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Review of

Zaw Min Htuts UnionofBurmaand


EthnicRohingyas
Khine Mra War
i

Translators Notes
In translating this work, I checked most of the original texts cited by Khine Mra War. I
had to make some changes because I could not get hold of some texts the author
referred to. For instance, Khine Mra War used the 4
th
edition of D G E Halls History of
South-East Asia, published in 1988. However, I could only get the first edition of this book
(published in 1955). I had to rely on the first edition of the book because it was
impossible to retranslate the quotations in Burmese into English. Moreover, I have
added some of my comments in the footnotes.

Translator
12 June 2014


ii

Preface
Mujahid insurgency began in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships in
Myanmars western frontier soon after Myanmar regained independence. While the
guns were barking in Rakhine, Mr. Abdul Gaffar, MP representing Buthidaung township
wrote about a new Muslim ethnic group called Rohingya in the Guardian Daily in 1951.
The name Rohingya was unheard of before this time, and it is not mentioned in any
reliable history books. Therefore, U Hpaw Zan (1951) responded in the Guardian Daily
immediately, saying that the name Rohingya was a fabrication. He also pointed out
that the intention behind the Rohingya story was to establish a Muslim state.
Gaffar wove the Rohingya story to enable the Muslims from Buthidaung
township to enjoy the right to establish a state within the framework of the Union of
Burma, which was a right only indigenous races enjoyed. Indeed, the invention of
Rohingya history was a political movement that had direct connection with the
Mujahid insurgency. Thus, the so-called Rohingyas launched both military and political
campaigns while various insurgent groups in Myanmar proper were attacking the
central government, which at that time was dubbed Rangoon government.
The Mujahid insurgency and the new ethnic group called Rohingya originated
in the British imperialists policy of open immigration. The British colonial government
allowed Indian labourers to immigrate to Myanmar for the perpetuation of their
colonial rule in Myanmar and for financial gain. Indians of various races poured into
Myanmar, and the Muslim population in Rakhine increased from thirty thousand in 1825
(just after Rakhine was annexed into British India) to 217,800 in 1930. Especially, the
immigration of Bengalis from Chittagong District on the west of Rakhine increased
rapidly.
The rise of Muslim population concerned the British government, which formed
a commission of inquiry to look into this matter in 1939. Although the commission
reported that Muslim immigration could lead to racial conflicts if it was not restricted,
the colonial government could do nothing because World War II spilt over into Asia. As
the commission had predicted, a Kala-Rakhine riot erupted in 1942 and, later, the
Mujahid rebellion broke out. Then, Muslim intellectuals invented the Rohingya story to
claim that they were indigenous ethnic Muslims, and demanded the government to
establish a Muslim state or region with Maungdaw, Buthidaung and part of Rathetaung.
They have been making continual demands ever since.
When they were not allowed to campaign for their rights legally, they resorted
to underground activities. They were able to get broad international media attention
and they strove to get sympathy and help from the people around the world. Zaw Min
Htuts book is a part of their attempt to deceive the Myanmars living or working abroad
iii

into believing that Rohingyas are an indigenous ethnic group of Myanmar, by
embellishing Gaffars and Ba Thas stories.
Zaw Min Htut just dresses up an old story of shipwrecked Arabs to claim that
they were the ancestors of the so-called Rohingyas. He discusses how Arabs
dominated the overseas trade in the Far East in the early Christian era, how their ships
wrecked off the Yanbye island, how Islam took root in Rakhine at that time, and how
Islam spread from Rakhine to Myanmar proper. However, his claims are not
substantiated by evidence.
Zaw Min Htut mentions the records of Arab and Persian geographers and the
books and articles written by historians such as Harvey, Hall, San Shwe Bu, Ba Shin,
Qanungo and Yegar. However, he fails to give the particulars of those records and
works. He writes as if those historians have stated that Islam spread to Rakhine in the
early Christian era to deceive readers into believing that the so-called Rohingyas are
indigenous ethnic people.
In this review, I have checked Zaw Min Htuts statements against the works he
refers to in order to determine whether those statements are correct, and I have also
referred to some other works, reports, etc. to refute his views. This review is also a work
written to reinforce the efforts of Hpaw Zan, Ba San, Hla Tun Hpru, San Tun Aung and
Bonpauk Tha Kyaw in their nationalist struggle.

Khine Mra War
1 January 2003


iv

Contents
Translators Notes ......................................................................................................... i
Preface ......................................................................................................................... ii
Review of Chapter 1 .................................................................................................. iv
Zaw Min Htuts First Fabrication ................................................................................. 1
Buddhism and Hinduism in the Far East ................................................................... 3
The Arrival of Arabs ...................................................................................................... 6
The Advent of Buddhism to Myanmar ..................................................................... 8
The Story of Shipwrecked Arabs .............................................................................. 11
How the Name Arakan Was Derived from Rakkhuin / Rakhuin ........................ 18
The Meanings of Roshang, Rohang, Rosung, Rwen and Rwengya ................. 21
Zaw Min Htut Who Fails to Understand Dr. Aye Chans Words ......................... 23
Review of Chapter 2 ................................................................................................. 33
A New Hypothesis about the History of Rohingya ............................................... 33
Rohingya Literature Or Bengali Literature? ........................................................... 36
Misusing the Ananda Candras Inscription ........................................................... 41
The Cave of Badaw, a Traditional Spirit or of a Muslim Fakir? ........................... 43
The Omission of Some Information from the Mahayazawingyi......................... 44
Mra Wars Shwe Myin Dhammathat ...................................................................... 48
The Tabaung Kala Ko Shinpyu (Novitiate the Indians) .................................... 52
Are Luces and Dr. Than Tuns Statements Correct? .......................................... 53
Review of Chapter 3 ................................................................................................. 63
Misquoting Hall and San Shwe Bu ........................................................................... 63
Zaw Min Htut Who Does Not Understand His Own Words .................................. 65
Zaw Min Htuts Fabricated List of Rakhine Kings with Muslim Names .............. 67
Review of Chapt 4 ..................................................................................................... 72
The Purpose of Misrepresenting Rakhines as Muslims ......................................... 72
Muslim Population in King Bodawhpayas reign .................................................. 76
The Increase of Muslim Population in the Colonial Era ....................................... 78
True History of the Muslims of Maungdaw Township ........................................... 84
The True History of the Muslims in the Buthidaung District .................................. 85
Zaw Min Htut Who Misquotes U Thein Hpe Myint ................................................. 89
v

Review of Chapter 5 .................................................................................................. 91
The Spread of Muslims Based on the Story of Shipwrecked Arabs .................. 91
Review of Chapter 6 .................................................................................................. 95
Portrayal of All the Muslims in Rakhine as Rohingyas .......................................... 95
The Causes of 1942 Race Riot ................................................................................. 96
Immediate Cause of the Race Riot of 1942 ......................................................... 99
Fanning or Extinguishing the Flames of Riot? ........................................................ 99
Taking Advantage of the Riot to Overstate the Muslim Population .............. 103
Efforts to End the Riot and the Wounds this Riot had Inflicted ........................ 106
Mujahid InsurgencyAn Outcome of the Riot .................................................. 107
Rakhine Historians View on Mujahid Insurgency .............................................. 111
Khingyi Hpyaws View .......................................................................................... 111
San Tun Aungs View ............................................................................................ 113
Maung Htins View ............................................................................................... 114
Portrayal of Rohingyas as Patriots ......................................................................... 115
The Alethangyaw Convention which Moshe Yegar Fails to Mention ........... 119
Review of Chapter 7 ................................................................................................ 124
Portraying Chittagonian Muslims as an Indigenous Race of Myanmar ........ 124
Muslims Plan to Seize Maungdaw on 13 May ................................................... 129
Review of Chapter 8 ................................................................................................ 134
Be Loyal to the Union .............................................................................................. 134
Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 136
Bibliography ............................................................................................................. 138




Review of Chapter 1
Zaw Min Htuts book has four main parts: preface, the text arranged in nine chapters,
conclusion and bibliography. Chapter 1 is arranged in three sections. The first section
deals with the Geography of Rakhine Region. In the second section, Zaw Min Htut
discusses Rakhine Region and the Etymology of the Name Rohingya, without citing
his sources properly. The third section is entitled Researcher Dr. Aye Chans Views on
the History of Rakhine. In the first section of Chapter 1, he presents the geography of
Rakhine region. In discussing Rakhine Region and the Etymology of the Name
Rohingya in the second section, he says in a roundabout way how Arabs monopolized
the overseas trade in the Far East from the early Christian era until the 17
th
century, how
many ships were wrecked off the Yanbye island during King Maha Taing Candras reign
in the Wethali period (8
th
century AD), and how the arrival of Arab ships in Wethali
brought about the spread of Islam there and then later to Myanmar proper.
He presents this information as if the facts are mentioned in the records of Arab
geographers and travelers and in the books on Myanmar history and the history of the
world. In citing the works, however, he fails to give the editions, publication dates or
page numbers. In this way, he confuses readers into believing that the information is
given in historical works.
Zaw Min Htuts First Fabrication
Let me examine Zaw Min Htuts presentation on Rakhine Region and the
Etymology of the Name Rohingya (the second section of Chapter 1) in detail. First, he
states:
- - - ()


()

()

(Arakan) (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 13)
Translation:
2



. . . Foreign trade in the Far EastJava, Sumatra, Malay [?Malaya or the
Malay Peninsula], Myanmar coastal regions and the Indian Oceanwas
under the control of Arabs until the 17
th
century AD. Their trade colonies
existed in the coastal regions, including the Rakhine coast.
. . . Islam took root in the Far East. . . . Therefore, there were different
names used to refer to Rakhine region [Arakan] by different peoples
Persians, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch people and Englishmenwho were the
first to visit this region.
Zaw Min Htuts statement is highly speculative. There is no definite evidence for this
conclusion. His speculation can be divided into two parts: 1) Arabs dominated the
overseas trade in the Far East until the 17th century AD, and 2) Islam took root in the Far
East including the Rakhine region.
Although he speaks about the Arab domination of trade and the establishment
of Islam in the Far East, he fails to give evidence. So, I must check whether his
statements are correct. I will check his statement that Arabs dominated [the
overseas] trade in the Far East against the information given in the History of South-
East Asia written by D G E Hall, an eminent scholar of Southeast Asian history. Hall
relates as follows:
Long before the days of the Prophet Arabs had made settlements
along the trade route between the Red Sea and China. Islam gave a new
impetus to their shipping. In the eighth century they were sufficiently
numerous in south China to sack Canton (758). In the ninth century there
were small communities of Mahommedan merchants in several ports on the
route to China. In the eleventh century they are mentioned as having
existed in Champa for some time. They married native women but kept
themselves socially apart from the non-Mahommedan communities. There
is no evidence of Arab settlements of any importance in the Indonesian
archipelago. Much of it including Java and the Spice Islands, lay well away
from the trade route to China.
The reports of the early Arab geographers concerning South-east Asia
are vague and fantastic, and much of their information is second hand. An
Arabic-inscribed gravestone of a young woman at Leran near Gresik, has
been taken as the earliest evidence of the presence of Muslims in Java. The
date may be 1082 or 1102, but there is a strong suspicion that the stone was
brought there at a later period. Even if the date is genuine, the inscription
does no more than indicate the presence of an Arab, or Persian, there in
about 1100. There is no evidence of the spread of Islam to that area until
long afterwards. (Hall 1955, 176)
By comparing the statements made by Hall and those made by Zaw Min Htut,
readers will realize that Zaw Min Htuts conjecture that foreign trade in Java, Sumatra,
Malay peninsula, Myanmar and Rakhine coastal regions was under the control of Arabs
3



results from his bias in favour of Arab influence. A similar statement is made in Chapter
2 where he writes about Rohingya and Islam. However, there he says that Arabs
dominated the trade in the Far East from the early days of the Christian era until the
16
th
century AD
1
instead of saying . . . until the 17
th
century AD (Zaw Min Htut 2001,
26). Thus, his two statements are inconsistent.
The readers have learnt that Hall states that there is no evidence as to the Arab
settlements along the sea route between China and the Indonesian Archipelago or as
to the existence of trade colonies. As stated above, Hall goes on to say that the ideas
of Arab geographers are vague and fantastic, that the earliest extant evidence for
the arrival of Muslims probably is the epitaph found in Leran, which belongs to the 11
th

or 12
th
century AD, and that this epitaph attests only to the presence of an Arab or
Persian there around 1100.
He also states that the earliest extant record which informs us that many Muslim
traders came to Sumatra is the journal of Marco Polo, written in AD 1292:
In 1292 the Polos, on their way home from China visited Sumatra.
Ferlec, the first port they entered, has been identified as Perlak. According
to Marcos story, it was visited by so many Muslim traders that they had
converted the natives of the place to the Law of the Prophet. From what he
has to say further it is obvious that the conversion of Sumatra had only just
begun. His is the earliest report we have of Islamic proselytizing activities in
South-East Asia. (Hall 1955, 176)
A study of these statements does not show the domination of Arabs in trade,
the establishment of Arab trade colonies or the establishment of Islam in the Far East
Rakhine, Java, Sumatra, etc. as Zaw Min Htut has claimed. Local people started to
convert to Islam on Ferlec/Perlack and Sumatra, only around AD 1292, when Marco
Polo arrived there.
Thus, from the statements made by Hall, we can say that Zaw Min Htut is not
objective and impartial in writing his book. He exaggerates Arab influence and the
spread of Islam in the Far East, including the Rakhine region.
Buddhism and Hinduism in the Far East
Zaw Min Htut states that Arabs dominated the trade in the Far East until the 17
th

century (Chapter 1) or until the 16
th
century (Chapter 2), and Islam took root in Rakhine
in those days. However, he fails to discuss the conditions before the advent of Islam.
In those centuries, the influence of Indian culture, especially Buddhism, was prevalent
there. As regards this, Hall says:

1
()
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 26).
4



. . . Buddhism played an important role in the movement, and
Theravada Buddhism ultimately became the dominant faith of Burma and
Arakan, the Tai states and Cambodia. And whereas Hinduism disappeared
before Islam in the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia at the end of the
European Middle Ages [15
th
century AD], Buddhism continued to receive a
staunch allegiance of the countries it had conquered. (Hall 1955, 12)
How Indian culture (Buddhist and Hindu culture) preceded Islam in the
Indonesian Archipelago is attested to by the records of I-tsing, a Chinese Buddhist
monk, and four Malay epigraphs found in Sumatra. The introduction of Indian culture
there was due to the fact that there was uninterrupted overseas trade between the
Malay Peninsula and Indonesian Archipelago and India and Ceylon. Hall explains:
Relations between India and South-East Asia probably go back far into
the prehistoric period. Traders from both sides must have visited each others
ports. . . . The Indonesians were par excellence a sea-going people, and
must have resorted to India every bit as much as Indians to South-East
Asia. . . . (Hall 1955, 13)
Referring to the Chinese records, Hall writes:
The two Sumatran states [Mo-lo-yeou or Malayu (present-day Jambi)
and Che-li-fo-che or rivijaya (at what is today Palembang)] were visited in
671 by the famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrim I-tsing while on his way to India.
At rivijaya, he tells us, there were over a thousand Buddhist monks . . .
In 685, after a long period of study at the Buddhist university of
Nalanda in Bengal, I-tsing returned to rivijaya and spend some four years
there translating Buddhist texts from Sanskrit into Chinese. . . . (Hall 1955, 37)
Hall also states that the four Malay epigraphs inscribed between AD 683 and 686
corroborate the statements in the Chinese records (1955, 38). Moreover, he says:
. . . I-tsing tells us that he travelled from China to rivijaya on a ship
belonging to a Persian merchant. His voyage onwards to India was made
in one belonging to the King of rivijaya. . . . (Hall 1955, 38)
Hall also points out:
[A two-faced stele belonging to AD 775 discovered at Wat Sema-
muang] indicates the expansion of the empire of rivijaya and also of
Mahayana Buddhism to the Malay Peninsula. . . . Krom and a number of
other scholars . . . inferred [from the statements on the stele] that the
ailendras were ruling over rivijaya in 775. And, as it was already established
that they were also ruling in central Java at the same time, he concluded
that Java was then under the supremacy of the Sumatran kingdom. The
assumption, therefore, was that the ailendras were a rivijaya dynasty
which had conquered parts of Java. (Hall 1955, 40)
5



In addition, Hall remarks that the 150-feet-high Borobudur [on the west coast of Java],
which represents the highest expression of the artistic genius of the ailendra period, is
utterly unalike any other Javanese monument. . . . (1955, 43).
aivism of Indian culture flourished side by side with Buddhism in Indonesia. Hall
writes:
The dominance of the Buddhist ailendras over central Java in the
eighth century caused aivism to seek a refuge in the eastern parts of the
island. There is evidence of the existence of an independent kingdom there
in the latter half of the century, with its centre somewhere in the
neighbourhood of Malang. It was thus a forerunner of the much later
kingdom of Singosari. Its monuments were similar in style to the ones that the
ailendras were erecting at the same time in central Java, but were
dedicated to the cult of Agastya, the sage who Hinduized south India. The
rulers of the state were the guardians of a royal linga representing much the
same politico-religious ideas as were to be found in contemporary Champa
and Jayavarman II of Cambodia. The oldest dated document coming from
East Java belongs to this period. It is a Sanskrit inscription dated 760
recording the foundation at Dinaya of a sanctuary of Agastya by a king
named Gajayana.
. . .
. . . Daksa (190-?919), probably built the majestic monuments of the
Prambanan group, a vast complex of 156 shrines arranged around a central
cluster of eight major temples, with the temple of iva as its dominating
feature. Just as the Borobudur with its galleries of reliefs forms a textbook of
Mahayana Buddhism, so on a smaller scale is the iva temple, with its
galleries of reliefs illustrating the stories in the Ramayana, one of Hinduism. . . .
The whole must have afforded an indescribable impression of magnificence
and splendor. (Hall 1955, 58-59)
. . . [Sindok dynasty] reigned in East Java [from 929] until 1222. . . .
The period from 929 to 1222 was one of great importance in Java
cultural development. The transfer of the seat of power to the valley of the
river Brantas led to a weakening of Hindu influence on government, religion
and art and a corresponding increase in the importance of the native
Javanese element. . . . Sindoks reign provides a series of Old Javanese
inscriptions which are a valuable source for the study of the institutions of the
country. They show clearly that its civilization was Indonesian, not Indian.
. . .
The best known of Sindoks descendants is Dharmavmsa (c. 985-c.
1006), who has been described as the first historical person of whom we have
6



more than a dim vision. . . . [During his reign] parts of the Mahabharata were
translated into Javanese prose with the Sanskrit verses interpolated. . . . (Hall
1955, 59-60)
. . .
. . . [After a long struggle, rivijaya recognized King Airlangga of Java in
about 1030.] A modus vivendi was established between the two powers
[Airlanggas kingdom and rivijaya], which recognized rivijayas supremacy
over the west of the Archipelago and Javas over the east. . . .
. . . [Airlanggas] reign has been celebrated by later ages chiefly for its
literary activity. . . .
The inscriptions of the reign mention three religious sects: aivites,
Mahayana Buddhists, and Rishi, or ascetics. The return of aivite rule to
central Java had brought no antagonism between Buddhists and Hindus;
their mutual relations everywhere were excellent. . . . (Hall 1955, 62-63)
. . . Chinese sources mention Kediri as a powerful well-organized state.
Ten kings are mentioned up to 1222, but most are mere names. . . .
It was also a time of much commercial development throughout
Indonesia. The Moluccas, the home of the clove and nutmeg, began to be
politically as well as commercially important. . . . There are accounts of
extensive Arab trade with the whole Archipelago. They came to buy
pepper, spices and precious woods. They were Mahomedans [sic.], but at
this time had not attempted proselytizing activities in these regions. Many
merchants came also from Cambay in Gujerat with Indian piece-goods to
sell. To this city Persians had brought the faith of the Prophet, and before the
end of the thirteenth century merchants of Gujerat were to make a start with
the conversion of the Malay world. (Hall 1955, 64)
To conclude from the above excerpts from Halls work, the establishment of
Buddhism and Hinduism indicates that there had been overseas trade between the
Indonesian Archipelago in the Far East and India and Ceylon since the early days of
the Christian era. It is also clear that traders from the Indonesian Archipelago travelled
incessantly to those countries. Zaw Min Htuts statements that foreign trade was under
the control of Arabs from the early days of the Christian era until the 16
th
or 17
th
century
and that there were Arab trade colonies in the coastal regions including the Rakhine
coast are not true.
The Arrival of Arabs
Arabs came to the Indonesian Archipelago for spice trade just like the Indians
had done.
7



