging Face of Genocide, Ch 2

For the past half a century, the uninterrupted military rule in Burma, characterized by xenophobia and oppression against minorities’ caused the eclipse of much of Burma’s people’s history. Minorities culturally and racially different from the dominating Burmans have been uprooted from their localities under the pretext of being “Kula,” ”Non natives,” or even outright "foreigners." Nowhere is it as serious as in the province of Arakan. Arakan's historic location between South Asia and South-East Asia makes it a “frontier culture” of two major ethnic groups, the Rakhines and the Rohingyas.  Here the problem persists between these two major ethnic groups. A survey of the mainstream Burmese literature shows common features of hate and xenophobia. Some of these works are so well-crafted that they could mislead casual readers of Arakan as seemingly academic works. In this chapter, the report of the survey is presented and the research concludes that the growing chauvinistic literary works have the potential to breed intolerance and aggression in society – factors that could contribute to producing more refugees to its neighboring states. The survey also notes that these beliefs and attitudes among the xenophobic intelligentsia could also be the antecedents to the problems facing democratic development in Burma.

From 1962, Ne Win set forth Burma's official xenophobic tradition and the parochial Burman understanding of its people and history; it has been either assimilation into Burmese Buddhist system called Burmanization or extermination. In this display of repressive rule, the standard of judging Burmese nationality has been done on the assertion by the dominant group about who came first in Burma, or "who is the most dangerous enemy to get rid of first." (1) It is reported that such an approach is particularly used by the Burman and the Rakhine ultranationalists; the latter is a subgroup of Burmans. Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) reports: "There is a great deal of debate over who arrived in Burma first; this honor being claimed by the Burmans, Mon, Karen and Rakhine, among others. Most of these claims appear to be based more on racist dogma than on available historical evidence, particularly the claims of the Burmans and

Rakhines." (2)

Interestingly, neither the Burmans nor the Rakhines arrived in Burma first. In a multiethnic country like Burma, instead of following the democratic policy of ‘unity in diversity,’ the chauvinist leaders follow xenophobia as a guide and persecute the minorities, rename places, destroy minority places and replace them with their ethnic names. In order to gain the ultranationalist support, they also encourage xenophobic writings. Ne Win, commonly known as the "Puppet Master," was the initiator of this tradition of ruling Burma through xenophobia and intimidation. (3)

It seems, behind the xenophobic writings and human rights violations, and the trail of refugee problems, there looms the memory of the "golden age" of an Arakanese medieval kingdom; and a myth of the “Rakhine supremacy.” Truly, Noam Chomsky says that our innate conceptual structures that drive through the dynamic interaction with experience. (4)

The contemporary Arakani leader's quest for such a past of how to make Arakan great again led different Arakanese social and political groups to develop these various visions. In this effort, some mainstream literary works profess the model of exterminating minorities through ethnic cleansing, while a smaller section of Arakani intelligentsia recognizes the importance of the diversity of Arakanese society and wish to develop Arakan as a multicultural society. The proponents of the “Rakhine supremacy myth” with their “purity of race” theory which is similar to the “Aryan supremacy,” or Sorbian “White supremacy myth” desire to get rid of the Rohingyas from Arakan. What is alarming in this is that, in the contemporary period, in Arakan, xenophobia went main stream. Rakhapura.com promotes xenophobia. Here, in the mainstream Rakhine literary works and the media, the minority Rohingya people, racially and religiously different from the majority Rakhines have been identified as being the Bengali “Influx Viruses” and "foreign intruders" demanding that they be exterminated. The Burmese military government accordingly executes the policy, making the Rohingya people stateless.


Xenophobia is a matter of intolerance. It is about the fear of strangers. Such fear could be real or perceived. In extreme form it is called racism. To make Arakan great again, most of these mainstream Arakani groups and the intelligentsia found to be directly or indirectly associated with the Burmese military. They aspire to see a radical solution to Arakan's perceived problems. In this effort they identify the Rohingyas as being the "foreigners" in Arakan. To understand how xenophobic propaganda undermines people's democratic tradition, we have surveyed some sample materials in the province of Arakan, written mostly by seemingly well informed and educated Rakhine intelligentsia. (5)


I. Sample Xenophobic Literature Surveyed:

The content of the items surveyed are:

(a)           A book called "Influx Viruses,"

(b)           The Arakan information website,

(c)           A Statement made by the “Arakanese in USA, on the Rohingyas"

(d)           "A Report on the conditions and sufferings of the Arakanese in Maungdaw,"

(e)           ANC, the Arakan's ultranationalist group that operates from India,

(f)            The Narinjara News (NN), on-line news-media founded by a group of Arakanese living in exile in   Bangladesh.

The findings of the research shows, the xenophobic expressions against the Rohingyas have taken many forms – some works are treacherously rhetorical, some are pretentious as being academic works, some are expressions of anger and frustration made through xenophobic statements, and some others in their show of liberalism simply neglect the use of the name Rohingya in Arakan history, as if Rohingyas do not exist.  While the first five types of works are direct and often use pejorative, ahistorical statements, what is, however, found in the last item in the list, the news-media, Narinjara News (NN) which says “founded by a group of Arakanese in exile in Bangladesh” is astounding. Surprisingly, this group as exiles propagates for democracy and human rights in their website, and glorifies Buddhism as the only important tradition in Arakan, glorifies the Rakhine past but in the website didn’t even for once mentions the term Rohingya or Muslims or the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh; Rohingya refugees – a problem Bangladesh faces due to the problems in Arakan. Surprisingly, these ethnocentric so-called Rakhine refugees' tendency to ignore the Rohingya issue implies that Rohingyas have no history in Arakan. This seems tacitly tolerating and accepting the common Rakhine xenophobia by this group against the name “Rohingya.” In this hypocritical stand, as refugees, they seem to be only taking advantage of Bangladesh’s liberal tradition. This common tendency could also be seen among some of the Burmese pro-democracy movement leaders that believe, ignoring the Rohingya issue will help the problem go away. This obviously raises the question of the nature of democracy and human rights they profess, because such groups also do not question the gross human rights violations, including the denial of the Rohingya's citizenship rights by the military through its 1982 Burma Citizenship Law. 

Research shows that this is a typical slippery slope that a great number of Burmese leaders follow. As a matter of showing implicit favoritism to the racially similar xenophobes, again, they, in common, neither openly support nor show that they oppose the issue. They just don’t deal with it. This very strange attitude on the part of exiled human rights groups and some leading Burmese democracy movement leaders seems to come from a fear that by dealing with it, the Rohingya issue will be recognized which in the end will displease the mainstream Rakhines in Arakan. It seems that the half-heartedness of the democracy movement leaders could be the reason behind Burma’s unending democracy movement.

Having said the above, the survey doesn't conclude that there hasn’t been any democratic-minded Arakanese group inside or outside of Arakan. As a matter of fact, there are different progressive groups and individuals. (6)  But this paper identifies that in recent years, with Burmese Army’s widespread sponsorship of the xenophobic propaganda and its appeal to ignorance, the trend has became so well-built in the mainstream and expressed in the literature that even some leaders of the Burmese democracy movement were seen to be disorientated and see Rohingyas as being "foreigners in Arakan."     


II. Xenophobic works overlooks Important Information

A careful survey of the materials reveals the fact that some of the seemingly academic works were motivated by chauvinistic tendency and are simple works of faulty analogy and hasty generalizations. Here are some of the examples. The book "Influx Viruses” identifies Rohingyas as the "foreigners," "viruses," being "Chittagonian Bengalis," and "infectious" people. The motive seems clear; it is to create fear among Burmese people that Rohingyas are dangerous people; so much so that they are like “viruses,” required to be exterminated. In the book, “Influx Viruses” Aye Chan contributed a chapter, “The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar).” This seemingly an academic work is full of pejorative terms and biases; technically also, it lacks organization and structure. (7) In opposition to such writings, fortunately, there have been notable disagreements from distinguished scholars. For example, in a paper written in Japanese, Professor Kei Nemoto, a Japanese expert on Burma, says Rohingyas have lived in Rakhine since the eighth century. (8)

Arakan's most contemporary xenophobic works, reviewed in this research, almost all claim that Rohingyas migrated to Arakan during the British period; the date they cite is 1826. They consider Rohingyas as Indian migrants from Chittagong. In making such assertions, surprisingly, they neither included the Rohingya refugees that left Arakan due to Burmese King Budaphya's invasion in 1784, which was immediately before the British takeover of Arakan in 1826, nor the more recent exoduses due to the military rule of Burma. This faux pas is significant because the xenophobic works deliberately overlook the outcome of the invasions that resulted in exodus of large number of Rohingyas from Arakan who settled in southern Chittagong across from the NaafRiver. Some estimates claim that at the time of Burmese invasion of Arakan in 1784, over 200,000 Rohingyas left Arakan permanently to settle in Chittagong. (9)


III. Burmese Invasion of Arakan and the Rise of Non-Bengali Settlement in Chittagong

Reporting about this horrifying event of Budapaya’s invasion of Arakan, Puran, a Rohingya  exile who had fled Arakan, said the following from southern Arakan: "… [I]n one day soon after the conquest, the Burmans put 40,000 men to death: that wherever they found a pretty woman, they took her after killing the husband; and the young girls they took without any consideration of their parents, and thus deprived these poor people of the property, by which in Eastern India the aged most commonly support their infirmities.” (10) In his personal account of such victims, Francis Buchanan said that Puran seemed terribly afraid that the Government of Bengal would be forced to give up all the refugees from Arakan to the Burmans.

Michael W. Charney says that when the British occupied Arakan, the country was a sparsely populated area, and that formerly high-yield paddy fields of the fertile Kaladan and Lemro River Valleys germinated nothing but wild plants for many years. It is worth noting here that the Kaladan valley was inhabited by the former soldiers of Wali Khan and Sindi Khan. Wali Khan and Sinidi Khan were the Bengal Generals who helped Arakan restore its independence. (11)

The authors of the xenophobic book "Influx Viruses" in their promotion of xenophobia didn't take into consideration these mass migrations of the Rohingya Muslim refugees to Chittagong from the vicinity of Kaladan and Lemro Rivers, whose decedents now live in southern Chittagong. In their willful omission, they believed as if the invading Burmese army was Rohingya’s allies and nothing had happened to the Rohingya Muslims and Hindus; it was a threat only to the Rakhines.  A serious student of history simply cannot afford such selective choice of data, and deliberate omissions, considering the fact that during the 17th century, some important ministers, even the defense minister of Arakan was a Muslim. The chauvinists apparently avoided raising contradictions and remained silent on the issue.

Again, in claiming the Rohingyas as illegal immigrants to Burma, the xenophobic works identify the Rohingyas as the Indian migrants to Burma during the British period, and cite certain selective census figures. In doing so, they ignore the fact that as the British rule brought peace, some displaced Rohingya families must have returned to their ancestral homes in Arakan. This is similar to some of the Rakhines from Chittagong who went back to settle in Arakan.  Surely, this is a matter of human impulse. We have seen scores of such migratory patterns throughout human history. The Arakan was no exception.  Other than that phenomenon of former refugees and their children returning home, it is very hard to believe that there were mass migrations of people from Chittagong to Arakan. Chittagong, after all, was a more peaceful and prosperous region compared to the troubled Arakan region of Burma where the memory of Burman massacre some three decades earlier was still fresh in the collective psyche of uprooted and exiled Rohingyas including their descendants. During the British period even when law and order was restored with British initiatives, we see mostly “seasonal migrant workers” there from southern Chittagong. But again Rohingyas in southern Chittagong as “seasonal” workers would return home to Chittagong. Having said this, it was possible to have some floating migrations, but under the circumstances, it is not likely that Chittagonians in significant numbers could have settled permanently in the Arakan as claimed by the xenophobic writers like Aye Chan.

Additionally, in laying the claim that Rohingyas were “Indian workers” the chauvinistic writers didn't take note of the Ne Win-created 1962 race-riot in Burma that had led to the mass exodus of Indians and Bengalis to leave Burma. Such works without providing any reference conclude that it didn't affect the Indians settled in the Arakan. Chakravarti, however, gives a brief account of the flights of Indian refugees from Burma to Bengal/ India: "Most of the estimated 900,000 Indians living in Burma attempted to walk over to India…100,000 died at the time… Practically all Indians except those who were not physically fit or were utterly helpless began to move from place to place in search of safety and protection until they could reach India." (12)

The authors of the "Influx Viruses" also didn't identify the expulsion of Rohingya refugees that took place in 1958, 1975 and 1978. They didn't even mention the recent wave of refugee movements dating back to 1991-92. The latest exodus was caused after Burma's 1982 constitutional Act. The Act officially declared Rohingyas as non-Burmese. According to this Act, the Rohingyas migrated to Burma after 1826, and as such, they couldn't be given Burmese citizenship. Surprisingly, all the Rohingyas are Burmese born and were the citizens of Burma.[1]


IV. 1942 Japanese occupation of Arakan and the Rakhine-Rohingya Conflict

Aye Chan’s article in the xenophobic book "Influx Viruses" talks about the communal disturbance during WW 11, especially in 1942. It clearly notes that the 1942 event resulted in population displacement of Rohingya Muslims from the south of Arakan (lived mostly by Rakhines) to the northern part of Arakan lived by the Rohingyas. (13) Following his logic, if we take this as a historical event, then, Aye Chan seems to contradict himself that most of the Rohingya people in the north of Arakan were not the Chittagonians but the uprooted Rohingyas from the south of Arakan. Despite his contradictions, ironically, Aye Chan throughout his paper calls these displaced persons as “Chittagonian people,”created "the Bengali enclaves" in Arakan after 1926.