. . . I-tsing tells us that he travelled from China to rivijaya on a ship
belonging to a Persian merchant. His voyage onwards to India was made
in one belonging to the King of rivijaya. . . . (Hall 1955, 38)
From the middle of the ninth century a new external source, the writings
of Arabic-Persian geographers, becomes important. They extol the riches
and power of the Maharaja of Zabag, who is the king of the isles of the
eastern sea. They mention in particular that he rules over the maritime
country of Kalah and the island of Sribuza. Kalah stands for Kra, now the
name of a region of the Malay Peninsula, but then applied by the writers to
the whole Peninsula. . . .
The Arab Masudi, writing in 955, speaks in exaggerated terms of the
enormous population and innumerable armies of the kingdom of the
maharaja. . . . Its territories, wrote the Arabs, produced camphor, aloes,
cloves, sandalwood, nutmeg, cardamom, cubeb and much else. . . . (Hall
1955, 51)
In 1292 the Polos, on their way home from China, visited Sumatra. . . .
According to Marcos story, it was visited by so many Muslim traders that they
had converted the natives of the place to the Law of the Prophet. . . . (Hall
1955, 176)
. . . Already Islam had begun to make progress in the northern coastal
regions of the island. Ibn Batuta, who visited Samudra in 1345-46, wrote that
it had been Muslim for nearly a century. (Hall 1955, 79)
According to Hall, the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. . . . Shortly before the
arrival of the Portuguese the Spice Islands had been converted to Islam (Hall 1955,
198).
The above excerpts tell us that Arabs had conducted overseas trade with the
Far East (especially with southern China) even before the time of Prophet Muhammad
(fl. AD 570-632) and that trade expanded after the demise of the prophet. Buddhism
and Hinduism had been flourishing in the Indonesian Archipelago since the dawn of
the Christian era. Chinese Buddhist monk I-tsings travel to India via Sumatra is
evidence of the arrival of Arab trade ships in Indonesia. Although Arab geographers
had visited the region in the 10
th
century AD, there is no evidence that the people of
these islands converted to Islam. Marco Polos journal belonging to AD 1292 is the
earliest extant document that mentions the spread of Islam in these islands. It was the
Muhammadan traders from Gujarat in India who started converting the people.
Conversions continued until the Portuguese arrived in the region in the 16
th
century AD.
What was the situation in Myanmar and Rakhine when Islam began to spread
in the Indonesian Archipelago in the 13
th
century AD? Zaw Min Htut falsely asserts: . . .
Islam took root in the Far East. . . . Therefore, there were different names used to refer
8



to Rakhine region (Arakan) by . . . Persians, Arabs . . . who were the first to visit this
region (See above, on page 2). We must study whether these really happened.
The Advent of Buddhism to Myanmar
Western Scholars on Myanmar history, Sir Arthur Phayre, G E Harvey and D G E
Hall, wrote their books based on Myanmar and Rakhine chronicles and archaeological
findings. E Forchhammer, former superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of
Burma, wrote a work on Rakhine after studying the ancient artifacts from Rakhine.
These historians, as they were Christians, discussed other religions objectively. What had
they written about the religions of the Pyus, Rakhines, Mons and Bamars of ancient
Myanmar?
Phayre, the first western scholar to write a work on Rakhine history based on the
Rakhine chronicle (written by Nga Me), states how King Candasuriya reigned in
Dinnyawadi in AD 146, how he cast the Mahamuni image which was very well known
for years for its miraculous powers, and how Buddhism flourished more during his reign
and suggests that this may be the first time the Buddha images were introduced (1883,
44-45).
Moreover, on the basis of the figures (bull, trident, etc.) stamped on the Wethali-
period coins discovered in Rakhine, Phayre suggests that the kings of the Candra
dynasty probably followed Brahmanical customs and that they probably were
connected with the Sena dynasty (AD 986-1142) in eastern Bengal in India (1883, 45).
Forchhammer discusses the introduction of Buddhism in Rakhine and the
importance of Mahamuni image as follows:
Buddhist traditions among the Talaings and Arakanese . . . could not
have originated with the Southern Buddhist school, but are the remnants of
the old Northern Buddhism, which reached Arakan from the Ganges when
India was mainly Budddhistic; they form a substratum cropping up here and
there apparently without any connection; its centre is the Mahamuni
pagoda, the most important remains of ancient Buddhism in Myanmar.
(Forchhammer 1892, 1)
Harvey, the author of History of Burma, concludes:
The ease of sea communications renders it likely that Buddhism reached
Arakan earlier than the interior of Burma, and the Mahamuni image may well
date from the early centuries of the Christian era. (Harvey 1967, 137)
Hall, who is of the same opinion, remarks:
Buddhism would seem to have reached Arakan long before its arrival in
the interior of Burma, and the famous Mahamuni image, brought from
9



Arakan by the Burmese in 1785, and now to be seen in the Arakan Pagoda
at Mandalay, may date from the early Christian era. . . . (Hall 1955, 328-29)
Moreover, citing the Reports of the Archaeological Survey of Burma, a paper
written by E H Johnston, a professor of Sanskrit and another paper by U Aung Thaw,
Director-General of the Department of Archaeology (Myanmar), Hall discusses the
foundation of the ancient cities in Myanmar and the advent of Buddhism to Myanmar
as follows: The Pyu city states of Beikthano, Halin and Thayehkittaya (rikshetra) were
founded in the early Christian era. The religious remains of the Pyus in rikshetra show
that both Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism existed there (Hall 1955, 119-21).
Epigraphic evidence from Arakan indicates that a Chandra dynasty was reigning there
from the middle of the fourth century. Its capital, near later Mrohaung in northern
Arakan, was called by the Indian name Vaisali. The names of thirteen kings whose
reigns covered a period of 230 years have been preserved. . . . (Hall 1955, 36)
The same source shows a second dynasty, founded in the eighth
century by ri Dharmavijaya, whose grandson is said to have married a
daughter of a Pyu King of rikshetra (Hall 1955, 121).
. . . The Mon chronicles assign the foundation of their [the Mons] capital,
Hamsavati, now Pegu, to the year 825. Pagan, the Burmese capital, enters
history in 849, the traditional date of the construction of its walls by
Pyinpya. . . . (Hall 1955, 122)
As regards the antiquity and fame of Mahamuni image, Pamela Gutman, an
Australian scholar states in her Ph.D. dissertation entitled Ancient Arakan as follows:
The oldest and most revered Buddhist site in Arakan . . . Its magical
image was sought as a prize by neighbouring kings, and it was the goal of
pilgrims from all over the Buddhist world. (Gutman 1976, 1.188)
A Myanmar historian Dr. Than Tun carried out his research on the history of the
Pyu, Rakhine, Mon and Bamar and wrote the Hkithaung Myanmar Yazawin [History of
Old Myanmar] in 1964. He discusses how Buddhism flourished in Rakhine during the
Wethali period as follows:
. . . It is strange that this inscription (i.e. the inscription found at the
mound of Hpayagyi in the old city of Wethali), is inscribed in Pali language,
even though the Rakhine inscriptions up to the 6
th
and 8
th
centuries are
usually in Sanskrit. It can be assumed that Hinayana Buddhism existed there
although Mahayana was prevalent. (Than Tun 1964, 67)
Concerning Buddhism professed by the Bamars in the early Pagan period (before the
reign of King Aniruddha), Than Tun remarks:
The Bamars must have become Buddhists soon after they entered the
plains of Myanmar in the 9
th
century AD as they had contacts with the Pyus
10



and the Mons who were Buddhists. . . . Besides, archaeologists reckon that
the two Hpetleik pagodas in Pagan predate King Aniruddhas reign; it can
therefore be regarded that the Bamars had become Buddhists even before
King Aniruddha conquered Thaton. (Than Tun 1964, 198)
A study of the above statements of the historians shows that Buddhism spread
to Myanmar in the early days of the Christian era. All the peoplePyus, Rakhines, Mons
and Bamarsbecame Buddhists. Buddhism must have spread to Rakhine earlier than
to the interior of Myanmar because Rakhine was nearer to India. Both forms of
Buddhism, Mahayana and Hinayana, existed. The Mahamuni image which the
Rakhine chronicle has attributed to King Candasuriya, is an important part of the
cultural heritage of Myanmar Buddhists.
It can be learnt from the historians impartial discussions that there only was the
establishment of Buddhism, not the establishment of Islam as Zaw Min Htut has
argued.
I will give Zaw Min Htut a clue if he still wants to speak up for Islam. The clue is
the story of Byatta. Harvey remarks that Byatta mentioned in connection with an
interesting episode in the history of Pagan was one of the Muhammadans who are
rarely referred to in the chronicles:
. . . Byatta the swift runner was a Mahomedan shipwrecked at Thaton
whose chief Manuha oppressed him so that he fled to Pagan. . . . he ran
daily on magic feet to gather fresh saga flowers for the court. (Harvey 1967,
24)
However, if Zaw Min Htut tries to prove that Islam spread to ancient Myanmar on the
basis of this story of Byatta, Major Ba Shin, a scholar on Myanmar history and a Muslim,
certainly would brush aside his arguments with the following remark:
. . . as far as the seaways are concerned, the ties between Islam and
Buddhist Burma were very limited. In the tenth century the Arabs and the
Persians knew little about the regions north of the ports of Sumatra, except
for the Andaman Islands. (Ba Shin 1961; qtd. in Yegar 1972, 3)
Thus, although Zaw Min Htut has alluded that Rakhine was among the regions
in the Far East where Islam took root before the 17
th
century AD (see above, on page
2), no historian has stated that Islam spread to ancient Rakhine or that Arabs and
Persians visited there in those days. Zaw Min Htut is the only one who exaggerates the
events and biasedly takes the statements out of context.
In the above discussion, I have exposed Zaw Min Htuts false claims concerning
the etymology of the name Rohingya (in the second section of Chapter 1 in his book).
Now, let us analyze his discussion (under the same heading) on how shipwrecked Arabs
came to the island of Ramree (now called Yanbye).
11



The Story of Shipwrecked Arabs
The story of Shipwrecked Arabs was formerly told by Abdul Gaffar and M A
Tahir Ba Tha who referred to themselves as Rohingyas. Zaw Min Htut retells this story as
follows:
Mulk-Rahmi Arakan


Ibn- Khurdabih [sic.],
Musadi, Yacut, Sulai Mann
Recon Arakan Sir H. Yule
Arakan

Potolomy [sic.] Argyre
Sir Arthir [sic.] Phayre Orgyre [sic.]
Dr. Kanungo
Mulk Rahmi
()
[sic.]


( ) (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 14)
Translation:
In the Arab records, [Rakhine] is referred to as Mulk-Rahmi. . . . [the
name] is found in the records of internationally recognized Arab
geographers Ibn Khurdabih [Ibn Khurdadbeh], Musadi [sic. Masudi], Yacut,
Sulai Maan [Sulaiman], and others. . . . Persian name Recon probably
changed into Arakan. . . . The name in the record of Potolomy [sic. Ptolemy],
an Arab geographer, is Argyre. Dr. Kanungo

[sic. Qanungo
2
] explains how
Sir Arthur Phyre discusses that it [the name Argyre] probably was connected
with the fact that orgyres [sic. ogres] had been found in Rakhine region. As
regards the statements about [the name] Mulk-Rahmi, historians
enthusiastically study the matter and remark as follows: In the 8
th
century AD,
when King Maha Taing Candra was ruling over Wethali, Arab merchant ships

2
Suniti Bhushan Qanungo (1988), the author of A History of Chittagong.
12



were wrecked off the Rakhine coast, and Arab crews were washed ashore
on an offshore island. The islanders, showing sympathy, let them settle in the
Rakhine region. Gratified by this, the Arabs referred to this island as Raham-
bre (the island of Sympathy). As these Arabs settled in Rakhine region, Islam
spread from there to Myanmar proper.
In this discussion Zaw Min Htut connects the name Mulk-Rahmi Arab geographers have
mentioned with the story of shipwrecked Arabs without giving any reason. His opinion
is as follows: During the reign of King Maha Taing Candra of Wethali, ships were
wrecked by storms, and Arabs were washed ashore and settled in Yanbye island; and
Islam spread in Rakhine and then to Myanmar proper.
The name Mulk-Rahmi will not be discussed here. Let us analyze the story of
shipwrecked Arabs. Zaw Min Htut mentions the name Mulk-Rahmi in the second and
third sections of Chapter 1, so we will examine it when we get to that part.
As stated above the first persons who told this story were Gaffar and Ba Tha.
Gaffar wrote a false history of Rohingya in an article in the Guardian Daily (Rangoon)
on 20 August 1951. Ba Tha (Buthidaung) elaborated this article in the same newspaper
in May 1960. Zaw Min Htut is just replaying the old albums of these two earlier Rohingya
historians.
Gaffar, the first person to write Rohingya history, was Member of Parliament for
Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State. He was a person who invented a new history to
say that the Muslims from Buthidaung and Maungdaw Townships were indigenous
Muslims so that they would have the right to establish a state, which only the indigenous
ethnic groups enjoyed.
He states that the inhabitants of Maungdaw area were direct descendants of
the Arab traders who had settled there in the 7
th
and 8
th
centuries AD and had nothing
to do with Indians or [East] Pakistanis, that Arab traders and warriors saw Rakhine region
as a new agreeable territory, that a few local chiefs accepted those Arab travelers by
giving them official positions or by making them marry members of the royal household
or commoners, that the descendants of those Arabs lived among the Rakhines as
conservative Muslims, and that their religion Islam took root in Rakhine in the 7
th
century
and flourished from AD 788 onwards. (Hpaw Zan 1950)
Gaffar gets this idea (ie the story of shipwrecked Arabs) from Burma Gazetteer,
Akyab District, vol. A, complied by R B Smart (Dy. Commissioner). Smart says:
About 788 A.D. Mahataing Sandaya [Maha Taing Candra] ascended
the throne, founded a new city on the site of the old Ramawadi and died
after a reign of twenty-two years. In his reign several ships were wrecked on
Ramree Island and the crews, said to have been Mahomedans, were sent
to Arakan Proper and settled in villages. (Government of Burma 1917, 19)
13



Gaffar just uses this statement to begin his article and elaborates it to write his new
history of Rohingya.
Ba Tha touched up this story in the Guardian Monthly in May 1960.
3
The United
Rohingya National League translated his article into Bamar and published a booklet in
December 1960. As he intends to prove that the Rohingyas descended from Arabs, Ba
Tha connects them with Hazrat Ali, a son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. Alis son
Muhammad Hanif was in a struggle for power and, when he lost, he took refuge in the
city of Wethali in Rakhine. Later he defeated Koyapuri, the queen of cannibals who
lived in the Mayu range which separated Maungdaw and Buthidaung. Then, he
converted her to Islam and spent the remaining days of his life in the Mayu range. After
giving this story, Ba Tha told the story of shipwrecked Arabs as follows:
In accordance with the British Burma Gazetteer Vol: II and Burma
Gazetteer Akyab District Vol: (A) - about 788 A.D. Maha Taing Chandra
ascended the throne of Waithali, founded a new city on the site of the old
Ramawaddi and died after a reign of twenty-two years. During his reign
several merchant ships were wrecked on Ramree Island and the crews, said
to have been Muslims called Arabs or Moors were sent to Arakan proper,
that is, Waithali, and settled in villages.
4
(Ba Tha 1960) [Emphasis added]
The words in bold type (of Waithali, Muslims called Arabs or Moors and that is, Waithali)
are not in the texts he cites. He changes the original texts just because he wants to say
that the Rohingyas descended from Arab or Moor Muslims.
Furthermore, Ba Tha concocts the following story:
The king of Arakan favoured them in every respect. . . . they did not
return to their mother land, Arabia, but made homes in villages. . . . They built
mosques and started missionary work. Islam became powerful in Arakan
since then. In Burma . . . Arakanese Muslims of Arab descent are called as

3
However, Ba Tha uses the name Roewengya (Ba Tha 1960; and 1961).
4
Ba Tha, ROEWENGYAS IN ARAKAN, Guardian Monthly (Rangoon) 7.5 (May 1960).
Compare this with the statement in Burma Gazetteer: Akyab District and The British Burma
Gazetteer:
About 788 A.D. Mahataing Sandaya ascended the throne,
founded a new city on the site of the old Ramawadi and died after a
reign of twenty-two years. In his reign several ships were wrecked on
Ramree Island and the crews, said to have been Mahomedans, were
sent to Arakan Proper and settled in villages (Government of Burma
1917, 19)
. . . About 788 A.D. Maha-taing Sandaya ascended the throne,
founded a new city on the site of the old Rama-waddee 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 Mahomedans, were sent to
Arakan Proper and settled in villages. (Government of Burma 1879, 7)
14



Roewenhnyas (

) which literally means favoured or pitied (Ba


Tha 1960).
What is Ba Thas intention? It is like that of Gaffars: to establish a Rohingya State
that comprised Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. His intention is to prove that
the Bengali Muslims, who now form the majority of the population in those areas (96%
in Maungdaw and 85% in Buthidaung), are the Muslims descended from the Arabs who
were already in the region during the reign of King Maha Taing Candra of Wethali
period and that they therefore are an indigenous ethnic group of Rakhine. Authors
who referred to themselves as Rohingyas had made similar statements for more than
fifty yearsfrom 1951 to 2001, when Zaw Min Htut wrote his book. However, in writing
history one cannot write something just because one wants it to be true. A writing will
be accepted only if the author could give solid evidence to support his conclusions.
The story of wrecked ships presented by Zaw Min Htut is of a fictional nature as
he fails to provide concrete evidence concerning the origins of Rohingya people.
Doesnt Zaw Min Htut himself write in his preface: As history is not a popular novel, it
has to be based on facts?
5
This story of wrecked ships is not convincing evidence of
the establishment of Islam in Rakhine, of the existence of a new ethnic group called
Rohingya, or of the dissemination of Islam from the Arabs to Myanmar proper which
Zaw Min Htut wants to be true; and it gives no reason for the establishment of Rohingya
State. That is the reason scholars on Myanmar history have not cited the story of
wrecked ships mentioned in Burma Gazetteer: Akyab District in their works.
Having discussed Zaw Min Htuts story of wrecked Arab ships, let us examine the
third part of the section of Chapter 1 (the etymology of Rohingya): how the Arab
travelers referred to the Rakhine region as Rahmi country and how the name Rohingya
derived from this name.
He says:
- - - (Mulk Rahmi)
Ibn Khurdabin (
( ) ) ( )

- - - Sulaimann Mulk Rachmi
( )

5
" " (Zaw
Min Htut 2001, 6)
15



( ) Dr. Kanungo


() Mulk Rahmi
Eliot [sic.] and Dowson
- - - Mulk-Rahmi Arakan
Recon, Rakan, Arakan
Baborsa Arakan Dr.
S. B Kanungo - - -
Recon, Rakhanj, Rachami, Rahmi,
Raham Roshong, Rowang, Rohang (
) - - - Dr.
Kanungo Rennel Roshong
Rajamala Roshong


( )


()
- - -
- - -
Rohang
(Rohingya) - - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 14-16)
Translation:
. . . it is said that the whole Rakhine region was called Mulk Rahmi on
the basis of [the name of] Raham-bre island, and an Arab geographer
named Ibn Khurdabin [?sic. Ibn Khurdadbeh] states that the Rahmi country
came after Sarandip island (Ceylon) and that he saw peculiar unicorn
animals and little naked people. . . . Dr. Kanungo [sic. Qanungo] explains
that Sulaimaan, an Arab merchant, mentions in his record that the king of
16



Rahmi was a powerful ruler with fifty thousand elephants and an army of
150,000.
His statements indicate that it was Rakhine. Elliot and Dawson consider
this to be a locality between Decca and Rakhine. . . . This country which the
Arabs called Mulk-Rahmi or Arakan is referred to by Europeans as Recon,
Rakan, Arakan, etc. Dr. Kanungo [sic. Qanungo] discusses that a Portuguese
named Baborsa writes Arakan, which is the name used nowadays, in 1516
for the first time. . . .
The region Persians, Turks and Arabs called Recon, Rakhanj, Rachami,
Rahmi, or Raham as mentioned above is referred to in Bengal as Roshong
[sic. Roshang], Rowang or Rohang with -sh-, -w- and -h- sounds. These names
are found in medieval Bengali literature. . . . Dr. Kanungo [sic. Qanungo] also
states that [the name] is mentioned as Roshong [sic. Roshang]
6
in Rennels
map, and that Rakhine region is referred to as Roshong [sic. Rosang]
7
in the
historical records of Tripura Sri Rajamala [in Sri Rajamala, the Tripura
Chronicle].
8


6
See Qanungo 1988, 232.
7
What I understand from Qanungos work is that Arakan (Rakhine) is referred to as Rosang
in the Rajamala.
According to the printed version of the Rajamala . . . The king then
returned to his capital entrusting Rosang Mardan Narayan . . . to carry
the plan of complete subjugation of Arakan into effect. Rosang
Mardan (lit. the conqueror of Rosang viz., Arakan) was a title awarded
to him in recognition of his services rendered in the Arakan expedition.
(Qanungo 1988, 159-160)
8
Compare this paragraph with Qanungos words:
The name Rakhaing, it seems, is of much antiquity. . . . The old
name Rakhuin enters in a Pagan inscription dated 1299 A D. In
Medieval Bengali literary works and in Rennels map, the name is written
Roshang indicating its origin in Rakshatunga. In Chittagong dialect, the
country is called Rohang sh being replaced by h. To the Portuguese
and other European travelers and chroniclers, it is Recon, Rakan,
Arracam, Aracao, Orrakan, Arrakan . . . (Qanungo 1988, 231-2)
[Emphasis added]
In addition, Zaw Min Htut ignores Qanungos following discussion on the Muslims of
southern Chittagong:
. . . Muslims of some parts of southern Chittagong who are known
as Rohang or Rosang Muslims have a considerable amount of Magh
blood in their veins owing to the intermixture with that tribe. These
people are broad shouldered, thin-bearded, short statured with high
cheek bones, flat nose and eyelids obliquely set, which reminds one of
their ethnic relation with the Arakanese. Most of the Muslims, residing in
the area between the Karnaphuli and the Sankha are the descendants
17



Moreover, some historians say that on account of shipwrecked Arab
merchants begging for help uttering Raham, Raham, local people called
them Raham people, and with the passing of time Raham changed into
Rahangya and finally they were referred to as Rohingyas.
9
Whatever is [the
origin], it is obvious that the name Rohingya came into being in about the
8
th
century AD when Arabs had contacts with Rakhine region. . . .
. . .
As Rakhine region was thus called Rohang, the Muslims in Rakhine
region regarded themselves as Rohingya, ie the inhabitants of Rohang
region, it is learnt.
Zaw Min Htuts explanation on the etymology of Rohingya is a complicated
discussion in which he gives many references and just says what he wants. His view
can be summed up as follow: The Arabs shipwrecked on Yanbye island called Rakhine
region Rahmi country; Europeans used the name Arakan, which derived from it
(Rahmi); in the medieval Bengali literature, the region is referred to as Roshang,
Rowang, Rohang (with -sh-, -w- and -h- sounds); the name Rohingya came into being
when shipwrecked Arabs came to Yanbye and the Muslims in Rakhine region adopted
this name.

of the captives brought by the Arakanese and the Portuguese pirates
from the Lower Bengal during the heyday of the Arakanese regime.
They were allowed to settle in that region as peasantse cum boatmen
under the overlordship of the Portuguese commanders. . . . (Qanungo
1988, 22) [Emphasis added]
9
M A Chowdhury (1995) states:
This view was first expressed by a Rohaigya writer Mr. Khalilur
Rahman in his paper Tarik- i-lslam Arakan & Burma. But it is rejected
by Jahiruddin Ahmed and Nazir Ahmed, former president and Secretary
of Arakan Muslim Conference respectively, who argue:
We met a few hundreds of Muslims along the sea-shore near
Akyab, known as Thambu Kya Muslims meaning ship wrecked
Muslims.............
This Thambu kya Muslims do not claim to be Ruhaingyas nor are
they known by others as such. Had Ruhaingyas been derived from the
Arabic word Raham these Thambu kyas would have been the first
group to be known as Ruhaingyas
Also see the sources Chowdhury cites: Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, Tarik-i-lslam Arakan &
Burma (Urdu version), Quoted by Abdul Haque Chowdhury; Zahiruddin Ahmed and Nazir
Ahmed, The Maghs & the Muslims in Arakan, p. 7)
18



His statement that Arabs called Rakhine as Rahmi and Europeans referred to it
as Arakan, which derived from Rahmi, comprises of two points: 1) Rakhine was called
Rahmi, and 2) Rahmi changed into Arakan. Let us examine the second point.
How the Name Arakan Was Derived from Rakkhuin / Rakhuin
In the above excerpt, Zaw Min Htut states: This country which Arabs called
Mulk-Rahmi or Arakan is referred to by Europeans as Recon, Rakan, Arakan, etc. His
view is that Europeans got the name Arakan from Arabs.
What do Rakhine scholars say about this? Have foreign scholars discussed the
etymology of the name Arakan? The most accessible source for the etymology of
Rakhine (spelt Rakhuin) is Ven. Nagindas chronicle, which is widely known. It runs:
[The people] should be called by the name Rakhuin because they ably
cherish their two pillarsrace and character.
10

Now the extracts from a book entitled Rakhine (published by the Burma Socialist
Programme Party [BSPP]), which is easily accessible may be cited here. This book was
written by a group of authors, who conducted fieldwork before writing it. The chairman
of the group was U Aung Shwe Oo and secretary was Dr. E Kyaw. The members
included U Aung Tha Oo, U Ba San, U Tha Nyunt and U San Baw. (Zaw Min Htut wrongly
states in his book that the authors included Major Ba Shin and Naing Pan Hla from
Historical Research Commission [Zaw Min Htut 2001, 15]).
It is stated in the Rakhine that Proto-Rakhines entered the Rakhine region from
southeastern India, that Aryan and Mongoloid people entered India before BC 2000,
and that whether they came to Rakhine region after intermarrying with one another or
before is not known for certain (Burma Socialist Programme Party 1976, 33). Concerning
the origin of the name Rakhine, the authors discuss as follows:
At the time when the proto-Rakhines entered, there was an ethnic
group indigenous to the area. The people who were already in southeastern
India at that time were called Rakshasa. Those indigenous people are
referred to in the Rakhine Chronicle as Rakkhuis or Rakkhuik. The names
Rakshasa, Rakkhuis and Rakkhuik are closely related. On the basis of the
name of this ingenious tribe, the newcomers called the region Rakkhuis,
Rakkhuik or Rakkhuin country. Therefore, it is probable that the names
Rakhuin and Rakkhuis has come into existence since recorded history
began.