Aye Chan is not alone; intellectuals like Aye Kyaw’s and the other writings were also hypocritical and aimed at creating xenophobia. In their type of categorizations, any non-Rakhine in Arakan would be a suspect of being a “foreigner.” Here in the case of Rohingyas, after the 1942 riots, we see each time the uprooted Rohingya from the south wanted to return to his home, he was forcefully returned back to the north. Now, to exterminate the Rohingya from the north, he is branded as a "foreigner," "intruder" or a "Chittagonian." For Aye Chan, they are the illegal Bengali Muslims from the “enclave" in Burma’s northern Arakan near the Bangladesh border. This common trend of chauvinism and the resultant frustration and suffering of a people seems to have served as a survival mechanism and the crystallization of their modern identity- the Rohingya.

The cleverly constructed work "Influx Viruses” clearly supports the military tradition of Ne Win, as if all those atrocities and continued human sufferings through the military operations in Arakan meant nothing. Thus, “Influx Viruses", written in 2003, a decade after the latest pogrom of 1991-92, simply parroted the official Burmese xenophobia suggesting that the Rohingyas are "foreigners" who deserved to be wiped out from Arakan. Contrary to the claims, as mentioned above, contemporary research shows that most people of southern Chittagong were Rohingyas themselves who along with the Bangladeshi Rakhines and Chakma tribes took shelter in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts to escape Burmese king’s 1784 historic massacre in the Arakan. (14)


V. Rohingya History

It is true; “the color of our skin is too obvious a marker.” In Arakan Rohingyas in common are called the “Kulas.” Here unlike the Rakhines, Rohingya people have their origins in different sources. One of them seems to be the dark-skinned aborigines of Arakan. In addition, Rohingya history records Hindu king of Chandra dynasty Mahat –Sandaya ascended the throne of Arakan in 788 A.D. In his reign several ships were wrecked on Ramree Island and the crews, said to have been Mohammadans, were sent to Arakan proper and settled in villages."(15) The wind direction in the Indian Ocean especially during monsoon season has been such that lost sailors from Arabia, and Persia sailing from Bombay or from Sri Lanka area to the East would invariably be taken to the shores of Arakan. These Mohammedans mentioned who married dark- skinned local Indian women and settled in Arakani villages must have been some of the earliest ancestors of the Rohingyas.

The Rohingya ethnonym also shows that Rohingyas of Arakan originated from the aboriginal dark- skinned people, and later added to the darker-skinned people, the Arabs, Persians, Bengali soldiers of Wali Khan and Sandikhan, Bengali slaves captured by the Arakanese and Portuguese soldiers, Portuguese offsprings, Shah Suja's followers and Rohingya intermarriage with Rakhines. It seems that kulas' common suffering as mentioned above, and the Rakhine stigmatization of them as being people from an inferior race led them to the conceptualization "Rohingya" as an ethnic group. To Aye Chan and the chauvinistic enthusiasts, Rohingya people have no history in Arakan. On the contrary, Rohingya people's ancestors had settled in Arakan from the eighth century. In addition, Rohingya people even have their language called Rohingyalish and a literature that has similarities with both the Rakhines and the Bengalis. (16) It seems that the present Arakani xenophobic literature and its backers uphold the xenophobic traditions of some of the medieval Burmese xenophobic kings. In the 21st century, more than half a century after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, xenophobes claim that Rohingyas will not be allowed Burmese citizenship on the allegations that they had entered Burma after 1826. Such claims seem discriminatory and untenable because most Rohingyas were born inside Burma. After centuries of living in Arakan, many Rohingyas from intermarriages have also developed Mongoloid features and most have Arakanese names. Unfortunately, Rohingya-sounding historical places have been changed to Rakhine-sounding names, such as, Akyab changed to Sittwe and the Rohingya historic sites like the Sandikhan Mosque, Bodor Mokam, Shah Suja masjid and many other sites were being destroyed by the Rakhine hooligans. (17) These calculative acts seem to have done to bulge the Rohingyas with the Indian migrants, the latter settled in Burma during the British period. This is to deny the fact that Rohingya’s history is entirely different from the Indian Bengali migrants.

The xenophobic writings, in general, also claim that racially, the Rohingya people and their language are similar to those of the Chittagonian Bengalis. Therefore, they must be from Chittagong of present Bangladesh. This assertion contradicts popular knowledge such as among various ethnic communities inside Burma, e.g., the Shan people exhibit cultural and racial similarities with the Thais across the border; Kachins have similarities with the Chinese in China, and Chins have similarities with the Nagas of India. One can correspondingly argue that if similarities between Shans and Thais, Kachins and Chinese, Nagas and Chins don't make these groups “outsiders” in Burma, how could Rohingya’s similarities with the Chittagonians make Rohingyas Chittagonians?

It is evident that, many of these anti-Rohingya works are naive propaganda excuses to get rid of the Rohingyas from their ancestral homes.  Indeed, due to the non-Mongoloid racial origin of the Rohingyas, the xenophobic literature judge Rohingyas differently. While these excuses are easily understandable to the educated Burmese, and humanitarian groups, what is alarming is, these works provide justifications to the unsophisticated to get to action. Surely, this is the cost of living in a “frontier culture,” where if xenophobia is allowed to grow, the circumstances could be “fluid” and turn unpredictable and genocidal. (18)

According to KHRG report "[I]i is a mistake to pretend that the leaders of the SPDC junta are outsiders or aliens with no connection to the society in which they live. They may be deluded, but they did spring from Burmese society and they have succeeded in gaining and holding power over it. Essentially, their power is rooted in the deep racism that has permeated Burmese society since its beginnings; not only the racial supremacy complex which many Burmans are brought up with, but the racism of the Karen against the Burmans, the Burmans against the Shan, the Shan against the Wa, the Wa against the Shan, the Mon against the Burmans, the Rakhine against the Rohingyas, the Burmans against the Chinese, the Christians against the Buddhists, and everyone against the Muslims." (19) The present survey result confirms the above observation that xenophobic writings are on the rise, and it indicates a corresponding trend in the rise of racism particularly in Arakan.


VI. Buddhist Communalism in Early Modern Arakan Politics

In a society that valued human rights, it would be unnecessary to recount any of this, because the value of human dignity is taught in school, it would be well known to everyone. But in Arakan, pumped up in prejudices, the xenophobic writers use an ethnocentric history. Here, fundamentalist Buddhism is used as a Rakhine political ideology. It uses the term "Raksha" (in Pali, meaning “to protect” is implied in the local Buddhist literature) to protect the Rakhine’s racial purity. In this effort, the Rakkhapura League was established in 1918. All Arakan League was established in 1930 to promote Arakan’s Mongoloid- Buddhist heritage and an ethnocentric educational propaganda movement was continued among the Arakanese people to promote the exclusive Rakhine national identity. Buddhism has been used as a political tool of oppression against minorities. In doing so, unfortunately even some Rakhine monks have been seen as the leading figures in the anti-Rohingya agitation. (20) David Law writes: “The Rohingya are being forced into large-scale internment camps where they are being prevented from marrying legally, their young people beaten up, kidnapped, violated, and otherwise terrorized into submitting to a slow, agonizing death by starvation.” (21) In the name of religion, these are some abuses of the fundamental teachings of the great humanist tradition of the Buddha.


VII. Arakan, a "Frontier culture"

Arakan for its location between South Asia and South East Asia, some time came under Bengal's influence and at other times it was under Burma's influence. As a consequence, in this “marginal land,” it clearly developed, what Jacques P Laider calls a “frontier culture" with people from not one but two major racial groups, the Rakhines and the Rohingyas. (22) Historically, both groups have developed their separate language and culture but have also one common Arakan history. The xenophobic authors in general while recognizes Arakan’s glorious history of interaction with other cultures, and its Buddhist heritage, refused to accept in the words of Laider, its “hybridity." In their drive to attain a “modern Arakanese society, they use only Rakhine heritage and its “exclusiveness.” The present research identified the xenophobic elites to style themselves as the “Rakhine gentlemen” the guardians of Arakan.  In this if they have to mention the name “Rohingya” (as if a matter of “racial allergy” causing terminology,) they would almost always either ignore or apply their “superiority-inferiority standards,” or paradigm, not knowing that such a xenophobic  attitude is a principle that is more akin to Fascism. These ultranationalists also identify themselves as the great fighters for democracy in Burma. As evident, this type of attitude doesn’t help to promote either democracy or the meaning of citizenship. This deep-rooted typical medieval xenophobic attitude could be the yet unexplored issue and reasons for the delay in the democratic development in Arakan and Burma.


VIII. The Origins of the "Rohingya" and "Rakhine" Ethnonyms

It is pertinent to note that both Rohingya and Rakhine are two newly adopted official terms lately used by both respectively for their “identity building and cultural self-defense.” Rakhines used to be called as the "Arakanese" or the "Moghs." The term Mogh, a Pali word referred to a people originally came from Magadha of India. (23) Ralph Fitch mentions the "kingdom of Recon and Mogen" as early as 1585. (24) In British colonial records this is a commonly used term for the Rakhines. The term Mogh also referred as the “pirates” in the Bay of Bengal, referring to the later Arakani ruler’s atrocities in the Bay. The term Mogh seems to have originally developed from their claim of the original Buddhist tribe in India.  While the term has been in common use, but as expected, the ultranationalist Rakhines, claim that they have never heard of the term “Mogh” at all.

Micheal Charney records, ” …Rakhaing was used after the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-11826) in its strictest geographical and political sense." (25) My understanding is that to the Rakhine ultranationalists, the now derogatory term Mogh lost its appeal and in order to lay claim as the original inhabitants of Arakan, they felt to officially change the name to Rakhine, a name said to be historically used by the Burmese for them. Interestingly, the term Rohingyas was also officially adopted over half a century ago for people who were previously known as the "Kulas" (original Pali, Kala), meaning in America, and Australia the "Negroes" (the dark- skinned people). To avoid this derogatory term used by the (now) Rakhines, Rohingyas preferred to officially call themselves with this name.

Surprisingly, in this trend of adopting new names, while the Rakhine Buddhist ultranationalists see the name change for themselves as a deserving one, such a change by the Rohingyas raises alarm amongst the ultranationalist Rakhines. They claim that they have never heard of any such people in Arakan and people with such names like “Rohingya” must be from outside Araakan; they must be the migrants from Chittagong. Some popular but non-intellectual Rakhine writers on the xenophobic website rakhapura.com even claim that the term Rohingya meant “gypsies.” (26) Interestingly, Michael Charney says, “Rakhaing has not always been solely an ethnonym of Buddhist Rakhaing, but rather one that has come to be peculiarly associated with Buddhism as a result of linguistic change over many centuries, change that produced the term ‘Rohingya.” (27)

Aye Kyaw, otherwise a xenophobic writer, agrees about the inconsistent relationship between Rakhingatha>Rakhing and the etymology of “Rakhanpura.” He says, “This theory doesn’t make sense semantically.” He doesn’t accept it for the difference in the spelling of r and y among the Burmese and the Arakanese." (28) This refers to the dispute that if the Burmese naming of the word Rakhing was adopted from the Burmese “bilu” meaning (Rakhasa) or demon, (the Rakhine ultranationalists claim to justify their Arakanese indigenous status), the original name Rakhing should have been Burmese "Yaking’ not the Rakhaing,” for "Bilu is associated with Yasasa and Yakkha" in Burmese.

Contrary to the typical anti-Rohingya claims that they have never heard of the term Rohingya, it appears that the term was in vogue in Burma even before 1826. Francis Buchanan noted in 1799, some Brahmin informants from Arakan “called themselves Rossawn.” (29) Historically, Rohingya referred to the Hindus and Muslims. Buchanan found Moghs, called both the Muslim and the Hindu Rohingya “Kulaw Yakain (Rakhing), or stranger Yakain (Rakhing).”

It appears that the name Rohingya has a prehistoric origin in Arakan. On the contrary, the ultranationalist claim that “Rakhine” has derived from Rakhaing>Rakhha/ Rakkh-pura> Rakhapura>Rakhingatha seems a religiously motivated assertion. Charney based on his examination of Rakhing chronicles finds Rakhine assertions inconsistent because the "Rakhine chronicles even indicate numerous stories of local kings who fought Bilus who were said to have dominated the littoral." (30) Michael Charney concludes, "Rakhaing could more clearly be seen as being derivative of Sanskrit and Pali words, attributed by Buddhists who recorded early conflicts between the first and the second wave of Mranma immigrants into the littoral. In other words, raksa had not been originally attributed to the Mranma later known as the Rakhing-tha, but instead to the "primitive tribes" whom Mranma immigrants fought and displaced as they resettled in the littoral.” (31)

In contrast, the term Rohingya seems to be a derivation of the Bilu, "raksa" the "primitive tribes" the prehistoric negroite so-called Rakkhasas, similar to the demonized dark-skinned untouchables or Raksa Tunga/ today's Rokhin-gya “kula” Rohinga "whom Mranma immigrants continued to fight and displaced from their popularly known “old villages.”

The idea that Rohingyas were the aboriginal Dravadian (Rakkhasas) population of Arakan seems more compelling due to some startling similarities in language between some tribes of Chittagong Hill Tracts (the Chakmas, Sacks and the Tanchaingyas) with the Rohingyas. Even notice the last part of the name of the Mongoloid group Tanchngya is similar to the Rohingyas. The above tribal groups originally arrived in Chittagong from Arakan. 

It appears that before the Marma group’s (Rakhine) successive invasions of Arakan from the South, which eventually led to the end of the Chandras, the language of Arakan was predominantly Indo-Sematic (Chittagonian) and the Chakmas and the other smaller groups must have become assimilated with the Chandras and their Chittagonian language. Then they even adopted Chittagonian as the groups’ language of everyday transactions. It is an astounding phenomenon that even the Sacks of Arakan today speak the same language as the Rohingyas and Chittagonians. How this is possible if the Chandra language was not similar to Chittagonian?