10

19



. . . [The name] is written Arakkha desa in a sentence in the middle of
the north face of Ananda Candras inscription in the precincts of Shitthaung
Pagoda, Mrauk-oo. (Burma Socialist Programme Party 1976, 35-36)
This is what Rakhine scholars say about the history of proto-Rakhines and the origins of
the name Rakhuin.
Pamela Gutman states as follows:
. . . The name [Rakhine] is traditionally derived from the Pali Rakkha,
Sanskrit Rkasa, synonymous with the Burmese Bilu. The country is said to
have been named Yakkhapura by Buddhist missionaries from India because
of the ferocious nature of its inhabitants . . .
. . . the old Tamil word for demon, derived from Sanskrit rkasa, is . . .
arrakan, shellac . . . Arakan, in the first centuries of the Christian era, was
a major source of lac, still a product of its oldest hill tribes. . . . Ptolemy [a
classical geographer] . . . may have been inclined to equate Tamil arrakan
. . . with Argyre . . . the north face of the Shitthaung pillar, written in the mid-
11
th
century, mentions Arekadesa . . . which was probably the name for
Arakan . . . The form Aracan was first used by Barbosa . . ., and he was
followed by the later Portuguese and English writers [who used the form
Arakan] . (Gutman 1976, 1.1-3)
It can be learnt from this excerpt that the name Arakan has nothing to do with what
the Arabs had called Rakhine region as explained by Zaw Min Htut. It is clear that he
is just telling a pack of lies to glorify Arabs and to assert that the name of Rakhine
originated among Arabs.
Now, we may analyze his statement that Rakhine was called Rahmi.
He says that Qanungo (1988) has discussed the names Mulk Rachmi, Mulk
Rahmi and Rahmi in his book (A History of Chittagong, vol. 1). The names are
mentioned in both this book and in Harveys (1967) History of Burma, which is not
referred to by Zaw Min Htut. However, Qanungo and Harveys explanations differ from
what Zaw Min Htut has stated.
Qanungo states that the Arab geographers knew a locality called Rahmi on
the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, and that R C Majumdar identifies this Rahmi with
the kingdom of Ramyaka. He also says that the name is what the Buddhists used in
referring to Chittagong (Qanungo 1988, 16). Then Qanungo mentions that Arab
geographers mention of the existence of wild animals like elephants and
rhinoceroses, the production of the extremely fine cotton fabrics, the use of kauri as
medium of exchange, the growing of aloe wood etc. indicates that they had visited
the part of the locality where those can be seen. Moreover, referring to Elliot and
Dowson (1867), Qanungo states that the locality the Arab travelers had visited is
situated somewhere along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, between Decca and
20



Rakhine (Qanungo 1988, 58).
11
Then Qanungo mentions geographer Al-Masudis
statement that Rahma kingdom extended both along the coast and inland.
Furthermore he relates how Ibn Khurdadbeh mentions that between him (the king of
Rahma) and the other kings a communication is kept up by ships (Qanungo 1988, 58).
After discussing these, Qanungo concludes that Rahma (more specifically the empire
of Dharmapala) was a littoral territory having its coast in southern Bengal (1988, 57-59).
He is of the opinion that Chittagong was part of Rahmi or the Pala Empire at least from
the early Pala period until the reign of King Dhammapala (AD 756-861). He also says
that as trade with East Indies was conducted on a large scale in the Pala period, the
kings would not have ignored the port of Chittagong (Qanungo 1988, 57-59).
Thus, Qanungos view is that Rahma or Rahmi was the Pala Empire. Although
they referred to Rahmi, the Arab geographers do not give its exact location.
Zaw Min Htut, quoting Arab geographers and Qanungo, circuitously say how
the shipwrecked Arabs from Yanbye island referred to Rakhine region as Rahmi
country, and how the name Rohingya derives from Rahmi. It is, however, clear that
neither the Arab geographers nor Qanungo say something like this.
Furthermore, Zaw Min Htut implies that Qanungo writes how an Arab merchant
called Sulaiman said that Mulk Rahmi was a powerful country with an army of 150,000
and 50,000 elephants, and that Mulk Rahmi was Rakhine. However, no such statement
is made in Qanungos work. It is Harvey, the author of History Burma, who quotes
Persian traveler Ibn Khurdadbeh
12
(AD 844-8) as follows:
[The Arabs] say that . . . Rahma [Lower Burma] has fifty thousand
elephants. [It] produces cloth made of velvety cotton, and aloe wood of
the sort called hindi. (Harvey 1967, 10)
Then quoting Sulaiman
13
(AD 851), he continues:
. . . They say that when he [the king of Rahma] marches to battle he is
accompanied by about fifty thousand elephants. He campaigns only in
winter ; Indeed his elephants cannot stand thirst and so they can go forth
only in winter. They say that in his army the washermen amount to between
ten and fifteen thousand. In his states are found cloths not found elsewhere
. . . the rhinoceros, an animal which has on his forehead a single horn . . .We
have eaten the flesh. . . .
14
(Harvey 1967, 10)

11
Also see Elliot and Dowson 1867-1877. 1.361.
12
Harvey spelt Ibn Khordadzbeh.
13
Harvey spelt Sulayman.
14
For Sulaimans description of Rahmi, also see Elliot and Dowson 1867-1877. 5
21



Quoting Sulaiman, Zaw Min Htut implies that Rahmi was Rakhine. Zaw Min Htut
cites Qanungos work as his source; however, Qanungo does not suggest that Rahmi
was Rakhine. Qanungo, following Hodivala, believes that Rahma was the Pala
Empire.
15
Harvey, who also quotes Sulaiman
16
, regards Rahma as Lower Myanmar.
Thus, their opinions differ.
Thus, writing as if Rama, Rahma or Rahmi was Rakhine indicates that Zaw Min
Htut was not objective. He was twisting the facts to suit his own purpose.
The Meanings of Roshang, Rohang, Rosung, Rwen and Rwengya
Zaw Min Htut quotes Qanungo as saying that the region Persians, Turks and
Arabs called Recon, Rakhanj, Rachami, Rahmi, or Raham (as mentioned above) was
referred to in Bengal as Roshang, Rowang or Rohang with (-sh-, -w- and -h- sounds). He
also discusses how some historians (historians who call themselves Rohingyas) say that
Arab merchants came to be known as Raham because they begged for help uttering
Raham, Raham, how Raham gradually changed to Rahangya and then to
Rohingya, and how the name originated since the 8th century AD, when Arabs had
contacts with Rakhine.
After stating how Persians, Arabs and Turks used different names to refer to
Rakhine, Zaw Min Htut blended these names with the name Roshang mentioned by
Qanungo. In fact, they are completely different. Let us consider the name Roshang.
Qanungo states in his History of Chittagong as follows:
The name Rakhaing, it seems, is of much antiquity. . . . The old name
Rakhuin enters in a Pagan inscriptionn dated 1299 A D. . . . In the medieval
Bengali literary works and in Rennels map, the name is written Roshang
indicating its origin in Rakshatunga [meaning the hill of the rakkhas or
ogres]. . . In coloquial Chittagong dialect, the country is called as Rohang
sh being replaced by h. . . . (Qanungo 1988, 231-2)
In addition to these, there is the name Rosung, which is found in the Magh Raiders in
Bengal, written by Jamini Mohan Ghosh, who quotes the Tripura chronicle Rajamala as
follows: . . . he [Tripura king Manikya] did not rest here [Chittagong] but proceeded to
conquer Arakan and here we get mention of the name Rosung (Ghosh 1960, 14; and
Zaw Min Htut 2001, 22).
It can be concluded from these statements that the name Rakhine is very old
and the word used in Bengali literary works is Roshang. In the Chittagonian dialect, the
kingdom of Rakhine is referred to as Rohang, with the -h- sound. Historian Ghosh has

15
Qanungo also states that Hodivalas view has been accepted by most of the modern
scholars (Qanungo 1988, 57).
16
Harvey spelt this name Sulayman.
22



pointed out that the name Rosung is used for Arakan in the Rajamala, a chronicle of
Tripura.
Well, then what is the meaning of Rwengya (spelt rwanja)? To answer this
question, I ask elderly people from Rakhine. They say that the Bengalis, who could not
speak the Rakhine language without an accent, pronounced the name Rakhine as
/rweng/. The suffix -gya is the same as -tha (spelt -sa:) in Bamar and Rakhine, as in
ywatha, myotha, nainggantha (meaning a native or inhabitant of a village, town,
country) etc. Therefore, the meaning of rwenggya in the old days was a native
Buddhist of Rakhine or a native or inhabitant of Rakhine. This suggests that the word
Rwenggya Kala
17
has existed at least since the British colonial period and that the
Bengali Muslims taken captive by the Rakhine kings during the Mrauk-oo period were
referred to as rwengya Kalah (spelt rwangya kula:). It means a Muslim inhabitant of
Rakhine. However, this word does not encompass the Bengali Muslims from
Chittagong who poured into the region freely during the British colonial period.
Here, the fact that rwenggya Kalah means a Muslim inhabitant of Rakhine
does not mean that they were indigenous Rakhine Muslims. They were natives of
Bengal; they were Bengalis; their language was Bengali; and their religion was Islam.
Therefore, the were/are called Bengali Muslims.
Thus, the name Rohingya did not stem from the story of shipwrecked Arabs in
the 8
th
century AD; it derived from the name Rakhine (spelt Rakhuin or Rakkhuin)
because the Bengalis could not pronounce the word well. Rohingya was a new word
coined by Bengali intellectuals, using the word Rwengya as a base, only after Myanmar
regained independence because they wanted to turn Maungdaw and Buthidaung
townships into a Muslim state.
The above discussion (under three subheadings) is the review of Rakhine
Region and the Etymology of the Name Rohingya, which forms the second section of
Chapter 1 of Zaw Min Htuts book. Now, let us consider the third section of Chapter 1:
Researcher Dr. Aye Chans View on the History of Rakhine.

17
The Myanmar word Kala (spelt kul:) is used to refer to almost all the people from the
countries west of Myanmar. It was even used as a word meaning stranger or foreigner;
westerners were called Kala Hpyus (white Kalas). H L Shorto (1971) derives Old Mon gal (Old
Bamar kul; Modern Bamar kul:) from Pali goa inhabitant of central Bengal (A Dictionary of
the Mon Inscriptions from the Sixth to the Sixteenth Centuries. London Oriental Series 24 [London:
Oxford UP], sv. gal). If this derivation is correct, most of the Kalas in Myanmar very likely were
from central Bengal. Khin Maung Saw says: This term was derived from the Pali or Sanskrit word
Kula Puttra meaning the son of a noble race because Lord Buddha himself was an Indian.
Both Po and Sagaw Karen word for Indian is Kula and the Thai word for Indian is Kal (Khin
Maung Saw 2009, Religions in Arakan, <http://arakankingdom.blog.co.uk/2009/08/31/
religions-in-arakan-6860048/> (accessed on 15 May 2014)
23



Zaw Min Htut Who Fails to Understand Dr. Aye Chans Words
Dr. Aye Chan, under the name Maung Aye Chan (History Department), wrote
an article entitled Rakhine Thamaing Ko Thutethana Pyulokeye [Problems in the Study
of Rakhine History] in the Rakhine Dazaung magazine in 1975. The purpose of this article
was to point out that it was still necessary to do research on the history of Rakhine using
new research methodology. Let us read Aye Chans views here:
In the 20
th
century, history has become scientific. An event in history or
a hypothesis will be accepted as a historical fact only if irrefutable evidence
is given. Therefore, historians have to study artefacts. They present their
views only after doing necessary scientific tests. Indeed, the field of history
has broadened.
For instance, ancient Pyu cities had to be excavated to study the history
of pre-Pagan Myanmar. As of now, Beikthano and Thayehkittaya have
been excavated. Researchers present their opionions only after doing
scientific tests such as the radio-carbon dating. Even then, they are still
unable to say for certain whether Beikthano was a Pyu city or not.
If we want to study the history of ancient Rakhine (pre-Mrauk-oo
period), we still need to find concrete historical evidence. For without
evidence there is no history. (Aye Chan 1976)
Thus, Aye Chans last two sentences are very important. The phrase pre-
Mrauk-oo period in parenthesis indicates that he means the history of Lemro, Wethali
Kyaukhlega and Dinnyawadi periods. He means that we still need to find hard
evidence for writing the history of those periods, and that Mrauk-oo period is the only
period for which we have reliable evidence.
Zaw Min Htut fails to understand Aye Chans statement. He uses Aye Chans
words for his newly invented history of Rohingyas as follows:

()
( )


()


[sic.]
24





[sic.] (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 19)
Translation:
Lemro period of Rakhine coincided with the Pagan period of Myanmar.
The Bamars entered the Ayeyarwady valley in the 9
th
century. We need to
consider whether the Tibeto-Burmans entered Rakhine, leading to the close
of the Wethali period, like they entered central Myanmar while the Pyus were
weakened (by Nanchao attacks).
Dr. Aye Chans above statement and the background history of
Rohingya is connected with the Wethali period. There is conclusive
evidence that during the reign of Maha Taing Candra of Wethali in the 8
th

century, Arab merchants trade with Rakhine was building up, that merchant
ships were wrecked and the shipwrecked Arabs settled in Rakhine, and that
Islam spread from them in the region. Indians became Muslims in the Wethali
period, and they are [the ancestors of] todays Rohingyas.
18
Thus, the
Rohingyas were [in Rakhine] more than two hundred centuries [sic. two
centuries] earlier than the Tibeto-Burmans mentioned by Dr. Aye Chan.
Zaw Min Htuts opinion is that the Rakhines, like the Myanmars who entered the
Ayeyarwady valley in the 9
th
century, entered Rakhine region in around 9
th
or 10
th

century, more than two hundred centuries after the Arab traders were shipwrecked
near the Rakhine coast in the 8
th
century. And the so-called Rohingya Muslims, as they
entered the area more than two hundred centuries earlier than the Rakhines, were and
are the real nationals and the land was and is theirs. Thus, the purpose of this view is to
take advantage of the fact that they outnumber the Rakhines to drive out the Rakhines
and take over the Rakhine land.
Zaw Min Htut, who wants to take over the Rakhine region, says that hard
evidence indicates that Islam spread in Rakhine from the shipwrecked Arabs in King
Maha Taing Candras reign in the 8
th
century in Wethali period, and misuses Aye Chans
statement about the fall of Wethali period. Let us examine whether his proposition is
true.
First, how Zaw Min Htut is selective in quoting the passages from Aye Chans
article will be examined. The following passages are the ones in the original article Zaw
Min Htut has quoted, and the sentences in bold are what Zaw Min Htut has omitted.

18
As discussed above, the so-called Rohingyas are of Arab descent according to Gaffar
and Ba Tha (page 8). Now, Zaw Min Htut says that the Indians who converted to Islam in the
Wethali period were Rohingyas ancestors.
25




()

()





() ()
()

( )










()
()





26



(
)







() ()








(Aye Chan 1976) [Emphasis added]
Translation:
The date when King Marayu founded Dinnyawadi according to the
chronicles of Rakhine can be calculated at 2666 BC. It is impossible to state
with a certainty that the earliest dynasties mentioned in the Rakhine
chronicles really existed. However, by studying the Sanskrit inscriptions found
in Rakhine, we can say with a certainty that at least by the 3
rd
century AD in
the Wethali period there had been a civilized society in the Rakhine region
which was ruled by the kings of the Candra dynasty, that the people there
had learnt the art of writing and Buddhism was flourishing there. Although
the old city of Wethali has not been excavated, we have a considerable
amount of material for Wethali-period [Rakhine] history. As the date of the
last sixty-nine lines on the north face of the Sanskrit inscription in the precincts
of the Shitthaung pagoda in Sittwe is reckoned to be circa 10
th
century AD,
it can be concluded that the Wethali period lasted till the 10
th
century AD.
27



In writing, it is learnt, Sanskrit language and Nagari script were used
throughout the Wethali period which preceded the Lemro period (Mrauk-oo
period in Zaw Min Htuts book). No inscription, either on stone or on bells, in
Rakhine language belonging to this period has been found yet. Due to its
proximity to India, Rakhine region could have received North Indian scripts
Nagari and Gupta scriptsbefore the other localities in Myanmar did.
Moreover Wethali-period evidence attests to the fact that north Indian
culture greatly influenced [that of Rakhine]. Morris Collis has remarked that
Rakhine coins used in the Wethali period are similar to the Hindu coins used
in the later Gupta period in India.
In general, the Sanskrit inscriptions of Wethali period record the
donations made by kings and queens. A Sanskrit inscription belonging to
about the 8
th
century AD found near Nga Lon Maw village, Thandwe,
however, records the donations made by two laypersonsMega and
Sakomawammain order that their parents would reap the fruits of their
donations. It is therefore clear that not only the kings and queens, but the
people of the whole country used Sanskrit language. So, it is unnecessary to
question how close the people, who had adopted north Indian culture this
willingly, were to northern India. Sadly we do not know exactly how the
Wethali period, during which north Indian culture flourished, came to an end.
Although Sanskrit language was used in the Wethali period, Rakhine
language came into use in the inscriptions in the Lemro period (11
th
century
to the beginning of the 15
th
century AD). Dasaraja inscription can here be
given as an example. Rakhine script had replaced Nagari script. Only some
vestige of north Indian cultural influence, which had been great during the
Wethali period, remained. The change was rapid during a short period. It
makes us ponder whether great political and social changes took place in
Rakhine during a short period of transition from the Wethali to the Lemro
period.
The Lemro period in Rakhine was contemporaneous with the Pagan
period in Myanmar. The Bamars entered the Ayeyarwady valley in the 9
th

century AD, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Nanchaos who
ravaged the Pyu kingdom of Thayehkittaya and a Mon kingdom. The
Bamars entered Kyaukse area around the time when the Wethali period
ended in Rakhine. Thus, the Pagan period of Myanmar coincided with the
Lemro period of Rakhine.
Here, we have a matter to consider: Did the Tibeto-Burmans entered
Rakhine and brought down the curtains on the Wethali period like they
entered the enfeebled Pyu kingdom in central Myanmar?
Before quoting these passages, Zaw Min Htut assures us that he would
reproduce Aye Chans article verbatim. However, in quoting the passages, he
dishonestly omits some sentences and inserts his own new sentences. Then, saying that
28



Dr. Aye Chans above statement and the background history of Rohingya is
connected with the Wethali period, states how conclusive evidence indicates that
Islam spread from them [Arabs] in the region [Wethali]. Thus, he alleges that the
people of Wethali were Muslims. He goes on to say that Indians became Muslims in
the Wethali period, and that they are [the ancestors of] todays Rohingyas, implying
that the history of Rohingya (from the Wethali period to the present time) is
uninterrupted and therefore they are truly an indigenous ethnic group.
Aye Chan means that the Wethali period of the kings of Candra dynasty had
begun by the 3
rd
century. Amusingly, Zaw Min Htut fails to understand this and, thinking
that there was a window of opportunity for inventing the history of Rohingya by quoting
Aye Chans article, grasps the opportunity.
As stated above (under the heading The Advent of Buddhism to Myanmar),
Hall has presented a view similar to that of Aye Chan. Citing E H Johnstons (1944)
paper Some Sanskrit Inscriptions of Arakan,
19
Than Tun presents his view on Wethali-
period Rakhine in his Hkithaung Myanmar Yazawin [History of Old Myanmar] as follows:
The dynasties mentioned in traditional accounts do not coincide with
those recorded in Ananda Candras inscription. However, the existence of
coins bearing the names of about eight kings of the second and third
dynasties recorded in the inscription, tips the scales in favour of epigraphic
evidence. . . . (Than Tun 1964, 75)
Than Tun, relying on epigraphic and numismatic evidence, says that traditional
accounts (the accounts given in the Rakhine chronicle) are not reliable and that only
the dynasties mentioned in the inscription could have been real.
Although they do not match with the names in the chronicles (palm-
leaf or parabaik books), the names of kings on coins are found among the
kings of the first and second dynasties mentioned in the Ananda Candras
inscription on the west face of the pillar at Shitthaung pagoda. Therefore, it
is obvious that the dynastic list of kings before AD 700 mentioned in the
inscription is more reliable than the list given in the chronicles. (Than Tun 1964,
8)
Aye Chan presents a view similar to those of the above-mentioned historians
who have relied on epigraphic and numismatic evidence. He makes a general
statement in his article as follows:
. . . by studying the Sanskrit inscriptions found in Rakhine, we can say
with a certainty that at least by the 3
rd
century AD in the Wethali period there
had been a civilized society in the Rakhine region which was ruled by the

19
It was published posthumously by Luce in 1942. D.C. Sircar, Superintendent of the
Archaeological Survey of India, went through this paper and made some minor changes.
29



kings of the Candra dynasty, that the people there had learnt the art of
writing and Buddhism was flourishing there. . . . (Aye Chan 1975)
He gives epigraphic evidence in discussing the Wethali-period Rakhine in accordance
with his statement at the beginning of his article: If we want to study the history of
ancient Rakhine (pre-Mrauk-oo period), we still need to find concrete historical
evidence. Zaw Min Htut, in contrast, repeatedly relates his story of shipwrecked Arabs,
citing the name King Taing Candra, the first king of the nine dynasties of Wethali period
mentioned in the Rakhine chronicle, as it it were a piece of strong evidence.
Why do researchers like Than Tun and San Tha Aung make statements similar to
those of Aye Chan? Why do they not attach more importance to Rakhine chronicles
than to epigraphs and/or coins? The Rakhine Mahayazawingyi (Great Chronicle of
Rakhine) was a treatise which Minister Vimala began to write during King Min Bas reign
in the Mrauk-oo period. Therefore, the author probably had to rely on the jataka tales
(such as the Vasudeva jataka) and traditional accounts and conjecture for writing
about ancient Dinnyawadi and Wethali. As some or much of the information is based
on conjecture, in some cases (for the kings of Lemro period) even the ages of a father
and son given in it are implausible. Inscriptions and coins, on the other hand, are
contemporary records. Hence, researchers find them more reliable than the
chronicles.
Table 1.The Regnal Years of the Kings of the Candra Dynasty
No. Name of King Length of
Reign
Reignal Years
1 Maha Taing Candra 22 788-810
2 Suriya Taing Candra 20 810-830
3 Mawla Taing Candra 19 830-849
4 Pawla Taing Candra 26 849-875
5 Kala Taing Candra 9 875-884
6 Thula Taing Candra 19 884-903
7 Siri Taing Candra 32 903-935
8 Singa Taing Candra 16 935-951
9 Cula Taing Candra 6 951-957
Total 169
Notes.1. The Gregorian caledar dates are as given in the work of
Phayre (1883, 293-304), who calculates them from the
dates given in Nga Mes Rakhine Yazawin (Pyasat
Yazawin). The dates given by Nga Me and those given
by the abbot of Taungkyaung are the same for the
30



Mrauk-oo-period kings, but differ for the kings of other
periods.
2. No coins bearing the names of nine kings mentioned in
the chronicles have been discovered yet.
Source: Phayre 1883, 293-304.
Table 2.Regnal Years of the Kings of the Second Dynasty
No. Names of king
Length of
Reign
Accession Year
Johnston Sircar
1 Dven Candra 55 350 370
2 Raja Candra 20 405 425
3 Kala Candra 9 425 445
*4 Deva Candra 22 434 454
5 Yaja Candra 7 456 476
6 Candra Bandhu 6 463 483
7 Bhumi Candra 7 469 489
8 Bhuti Candra 24 476 496
*9 Niti Candra 55 500 520
*10 Vira Candra 3 555 575
*11 Priti Candra 12 558 578
*12 Prathivi Candra 7 570 590
*13 Dharati Candra 3 577 597
Total 230
Notes.1. Ananda Candras inscription only gives the durations of
reigns, not the regnal years. The dates fixed by Johnston
and Sircar, based on paleographic grounds, differ by 20
years.
2. The inscription mentions three dynasties. The kings from
Dven Candra to Dharati Candra are regarded as the the
kings of the second dynasty. Ananda Candra, who
inscribed the inscription, was the last king of the third
dynasty. See Table 3 (below).
3. Johnstan sees some connection bewteen the names
Mahataing Candra (referred to in Phayre 1883) and
Dven Candra (mentioned in the inscription).
31



4. Coins bearing the names of six kings (marked with asterisk)
have been discovered. Thus, the information given in the
inscription is corroborated by numismatic evidence.
Source: Johnston 1944.
Table 3.Regnal Years of the Kings of the Third Dynasty
No. Name of king Length of Reign
Accession Year
Johnston Sircar
1 Mahavira 12 580 600
2 Varayajap 12 592 612
3 Sewinren 12 604 624
4 Dhammasura 13 616 636
5 Vajarasatti 16 629 649
66 Dhamma Vijaya 36 645 665
7 Narendra Vijaya 3 681 701
*8 Dhamma Candra 16 684 704
9 Ananda Candra 9 700 720
Notes.1. The third dynasty only included two kings named
Candra, viz. Ananda Candra who inscribed the pillar,
and his father Dhamma Candra. None of the other
kings assumed the name Candra. Researchers suggest
that they probably were mearly local administrative
officials.
2. Coins bearing the names of two kings (marked with
asterisks) have been found. Thus, the information given
in the inscription is corroborated by the coins.
Source: Johnston 1944.
The chronology given in the Rakhine chronicles (table 1) is based on the
chronicles belonging to the Mrauk-oo period. The information for Dinnyawadi and
Wethali periods is conjectural as the chroniclers relied on traditional accounts and the
Mahavamsa and the jatakas. Therefore the chronology of the nine kings of the Candra
dynasty founded by King Maha Taing Candra is not irrefutable.
As Ananda Candras inscription was inscribed during his reign, it is reliable for
the information on Candra dynasty. Although it does not give the regnal years of kings,
it mentions the each kings duration of reign. Concluding that this inscription is
paleographically, languistically and metrically similar to the inscriptions belonging to
32



King Yasovarman (AD 725-754) of India, scholars make the above list (tables 2 and 3).
The existence of coins bearing the names of six kings of the second dynasty and two
kings of the third dynasty indicates that numismatic evidence corroborates the
epigraphic evidence. That is why scholars regard that epigraphic evidence is more
reliable than the chronicles.
Aye Chan is just making a similar statement in his article by referring to the
inscription. He relies on epigraphic evidence when he states that Wethali period,
during which the kings of Candra dynasty reigned, could not be later than the 3
rd

century AD, that there was Indian cultural influence in Rakhine and that Buddhism
prospered there. Because no Sanskrit inscriptions belonging to the Lemro period (11
th

to 15
th
centuries) have been found but only inscriptions in Rakhine language and
Rakhine script belonging to this period have been discovered, he says that only some
traces of Indian culture, which had greatly influenced Rakhine during the Wethali
period, remained. Therefore he conjectures that great political and social changes
might have taken place in Rakhine in the 10
th
century AD, during a short period of
transition from the Wethali to the Lemro period. These changes occurred at about the
same time the Myanmars entered Kyaukse area. Aye Chan therefore states that
Pagan period was contemporaneous with Lemro period.
Zaw Min Htut, not understanding Aye Chans statements, omits the latters
statements that Wethali period had begun by the 3
rd
century and ended in about the
10
th
century because they were not useful for the shipwreck story. Presenting the view
that the Rakhine people appeared round about the end of Wethali period and the
beginning of Lemro period as Aye Chans view, he asserts that the Rohingyas entered
Rakhine two hundred years before the Rakhines did. Although he thinks he has adeptly
argued this fact, he does not know that 8
th
century AD as the period in which Maha
Taing Candra reigned in Wethali he mentions is the information from Rakhine chronicles
and that the period Aye Chan is discussing is the 4
th
century AD when King Dven
Candra (Taing Candra) was ruling over the kingdom in the Wethali period according
to Ananda Candras inscription. Wethali period, as stated by Aye Chan, had begun
by the 4
th
century AD when King Dven Candra was reigning over Rakhine; and at that
time Islam did not exist, even Prophet Muhammad had not been born yet.
Muhammad was born in AD 570 and passed away in AD 632. Islam was disseminated
by his followers only after his death.
Islam spread to Rakhine not in the 8
th
century as the so-called Rohingya
historians including Zaw Min Htut have claimed, not even in the Lemro period, but only
during the reign of King Sawmun (1430-1433), at the dawn of Mrauk-oo period.




Review of Chapter 2
After discussing his views by telling the story of shipwrecked Arabs circuitously in
Chapter 1, Zaw Min Htut proposes a new view under the heading Background History
of Rohingyas in Chapter 2. Additionally, he falsely claims that the so-called Rohingyas
have their own language and literature which differ from those of the Bengalis under
the heading Rohingya Language and Literature. He also touches upon the Kamans
of Rakhine State. Let us check his statements against available research findings.
First, let us consider a new suggestion Zaw Min Htut has ascribed to Tun Kyaw
Oo, a Rakhine.
A New Hypothesis about the History of Rohingya
Early Rohingya historians, Abdul Gaffar (the first person to discuss the history of
Rohingyas) and Ba Tha (United Rohingya National League), use the story of
shipwrecked Arabs as the nub of Rohingya history. Zaw Min Htut presents a new
hypothesis in addition to the one based on this story, very likely because the first one
sounds fictitious. Thus, there are two different hypotheses about the origin of Rohingyas.
The second hypothesis was proposed quite recently. When the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) permitted the formation of political parties under a
multiparty democratic system in 1989, many Muslim parties were formed in the Rakhine
State. Among them was the Amyotha Party (National Party), which published a
booklet entitled Rakhine Hnint Rwengya (Rohingya) Lumyo Mya Ei Thamaing
Akyingyoke [A Brief History of Rakhines and Rwengyas (Rohingyas)] dated 27 October
1989. Zaw Min Htut extracts some passages from this booklet as follows:
- - - ( )
( ) -





[sic.]
( )

- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 22-23)
34



Translation:
. . . According to the research conducted by Maj. Tun Kyaw Oo (Retd.),
a Rakhine, it is learnt from the books on Indian history that Indo-Aryans
migrated to the Indian continent from central Asia about 3000/4000 years
ago, and some of them came to Rakhine region via India. They included
two groups: suriyavamsa (descendants of the sun) and candavamsa
(descendants of the moon). The people of suriyavamsa group considered
themselves as descendants of the sun and worshipped the sun god (?the
god in the east). The members of the candavamsa group believed that they
descended from the moon and worshipped the moon. The king who ruled
over both these groups came to be known as King Candasuriya. The earlier
people, ie King Candasuriyas descendants, were of sun lineage
(suriyavamsa), whereas the descendants of King Dve Candra [?sic. Dven
Candra] of Wethali period (3
rd
to 10
th
century AD) were of moon lineage
(candavamsa). Some of the Rakhines of moon lineage converted to
Islam. . . .
Here, Zaw Min Htut is quoting only what he wants from Tun Kyaw Oos work. The original
text also includes an important statement for the history of Rohingya:
- - - (Rohingya)
( )
- - - (Tun Kyaw Oo
1989, 3)
. . . The religion of the Rohingyas of Rakhine was a form of Islam which
spread [to Rakhine] via India (against the historical backdrop of Indian
culture) like Buddhism. It was not the form of Islam that came to Rakhine
directly from the Arab land. . . . (Tun Kyaw Oo 1989, 3)
Now, let us examine the new history involving the sun group (suriyavamsa) and
the moon group (candavamsa) as presented by Zaw Min Htut. The statements made
by Zaw Min Htut, referring to Tun Kyaw Oo, are as follows:
1. Aryans entered India from central Asia about 3000/4000 years ago.
2. The Indo-Aryans who came to Rakhine region via India included two
groups: sun-worshippers (suriyavamsa) and moon-worshippers (candavamsa).
3. The king who ruled over the people of both groups was called
Candasuriya.
4. The earlier people of Rakhine, ie the descendants of Candasuriya
were of sun lineage (suriyavamsa).
35



5. The descendants of Dven Candra of Wethali period (3
rd
to 10
th

centuries AD) were of moon lineage (candavamsa). Some of them converted
to Islam.
The second and third statements are made up by Tun Kyaw Oo. They are not
mentioned in any other book on the history of Rakhine.
That the king who ruled over both the sun-worshippers (suriyavamsa) and
moon-worshippers (candavamsa) was called Candasuriya in the third statement also
is a fabrication. The Rakhine chronicles say that Candasuriyas father King Siriraja
dreamed that he plucked the sun and moon and gave them to his queen Vimaladevi;
therefore when the queen gave birth to a son, he named the baby Candasuriya (sun-
moon). Thus, Candasuriya was not named so because he ruled over the sun-
worshippers and moon-worshippers as Tun Kyaw Oo has written.
In the fourth statement, Zaw Min Htut states that the descendants of
Candasuriya were of sun lineage (suriyavamsa); however he does not say which
religion they professed. He should have said that they were Buddhists, because the
Rakhine chronicles relate how the Buddha flew to Selagiri (Rock Hill) during the reign of
King Candasuriya and permitted the king to cast an image of Himself, and how the
king, his concubines and retainers all took refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Sangha) and followed the five precepts.
In the fifth statement, Zaw Min Htut says that the descendants of King Dven
Candra of Wethali period (3
rd
to 10
th
century AD) were of moon lineage (candavamsa)
and that they converted to Islam. This raises the questions: What did the people of
candavamsa group profess when the people of suriyavamsa group who descended
from Candasuriya became Buddhists since they also were there during King
Candasuriyas reign? Did they not convert to Buddhism? If they did not convert to
Buddhism, they would have to wait for about 1300 years (from King Candasuriyas reign
in the 6
th
century BC to the 8
th
century AD when the Arab ships were wrecked) to get
a religious faith. If they did not wait that long and converted to Buddhism, then they
would have to forsake their religion Buddhism and convert to Islam when the
shipwrecked Arabs came in Maha Taing Candras reign. Only then, the people of
moon lineage (candavamsa) would Become Muslims. Saying such nonsense with a
view to confirming the story of shipwrecked Arabs would make their works objects of
ridicule, not credible works on history.
Furthermore, Tun Kyaw Oo states that the religion of the Rohingyas of Rakhine
was a form of Islam which spread [to Rakhine] via India like Buddhism. . . . not a form of
Islam that came to Rakhine directly from the Arab land. Zaw Min Htut has omitted this
statement in his work. Compare this statement and the story of shipwrecked Arabs.
The form of Islam which spread in Wethali owing to shipwrecked Arabs arrival would
be a form of Islam that came directly from the Arab land to Rakhine. If we accept Tun
Kyaw Oos new idea that Islam spread to Rakhine, not directly from the Arab land, but
36



via India, the history of Rohingya made up by Gaffar, Ba Tha, et al, who refer to the
story of shipwrecked Arabs in Burma Gazetteer: Akyab District, would become an
incredible history.
Rohingya Literature Or Bengali Literature?
Zaw Min Htut divides Chapter 2 into several sections and Language and
Literature is one of them. He again discusses literature in Chapter 6. His purpose is to
show that Rohingyas have their own language and literature which differ from Bengali
language and literature. Let us examine this matter here.
He begins his discussion saying: Theoretically, like an amalgam of various
peoples brings about the birth of a new ethnic group, a blending of different languages
and literatures can give rise to the emergence of a new language and literature.
20

This is acceptable to some extent as such occurrences can be found in human history.
However, Zaw Min Htut has made a serious mistake concerning the Rohingya language
as follows:




( )

(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 24)
Translation:
I would like to say that the language of the Rohingyas is a distinct
language which is a blend of Sanskrit and Pali, the languages used by the
Indo-Aryans who had settled in ancient Rakhine and from whom the
Rohingyas have descended, and somewhat later languages such as Arabic,
Parsi, Urdu, Bengali, Rakhine, etc. The language spoken by the Rohingyas
now is akin to Pali and to the languages spoken by Mramagyis (Bruwas) and
Daingnets. Rohingya language is completely different from Bengali.
21


20

(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 24).
21
However, Dr. Swapna Bhattacharya (2005) referred to the language supposedly
spoken by the Rohingyas as Rohingya Bengala (Islam in Arakan: An Interpretation from the
Indian Perspective a paper submitted to Arakan Historical Conference held in Bangkok on 22-
23 November 2005, p. 20).
37



Thus, Zaw Min Htut says that Sanskrit and Pali languages are the earliest
elements of Rohingya language. As Sanskrit and Pali are closely related, his statement
is acceptable. However, he goes on to say that Rohingya is a distinct language
brought about by the amalgamation of these two languages and Arabic, Parsi, Urdu,
Bengali, Rakhine, etc. in later times in its history. Sanskrit and Pali are ancient Indo-
European languages and Bengali is a language that derives from them. Arabic is a
Semitic language, and hence it is completely different from Sanskrit and Pali language.
Parsi is an Iranian language of medieval Persia. Although it is akin to Sanskrit, it has
nothing to do with Arabic. Urdu is a hybrid of Persian (which was adopted as court
language when India was ruled by the Mughal kings who were of mixed Iranian-Afghan
descent) and Hindustani (the language of the Hindus who were under the Mughal
rule). It is not related to Arabic. It is still used in modern Pakistan (ie the Islamic Republic
of Pakistan [formerly West Pakistan]).
Zaw Min Htut even includes Rakhine language as a source of Rohingya. They
have nothing in common. Rakhine is a Tibeto-Burman language just like Myanmar and
the Bengali dialect of Chittagong spoken by the Muslims who call themselves
Rohingyas is an Indo-European language. They belong to different language families.
Therefore they are of different nature even though Zaw Min Htut tries to connect them.
There might have been mutual borrowing of words. This is not unusual. Linguistic
acculturation would occur when the peoples speaking different languages had
contacts.
Zaw Min Htut also says that the Rohingya language is akin to Pali and the
languages spoken by Mramagyis (Bruwas) and Daingnets, and asserts that Rohingya
language has nothing in common with Bengali. Here, his statements just cancel each
other out. Let me explain:
Does Zaw Min Htut not say that the Rohingya language is akin to Pali? This is
very true. As has been discussed above, both Pali and Bengali are Indo-European
languages. As the language spoken by the so-called Rohingyas is Bengali, Zaw Min
Htuts statement that it is akin to Pali is correct. Is this not what Zaw Min Htut least want
to say? He compounds his mistake, saying: [The Rohingya Language] is also akin to
the languages spoken by Mramagyis (Bruwas) and Daingnets. This also is very true
because the languages spoken by Mramagyis (Bruwas) and Daingnets are Bengali
dialects. Zaw Min Htut himself says in chapter 2 that Rakhine national leader U Hla Tun
Hpru (former member of State Council) explains in his Rakhine Pyine Taingyintha
38



Lumyozumya [Ethnic groups in Rakhine State] that the Mramagyis, Thets and Daingnets
speak languages related to Chittagonian (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 20-21).
22

The Mramagyis (Bruwas) speak Bengali and profess Buddhism. Their
culture is the same as that of the Rakhines. In the old days, the Mramagyis
were called Bruwas.
23
(Hla Tun Hpru 1981, 32)
Hla Tun Hpru also describes the Thets and Daingnets as follows:
The Thets speak a language akin to Bengali and profess Buddhism. . . .
The Daingnets speak a language akin to Bengali and profess Buddhism.
24

(Hla Tun Hpru 1981, 37)
All this clearly indicates that the language of the Mramagyis (Bruwas) is Bengali and
that the languages spoken by the Thets and Daingnets are closely related to Bengali.
Zaw Min Htut does not stop his arguments here. He mentions well-known
Bengali authors of Mrauk-oo period as Rohingya authors. In fact, he is not the first
person to claim that they were Rohingya authors. Ba Tha claimed so in the Guardian
Monthly in1960. Zaw Min Htut is just following Ba Tha. Let us see his discussion.




- - -
(Pordapoti) (Saifulmull Bdahi-Ui Zamal)
(Chandra Vati)

(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 24)

22
- - -
( ) ()
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 20-21).
23
( )
(Hla Tun Hpru 1981,
32).
24

- - - - - - (Hla Tun
Hpru 1981. 37).
39



Translation:
The Rohingyas have their own literature. It has declined due to the lack
of support since the colonial period. Well-known Rohingya authors and
poets appeared during the reigns of Rakhine monarchs in the Mrauk-oo
period. Rohingya poets Daulat Qazi
25
and Syed Shah Alawal
26
were well-
known court poets of Rakhine. . . . The Poet Shah Alawals Pordapoti [sic.
Padmavati], and Saiful Mulk Badiuzzamal story books [sic. Saifulmuluk
Badiuzzamal
27
], a poetic work entitled Chandravati,
28
Roshon, Ponichali [?