It seems that with the successive Marma invasion from the south, these Chakma and other Mongoloid population along with some of the ancient Dravadian Chandra Hindu and Muslim population (the Rohingyas) of Arakan were pushed back to Chittagong. The process of dispossession still continues. In this part of the world, we see there are still many more unexplored issues remained to be resolved.




IX. Colonial Legacy

The problem according to Buchanan is one of "a legacy of European colonial policy which showed little concern for ethnic and cultural realities when the frontiers of the former colonies were demarcated…. The inevitable difficulties from this lack of awareness have been aggravated by the uneven impact of the West…" (32)

It seems that despite Rohingya's historic origin in Arakan, the British caused the present confusion of identifying them as the "Chittagonians." Perhaps unwittingly, the British dropped this indigenous name Rohingyas altogether because Rohingyas had more similarities with Chittagonian Rohingyas across the Naaf River than the Rakhines (the latter known in the colonial records as the Moghs). Due to this, the British first began to call Rohingyas as the “Chittagonians" then," Mohammedans", “Burmese Muslims” and even “Indian Muslims.” Arthur Phayre, the first British administrator, seems to have unwittingly begun the confusion.  He saw the Rohingyas as merely the Bengalis. In the role of a historian, the anti-Rohingya Aye Chan instead of removing the colonial legacy of confusion, used the given names to expand on his xenophobic claims.(33) True, “ethnic and ethnonyms were not primordial, but flexible and could not be understood outside of the context in which they were socially and historically situated.” (34)

Ironically, in the midst of the colonial rule and the subsequent rise of xenophobic writings, these are some issues on the historicity of Arakanese ethnonyms that has so far remained neglected. For now, due to the military government’s propaganda, and the present confrontational situation between the Rakhines and the Rohingyas, and the direct support provided by the army to the Rakhine ultranationalists, the casual observers of Burma even find Rohingyas (with mostly Indo-Semitic features) absurd to be the indigenous ethnic people of Burma. Under the circumstances, it is important that Burmese historians play a role to clear up the confusion on the Rohingya issue that feeds the extremists to the point that they were being officially declared as the non citizens of Burma.

Another issue of interest; to heighten the fear of the Rohingyas to the Burmese people, one common strategy seen among the anti-Rohingya Rakhine intelligentsia was that it almost invariably portrayes the Rohingyas as Muslim "extremists." (35)This seems to create the apprehension that "Muslims in general are dangerous people." It is clearly a faulty analogy. Other than their rebellion during the 60’s (which most Burmese ethnic groups did), Rohingyas are generally a peaceful community and have even officially adapted a common secular name "Rohingya" for both the Muslims and the other dark skinned people of Arakan demonstrating their growing modern and secular outlook.

The present research findings also brought to light another xenophobic propaganda technique used by the Rakhine intelligentsia that one day the Muslim army from Bangladesh will conquer Burma and will turn Burma into an Islamic country. (36)In reality though, Burma and Bangladesh has a small frontier and the dispute is largely on the Rohingya issue. While Bangladesh is much more densely populated and technologically advanced than Burma, but BurmaBangladesh. has a much bigger army than

Habib Siddiqui, a scholar on Arakan history, thinks xenophobia is used by deceitful intellectuals and politicians. (37)To him, if such habits are allowed to grow, it can develop like an infection in a nation’s body to destroy peace in society. It is true, such development in Germany – led to the Holocaust, in the former Yogoslavia – there was the ethnic cleansing, in Rwanda – there was genocide. In Burma with Rohingya — ethnic cleansing is going on and if allowed to grow, it might turn into a full blown genocide.


X. Dynamics of Ethnic Relations: Problem of Sharing the Scarce Resources

What has come to light from our research on the dynamics of interethnic relations between the Rohingyas and the Rakhines is that Rohingyas are not the "aliens" in Burma. (39) They are a predominantly Muslim community that took roots in a predominantly Buddhist environment. It is their joint struggle for a democratic Burma that makes the Rakhine ultranationalists fear that in recognizing the Rohingyas, in the future democratic Burma, they will have to share the pie, i.e. the scarce resources with their racially non-Mongoloid non-Buddhist fellow citizens. So from very early on, with the Burmese military help, measures of xenophobic writings, forced labor, rape, excessive taxing, the genocidal practice of ban on Rohingya marriage in villages and extermination have been practiced to get rid of them from their mythically exclusive "Mongoloid-Buddhist Arakan" land. (40)

In 1978, as part of a research project, I had visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Ukiya, Bangladesh. There, Rohingya refugees were mostly old, women and children. When asked if they were Burmese citizens, little children ran to their mothers to bring their NRC cards. Later in the same year, in the face of international pressure, the military government accepted the Rohingya citizens; but again to exterminate them it passed the 1982 Citizenship Act. In 1991-92 it exterminated 250,000 Rohingyas with the excuse of Rohingyas being "foreigners,” in Burma. The process continues till today in a smaller scale. Some refugees have mentioned that it was not the government policy to kill, but kill only a few, and scare the rest to leave Arakan. It wants to make the Rohingya population to a negligible size. (41) It appears that Rohingya problem in Arakan is a matter of unrestrained racial intolerance.

From the present survey, it became evident that a section of xenophobic Arakani leadership couldn't rise above its medieval mob mentality of lawlessness. In India and Bangladesh, people still remember the Moghul Prince Shah Suja who was first given shelter by the king of Arakan only to be robbed and killed with his entire family later. (42) Due to the increase in the xenophobic writings and their mainstream appeal, Arakan has developed a strong culture of lawless hooliganism against minorities.

Refugees interviewed for this research describe of uncertainty and stress among the minorities (due to the lack of respect to law by the chauvinists, when it comes to the non-Rakhines.)They describe of horrifying stories of general lawlessness against the Rohingya citizens. They report of no help except the international agencies. When unlawful actions are taken by the Rakhines against the Rohingyas, local lawless Rakhines tend to say that they are not to blame but simply carrying out the military’s order. (43) Under the circumstances, international Agencies working with refugees report Rohingya's horror stories. (44)This has been so widespread especially after 1942 that the fleeing refugees in southern Chittagong coined a name for Arakan being the "Moghur Mulluk," meaning a lawless society of the Moghs. (45)

The Arakan has been under the grip of the military-backed ultranationalist from the 1960's. The increase in xenophobic writings is a sign of Arakan’s past prejudices, now crystallized into cleverly constructed written documents. Here a good reading of the materials show a dangerous game they play, which continues to accelerate the worsening of the human rights violations in Arakan. However, just across the Naaf River in Cox's Bazar, the Rakhines (Mogh) that fled from Arakan to Chittagong (of present Bangladesh) in 1784, during Budapawa's invasion, and their decedents, who now are Bangladeshi citizens, have officially adopted the name Rakhines. In Bandorbon of Chittagong, the other group of Moghs call themselves Marmma (Meha-Vurma, the great Burma). In Cox’s Bazar, the Buddhist pagodas and the Rakhine historic sites, Aggmeda Khyang and other Buddhist places glitter in the blue sky. Bangladesh government recognized Rakhine temples as important tourist spots. (46) Burma’s Arakani intelligentsia doesn't have to educate people in xenophobia; ethnic minority’s similarities with their neighbors, instead of a source of fear could be a source of strength in exchanging "innovative ideas," in the "exchange of commercial goods" in helping develop friendship between nations and could be mutually beneficial to the neighboring countries.