25
Fl. 1600-1638. He was a Bengali poet born in Sultanpur village in Rauzan, Chittagong.
Not getting any recognition at home, he moved to Arakan (during the reign of King Siri
Sudhamma [1622-1638]). There, he wrote his works in Bengali, although Amrita Lal Bala has noted
that he used many loanwords from Arabic, Persian, Magh, Arakanese, Burmese, Sanskrit and
the dialects of the Chittagong region. Daulat Qazi, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daulat_Qazi> (accessed on 15 May 2014); and Amrita Lal Bala,
Daulat Qazi, Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh <http://www.bpedia.org/
D_0066.php> (accessed on 15 May 2014). According to Abdul Karim (2011), Daulat Qazi himself
states that he . . . composed Mainar Bharati in Bengali in his book entitled Satimaina Lor
Chandrani.
26
Fl. c 1607-1680. His name is given as Alaol-Ali Abbas Hussain in Wikipedia, merely as Alaol
in Banglapedia and as Syed lol by Dinesh Chandra Sen (1911). He was a Bengali poet born
in Jalalpur village in Faridpur district, Bangladesh circa 1607. He was taken captive by
Portuguese pirates and taken to Arakan, where he first worked as a bodyguard. Later, he
gradually rose to fame as a poet. He wrote some Bengali works and translated some Persian
works into Bengali. Alaol, Wikipedia the free encyclopedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Alaol> (accessed on 15 May 2014); Wakil Ahmed Alaol. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia
of Bangladesh <http://www.bpedia.org/A_0160.php> (accessed on 15 May 2014); and Sen
(1911, 12-14, 622-36).
27
Alaol, Wikipedia the free encyclopedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaol>
(accessed on 15 May 2014); Wakil Ahmed Alaol. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of
Bangladesh <http://www.bpedia.org/A_0160.php> (accessed on 15 May 2014). Sen, however,
mentions the Saifulmulluk and Badiujjamal as separate works (1911, 622-623, 634).
28
Abdul Karim (2011) mentions Quraishi Magans book entitled Chandravati (2011). He
cites Abdul Karim (Sahityavisharad) and Dr. Md. Enamul Huqs (1935) Arakan Rajsabhaya Bangla
Sahitya (Calcutta) (pp. 30-33) and Abdul Karims (1994) Roshang Bangla Sahitya, Bangla
Sahitya Samity (Chittagong University) (pp. 41-45) as his sources (Karim 2011)
40



and the Roshang Panchali
29
], especially are well known. The old manuscripts
still exist.
30

Zaw Min Htut discusses the existence of Rohingya literature only to support his
statement that the Rohingyas have their own language which completely differs from
Bengali. We have learnt that his statements concerning the language are false. What
about his discussion of literature? Let us examine it.
In describing ancient Chittagong, Qanungo discusses the history of Rakhine. He
explains how the Rakhine kings patronized Bengali literature as follows:
. . . Poet Alaols work refer [sic.] to the participation of Muslim nobility in
the coronation ritual of the Arakanese monarch [King Canda
Sudhamma]. . . .
The Arakanese patronage to the Muslim community and the Bengali
literature produced a brilliant group of Muslim writers in the seventeenth
century. It is really amusing to note that the Bengali literature was being
cultivated extensively in a foreign country under the patronage of alien
rulers. But the most interesting of all is that being in deadly hostility with the
Mughals in their foreign relations the Arakanese monarchs at home . . . gave
influential support to the Muslim poets in their literary pursuits. (Qanungo
1988, 292-93)
During the Mrauk-oo period, in the 17
th
century AD, a Rakhine-Mughal war
broke out; Rakhine lost the war and had to cede Chittagong to the Mughals.
Therefore, Qanungo remarks that it is interesting that the Rakhine kings patronized

29
Abu Anin seems to have been the first person to mention this book. In 2002, Abu Anin
wrote: 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 Siri Sudhamma and Canda Sudhamma 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. He cites Qanungos (1988)
History of Chittagong (chapter II, section 3) as his source for this information. (Abu Anin 2002, pt.
1) However, this information is not found in Qanungos work.
Zul Nurain (2010) mentions that the Roshan Panchali, which was of excellent merit in
Bengali Literature, as a work of Alaol. However, he does not give the source for this information.
World Renowned Historian Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim, M.A. Ph.D. (Dhaka), Ph.D. (London ),
FASB, however, says under the subheading Poet Abdul Karim: He [Poet Abdul Karim] was
also known as Shuja Qazi, he wrote in versical from [sic.] a story of Roshang known as Roshanger
Panchali (History of Roshang). He was an inhabitant of Shadarpara of Arakan and the poet was
alive during the first part of the 18th century (Karim 2011). However, Karim does not give the
source for this information although he cites sources for some other statements in his article.
30
The two poets Qazi and Alaol Zaw Min Htut mentions were born in Bengal and wrote
their texts in Bengali, although they lived in Arakan. See fn. 25 and 26 (above).
41



Bengali literature and supported Muslim authors while the Mughal-Rakhine relations
were in a parlous condition.
Jacque Leider says:
The two Bengali poets were Dawlat Kazi and Ali Awwal. Both are
extremely famous and in a Bengali general history or a history of Bengali
literature, one may find a chapter on Bengali literature at the court of
Arakan. Dawlat Kazi who lived at the court of Sirisudhamma (1622-1638) . . .
Al Awwal . . . lived at the court of Narapati Gri: (1638-1645) and Sa Tui
(1645-52). . . .
The presence of these foreign poets at the court, the protection given
to them by the kings [?Narapatigyi, Thado Mintaya and Canda Sudhamma]
as much as the description of the court ceremonial by Dutch writers are an
ample demonstration of the splendor of the Arakanese palace. This brilliant
and refined court in its marvelously situated capital was at peak of its
greatness in the middle of the 17
th
century, powerful and self-conscious,
tolerant and open to foreign influences. The presence of Muslim artists and
officers at the court at this time is just another sparkling element of cultural
refinement at the Arakanese court. (Leider 1998)
It is clear from the statements of these two historians that there were two Bengali
poets in the Mrauk-oo period, that the kings supported them and that their works are
famous in the history of Bengali literature.
In sum, these two poets of the court of Mrauk-oo who were patronized by the
Rakhine kings were Bengalis, not Rohingyas; and their works were Bengali works, not
Rohingya literary works as Zaw Min Htut has falsely claimed.
Zaw Min Htut also makes another false statement in Chapter 6 under the
subheading (b) Ananda Candras Inscription of Wethali Period (2001, 57). This
statement will also be discussed here:
Misusing the Ananda Candras Inscription
Zaw Min Htut makes a mistake concerning Ananda Candras inscription, just like
he has inadvertently disproved his claim that the Rohingyas have their own language
by saying that the Rohingya language is akin to Pali and Sanskrit and the languages
spoken by Mramagyis (Bruwas) and Daingnets.
Referring to San Tha Aungs (1975) work Ananda Sanda (Kyauksa) (8) Yazu
Rakhine Wethali Min [Inscription of Ananda Candra, an Eighth-century King of Wethali]
(Rangoon: Rangoon Univ.), Zaw Min Htut takes out sixteen words, such as nama, raja,
kam, etc., from Ananda Candras inscription and points out that they are similar to
Rohingya words but not to Rakhine words (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 58-59). His intention is to
42



prove that the Rohingyas, whose language is similar to Wethali-period Sanskrit, belong
to an ethnic group that has existed since the Wethali period. He does not seem to
know that Sanskrit language is closely related to Pali and other Prakrit languages, that
all of them are Indo-European languages or that Bengali language derived from a
Prakrit language.
Referring to Hla Tun Hpru (1981), I have discussed above that the language of
Mramagyis (Bruwas) is Bengali. Quoting Chatterjee, a linguist, Qanungo says in his
History of Chittagong as follows:
. . . [the dialect of Chittagong] originates from Magadhi Prakrit . . . It is
characterized by the penetration of a large number of indigenous and
foreign words. The dialect is spoken so hurriedly by the natives of Chittagong
that it becomes difficult to be readily understood by the people of other
parts of Bengal, who often blame the dialect for their inability and dismiss it
as an illegible uncouth dialect. (Qanungo 1988, 107-07)
It is clear from Qanungos statement that Chittagonian Bengali dialect is an
Indo-European language that has derived from a Prakrit language. Zaw Min Htut
asserts that the sixteen words he has taken out from Ananda Candras inscription are
not related to Rakhine words, but only akin to Rohingya words. That is true. Rakhine
being a Sino-Tibetan language is not akin to Sanskrit (an Indo-European language). As
the language spoken by the so-called Rohingyas is Bengali (an Indo-European
language), most of the words from it are related to Sanskrit words.
Thus, although Zaw Min Htut is repeatedly saying that the Rohingyas are not
Bengalis, his own statements highlight to the fact that their language is Bengali, which
is related to Sanskrit language used in Ananda Candras inscription. Sanskrit, which is
an Indo-European language, is not related or akin to Arabic, a Semitic language.
Therefore, the language the so-called Rohingyas speak is not Arabic, but Bengali.
Although Zaw Min Htut says again and again that Rohingyas are descendants of
shipwrecked Arabs, the language they speak indicates that they are not of Arab
descent, but of Bengali ancestry. I would say that the sixteen Sanskri t words Zaw Min
Htut presents in his book have made him impossible to avoid admitting that the so-
called Rohingyas are Bengalis.
Zaw Min Htut has stated in Chapter 1 that Arabs dominated the trade in the Far
East from early Christian era until the 17
th
century AD and that there were trade colonies
in Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Myanmar, Rakhine, etc. Following Ba Tha, one of the earliest
Rohingya historians, Zaw Min Htut discusses how King Maha Taing Candra let
shipwrecked Arabs settle in the capital of Wethali and villages. He restates this in
Chapter 2, under the subheading Rohingya and Islam. Although he just mentions the
existence of trade colonies in Chapter 1, here he gives the exact location of the site of
a trade colony as the area now covered by the naval base in the southernmost part
of Sittwe. Let us study his statements.
43



The Cave of Badaw, a Traditional Spirit or of a Muslim Fakir?
Zaw Min Htut says:
- - -
(Faquir and Darvishes)
- - - ( )
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 27)
Translation:
. . . In addition to the Arab Muslims who came to Rakhine for trade,
Muslim fakirs and dervishes came to Rakhine to disseminate their Religion. . . .
[The remains of the religious buildings connected with them]
31
can be found
on a knoll (now within the Rakhine naval base) in the southernmost part of
Sittwe and in Yanbye and Thandwe townships.
His statement that such remains exist in Yanbye and Thandwe townships is not
supported by evidence. The naval base in Sittwe is the only place where those remains
are found.
However, it was not the site of a trade colony. It probably was a place where
seafarers came to shelter from bad weather or to obtain drinking water. There are the
ruins of the residence of a Muslim fakir and that of Badaw Shinma, a Rakhine traditional
spirit. E Forchhammer, who was Superintendent of Archaeological Survey (Burma)
during the British colonial period, recorded the buildings in this area during the British
colonial period as follows:
There are a few modern temples in Akyab [now Sittwe] which are
interesting inasmuch as their architectural style is a mixture of the Burmese
turreted pagoda and the Mzhomedan [sic.] four-cornered minaret structure
surmounted by a hemispherical cupola. . . . The worship, too, is mixed ; both
temples are visited by Mahomedans and Buddhists, and the Buddermokan
has also its Hindu votaries.
The Buddermokan . . . is said to have been founded in A. D. 1756 by the
Mussulmans in memory of one Budder Auliah, whom they regard as an
eminent saint. Colonel Nelson Davies, in 1876 Deputy Commissioner of
Akyab, gives the following account in a record . . . and lent me: . . . It is said
that 140 years ago or thereabouts two brothers named Manick and Chan,
traders from Chittagong, while returning from Cape Negrais in a vessel
loaded with turmeric, called at Akyab for water, and the vessel anchored
off the Buddermokan rocks. . . . Manick had a dream that the saint Budder
Auliah desired him to construct a cave or a place of abode at the locality

31
See Zaw Min Htut 2011, 27.
44



near where they procured the water. Manick replied that he had no means
wherewith he could comply with the request. Budder then said that all his
(Manicks) turmeric would turn into gold, and that he should therefore
endeavor to erect the building from the proceeds thereof. When morning
came Manick, observing that all the turmeric had been transformed into
gold, consulted his brother Chan . . . and they conjointly constructed a cave
and also dug a well at the locality now known as Buddermokan.
. . . William Dampier, Esquire, Commissioner of Chittagong . . . [and] T.
Dickenson, Esquire, Commissioner of Arakan, [ordered that] Hussain Ally . . .
was to have charge of the Buddermokan in token of his good services
rendered to the British force in 1825, and to enjoy any sums that he might
collect on account of alms and offerings.
In 1849 Mr. R. C. Raikes, the officiating Magistrate at Akyab, ordered
that Hussain Ally was to have charge of the Buddermokan buildings, and
granted permission to one Mah Ming Oung, a female fakir, to erect a
building; accordingly in 1849 the present masonry buildings were
constructed by her; she also re-dug the tank. (Forchhammer 1892, 60)
It can be learnt from Forchhammers report that this site was where a building
was constructed in memory of a Muslim saint named Budder Auliah in 1756 and that it
was also connected with Buddhists and Hindus. Moreover, it is learnt that the site was
a place at which travelers called for procuring drinking water, not the site of a trade
colony as stated by Zaw Min Htut.
The Rakhines regard this site as a place where their traditional Badaw spirit
dwells, and hence the people of Sittwe visit the place regularly every year when the
monsoon sets in to worship and propitiate the spirit.
Zaw Min Htut, asserting that Buddermokan was a Muslim holy site where Muslim
saint Badar Wali [Budder Auliah] had practiced asceticism, falsely states that such
sites have been found also in Yanbye and Thandwe townships. He then quotes the
Rakhine Mahayazawingyi to relate how Islam spread in Rakhine region.
The Omission of Some Information from the Mahayazawingyi
After discussing the Muslim religious retreat Buddermokan at Sittwe, Zaw Min
Htut quotes U Tha Tun Aungs (1927) Rakhine Mahayazawindawgyi [The Great
Chronicle of Rakhine] to narrate the spread of Islam in Rakhine as follows:



()
45


















( )

(Zaw Min Htut 2011, 27-28)
Translation:
. . . It is recorded in the Rakhine Mahayazawindawgyi that missionaries
from the subcontinent of India, like those from the Arab land and Persia,
came to Rakhine and, due to their efforts, Muslims spread in Rakhine.
According to the original record, In 887 Myanmar Era [ME, i.e. AD 1525],
during the reign of King Zalatta Min Sawmun, the ninth king of Mrauk-oo, King
Rum Pashyas envoys Kadi, Musha and Honumya came to propagate
Muhammadanism [ie Islam] in the kingdom, constructed mosques all over
the capital, preached to the people in the capital, and [some people]
converted to this religion. The king, receiving presents from these envoys,
favoured them. [As regards] the efforts of the three envoys of King Rum
Pashya to promote their religion Muhammadanism in the capital of Mrauk-
oo, Envoy Kadi built a large Muhammadan mosque at Baungdut port to
carry on his missionary work.
32
Moreover, Envoys Musha and Honumya also
built their own mosques and brought in [or ? were to build their own mosques
and to bring in] Muhammadan preachers from Delhi to make them preach

32
This sentence is unclear.
46



to the people
33
Some scholars prefer to say that the people who converted
to Islam [after listening to] these sermons were the people now called
Kamans. The missionary works mentioned in the above paragraph were
carried out not only among the kings archers, but among all the people.
Therefore, it is hard to say that all the Islam converts in those days were
archers (ancestors of present-day Kamans) and that no civilians were
among the converts, because it is stated that mosques were built in civilian
quarters.
The above excerpt is from the Rakhine Mahayazawingyi, written by Tha Tun
Aung of Mrauk-oo and published in 1288 ME (AD 1927). Although the work is entitled
Rakhine Mahayazawindawgyi (Great Chronicle of Rakhine), it only has 147 pages.
Dinnyawadi, Wethali, Lemro and other periods and some other accounts are discussed
briefly in about 80 pages.
Zaw Min Htut is quoting selectively from pages 41 and 42 of this book: how three
Muslim envoys propagated Muhammadanism, how they built mosques, how they
brought in preachers from Delhi and made them deliver Islamic sermons to the people
in Rakhine, etc. He has omitted the statements concerning Mra War. In fact, Tha Tun
Aung discusses what the three Muslim envoys did mainly to emphasize how Mra War,
foreseeing that Buddhism might decline due to the efforts of those three envoys,
warned the king of the matter.
- - -

- - -





- - -
- - -





33
Note Leiders remark: . . . if this mission and its results, which can not be traced in any
other chronicle, are a historical fact, it is according to my knowledge the only available written
instance to fix an origin to an indigenous Muslim community (1998).
47



- - -




- - -

- - - (Tha Tun Aung [1927], 42-44)
. . . [As regards] the efforts of the three envoys of King Rum Pashya to
promote their religion Muhammadanism in the capital of Mrauk-oo, Envoy
Kadi built a large Muhammadan mosque at Baungdut port to carry on his
missionary work.
34
Moreover, Envoys Musha and Honumya also built their
own mosques and brought in [or ? were to build their own mosques and to
bring in] Muhammadan preachers from Delhi to make them preach to the
people. . . . Noticing these in the kingdom, Mra War, a young monk,
anticipated that the Religion professed by our four Rakhine races might fade
and [eventually] be wiped out in the capital, visited the Palace and warned
the king and ministers and learned persons in the assembly as follows: . . .
Your Majesty should beware . . . I have noticed this. The three envoys of King
Rum Pashya, with a view to promoting their religion Muhammadanism in the
capital of Mrauk-oo and to wiping out Buddhism professed by us, the four
[Rakhine] races, are preaching [Muhammadanism] every day to the people
of four races in the kingdom, and some citizens in the kingdom have
converted to it and have been listening to Muhammadan sermons. . . . Since
their [the Muslims] ancestors had begun to rule India, they spread their
religion. The religious buildingsincluding the stupas in which their Lords
utensils were enshrined and the statues and stupas dedicated to their Lord
built by the Hindus (the brahmanas, kshatriyas and mahala and their
ancestors), who had faith in [?Buddhism/Hinduism] and who had been
worshipping them from the days when the Buddha was alive, had fallen into
ruin or perished. . . . Now it is evident that the Religion [Hinduism] has died
out and Hindus have become Muhammadans. Likewise, the four races and
the Religion [Buddhism] will be wiped out soon. . . . (Tha Tun Aung 1927, 42-
44)
It is clear from the above excerpt that Tha Tun Aungs intention is to highlight
how Mra War warned the king of the threat posed by the missionary works of three
Muslim envoys. It can also be learnt that Mra War drew attention to the demise of

34
This sentence is unclear.
48



Brahmanism and Buddhism in India after the Muslim invasion so that the king would
comprehend the scale of the problem.
Mra Wars Shwe Myin Dhammathat
It is said that Mra War studied at Nalanda University in India together with Maha
Pyinnyagyaw and King Min Ba. Mra War, as he had witnessed first-hand what
happened in India, warned the Rakhine monarch and ministers to prevent the decline
of Buddhism in Rakhine. Because of his farsightedness, the Rakhines remember him as
a national hero.
King Zalatta Min Sawmun heeded Mra Wars warning. He implored
Mra War to do whatever was needed properly. (Tha Tun Aung 1927, 44)
Getting permission from the king, Mra War wrote the Shwe Myin Dhammathat based
on the Manu Dhammathat under the guidance of his mentor Ven. Aggamuni, who
was dwelling in the Taungnyo monastery in Mrauk-oo, and submitted it to the king.
The Shwe Myin Dhammathat served as the constitution of the Rakhine kingdom
in those days. Every citizens had to abide by it. It has 48 sections, which are virtually
the same as the exhortations in Lawkathara Pyo written by Rakhine Thumyat in Minhtis
reign in the Lemro period. The Amyo Leba Sonmagan [Section on the Exhortation to
the People of Four Races] in Lawkathara Pyo is apparently based on the Mangala-
sutta. Thus, the Shwe Myin Dhammathat also should be regarded as a text based on
the Mangala-sutta. Some of the exhortations from the Shwe Myin Dhammathat will be
compared with those from Lawkathara Pyo and Mangala-sutta below. The excerpts
from Lawkathara Pyo are from Min Thu Wuns (1955) Lawkathara Pyo Ahpye Abeikdan
[An exegesis of the Lawkathara Pyo].
Shwe Myin, no. 1: First, to take refuge in the Three Jewels [the Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Sangha] without being remiss is one [rule].
35

Lawkathara, stanza 1: Pay heed to the exhortations of a holy person who is
desirous of your welfare. Revere and have faith in the Three Jewelsthe Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Sanghawhich are prominent like the sun.
36
(Min Thu Wun 1955, 2)
The first exhortation from the Shwe Myin Dhammathat is what has prevented
Buddhism from decline. That is why the Rakhines proudly say if one is a Rakhine, one
must be a Buddhist.

35

36


49



Shwe Myin, no. 2: To obey the exhortations of ones parents and teachers to
the letter is one [rule].
37

Lawkathara, stanza 2: Obey the exhortations of ones parents and teachers,
who have genuine concern for ones welfare and who want one to live long and be
healthy.
38
(Min Thu Wun 1955, 4)
Thus, the second rule laid down in the Shwe Myin Dhammathat is exactly the
same as that set down in Lawkathara Pyo.
Shwe Myin, no. 9: To respect and associate with the wise, who know how to
behave to gain happiness here and hereafter, is one [rule].
39

Lawkathara, stanza 5: Respect and associate with righteous people who know
what would be beneficial to us in this life and in the life hereafter.
40
(Min Thu Wun 1955,
10)
Mangala-sutta: Associating with the wise [is the supreme blessing].
41

Thus the ninth rule in the Shwe Myin Dhammathat is the same as stanza 5 of
Lawkathara Pyo and one of the thirty-eight mangala [blessings] from the Mangala-
sutta.
Shwe Myin, no. 10: To steer clear of those who behave immorally knowing their
conduct is not beneficial either in this life or in the life hereafter, is one [rule].
42


37


38
- - -
39


40


41

42
- - -

50



Lawkathara, stanza 6: Always avoid fools, who are unwise and immoral and
whose actions are not beneficial to humans in this life or in the life hereafter, disliking
and regarding them as ones enemies.
43
(Min Thu Wun 1955, 12)
Mangala-sutta: Avoiding fools [is the supreme blessing].
44

Thus, the tenth rule of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat is the same as stanza 6 of
Lawkathara Pyo and one of the thirty-eight mangala [blessings] from the Mangala-
sutta.
Shwe Myin, no. 15: To look after ones parents, to whom you owe a debt of
gratitude, having deep affection for and paying respect to them, is one [rule].
45

Lawkathara, stanza 8: Have deep affection for ones parents, pay respect to
them as if they were Buddhist temples or stupas, look after them and be deferential to
them . . .
46
(Min Thu Wun 1955, 16)
Mangala-sutta: Looking after ones mother and father [is the supreme
blessing].
47

Thus, the 25
th
rule in the Shwe Myin Dhammathat is the same as stanza 8 of
Lawkathara Pyo and one of the thirty-eight mangala [blessings] from the Mangala-
sutta.
These comparisons are made so that readers would get the gist of the Shwe
Myin Dhammathat. They also show that the purpose of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat
was to prevent Buddhism from decline, to make all the Rakhines profess Buddhism, and
to ensure that the political, economic and social policies based on Buddhism would
be firmly established in Rakhine. Tha Tun Aung discusses how King Zalatta Min Sawmun
enforced this law as follows:
- - - ()



43


44

45


46

- - -
47

51







. . . In 887 ME [AD 1525], Zalatta Min Sawmun promulgated the Shwe
Myin Dhammathat in his kingdom and decided that [the Muslims] were not
to communicate with [the people of] the four Rakhine races. Accordingly,
it is most important that [the Rakhines of] the four races were to preserve
[their own races] by abstaining from communicating with the people of
other races. If [a Rakhine] fails to preserve his race by fraternizing with the
people of other races, the persons of good lineage are to abstain from
associating with him, from even having meals together with him. (Tha Tun
Aung 1927, 66)
Thus, the king had ordered that the Rakhines were not to communicate with
those who violated the Shwe Myin Dhammathat by associating with the people of
other races.
Therefore, the three envoys effort to spread Islam in the capital Mrauk-oo by
bringing in preachers from Delhi would have been nullified by the Shwe Myin
Dhammathat. If a Rakhine Buddhist was converted to Islam by those Muslim preachers,
he would be ostracized by other Rakhines. The Hindus converted to Islam when the
Muslims occupied India only to avoid being killed. If a person assumes that the people
in Rakhine which was ruled by a Buddhist king and where Buddhism had been
flourishing for hundreds of years, would forsake their Religion and profess Islam, one
must ask him Are you out of your mind?
Zaw Min Htut says it is hard to say that all the Islam converts in those days were
archers (ancestors of present-day Kamans) and that no civilians were among the
converts because he underrates how well rooted Buddhism was in Rakhine (where it
had been flourishing for hundreds of years), because he fails to comprehend the
importance of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat, and because he wants to tell a fabricated
story that the Bengalis who called themselves Rohingyas had come to Rakhine in earlier
periods.
The first rule of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat (ie to take refuge in the Three
Jewelsthe Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha) was not formulated in the Mrauk-
oo period. It was a Rakhine religious custom that went back to the Lemro Period. This
is attested by the first stanza of Lawkathara Pyo, which children had to commit to
memory under the monastic education system in Rakhine in those days. Thus, the
Rakhines had customarily been paying reverence to the Three Jewels throughout
their lives. This custom was turned into a rule in the Shwe Myin Dhammathat. King
52



Zalatta Min Sawmun made Buddhism the State Religion with the aid of Mra War, and
King Min Ba stamped out the Muslims.
The Tabaung
48
Kala Ko Shinpyu (Novitiate the Indians)
Various chronicles deal with Min Bas efforts comprehensively. In a nutshell,
when the sultan of Delhi [kala deli pasa min] presented a medallion bearing the title
Zaukbauk Shah, King Min Ba sent back Kadi, the Sultans envoy, with a message to the
following effect: My great-grandfather Min Sawmun made over the twelve towns of
Bengal to the Sultan of Delhi to get military assistance from the latter when the
Myanmar king of Innwa invaded Rakhine. This was over a hundred years ago. I will
take back the territory controlled by the earlier Rakhine kings. If you do not want to
fight a war, you are to send the dewun thanas [?village headmen] of the twelve towns
of Bengal to me.
Then, when he considered leading his army to the Muslim land [kalapyi], his
learned minister Kaung Kyawhtin Sa informed him that he had heard children saying a
tabaung: kala ko naing lo, sahpo hma mi the, wathetaung ko hti tin, kala ko shinpyu
(If you want to defeat the Kalas [Muslims], stoke up a fire in the kitchen, hoist a finial
on the Wathe hill, and novitiate the Kalas.). He then explicated this tabaung as
follows:
( )





[Kaung Kyawhtin Sa] explains: The phrase kala ko naing lo, sahpo hma
mi the [if you want to defeat the Kalas [Muslims], stoke up a fire in the
kitchen] means that kala mi sinpali mokeseit [?bearded Muslims] must be put
nowhere but in the port of Baungdut, which is the kitchen [of the kingdom].
Wathetaung ko hti tin [hoist a finial on the Wathe hill] means build a stupa
on top of Wathe hill. Kala ko shinpyu [novitiate the Kalas] implies that all the
Kalas must be made to have shaven heads. There is a phrase kala pazun
se-hnit tan ko ma lun ya in an ancient document. You are the twelfth king;
Rakhine kingdom will regain control of the twelve towns of Bengal during
your reign. [The king] then conferred on Kaung Kyawhtin Sa the title

48
Tabaung is something uttered by children or mad persons which is interpreted as a
prophecy.
53



Vimala, which his ancestors usually conferred on royal officials.
(Candamalalankara [1931], 2.58, 59).
All this indicates how King Min Ba, in implementing the rules laid down in the
Shwe Myin Dhammathat to ostracize the Rakhines who associated with the persons of
other races, made the Muslims shave their heads to prevent the people from mixing up
the Muslims and Rakhines. Moreover, the king made the Muslim traders who came to
Mrauk-oo to stay and conduct business only in the port of Baungdut. These facts show
that the three Muslim envoys efforts to spread Islam had been thwarted. King Min Ba,
as foretold by Minister Vimala, successfully reincorporated the twelve towns of Bengal
into his kingdom.
Thus, Zaw Min Htut says that it is hard to say that no civilians were among the
[Islam] converts because he has underrated the Rakhines deep-rooted faith in
Buddhism and failed to connect the exhortations of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat and
King Min Bas efforts.
If the three Muslim envoys were permitted to carry on their missionary works,
they would have built many mosques in Mrauk-oo. However, Sandikhan is the only
mosque in Mrauk-oo said to be built in King Min Sawmuns reign, and it was built for
Muslim warriors. Historians like Harvey (1967) and Hall (1950) also mention only this
mosque.
Zaw Min Htut gives a list of twelve mosques in his book, under the heading
History of Rohingyas and Their Ancient Monuments (Chapter 8, c). To say that other
mosques are ancient ones, we will need Archaeology Departments confirmation.
Are Luces and Dr. Than Tuns Statements Correct?
Zaw Min Htut introduces his history of the new Rohingya race with the story of
the ships which were wrecked in King Maha Taing Candras reign in the Wethali period
as narrated in the Rakhine chronicles. He says that that was in 788 AD. However,
Wethali period and Mrauk-oo period were separated by Lemro period. In order to say
that Rohingyas were of Arab descent, Zaw Min Htuts mentor Ba Tha mentions Hazrat
Ali, Prophet Muhammads son-in-law. Ba Tha explains how Alis son Mohammad Hanif
took refuge in Rakhine when he lost a war, how he defeated Queen Koyapuri who
lived in the Mayu range which separated Maungdaw and Buthidaung and how he
converted her to Islam. Then, Ba Tha concludes that Islam spread in Rakhine from those
Arabs and later spread to Myanmar proper. However, his fabrications do not include
the condition of Islam in Lemro period. Thus, Lemro-period was a missing link. While
Rohingya historians were having difficulty to supply this missing link, an article written by
Than Tun appears in the May 1994 issue of Kalya Magazine. Zaw Min Htut seems to
have had an idea after reading this article. To supply the missing link, he quotes what
are useful for his purpose from Than Tuns article and G H Luces (1985) Phases of Pre-
54



Pagan Burma: Language and History (Chapter VIII. Mru and Kumi [N. Arakan]) as
follows:
(G.H Luce) ()



(Comilla)
( )



(Naaf) (May Yu)



()

Harvey
()



(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 28)
Translation:
G H Luce, former Professor of History, Rangoon University, says that the
Rakhine kings mentioned in the 14
th
-century inscriptions found in the
Chindwin valley had Indian names and were Muslims. He goes on to say
that the Muslims reached the Rakhine border soon after conquering Bengal
in 1202, and doubtless destroyed Patikkara (Comilla), a Buddhist kingdom
well known to the early kings of Pagan. He concludes that they seem to
have fought with the local tribes at the border and Muslim military leaders or
local tribal chiefs who had converted to Islam settled on the Myanmar side
of the border.
55



Myanmar historian Dr. Than Tun observes: . . . I wonder whether the
Muslim king was Rohingya from the May Yu river region to the east of Naaf
River. They used to say that they have been living there for over a thousand
years. Even if they were not there that long ago, they probably settled there
around AD 1202 when Muslims invaded Bengal.
In the middle of the 12
th
century, Rakhine was in a state of anarchy.
Harvey has affirmed that Rakhine region was overgrown with jungle to the
extent that even the Mahamuni image/temple could not be found. It can
be assumed from Harveys statement and Dr. Than Tuns above conclusion
that Islam from Bengal came to Rakhine in about the 13
th
century AD.
Dr. Than Tuns statement coincides with the findings of Rohingya
historians.
As can be seen above, Zaw Min Htut has quoted Luce, Than Tun and Harvey. However,
he quotes them selectively to supply the missing link between the Wethali and Mrauk-
oo period, ie the Lemro period. He has omitted some parts from the original texts.
Moreover, Zaw Min Htut seems to have read only Luces and Dr. Than Tuns
statements, not the articles in which their statements are critiqued. Luce cannot rebut
the critiques because he has passed away. Than Tun, however, read the reviews and
corrected his mistakes in Feb 1995 issue of Kalya Magazine. Zaw Min Htut does not
seem to have read this either.
Therefore, I will discuss the matter to highlight how Zaw Min Htut uses the
mistakes made by these historians, to emphasize the correct statements made in the
critiques, and to make Than Tuns corrections known to the readers here.
First, Luces words may be quoted here. In the chapter on Mru and Kumi (N.
Arakan), Luce says:
. . . The main inhabitants of the Mayu river region east of the Naaf, who
are known today as the Rohinjas, are a fine type of devout and scholarly-
minded Muslims, who claim to have inhabited this region for over a thousand
years. This is an exaggeration. But Muslim invaders, we know, occupied
Bengal in 1202,
19
and soon thereafter reached the Arakan border, doubtless
destroying the last Buddhist kingdom of Patikkar (Comilla), well known to
the early kings of Pagan. It is likely enough that fighting occurred on this
frontier, involving the local tribesmen, and that some Muslim generals or
converted local chiefs established themselves on the Burma side of the
frontier. (Luce 1985, 1.95)
In this passage, because he does not find the phrase for over a thousand years
acceptable, Luce remarks: This is an exaggeration. Zaw Min Htut, however, has
omitted this remark in quoting Luces words.
56



Now, let us examine Than Tuns statements. In an article entitled Chin, Mru
Hnint Hkumi (Myauk Rakhine) [Chin, Mru and Kumi (N. Rakhine)] in Kalya Magazine
(August 1994), Than Tun states as follows:
- - - - - -
(Naaf) (Mayu) (ROHINGA)



(COMILLA)
(Than
Tun 1994)
Translation:
. . . Rakhine king also had a Muslim name. He came to the king of
Awa. . . . I wonder whether the Muslim king was Rohingya from the Mayu river
region to the east of Naaf river. They usually say that they have been living
there for over a thousand years. Even if they were not there that long ago,
they probably settled there around AD 1202 when Muslims invaded Bengal.
Say 800 years ago. Patikkara (Comilla), a Buddhist kingdom around there
was probably destroyed because they [the Muslims] invaded the region. It
seems that this inscription records to the effect that some Muslim chiefs had
friendly relations with the king of Awa. (Than Tun 1994).
It can be learnt from comparing the statements made by Luce and Than Tun
that Than Tun does not brush aside the statement for over a thousand years like Luce.
He just reduces the time a bit, saying Say 800 years ago. Moreover, Than Tun says: I
wonder whether the Muslim king was Rohingya, suggesting that he wants to accept
that the Muslims from the Mayu river region to the east of Naaf (Maungdaw and
Buthidaung) were Rohingyas.
The chief source Luce and Than Tun use in writing about the Rohingyas is the
Htupayon inscription in Sagaing, which was inscribed by King Narapati of Awa in 804
ME (AD 1442). The inscription describes how the people from the eight directions of the
compass came to Innwa to pay homage to King Narapati when he ascended the
throne. The inscription runs as follows:




57



- - - (King Narapatis Inscription, lines 20-23, in
Archaeology Department 1987, 35-36)
Translation:
The Rakhine king, who has descended from the Panthe kings
Kaccapati and Assapati, who rule over the Sak [Thets], Mrun and Khyan
[Chins], and whom the kings of Pagan formerly made to invade
Mijjhimadesa [the Middle Region in India], came . . . giving a priceless
emerald bracelet and surrendering himself, together with many villages and
towns and white umbrella, myauksi [?drums], etc. [to King Narapati of Awa].
Hence, [King Narapati] placed him under his protection and let him rule over
the territory he formerly had been ruling [as a vassal].
In the above excerpt, the inscription mentions the Rakhine king, who has descended
from the Panthe kings. The Rakhine king referred to in this inscription was King Naranu
(1433-1459), a contemporary of King Narapati of Awa, who had this inscription
engraved. King Naranu also took the Muslim name Ali Khin. Although he adopted this
Muslim title because he did not want to disobey his elder brother King Min Sawmun, he
was a Buddhist king who promoted Buddhism. This is attested by the fact that he
included the attributes of the Buddha (iti pi so bhagava, swakkhato, suppatipanno
. . .
49
) in his message sent to the king of Awa and that he vowed in a love letter sent to
Sawyinmi, Queen of Thandwe as follows: May I be able to take refuge in the Three
Flowers [ie the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha] together with you, my lady.
50

He erected a stupa referred to as Nyidaw Zedi (meaning Younger Brothers Stupa) near
the four-faced stupa built by his elder brother Min Sawmun. A Rakhine chronicler
remarks that Buddhism shone like the sun during his reign (Candamalalankara [1931],
2.22-27).
The scribe who engraved the Htupayon inscription at Sagaing might not have
known these facts about King Narapati. The fact that King Naranu had taken the
Muslim title Ali Khin very likely led the scribe to assume that this king was a Muslim, and
hence to refer to him as being descended from the Panthe kings. Pe Maung Tin
(1978) defines the word Panthe as a Muslim from Yunnan in China in his Batha Lawka
Kyan [Treatise on Language]. This phrase has led Luce and Than Tun, who have not
studied Rakhine history, to wrongly assume that King Naranu of Rakhine was a Muslim.
The Rakhines pointed out the mistakes made by these two historians in the Kalya
Magazine in March 1995, in the Yokeshin Te Kabya Magazine in July 1995 and in the
Rakhine Thahaya Magazine (no. 2) in February 1996. Maung Rakhines words in an

49

50

58



article named Koloni Wada Somwe [Vile heritage of Colonialism] may be quoted
here as follows:
The main citation on writing about Rohingya by both Prof.Luce and
Dr.ThanTun is Sagaing Htuparyon Phra stone inscriptions. The King who
inscribed it was Innwa King Narapati and the year of inscription was 804 M.E
or 1442 A.D. Prof. Luce stated that the stone inscription has recorded the
paying respects to King Narapati by peoples of all directions of Myanmar.
The necessary gist containing in part of the inscriptions which the learned
professors referred to read: .Rakhine king, descendent of Panthay
Muslim kings, takes shelter under the power and glory of King Narapati.
At this point, it is considered that the two professors drew a conclusion
that Panthay Muslims are northern Muslims and those are the ones who
inhabit Naaf and Eastern Mayu river area, referring to the one and only
phrase in the inscriptions Panthay, Muslim king. As a matter of fact, the
term Rohingya is neither the one in use nor even coined before 1948, the
year of Myanmar Independence, let alone those long, long years in the past.
It is true that about ninety per cent of the population now living in Naaf
and eastern Mayu river area are Muslims. It is well known that those Muslims
are Chittagonians of Bengal origian who have come and settled in that part
of the country before Independence. In contemporary authentic records
such as A.C.Banarjees work, personal records of local chief U Maung Nyo,
Sittwe (Akyab) District Gazetteers, memoir of U San Htwann Aung, the report
presented by Enquiry Commission headed by Commissioner James Ester, the
report presented by (former) Commissioner of Rakhine (Arakan) Division
Maung Htin, a famous author, they are recorded as Chittagonians. No one
has described them as Rogingyas.
In the above mentioned records, it is clearly stated that during the years
of Myanmar (Burmese) governors and initial period of British colonial rule, the
Chittagonias came to the Mayu area as seasonal laborers and usually went
back to their homeland, Chittagong region, just across the River Naaf. One
can read in the records that afterwards, since a handful have illegally
migrated into the area, the Muslim population burst into horrible numbers
because of the economic and political policies of colonial government. U
Hla Htwann Pru, a leading Rakhine statesman, in his book entitled The
Treausre-Trove of Rakhine Sate, wrote that during the British regime, an
enquiry commission headed by Commissioner James Ester was formed and
empowered to make enquires about illegal immigration of Chittagonians
into Sittwe (Akyb) district rising to alarming numbers and that the report
warned if no drastic action would be taken , racial turmoils would follow
soon. The warning came true as ethnic conflicts followed during World War
II so that native Rakhines suffered untold miseries due to the open border-
crossing policy of colonialists.
59



A Former commissioner of Rakhine (Arakan) Division, U Htin Phat (Writer
Maung Htin) wrote the following lines regarding the move taken by
Chittagonian Musilms residing on the other side of Naaf river to form a
separate zone in the region and due to the immigration and emigration
policy of post-independence government led to Mujahid rebellion.
..post-war policy of Chittagonions is to migrate and settle in the new
area along the Maya mountain range and Kalapanzin river valley east of
Naaf river.The person who initiated and incited the movement is a
Chittagonian who have lived in Rakhine (Arakan) Division for many years. He
has already organized and prepared would-be settlers to migrate into the
area in large numbers. However, soon after Myanmars Independence, the
situation turned the other way round. At that time, as Myanmar government
took serious consideration of border crossings, no mass migrations could be
executed. As a result, Mujahid rebellion started and grew in numbers and
rebel leader Cassim became well-known.
During the reign of the AFPFL government, a similar plot was hatched
by a group of educated Muslim leaders to create the Muslim state in the
area for the illegally settled Muslims. They coined a new term Rohingya,
wrote and propagated a fake theory as if they were an indigenous race of
Myanmar inhabited in the country for nearly a thousand years. The newly-
coined term attracted the attention of educated Rakhines soon after its
debut in 1950. They strongly refused the term (Rohingya) in contemporary
journals and magazines. It is believed that the learned professors knew it.
Moreover, it is noticed in the writings of two eminent historians that
Muslims occupied Bengal in 1202 A.D, destroyed Patikkara (Comilla) and
approached Rakhine border. As a result, the professors assume that the
Muslim king settled in Mayu river region in that period. As far as the
assumption put forward by the two scholars are concerned, the present
writer would like to encourage a study of the authoritative works on the
subject History of Chittagone by S.B. Qanungo, Ancient Arakan by
Pamela Gutman and History of Indo-Pakistan by Prof.M.Ahshad and Prof.
H.Rahman. According to them, even though Muslims annexed Bengal in
1202 A.D, they penetrated into Chittagong region in the 13
th
century and the
area was under their suzerainty only in the middle of the 14
th
century. It is
quite clear that no Muslim kings or chieftains of any descriptions settled in
Mayu river area at any time. Historical records and annals of Rakhine and
Bengal amply prove it. The Buddhist religious edifices of Vesali and Mrauk Oo
periods still existing along the Naaf and Mayu River are solid evidences to
60



refute the assumption sponsored by the learned scholars. (Maung Rakhine
1995)
51

After this article appeared in the Kalya Magazine, Than Tun discussed with the
editors of the magazine and published a corrigendum in the February 1995 issue of the
magazine as follows:
(For the statement . . . I wonder whether the Muslim king was Rohingya
from the Mayu river region to the east of Naaf river. . . . in Dr. Than Tuns
Chin, Mru and Kumi (N. Rakhine), in the bottom paragraph of the second
column on p. 28 of Kalya Magazine, no. 114 (February 1994), read . . . could
not have been Rohingya as pointed out by Rakhines.) (Dr. Than Tun and the
Board of Editors)
52

Than Tuns above corrigendum nullifies the efforts of Zaw Min Htut who quotes other
texts selectively to fabricate the history of Rohingya. His attempt to provide the missing
link in the history of Rohingya also comes to naught.
Zaw Min Htut tries to connect Harveys statement that Rakhine was in a state of
anarchy in the middle of the 12
th
century in Lemro period with Than Tuns discussion on
Patikkara. However, Harvey does not intend to say that the Muslims from Bengal
entered Rakhine during the period when anarchy prevailed. He is merely describing
the political instability during the period of transition between Wethali and Lemro
periods as follows:
Like the rest of Indo-China, the country suffered chronically from raids.
Akyab district [now Sittwe district] was exposed to the hill tribes and in the
tenth century Shans temporarily overran it. Settled government was the
exception. In the middle of the twelfth century even the famous Mahamuni
image could not be found, for it had been overgrown with jungle in the
prevailing anarchy. But the Arakanese were usually quite able to look after
themselves. . . . (Harvey 1967, 137-38)

51
Maung Rakhine, Koloni Wada Somwe, Kalya Magazine, March 1995; English version
taken from Vile Heritage of Colonialism, posted by arakan ther <http://rohingyaterrorists.
blogspot.com/2012/06/vile-heritage-of-colonialism.html> (accessed on 15 May 2014). I do not
know whether Maung Rakhine and arakan ther who posted this article are the same person or
not.
52
( (
) - - - - (NAAF)
(Mayu) (ROHINGA)
) ( ) (Kalya
Magazine, February 1995).
61



To use this statement to fill in the gap (from 11
th
to 14
th
centuries AD in Lemro
period) in Rohingya history, Zaw Min Htut connects it with Than Tuns statement as
follows:
- - -

()

- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 28)
Translation:
. . . they probably settled there around AD 1202 when Muslims invaded
Bengal.
In the middle of the 12
th
century, Rakhine was in a state of anarchy.
Harvey has affirmed that Rakhine region was overgrown with jungle to the
extent that even the Mahamuni image/temple could not be found.
Zaw Min Htuts intention is to mislead readers to believe that Islam took root in
Rakhine, more precisely in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in Mayu river region, in the
periods following AD 1202 when Rakhine was in a state of chaos. He concludes:
- - - Harvey
()

[sic.]

- - - (Zaw Min Htut
2001, 28)
Translation:
. . . It can be assumed from Harveys statement and Dr. Than Tuns
above conclusion that Islam from Bengal actually spread to Rakhine in
about the 13
th
century AD.
Dr. Than Tuns statement coincides with the findings of the Rohingya
researchers.
Readers can see in this conclusion that Zaw Min Htut means to say that the
Muslims who called themselves Rohingyas began to come and settle in Rakhine in the
62



8
th
century during Maha Taing Candras reign in Wethali period, and Islam spread from
Bengal to Rakhine during Lemro period in the 13
th
century.