XI.Conclusion: Burma Lives in the Past

To make the multi-ethnic Burma a model of a great democracy, Aung San for the first time successfully brought the different ethnic groups together through consensus. Contrary to this, the army now keeps the country together by the use of xenophobia and force, a model of the Burmese medieval kings. The irony is, in the modern times, intolerance and oppression cannot serve as an ideal model for making a country great. Xenophobic writings based on radical ideology ignore people's history and breed intolerance, which also can lead to the denial of human rights.

It seems that Rohingya refugee problem are symptoms of Burma’s hate crimes by the illegal army and its anti-Rohingya associates Aye Chan or Aye Kyaw, the author of the 1982 constitutional Act, now popularly known as the “Prophet of Violence in Arakan.” These increases in xenophobic writing propaganda have made Rohingyas strangers in the land of their birth. The xenophobic works embolden the military in its rule through fear, paranoia and criminal justification to exterminate the racially and culturally different minorities. Due to such a policy, more than a million Rohingyas are now refugees and live in outside Burma. Given this realism, it seems some Burmese democracy leaders' hypocritical approach to ignore the 1982 constitutional Act issue will not make the issue go away but continue to make Burma famous for producing refugees.

On the question of how to make Arakan great again, the chauvinistic writings suggest the extermination of the Rohingyas; for it defines Arakan’s ethnic boundary along racial lines. But the progressive Rakhine and Rohingya groups show great interest in the model of the founders of the Mrauk U dynasty; its ethical standards of compassion, respect and love of its people which made it to be called the “Golden age of Arakan. Those qualities were contrary to the contemporary ideology of Aye Kyaw and Aye Chan’s xenophobia. In the ongoing debate of "cultural self-defense," the ultranationalists are the mainstream trends in Arakan. As different from the narrowly defined ultranationalist’s vision of Rakhine greatness, Rohingyas today are working with Aung San Su Kyi's NLD in Burma and with people outside with international lobbying groups to make Burmese people conscious of their fellow citizen's rights. In this present state of affairs, Rohingya leaders interviewed wish that Arakan acknowledge once again its tradition of diversity. 


 The Modern Rohingya

From a backward community in the past century, Rohingya leadership today has emerged as human rights conscious, non-violent group, demanding to the democracy movement leaders the recognition of their citizenship and a negotiated settlement in Arakan and hoping for the safe return of their uprooted people, spread around the globe. Some leaders hope that when democracy comes in Arakan, as a matter of recognition, Arakan either be continued to be called as Arakan. (47)

Suffice to say, Burma's more than half a century's struggle to write people's history has been overshadowed by the military's triumph in expanding xenophobic history against its own people. Arakanese citizens have to realize that Arakan is no more a medieval kingdom. They have to live in the present as people of a modern province of Burma where citizens will have the protection of law from hooliganism, from vandals destroying properties, ceasing of properties, rape or unlawful arrest; they have to recognize its citizen's individual human rights. To guarantee this, and the democratic forces to succeed, it should encourage dismantling the myths of xenophobic ethnic boundaries created by the xenophobic writers like Aye Chan, Aye Kyaw and others and replace such history with human rights education.

               Intellectuals are the designers of ideas that “create values and cultural norms.”  What kind of norms and values had been created in Arakan that led Burma to create refugees for export? The present research shows, Aye Kyaw and his student Aye Chan as teachers themselves while enjoys the citizenship in the West preaches violence in Arakan are not alone; these ultranationalists work as a group of ultranationalist intellectuals. More research should be done to know the kind of norms the present intellectuals created that led to an anti-Rohingya xenophobic mainstream culture in Arakan. In addition, it will be of interest to know how did they respond to the challenges Arakan society faced; what is the structural location of these intellectuals; what shapes their world views; how are they communicating with the rest of the society; what role do they play in "building reactionary consciousness and ideology of the group;” do they present unified views; is the group membership restricted; do they allow deviation; how much acceptance do they allow or show. The democracy movement leaders should know how the trend of ultranationalist creates obstacles to reestablish the historical nature of multiculturalism in Arakan.

In terms of democratic thinking in Arakan, some conscientious Burmans and Rakhines, as are some members of other ethnic communities have realized the adverse effect of xenophobia that provides the array for dispossession, pain and sufferings of their communities. This is welcome news, in spite of the fact that such positive developments are happening rather late when the Rohingyas are also seeing the beginning of their end in Arakan.


(Part of this chapter was taken from a research paper presented  at  the International  Conference  on  “Problems  of Democratic Development  in Burma  and  the Rohingya People” held  in Tokyo on July16-17, 2007)





(1) Arakan Information website, http://www.rakhapura.com/ Accessed, June 22, 2007. See in an online poll, it asks a xenophobic question.

"Poll:  In history, Muslims helped Arakan to regain its Independence from Burma. But, Arakan was occupied and destroyed by the Burmese since 1784. Present day Arakan and its people are under the brutal oppression by the Myanmar junta. Being an Arakanese,

who is your real enemy,

 Burmese or Muslims?

Burmese Military Junta or Muslims (so-called Rohingya)?" The intent of the poll as shown was to find the "real enemy" among its citizens (but not the friend). Such polls apparently show Burma’s medieval mentality of xenophobia in Arakan.


(2) Also see KHRG (Karen Human Rights group) website: in its” Background on Burma."

http://www.khrg.org/background_on_burma.html, June 23, 2007.

(3) Robert Horn, “Orbituary: The Puppet Master of Burma: Ne Win made his nation what it is today: poor, paranoid and oppressed,” Time Asia, http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/1101021216/newin.html

(4) Noam Chomsky, “What We Know: On the universals of language and rights,” Boston Review , (summer 2005.)

(5) Among them Aye Chan, a Rakhine professor who teaches in Japan, coauthored a xenophobic book called Influx Viruses, The Illegal Muslims in Arakan,” The other author of the book is U Shw Zan, 2005. The book was published in the United States. It was also published on line website.http://www.rakhapura.com, 2005. This work identifies the Rohingyas as "foreigners," as dangerous as "viruses. In this book, Aye Chan contributes the first chapter, "The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar); Also see Aye Kyaw, “The Rohingya and the Rakhaing,” America Burma Institute,New York   {“This paper was written in response to a conference on the Rohigya and the democratic movement of Myanmar,

July 16, 2007 held in Tokyo.” } Original Message from AYE KYAW to kunyia@freerohingyacampaign.org ; wao-global@yahoogroups.com, wao-global-team@yahoogroups.com, Thursday, August 09, 2007.