Review of Chapter 3
After pointing out Zaw Min Htuts lies in Chapters 1 and 2, I will now discuss his
fabrications in Chapter 3.
Misquoting Hall and San Shwe Bu
Zaw Min Htut introduces Chapter 3 with a false statement as follows:


D.G.E
Hall




- - - (Zaw Min 2001,
31)
Translation:
As stated in the previous chapter, it is learnt that local people converted
to Islam because Arabs, Persians and Gauri Pathans [ie Pathans from Gaur]
came and settled in Rakhine and missionaries from the Arab land and India
came to spread Islam. As regards this, D G E Hall explains that the existence
of both Buddhist and Islamic monuments all over Rakhine indicates how
Buddhism had been flourishing in Rakhine since the beginning of the
Christian era and how Islam took root [there] through Arabs.
Rakhine historian U Shwe Bu has concluded that as Bangladesh and
Rakhine were contiguous with each other, there doubtless would have been
Muslims on the Rakhine side.
Thus, Zaw Min Htut repeats his false claims in Chapters 1 and 2 here as if his
statement that local people converted to Islam because Arabs . . . is a proven fact.
He even implies that it was confirmed by Hall. To enable the readers to check his
statements against those of Hall, Halls statements may be quoted here:
. . . In 1459 it [Chittagong] came into the hands of Arakan, which held it
until it was finally annexed to the Mughal Empire in 1666. Mohammedanism
64



spread to Arakan, but failed to make much impression upon its Buddhism.
Mrohaung had its Sandihkan Mosque and its kings assumed Mohammedan
titles, but the predominance of Buddhism was never shaken. (Hall 1950, 58)
. . . Although mainly Buddhist, they [the Arakanese] had been
influenced by long centuries of contact with Muslim India. . . .
Buddhism would seem to have reached Arakan long before its arrival in
the interior of Burma, and the famous Mahamuni image, brought from
Arakan by the Burmese in 1785, and now to be seen in the Arakan Pagoda
at Mandalay, may date from the early Christian era. . . . (Hall 1955, 328-29)
In the first excerpt, Hall discusses how Ba Saw Hpru (1459-1482) was a Buddhist
king despite his Muslim title Kalima Shah and how he conquered Chittagong, how the
kings of Mrauk-oo period were Buddhists even though some had Muslim names, and
that the Mughals were able to occupy Chittagong only in 1666, when King Canda
Sudhamma (who did not adopt a Muslim title) was reigning in Rakhine.
In the second excerpt, Hall deals briefly with how the Rakhines began professing
Buddhism in the early Christian era and, despite their religion, had contacts with the
Muslim India. He says nothing about how the Rakhines became Muslims or how Islam
spread to Rakhine from the Arab land. Now, the readers will realize how Zaw Min Htut
has misquoted Halls work.
Furthermore, Zaw Min Htut misquotes San Shwe Bu, honorary archaeological
officer as follows: . . . as Bangladesh and Rakhine were contiguous with each other,
there doubtless would have been Muslims on the Rakhine side. San Shwe Bu says no
such thing in any of his works. Morris Collis and San Shwe Bu (1925) say that Islam had
not been introduced into Rakhine until the Lemro period in their paper Arakans Place
in the Civilization of the Bay. Their words may be cited here:
. . . During these five hundred years Arakan became a Holy Land. It
had no political importance, but was a place of pilgrimage for the Buddhist
world.
. . .
. . . Bengal was absorbed into this great polity [ie Muslim sultanic polity]
in 1293 A. D. But that was its extreme eastern limit. It never passed into Indo-
China; and its influence from its arrival in 1203 to 1430 was negligible upon
Arakan. (Collis and San Shwe Bu 1925)
This is the only paper of Shan Shwe Bu that mentions Muslims in connection with
Rakhine. Zaw Min Htuts statement concerning San Shwe Bus view is just a complete
fabrication.
65



Zaw Min Htut Who Does Not Understand His Own Words
Quoting Tha Tun Aungs chronicle, Zaw Min Htut asserts in Chapter 2 that some
Rakhine Buddhists converted to Islam in King Zalatta Min Sawmuns reign owing to the
three Muslim envoys efforts to spread Islam. He reiterates this in Chapters 3 and 4.
While quoting the same chronicle in Chapter 3, Zaw Min Htut (2001, 32) falsely
implies that Nyana, Kyi and Hla Tun Hpru have mentioned that some Buddhists in
Rakhine converted to Islam. Citing the same source, he says in Chapter 4 as follows:
( )

(-)

()
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001,
40) [Emphasis added]
Translation:
U Hla Tun Hpru, a Rakhine historian and a seasoned political leader
(member of the State Council of Burma in the socialist era) has concluded:
Among the Muslims in Rakhine are the ethnic Kamans, who have
decended from the archers and spearmen of Rakhine King Ba Saw Hprus
reign (1459-1482). [They] became Muslims owing to the sermons delivered
by the three envoys headed by Kadi from the Persian Empire who visited
Rakhine in about 1531 in King Min Bas reign and by the Islam missionaries
they brought in from India. . . .
The text in bold face is not included in Hla Tun Hprus work; it is inserted by Zaw Min Htut.
In Chapter 3, however, he contradicts his previous statement by saying that
Muslims were sternly repressed in the reigns of Kings Min Ba (AD 1531-1555) and Canda
Vijaya (AD 1710-1730) (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 35).
53
He does not seem to realize that he
is contradicting himself.
Does he not write Some Rakhine Buddhists converted to Islam in King Zalatta
Min Sawmuns reign (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 27-28, 32)? If that statement were true, those
Rakhine apostates certainly would have been repressed in King Min Bas reign as he
has stated in page 35.

53
- - - ( -) ( -)
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 35).
66



As King Zalatta Sawmun had passed the law (the Shwe Myin Dhammathat) that
required the Rakhines to ostracize renegade Rakhine Buddhists, such conversions could
not have happened anymore. To facilitate such ostracism, King Min Ba implemented
the tabaung kala ko shin pyu (novitiate the Muslims, ie shave the heads of the
Muslims). The king had the Muslims shaved their heads so that the people would not
confuse them with Rakhines. He also reoccupied the twelve towns of Bengal, and built
a stupa known as Yan Aung Zeyya, meaning Victory, or Shitthaung to celebrate his
victory. At the same time, he took the Muslim title Zabauk Shah to show that he was
the ruler also of the Muslims, indicating his political guile.
54

It would be absurd to say that the Rakhine Buddhists would breach the Shwe
Myin Dhammathat and convert to Islam when the kingdom was ruled by a Rakhine
Buddhist king.
Bogus historians who call themselves Rohingyas need to understand that the
Rakhines had been professing Buddhism from the Dinnyawadi, Wethali, Lemro and
Mrauk-oo periods onwards. Although they were able to force the Hindus in India to
profess Islam after conquering India, the Muslim kings were never able to invade
Rakhine. The Rakhines were the ones who had conquered them.
The Rakhine kings were able to defend the kingdom against the enemies from
the west. As promoters of the Religion, they built pagodas and temples and
preserved their deeply cherished customs and traditions. Comprehending this,
Myanmar historian Dr. Kyaw Thet wrote in his Pyidaungzu Myanmar Nainggan
Thamaing [A history of the Union of Myanmar] as follows:
The people of Rakhine were able to prevent Indians from crossing the
border and dominating them. If the Rakhines could not prevent the Indians
from entering Rakhine, we will now see Rakhine as a Pakistani territory.
55
In
preventing foreigners from crossing the border and dominating them for
centuries, the Rakhines armed themselves with the mindset and society that
differed from those of Indians. Their language, literature, traditional
costume, way of life and, most importantly, their religion played integral
parts in preserving their identity as a Myanmar national race. (Kyaw Thet
1961, 120)

54
Leider has remarked: the use of Muslim names on the coins seems to be a political
one, it may be interpreted as the expression of political overlordship over a Muslim community in
the area south of Chittagong and maybe in parts of Arakan as well; but the available evidence
leads me to think that the importance of the use of Muslim names should not be overrated
(Leider 1998).
55
Here, he is referring to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
67



Zaw Min Htuts Fabricated List of Rakhine Kings with Muslim Names
After misquoting the writings of Rakhine historians in Chapter 3, Zaw Min Htut
fabricates a list of Rakhine kings with Muslim names.
Ba Tha, a bogus Rohingya historian has misrepresented the facts concerning
the Rakhine kings with Muslim titles in Guardian Monthly (May 1960), by mentioning
Narameikhla (aka Min Sawmun), who had never adopted a Muslim name,

as having a
Muslim name Samoon (Ba Tha 1960). Ba Tha does not seem to know that Sawmun is
a Rakhine name. Zaw Min Htut expands on Ba Thas list as follows:
Table 4.Zaw Min Htuts List of the Rakhine Kings with Muslim Names
56

Rakhine Names Muslim Names
Regnal
Dates
Remarks
Narameikhla
Sawmun Khin (aka)
Solaiman Khan
1430-1433
Samoon in Ba Tha (1960); Solaiman Shah in
Jilani and Alam (1998)
57

Min Hkari
Ali Khin (aka) Ali
Khan
1434-1459
Ba Sawhpru Kalima Shah 1459-1482

56
The list in Ba Tha (1960) is as follows:
1. Nara Meik Hla 1404-1433 Samoon 5. Min Palaung 1571-1593 Sikandar Shah
2. Nara Nu (Min Khari) 1433-1459 Ali Khan 6. Min Yaza Gyi 1593-1612 Salim Shah I
3. Ba Saw Phyu 1459-1482 Kalima Shah 7. Min Kha Maung 1612-1622 Hussain Shah
4. Min Bin (Min Pa Gyi) 1531-1553 Zabek Shah
(Sultan)
8. Thirithusamma 1622-1637 Salim Shah II
The list in Ba Tha (1963) is the same, but it is in Burmese (Ba Tha 1963, 21). In 1998, Jilani translated
Ba Tha (1963) into English and Alam edited it (Jilani and Alam 1998). They give the following list
as the Rakhine kings who had adopted Muslim names, citing Ba Shins (1961) "Coming of Islam
to Burma to 1700 A.D. (Lecture before Asian History Congress (Unpublished Ms., New Delhi) as
its source.
1. Naramekhla (Solaiman Shah): 1430 1434
A.D.
10. Meng Saw Oo (Jalal Shah): 1515-
2. Meng Khari (a) Naranu(Ali Khan): 1434-
1459
11. Thatasa (Ali Shah): 1515-1521
3. Ba Saw Pru (Kalima Shah): 1459-1482 12. Min KhaungRaza (El-Shah Azad): 1521-1531
4. Dawlya (Mathu Shah): 1482-1492 13. Min Bin(a)Min Pa Gri(Zabuk Shah): 1531-1553
5. Ba Saw Nyo (Mohammed Shah): 1492-
1493
14. Min Dikha (Daud Khan): 1553-1555
6. Ran Aung(Noori Shah): 1493-1494 15. Min Phalaung (Sikender Shah): 1571-1591
7. Salimgathu (Sheik Abdullh Shah): 1494-
1501
16. Min Razagri (Salim Shah): 1593-1612
8. Meng Raza(Ilias Snah-I): 1501-1513
17. Min Khamaung (Hussain Shah): 1612-
1622
9. Kasabadi (Ilias Shah-II): 1513-1515 18. ThiriThudama(SalimShah-II): 1622-1637

57
Jilani and Alam 1998.
68



Rakhine Names Muslim Names
Regnal
Dates
Remarks
Min Dawlya Mohammed Shah I 1482-1492 Mathu Shah in Jilani and Alam (1998)
Ba Sawnyo Mohammed Shah II 1492-1494
Mohammed Shah (1492-1493) in Jilani and
Alam (1998)
Min Rannaung Noori Shah 1494 1493-1494 in Jilani and Alam (1998)
Salinkathu
?Sheik/Syed
Abdullah Shah
1494-1501
Min Raza Ilias Shah 1501-1523 1501-1513 in Jilani and Alam (1998)

another king named Kasabadi (Ilias Shah II)
(1513-1515) in Jilani and Alam (1998)
Min Saw Oo Jalal Shah 1525 1515 Jilani and Alam (1998)
Thazata Ali Shah 1525-1521 1515-1521 in Jilani and Alam (1998)

another king named Min Khaung Raza (El-
Shah Azad) (1521-1531) in Jilani and Alam
(1998)
Min Bin (Min Ba Gyi) Zabauk Shah 1531-1553

another king named Min Dikha (Daud Khan)
(1553-1555) in Jilani and Alam (1963)
Min Hpalaung Sikander Shah 1571-1593 1571-1591 in Jilani and Alam (1998)
Min Raza Gyi Salim Shah I 1593-1612

another king named Min Khamaung (Hussain
Shah) (1612-1622) in Ba Tha (1960) and Jilani
and Alam (1998)
Siri Sudhama (pron.
Thiri Thudhamma)
Salim Shah II 1622-1638 1622-1637 in Jilani and Alam (1998)
Source: Zaw Min Htut 2001, 37.
As Ba Thas eager pupil, Zaw Min Htut provides two Muslim names for
Narameikhla (Min Sawmun): Sawmun Khan and Solaiman Khan. In Chapter 4 he says:
- - -

() ()

(Zaw Min Htut 2001,


53)
Translation:
. . . Muslims came along with King Narameitthala, who became king of
Rakhine with the help of Muslim soldiers. From then on, from AD 1430 to 1531,
the Rakhines were subservient to the Kings/Sultans of Bengal. . . .
To determine whether his list of Rakhine kings with Muslim names and this
statement are correct, a list of Rakhine kings who, according to Rakhine chroniclers
and numismatists, had adopted Muslim names may be given here:
69



Table 5.Rakhine Kings Who Adopted Muslim Names
According to Rakhine Chronicles and Numismatists
No. Name Regnal Dates Muslim Name Remarks
1 Naranu/Min Hkari 1434-1459 Ali Khin He conquered Panwa.
2 Ba Saw Hpru 1459-1482 Kalima Shah He invaded Chittagong.
3 Min Dawlya 1482-1492 Mohku Shah
4 Ba Sawnyo 1492-1494 Mahamauk Shah
5 Min Ran Naung 1494 (6
months)
Nori Shah
6 Salinkathu/Thingathu 1494-1501 Thetkaukdola
Shah

7 Min Raza 1501-1523 Ili Shah
8 Min Saw-o/Thirithu 1515 (6
months)
Zala Shah
9 Thazata 1515-1521 Ali Shah
10 Min Ba Gyi/Min Bin 1531-1553 Zabauk Shah He reoccupied the twelve towns of
Bengal.
11 Min Hpalaung 1571-1593 Sikunder Shah
They also ruled over the twelve towns
Bengal.
12 Min Raza Gyi 1593-1612 Sawlim Shah
13 Min Hkamaung 1612-1622 Ushaung Shah
According to Rakhine chronicles, King Naranu (aka Min Hkari) took the Muslim
title Ali Khin, to obey his brother Min Sawmuns exhortation to show his appreciation to
the Muslim sultan. Historians Harvey and Hall have stated that Min Sawmun had to take
refuge at the court of King Shah at Gaur (Bengal) when Min Ye Kyawswa, son of King
Mingaung of Ava, invaded Rakhine, and later (in 1430) retook the Rakhine kingdom
with the help of Ahmed Shahs son Azam Shah (Harvey 1967, 139-40; and Hall 1950, 31-
32).
Leider remarks in his article on the Buddhist kings with Muslim names: We could
possibly understand that the Arakanese king was under an obligation to the sultan, but
the fact is that we do not have any proof of it (Leider 1998, 11). Further, he says that
70



Habibullah, a historian on Bengal, reckons that . . . the sultans were hardly able to
provide such a help and to enforce their rule (Leider 1998, 11).
Despite the chroniclers statements that King Min Hkari adopted the Muslim
name Ali Khin to abide by his brothers words, his conquest of Panwa (Ramu), one of
the twelve towns of Bengal and his son Ba Sawhprus invasion of Chittagong attest to
the fact that Rakhine was not a vessel of the Sultanate. Historians such as Phayre,
Harvey and Hall have accepted this. Then, why did Min Hkari and his son Ba Sawhpru
adopt the Muslim names? Historians have expressed their opinions on this matter as
follows:
Sir Arthur Phayre says:
. . . He [?Min Hkari] agreed to be subordinate, or tributary, to his
benefactor. How this subordinancy was carried out in detail, is not stated in
the chronicles of Arakan, nor, as far as I am aware, in any history of
Bengal. . . . (Phayre 1882, 1)
. . . The Muhammadan names, whether Salim or Husein, were at this
period adopted by the Buddhist kings of Arakan with reference to their
possession of Chittagong. In A.D. 1601 Man Singh was Governor of Bengal
for the Emperor Akbar, but did not exercise any authority east of the River
Fenny. The Muhammadan names therefore on these coins [ie the coins
struck during Min Raza Gyi and Min Hkamaungs reigns] are merely fanciful
designations. (Phayre 1882, 6)
Leider cites Vimalas chronicle and says:
. . . Arakan was subject to Musalaman Rum Pashya for 125 years from
Man: Co Mwans return from Bengal, dated 1401 to 1525. We could possibly
understand that the Arakanese king was under an obligation to the sultan,
but the fact is that we do not have any proof of it. Man: Co Mwan is precisely
the king who did not adopt a Muslim name and who did not mint any coin
on the Bengal model! His direct successors lead a policy of reconquest of
the area south of Chittagong [ie Panwa] which does not conform to the
idea of recognizing ones suzerainety [sic.] No Muslim source confirms the
hypotheses of any military aid from Ghiyas-ud- din Azam Shah (1389-1410) to
Man: Co Mwan and the suzerainty of Bengal over the kings of Arakan. . . .
. . .
. . . the use of Muslim names on the coins seems to be a political one, it
may be interpreted as the expression of political overlordship over a Muslim
community in the area south of Chittagong and maybe in parts of Arakan
as well; but the available evidence leads me to think that the importance of
the use of Muslim names should not be overrated.
71



From this I infer that no major cultural influence can be related to the
use of such names . . . (Leider1998)
Phayre and Leiders above statements suggest that Rakhine Kings adopted Muslim
names, a custom introduced by Naranu (aka Min Hkhari) who reconquered Panwa
(Ramu), for a political reason, not for acknowledging the suzerainty of the Muslim kings.
Zaw Min Htut gives Siri Sudhammas Muslim title as Salim Shah II. San Tha Aung
(1982) does not mention Siri Sudhammas adoption of a Muslim name in his book on
Rakhine coins. He only says that the coins struck during Siri Sudhammas reign bear
legends in Rakhine script on the obverse, and those in Persian and Nagari characters
(at the top and bottom respectively) on the reverse. Leider (1998), citing Manriques
record, confirms that this kings Muslim title was Salim Shah and says that Manrique
refers to him as Xalamiza twice. Siri Sudhamma was the last Rakhine king to adopt a
Muslim title. None of his successors (from Narapatigyi to Mahathamada) took Muslim
titles.
Narapatigyi, being a usurper, was not popular, and hence his own safety
became his top priority. His policy was to support the Portuguese to prevent the
Mughals from invading Chittagong. Hall is of the opinion that Narapatigyis son King
Canda Sudhamma, having concerns that the Mughals would exact revenge on him
for Shah Shuja
58
incident, encouraged the Portugueses plunder of Bengal (Hall 1950,
61). Eventually, a Rakhine-Mughal war broke out, and the Mughals conquered
Chittagong, bringing down the curtain on Rakhine-Mughal relations.
During Canda Vijayas reign, the Rakhine Royal Guard and the Kaman archers
who had been followers of Shah Shuja joined forces and rebelled, and this led the king
to put down the rebellion ruthlessly.
In short, some Rakhine kings adopted Muslim titles only to smooth their rule over
the Muslims and to show the citizens that, as equals to the Mughal monarchs, they too
could take the titles adopted by Mughal monarchs (Burma Socialist Programme Party
1977, 313).

58
He was the brother of the Mogul emperor who took refuge in Arakan in November
1660 . . . [who] was killed in 1661 under circumstances which have led to different interpretations
as to who is to blame. . . . (Leider 1998).




Review of Chapt 4
The Purpose of Misrepresenting Rakhines as Muslims
Zaw Min Htut quotes Tha Tun Aungs Rakhine chronicle not only in Chapters 2 and 3 but
in Chapter 4 to conclude that many Rakhine civilians became Muslims:
( )

[sic. ]

( )

- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 40-41)
Translation:
It is learnt that in Rakhine, there were Muslims not only in the archery,
but also in the royal army [?infantry], cavalry and navy and that there were
hundreds of thousands of Muslims in economic and social spheres. The
above-mentioned missionaries referred to by U Tun Hla Hpru [sic. Hla Tun
Hpru], ie the three envoys and other missionaries, spread Islam not only
among the Kaman archers, but also in the civilian quarters, where they built
mosques (See Rakhine Mahayazawin). Therefore, it is indisputable that
many non-Kaman civilians became Muslims. Hence it is hard to say there
were no Muslims among the Rakhines. . . . (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 40-41)
Zaw Min Htut harps on this matter because he fails to discern Tha Tun Aungs
purpose or the essence of the Shwe Myin Dhammathat and because he neglects to
consider how King Min Ba had made the Muslims shave their heads to prevent the
people from mixing up the Muslims and Rakhines. Furthermore, there presumably was
a hidden agenda behind his statement: to assert that all the Muslims who call
themselves Rohingyas have been in Rakhine region since the ancient times and that
some Rakhines are among those Muslims. This is his way of proving that all the Muslims
in present-day Rakhine are indigenous Muslims.
He introduces these intentions in Chapters 3 and asserts in the above
paragraph in Chapter 4 that there were hundreds of thousands of Muslims. His
statements in Chapter 3 that lead up to this Muslim population in Rakhine may be
recapped here:
73



1) . . . it is learnt that local people converted to Islam because
Arabs, Persians and Gauri Pathans (ie Pathans from Gaur) came and
settled in Rakhine and missionaries from the Arab land and India
came to spread Islam
59
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 31).
2) . . . D G E Hall has concluded that as Bengal and Rakhine were
under the same rule for centuries, migrations had occurred in these
regions
60
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 32).
3) . . . The Pathan kings who reigned over Bengal and the
Mughal kings who had their royal seat at Delhi and who ruled India
frequently fought over cultivable land; and Bengal, being weak,
often lost the wars. Whenever Bengal lost a war, the Pathans took
refuge in Rakhine. During the reign of Akbar (1556-1605), Delhi
annexed Bengal in 1576 once and for all. At that time, many Pathans
of Gaur took refuge in Rakhine. As the Mughals were their common
enemy, the Rakhine king welcomed the Pathan refugees,
appointing some of them as officers and granting some of them
towns and villages in fief.
61
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 32-33)
4) . . . The army [?infantry] and cavalry were [formed with]
Muslims and were about 600 strong
62
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 33).