(6) Different Rakhine groups of Arakan are:

(a)-ALD (Arakan League for Democracy) 11 MP seats winner in 1990 election,

(b)-ANC (Arakan National Council ) of exiled Rakhine extremists in India

(c)-ALP (Arakan Liberation Party) Rakhine's armed-group (Burma – Thailand border)

(d)-NUFA (National United Front of Arakan) Liberal pro-Rohingya Rakhine Alliance, led by Dr.Khin Maung(Bangladesh-Burma border)

(7) Abid Bahar, “’Enclave’ with ‘Influx Viruses’ Revisited.” In the following, the abstract of the paper presented at the First International Conference on the “Problems of Democratic Development in Burma and the Rohingya People,” held in Tokyo on July 16 and  17 2007.

Aye Chan’s”The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar) commonly known as “Enclave” was published in the book "Influx viruses" (2005), and in other Burmese journals. Aye Chan claims that it is an academic work of some importance. Truly, it is designed with genuine academic pitch and a closer look shows that it is one of the most popular xenophobic literatures of Arakan written from the military's perspective, intended to create fear among his ethnic Rakhines and the Burmese against Burma’s Rohingya people. Unfortunately, in the role of a researcher, but not Burmese military personnel he labels the Rohingyas as “illegal,” “Bengalis.” For researchers of Burma’s ethnicity and race relations, this could be an interesting work that outlines in detail the issues of dispute surrounding Burma's Rohingya community written from the Rakhine perspective. In his endeavor, Aye Chan advances the claims that after the British conquest of Arakan in 1826, Rohingyas (“Chittagonian Bengalis”} settled in the north of Arakan; now forming an "enclave" near Bangladesh border. Interestingly, Aye Chan says, the communal disturbance during WW 11, was the beginning of Rohingya crisis, especially in 1942 resulting in population displacement of Rohingyas from the south lived mostly by Rakhines to the northern part of Arakan lived by the Rohingyas. This seems to be true.  Chan however infers without providing sufficient and necessary conditions that in the north there is influx of "Chittagonians, forming an “enclave." Apparently, the uprooted people in the north of Arakan seems not the "Chittagonians" but the displaced Rohingyas from the south of Arakan. Here he contradicts with the main theme of his work. As usual with xenophobic works, to make his case against the racially different but Burmese born Rohingya citizens, throughout the work he uses unclear premises and discerning data and failed to make sustained arguments. In his selective use of materials, while he gave importance to certain issues, but he remained silent on the continued refugee movement from Arakan beginning from 1784, 1942, 1957, 1978, 1991-92. In his work he creates an imaginary enclave which is not there.

(8) Aye Chan in his article, "The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar)" says that he was defending his position against Kei Nemoto's but didn't provide the details of Nemoto's work in the bibliography. If countering Nemoto's was his main purpose, as he claims in his paper, it was necessary to document Nemeto's work. In addition, report received from eye-witnesses says, in the conference hall in Japan, Kei Nemeto was being harassed by the Rakhine ultranationalist hooligans, loyal to Aye Chan for his stance on the Rohingyas.

(9) See for details, M. Habibullah, History of the Rohingyas, Bangladesh (Dhaka: Co-operative Book Society Limited), 1995; Abid Bahar, "Burmese Invasion of Arakan and the Rise of Non Bengali Settlements in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts." http://bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidDate=20060215&hidType=FEA&hidRecord=0000000000000000089087; Abdul Karim, The Rohingyas: A Short Account of the History and Culture, (Chittagong: Arakan Historical Society), 2000.

(10) Francis Buchanan, in Southeast Bengal (1798): His Journey to Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Noakhali and Comilla, (Dhaka: Dhaka University Press, 1992), 82.

(11) Michael W. Charney, Where Jambudipa and Islamdom Converged: Religious Change and the Emergence of Buddhist Communalism in Early Modern Arakan (Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries),” PhD Dissertation, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1999; also see Joseph P. Leider used the term “marginal culture” for Arakan.  Joseph P. Leider, “Arakan  Studies: Challenges and Contested Issues, mapping a field of historical and Cultural research,” (an unpublished paper) in Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962. A conference Organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, South Asian Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University, 2005, 15.

(12) N.R. Chakravarti, The Indian Minority in Burma, (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 170.

(13) Aye Chan's, "The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of BurmaMyanmar),”2005 (

(14) See for details, Abid Bahar, "Burmese Invasion of Arakan and the Rise of Non Bengali Settlements in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts. http://bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidDate=2006-0215&hidType=FEA&hidRecord=0000000000000000089087

(15) R. B. Smart (Compiled by), Burma Gazetteer, Akyab District, Vol A., Government Printing and Stationary, Union of Burma, Rangoon, 1957, 17

(16) See for the Rohingalish language, http://www.geocities.com/rohingyalanguage/

(17) In total fifteen Rohingya Refugees who presently live in USA, Japan, Malaysia, UAE and Bangladesh were interviewed in Japan and in Bangladesh to find out information inside Arakan.

(18) Jacques P. Leider used the term “marginal culture” referring to the “fluidity” and the contemporary problems in Arakan.  Jacques P. Leider, “Arakan  Studies: Challenges and Contested Issues, mapping a field of historical and Cultural research,” (an unpublished paper) in Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962. A conference Organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, South Asian Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University, 2005.

(19) KHRG report: Background on Burma, KHRG,

http://www.khrg.org/background_on_burma.html (June 23, 3007).

(20) Rohingya refugees interviewed in various locations for the present research reports of atrocities and Monks giving leadership in the mob attacks. The refugees mention that even mentioning of their activities was considered as offense; another Arakani xenophobic work is, Khaing Aung Win’s “Arakanese Nationalism and the Struggle for National self- determination (An overview of Arakanese political history up to 1988),”http://www.narinjara.com/eng-art/Arakanese_Nationalism_and_the_Struggle_for_National_self_R.asp

(21) David Law, “Humanity Gone Amok,” Burma Digest, 25, 09, 2005.

(22) Jacques P. Leider’s work is interesting where he uses the key term “frontier culture” for understanding Arakan. Jacques P. Leider, “Arakan Studies: Challenges and Contested Issues, mapping a field of historical and Cultural research,” (an unpublished paper) in Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962, 2005, 18.

(23) Michael Charney, “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms” (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan” Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962, 2005, 36-40.

(24) Ralph Fitch mentions it as the "kingdom of Recon and Mogen as early as in 1585: An Account of Pegu in 1586-1587," SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 22 (autumn, 2004; 168. Also see Michael Charney, “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms.” (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan: From Dhanyawadi to 1962 ,2005, 36.

(25) Michael Charney, “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan” Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962, 2005, 37.

(26) Website.http://www.rakhapura.com/ Accessed, June 22, 2007.

(27) Michael Charney, “Buddhism in Araka,: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms” (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan. Workshop: From Dhanyawadi to 1962, 2005, 37.

(28) Aye Kyaw, “The Night the Buddha came,"Rakhing Guardian1.1, (spring, 1977,) 6-10; See his recent article for his anti-Rohingya views: “The Rohingya and the Rakhaing,” America Burma Institute,New York   (This paper was written in response to a conference on the Rohigya and the democratic movement of Myanmar, July 16, 2007 held in Tokyo. } Original Message from AYE KYAW to kunyia@freerohingyacampaign.org ; wao-global@yahoogroups.com, wao-global-team@yahoogroups.com, Thursday, August 09, 2007.

(29) Francis Buchanan, “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire."SOAS Bullitin of Burma Research 1.1 (Spring 2003), 40-57; Also Francis Buchanon in South East Bengal (1798) His journey to Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Noakhali and Comilla, Edited by Willem van Schendel, Dhaka: University Press Ltd. 1992, Also in Michael Charney, “Buddhism in Araka,: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan.

(30) See Michael Charney “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms.” 2005,45. He quotes Sithu-Gammani-thinkyan, "Rakhine Ra-zawin," [Palm-leaf manuscript 2.1], (National Library, Ministry of Culture, Yangoon, Union of Myanmar.)

(31) Michael Charney explained ethnic and ethnonyms, in his “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms.” (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan.” Workshop, From Dhanyawadi to 1962. A conference organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, South Asian Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University, 2005, p. 51; for the similarities between the Chakma and the Rohingya language see Abid Bahar, "Burmese Invasion of Arakan and the Rise of Non Bengali Settlements in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts.” http://bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidDate=2006-0215&hidType=FEA&hidRecord=0000000000000000089087

 (32) Francis Buchanan, The South Asian World; An introductory Essay, (London: G Bell and sons, Ltd., 1967), 113-114.

(33) See Aye Chan's, "The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar)” quoting colonial terms and records identifying the Rohingyas as being the “Chittagonians.”

 (34) Michael Charney explained ethnic and ethnonyms, in his “Buddhism in Araka: Theories of Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms.” (an unpublished paper) in the Forgotten Kingdom of Arakan. Workshop: From Dhanyawadi to 1962, 2005, 52.

(35) See Aye Chan's, "The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar)” Here he cites Fazlur Rahman’s Islam, 1979, p.200-204 to relate the Rohingyas as being influenced by the Wahabis and the Egyptian brotherhood. But in the above book, the author Fazlur Rahman didn’t say anything about the Rohingyas. It is shocking to see Aye Chan’s type of scholar and the connection he had drawn.

(36) In Shwe Lu Maung (Shahnawaz Khan)’s The Price of Silence, (Colombia: DewDropArts and Tecnology, 2005) he shows the rise in anti-Bangladesh, anti-Muslim xenophobia in Arakan which might destabilize peace in the region. He particularly talks about the xenophobic writer Aye Kyaw who helped the military with the latter’s policy of extermination of the Rohingyas.

(37) Habib Siddiqui, "Just ImagineThis – You Are a Rohingya," www.theamericanmuslim.org

(38) Abid Bahar, Dynamics of Ethnic Relations in Burmese Society: A case Study of Inter Ethnic Relations between the Burmese and the Rohingyas, an unpublished M. A. thesis, (Windsor: University of Windsor, 1981, Canada) 

(39) Rohingya Refugee Report

http://web.amnesty.org/library/pdf/ASA160052004ENGLISH/$File/ASA1600504.pdf;see Marwaan Macan-Markar, "Ban on Marriages, Another Yoke on Rohingya Muslims." BANGKOK, Dec 6, 2006 (IPS); Also see Chris Lewa, “The Plight of Burma’s Stateless, Rohingya Muslims.” http://www.freerohingyacampaign.com/. Also see, Alamgir Serajuddin, "Muslim Influence in Arakan and the Muslim Names of Arakanese Kings: A Reassment," Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh 30.1 (June 1986); Abid Bahar,“Dynamics of Ethnic Relations in Burmese Society: A case Study of Inter Ethnic Relations between the Burmese and the Rohingyas” 1981,An unpublished M. A. thesis, ( Windsor: University of Windsor, Canada, 1981).   Also see Rohingya Refugee Report

http://web.amnesty.org/library/pdf/ASA160052004ENGLISH/$File/ASA1600504.pdf;see Marwaan Macan-Markar, "Ban on Marriages, Another Yoke on Rohingya Muslims," BANGKOK, Dec 6, 2006 (IPS); Also see Chris Lewa, “The Plight of Burma’s Stateless, Rohingya Muslims.” http://www.freerohingyacampaign.com/; also see Marwaan Macan-Markar, "Ban on Marriages, Another Yoke on Rohingya Muslims," BANGKOK, Dec. 6, 2006 (IPS).

(40) Rohingya Refugees interviewed in Japan and in Bangladesh to find out information inside Arakan revealed this information.

(41) Abid Bahar,“Dynamics of Ethnic Relations in Burmese Society: A case Study of Inter Ethnic Relations between the Burmese and the Rohingyas” 1981,An unpublished M. A. thesis, ( Windsor: University of Windsor, Canada, 1981).

 (42) Alamgir Serajuddin, "Muslim Influence in Arakan and the Muslim Names of Arakanese Kings: A Reassment," Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh 30.1 (June 1986);Abid Bahar, “Barbarity in the Bay and the Battered Beast,” (Kalander Press, 2007.)

(43)Rohingya Refugees interviewed in Japan and in Bangladesh to find out information inside Arakan revealed this information.

(44) Rohingya Refugee Report

http://web.amnesty.org/library/pdf/ASA160052004ENGLISH/$File/ASA1600504.pdf;see Marwaan Macan-Markar, "Ban on Marriages. Another Yoke on Rohingya Muslims." BANGKOK, Dec 6, 2006 (IPS); Also see Chris Lewa, “The Plight of Burma’s Stateless,

Rohingya Muslims.” http://www.freerohingyacampaign.com/

(45) See Alamgir Serajuddin, "Muslim Influence in Arakan and the Muslim Names of Arakanese Kings: A Reassment," Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh 30.1 (June 1986)

(46) Cox's Bazar's Buddhist Pagoda, http://www.bangladeshonline.com/tourism/spots/coxbazar.htm

(47) Most Rohingya leaders interviewed unanimously demanded that their citizenship status be restored. To reverse the name Sittwe to its historic name Arakan was also suggested by Martin smith, “The Muslim ‘Rohingya’ of Burma,” a paper delivered at the conference of Burma Centrum, Netherland, 11th December, 1995.


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[1] Strangely though, this constitutional act reminds us of the story of ‘the wolf and the lamb’ where the lamb was in the downstream but then blamed by the wolf for mudding the water, when was reminded his position in the upstream, he identified the sins of its grand parents he remembered who allegedly caused trouble to the wolf in mudding water.