59
- - -
- - - (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 31).
60
- - -
D.G.E Hall (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 32)
61
- - -

(Akbar)
(-) ()

(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 32)
62
- - - () - - - (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 33)
74



5) . . . According to Francois Berniers record
63
and Father
Delaunoites [sic. Delaunoits] Catholic Encyclopedia
64
, [the number
of people] captured and brought back from Bengal from 1621 to
1624 amounted to forty-two thousand
65
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 33).
6) . . . the abbot [who is the author of the Dhinnyawadi
Ayedawbon] [says:] In King Anulons reign (AD 1246-1250), Kalas
[Indians/Muslims] and Thets banded together and rebelled; [the King
commanded his army] to crush them; then they escaped to Pasas
kingdom of Delhi. General Dhammazeyya captured half of the
Kalas. . . . The king had a total of forty-seven thousand five hundred
Kalas booked for future record, and grouped them into those for
serving the king, queens, princes, princesses and ministers and
officials.
66
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 34)
It also states that in each of the reigns of Kings Min Ba Gyi (1531-1553)
and Min Raza Gyi (1595-1613), four thousand Kala captives were brought
back from Thaungti island, and that when Min Raza Gyi led a military
expedition to Bago, he made his son Crown Prince Min Hkamaung lead a
force of fifty thousand Kala warriors to Thanlyin by way of Mawtin.
67
(Zaw
Min Htut 2001, 34)
The population of Muslims can be guessed at from the above records
of Rakhine authors. [The date when] these Muslims [?came to Rakhine] was
earlier than 1660 when Shah Shuja took refuge in Rakhine and later than
[?the arrival of] the warriors in the Rakhine royal archery. [I do not really

63
Franois Bernier 1916. Travel in the Mogul Empire (1656-1668 A.D.). London: Oxford Univ.
Press.
64
Leopold Delaunoit (1908).
65
Francois Bernier Father Delaunoite Catholic encyclopedia
() ( ) - - - (Zaw
Min Htut 2001, 33). Here again, Zaw Min Htut is quoting Delaunoit selectively (see fn. 69 [below]).
66
(-)
- - -

(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 34)
67
(-) (-)

(Zaw Min Htut 2001,
34)
75



understand this sentence] They must have been present-day Rohingyas
ancestors.
68
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 34-35)
A study of these excerpts indicates that Zaw Min Htut lays the foundation of his
work with the story of shipwrecked Arabs in excerpt 1. In 2, he implies that Muslims
migrated to Rakhine by misquoting Hall as saying that migrations occurred in Rakhine
and Bengal, so that the increase in Muslim population can be accounted for.
In excerpt 3, he makes up a story that many Pathans of Gaur took refuge in
Rakhine during Akbars reign. Akbars father Humayun (1530-1556) was a
contemporary of King Min Ba. When Humayun and Sher Shah were at war in Bengal,
King Min Ba had already reconquered the twelve towns of Bengal (since 1532). Akbar
incorporated the whole of western Bengal into his empire in 1584 and appointed Man
Singh as the governor of Bengal. However, Man Singh was unable to exercise control
over the territory to the east of the river Fenny. At that time Min Bas son Min Hpalaung
(1571-1593) was reigning in Rakhine.
As stated above, Muslims not only failed to enjoy the kings favour, but were
even oppressed as the tabaung kala ko shinpyu indicates. Zaw Min Htuts
unsubstantiated claim that many Pathans of Gaur took refuge in Rakhine and the
Rakhine king welcomed them and appointed them as officers and granted some of
them towns and villages in fief at such a time is preposterous. He is just making this
claim to inflate the Pathan Muslim population.
Zaw Min Htuts statement in excerpt 4 that there were about six hundred Muslim
warriors in King Siri Sudhammas reign is correct. However, it should be noted that there
were, in addition to Muslims, cavalrymen from Bago and Myanmar cavalrymen. It is
said that Siri Sudhamma had a Japanese samurai captain and foreign mercenaries in
his army (Collis 1958, 207-260).
That the Muslims captured and brought back from Bengal . . . amounted to
forty-two thousand (mentioned in excerpt 5) is an exaggeration.
69
Hall, citing
Manriques record, says that the number of slaves captured in India and brought to

68



(Ancestors) (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 35).
69
Delaunoit mentions the number of captives as 42,000 from Hindu and Muhammedan
villages and that 28,000 of them were baptized: . . . these Portuguese found it easier and more
effective to carry the war into the enemy's territory, and they began to make periodical raids on
the coasts of Bengal, carrying away whole populations of Hindu and Mohammedan villages.
Thus between 1621 and 1634 they brought back with them to Chittagong 42,000 slaves, of whom
the Augustinians baptized 28,000. They converted besides five thousand natives of the country,
called Mugs or Mogos. (Delaunoit 1908, 152)
76



Dianga, a Portuguese base near Chittagong, each year was about three thousand
four hundred (Hall 1950, 59). He does not say that they were sold in Rakhine or were
sold to the Dutch to work in the farms in Malaya and Indonesia, etc. Moreover, the
captives included both Muslims and Hindus. Zaw Min Htut just represents the slaves
captured in Bengal as Muslims and as being sent to Rakhine.
The statement in excerpt 6 that according to Dinnyawadi Ayedawbon, a total
of forty-seven thousand five hundred Kalas captured by King Anulon were divided
among the king, queens, princes, princesses and ministers and officials is verifiable
(Myanmar Min Mya Ayedawbon 1967 [Yangon: Nantha], 23).
The statement in excerpt 7 that Min Raza Gyi had fifty thousand Kala warriors
under him when he led a military expedition to Bago is correct. However, these warriors
were drafted by King Min Raza Gyi from the twelve towns of Bengal which were within
his domain; they did not settle in Rakhine. The order Min Raza Gyi issued is mentioned
in this treatise [ie the Dinnyawadi Ayedawbon] as follows: Make sure that Thet Min
Kaung Hla Hpru, the fief-holder of Linke, and the fief-holders of villages, together with
armed soldiers and the ships from the twelve towns, be ready and waiting along the
sea route. (Dinnyawadi Ayedawbon, in Myanmar Min Mya Ayedawbon 1967)
In the feudal period, myozas (persons who held towns in fief) and ywazas
(persons who held villages in fief) had to conscript men from the localities under their
charge as ordered by the king in times of war. The conscripts returned home after
doing their military service. It should be understood that the fifty thousand Kala warriors
Zaw Min Htut mentions also returned home.
Readers now have seen how Zaw Min Htut tries by interweaving truths and
untruths to imply that the Muslim population in Rakhine gradually increased from the
time of the shipwrecked Arabs (in excerpt 1) to the reign of King Min Razagyi (in excerpt
7). We still need to determine how reliable the Muslim populations of Rakhine in
different periods he gives are.
Muslim Population in King Bodawhpayas reign
Zaw Min Htut mentions the number of Muslims who settled in Rakhine in the
above excerpts (from Chapter 3 of his book) so that the Muslim population in the earlier
days would not differ greatly from that in present-day Rakhine. However, The Eastern
Frontier of British India, written by an Indian historian named Dr. A C Banerjee, negates
his efforts. Banerjee gives the population of Arakan in King Bodawhpayas reign as
100,000 (60,000 Rakhines [whom he refers to as Mags], 30,000 Muslims and 10,000
Bamars).
70
For this information, Banerjee cites Paton, the controller of civil affairs in

70
Zaw Min Htut himself quotes Robertson, commander of a British force, who reported on
12 July 1825, that the population of Rakhine at that time was about 100,000sixty thousand
Rakhine Buddhists and thirty thousand Muslims (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 74).
77



Arakan, who mentions the population when he submitted a detailed report about
Arakan to the government of British India a few months after the Yandabo treaty was
signed to end the First Anglo-Myanmar War in 1825. (Banerjee, 1946, 470-71)
According to this document, the population of Muslims in Rakhine in 1825 was
only 30,000, which must have included the Myedu Muslims Bodawhpaya brought with
him when he invaded Rakhine, Shah Shujas archers (the Kamans), the captives
brought back by Rakhine kings from their military expeditions to Bengal and the Muslims
captured and brought to Rakhine by pirates. Thus, the population of ancient Rakhine
Zaw Min Htut has mentioned is inaccurate and unreliable.
Zaw Min Htut also suggests that there must have been some Muslims among the
two hundred thousand Rakhine refugees as follows:
- - -



- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 42)
Translation:
. . . When Britain annexed Rakhine in 1825, those who fled to escape
war (as stated above) returned to Rakhine. . . . Some authors just mention
the Rakhines who remigrated from Bengal, omitting the Muslims who also
took flight, and highlight how the Muslim population increased in the colonial
era.
However, he was unable to provide evidence to substantiate this statement.
History professor Dr. Pearn (1933), citing Capt. Hiram Cox who was responsible for the
resettlement of the refugees, mentions only the Arakanese (Rakhines) who were
resettled. Collis and San Shwe Bu (1925) mention the number of the Arakanese
refugees as two hundred thousand, but their list conflicts with that in Pearns (1933)
paper.
71

Whatever was the number of the Rakhine refugees, the Muslim population in
Rakhine in King Bodawhpayas reign would only be about thirty thousand as
mentioned in Banerjees work.

71
However, Pearn, Collis and San Shwe Bu very likely use the word Arakanese to mean
the inhabitants of Arakan, and hence the refugees might include Muslims.
78



The Increase of Muslim Population in the Colonial Era
Zaw Min Htut is resentful that some scholars highlight how the Muslim
population increased in the colonial era. Those scholars do so to warn the Rakhines
of the threat of being absorbed by the Muslims. How the Muslim population increased
under the British rule is recorded by R B Smart (Government of Burma 1917).
When the British government annexed Rakhine and restored stability, Rakhine
refugees poured back into their own towns and villages. Smart gives the populations
of Akyab District from 1832 to 1911 as follows:
Table 6.Population of Akyab District (1832-1911)
Year Population Increase
1832 10,645 -
1842 130,034 21,389
1852 201,677 71,643
1862 227,231 25,554
1872 276,671 49,440
1881 359,706 83,035
1891 416,305 56,599
1901 481,666 65,361
1911 529,943 48,277
Source: Government of Burma 1917, 81.
Smart has come to the conclusion that the population rose because the persons who
were expelled by the Myanmar forces and who fled the country during Chin Byans
rebellion flocked back into Rakhine. He quotes Phayre who reported in 1840 as follows:
Numbers of descendants of those who fled in troublous times from their
country and settled in the southern part of Chittagong, the islands of the
coast, and even the Sunderbuns of Bengal are gradually returning; and
during the north-east monsoon boats filled with men, women and children,
with all their worldy goods, may be seen steering south along the eastern
coast of the Bay of Bengal to return to the land of their fathers abandoned
thirty or forty years before. . . . (qtd. in Government of Burma 1917, 81)
Thus, Phayre observed when the British administration was introduced in
Rakhine that the Rakhines had remigrated to the region. In later times, Muslims and
Hindus also were among those who immigrated to Rakhine. Maungdaw and
Buthidaung townships, into which Chittagonian Muslims poured in, became densely
populated. Smart gives the following table to show the fluctuations in population
density depending on the number of Chittagonians who migrated to Akyab district.
79



Table 7.Political Density of Towns/Townships in Akyab District
Town of Township
1891 1901 1911
Area Population Density Area Population Density Area Population Density
Akyab 6 37,938 6,323 6 35,680 5,947 6 37,893 6,316
Akyab 56 10,395 186 56 11,747 210 66 11,646 176
Rathedaung 1,269 92,933 73 361 53,020 147 361 56,789 157
Ponnagyun 704 44,700 63 704 49,555 70 783 51,805 66
Pauktaw 496 40,875 82 496 43,395 87 656 45,350 69
Minbya 480 33,505 74 480 41,653 87 899 47,795 53
Kyauktaw 370 45,186 122 370 53,303 144 562 58,820 99
Myohaung 1,329 43,366 33 1,329 49,978 87 567 58,032 102
Buthidaung ... ... ... 908 60,078 66 796 63,679 80
Maungdaw 426 65,407 154 426 83,247 195 440 101.134 230
District Total 5,136 416,305 81 5,136 481,666 9 5,136 529,943 103
Source: Government of Burma 1917, 82-83.
Smart explains the population density in the townships Akyab district in the
above table as follows:
. . . Since 1901 there has been an increase in population in each
township, the largest being in Maungdaw (21 per cent.), Myohaung (16
percent) and Minbya (14 per cent.). . . .
. . . The census is however taken when large numbers of coolies from
Chittagong happen to be in the town, the permanent population is
estimated not to exceed 25,000 souls. . . . Maungdaw township with 230
persons to the square mile is by far the most densely populated in the district.
It borders on Chittagong and the bulk of the inhabitants are
Chittagonians. . . . in Kyauktaw, where the Chittagonian population
increased from 13,987 in 1891 to 19,360 in 1911. . . . (Government of Burma
1917, 82-3)
Smart then gives the table of the population of Akyab District (by race) as
follows:
80



Table 8.Population of Akyab District (by Race)
Races 1872 1901 1911
Hindu
Mahomedan
Burmese
Arakanese
Shan
Hill Tribes -Chin, Taung tha Khami, Daingnet.
Others
2,655
58,225
4,632
171,612
334
38,577
606
14,455
154,887
35,751
239,649
80
35,489
1,355
14,454
178,647
92,185
209,432
59
34,020
1,146
Total 276,671 481,666 529,943
Source: Government of Burma 1917, 83.
This table indicates that the Bamar (Burmese) population considerably rose,
while the Rakhine population noticeably declined in 1911. It is not sure whether the
Rakhine population really decreased or it just appeared to have decreased because
some Rakhines indicated Bamar language as their mother tongue (Government of
Burma 1917, 84). Thus it is probable that only the number of persons recorded as
speaking Rakhine language decreased.
72

As regards the increase of Muhammadan population, Smart observes:
The Mahomedans, who in 1872 numbered 58,255, had by the year
1911 risen to 178,647. Many are men who come down for the working season
only from Chittagong and are included in the census returns, but are not,
properly speaking, inhabitants of the country. . . . Maungdaw township has
been overrun by Chittagonian immigrants. Buthidaung is not far behind and
new arrivals will be found in almost every part of the district. . . . (Government
of Burma 1917, 86-87)
Thus, Smarts observation highlights to the fact that the increase in Muhammadan
population was due to the influx of Chittagonians. Despite the so-called Rohingyas
claim that they are not Chittagonians, but are of Arab, Persian, Pathan and Moor
descent, Smarts firsthand observation of what happened clearly shows that they are
the descendants of the Bengali Muslims who migrated from Chittagong in the British
colonial era.
Zaw Min Htut refers to Banerjees (1946) statement on the population of Rakhine
and argues:

72
There is a large decline in the number of persons recorded as speaking Arakanese. It
is doubtful how far this is a genuine decrease caused by the spread of the Burmese language,
and how far it is a nominal decrease due to the cause which leads a Tavoyan to record his
language as Burmese. Both of these influences have probably had their effect. . . . (Morgan
Webb, Census of India, vol. 1, pt. 1; qtd in Government of Burma 1917, 84)
81



( )
( )




- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 43-44)
Translation:
The population of Rakhine in the early days of British occupation is
mentioned as 60,000 Rakhines and 30,000 Muslims; so the ratio was two
Rakhines to one Muslim. Among the peoples of present-day Rakhine too,
the number of Muslims is about half that of the Rakhines. The Muslim
population in Rakhine has not increased considerably now despite the
allegations that the people from Bengal migrated to Rakhine in the British
colonial era and the post-independence era. If there were some who
entered as has been alleged, they immigrated under the Foreigners Act of
1864.
73
They were/are not connected with the indigenous ethnic Rohingyas.
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 43-44)
However, Zaw Min Htut cannot negate the firsthand observation of Smart.
Smart does not mention the Rohingyas whom Zaw Min Htut describes as indigenous
ethnic Rohingyas. It is therefore obvious that the Rohingyas had not existed yet in the
colonial era. We have also learnt that of the Muhammadans mentioned in the above
table, those in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships were Chittagonians and that
there were Chittagonians who had recently immigrated in all the townships in Sittwe
district.
Moreover, Yegar does not mention Rohingya when he gives the racial groups
of the Muslims in Myanmar for the colonial era in his MA thesis as follows:
In the 1921 census, 500592 Muslims were counted, of a total population
of 13168099 in Burma; this is 3.8 percent of the total population. Of the 500592
Muslims, 314527 were male, and 186065 were female
2
.
Almost a fourth of the Muslims in Burma were listed as Burman-Muslims,
which category embraced the Zerbadees [a person of mixed Burmar and
Muslim descent]; Arakanese Muslims; the Kamans of Arakan, who were

73
The official text of this act (in English) can be downloaded from <http://www.
refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?page=search&docid=3ae6b54c4&skip=0&query=
Foreigners%20Act&coi=MMR> (accessed on 15 May 2014)
82



counted separately from the rest of the Muslims of Arakan; Panthays; Malays;
and a number of people who called themselves Burmans by race and
Muslims by religion. . . .
74

. . . In the 1931 census, too, many Arakanese Muslims claimed Bengali
as their mother tongue; the same is true of those in the regions of Chittagong
and Sandoway, although the Zerbadees usually indicated Burmese or
Arakanese (depending on where they lived) as their mother tongue
6
.
. . .
Among the Indian Muslims listed there were Chulia, Lebbais, Moplah,
Kaka (from the Malabar region, in 1931 numbering 10012, most of them
Hindus), Telugu, Deccanis, Gujerati, Soorti, Chittagong, and others1. The
Burmese Muslim groupings included Zerbadees, Arakanese Muslims,
Kamans, and Myedu. . . . (Yegar 1972, 118-120)
Thus, Yegar mentions the names Kaman, Chittagong, etc., but not
Rohingya, and says that the Muslims regarded Bamar, Rakhine or Bengali as their
mother tongue. Rohingya, as an ethnic group or as a language, did not exist in the
British colonial period. It was coined only after Myanmar regained independence by
Muslim intellectuals like Gaffar and Ba Tha.
75
Zaw Min Htut is just echoing their views
that the so-called Rohingyas are indigenous ethnic Rohingyas.

74
I think Khaine Mra Wa should have at least referred to tables 1 and 2 in Yegars work.
Yegar, Table 1. The Muslims of Burma by Countries of Origin 1921 and Table 2. The Muslims of
Burma by Countries of Origin 1931 (Yegar 1972, 134).
75
Here, Yegars discussions on the population of Muslims in Buthidaung and Maungdaw
area during Mujahid rebellion deserves mention:
. . . Today the Arakanese Muslims call themselves Rohinga or Roewengyah. This
name is used more by the Muslims of North Arakan (Mayu region) where most of the
Muslims - approximately 300000 - are concentrated, than by those living near Akyab.
(Yegar 1972, 25). For the names Rohinga and Roewengyah, he cites Ba Tha (1960) as his
source (Yegar 1972, 25, fn. 3).
Writers and poets appeared amongst the Arakanese Muslims, especially during
the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries; and there were even some Muslim court poets at
the courts of the Arakanese kings. These poets and writers wrote in Persian and Arabic or
in the mixed language, Rohinga, which they developed among themselves and which
was a mixture of Bengali, Urdu, and Arakanese. This language is not as widespread today
as it was in the past and it has been largely replaced by Burmese and Arakanese. These
artists also developed the art of calligraphy. Some manuscripts have been preserved but
have not yet been scientifically examined. Miniature painting in Mogul style also flourished
in Arakan during this period. The Muslims who came to Arakan brought with them Arab,
Indian, and especially Bengalese music and musical instruments. Persian songs are sung
by Arakanese Muslims to this day. (Yegar 1972, 25).
83



Now, let us revert to the increase of Muslim population mentioned by Smart.
There were three reasons for the influx of Bengali Muslims into Akyab district from
Chittagong.
First, the British government allowed the Hindus and Muslims of India to
immigrate to Rakhine without any restrictions for administrative and economic reasons,
and this led to the influx of Chittagonians to Akyab district, which abutted on
Chittagong district.
The second reason is connected with the opening of the Suez Canal. History
Professor Dr. Kyaw Thet has remarked that Changes in Myanmar economy began in
1871, after the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt (Kyaw Thet 1961, 457). He states:
The most important feature of Myanmars economic development was
the advance in cultivation and export of rice. The volume of rice production
and exports increased considerably only after the opening of the Suez
Canal. (Kyaw Thet 1961, 63)
Rice cultivation was expanded in Rakhine, and the Rakhine economy throve. Forest
land was reclaimed to expand cultivated area every year. This created a tremendous
demand for manual labour for agricultural operations: for clearing forests to reclaim
land, for excavating earth, for building earthworks, and for harvesting rice. Therefore,
farmers hired cheap Chittagonian labourers, who flooded in during the cultivation and
harvesting seasons. Of those Chittagonian labourers, only some returned home,

The sources Yegar cites for this paragraph, except for the first sentence, are Ba Tha 1961,
Rowengya Fine Arts, Guardian Monthly (Rangoon) 8 (February): 20-22; and M K Rahman 1953,
Burma Muslims, Annual Magazine (Rangoon University Muslim Students Association) 1-3. As
mentioned above (see on page 27), the authors they claim as Rohingyas were Bengalis and
scholars regard their works as Bengali works.
There are no authenticated figures. According to the 1931 census, there were
130524 Muslims in the regions of Maungdaw and Buthidaung. A significant section of
these were not Arakanese Muslims, called Rohingas (see above, p. 25) - but Chittagongs
who came from Bengal with the annual stream of immigrating cheap labor brought by
landowners and merchants. Many of them remained and settled in Arakan. A great
number of changes took place in the composition of the Arakan population during and
after the war, and there are no reliable figures even today. Arakanese Muslim
personalities indicate their number as being between 300000 and 500000 (Nation, May
17, 1961; Maung Ko Gaffari, The Rohingyas of Arakan, Times Mirror Magazine, I, no. 5
[1957-58], 47), estimates exploited, apparently, to aid them in their argumentations, but
which are not based upon fact or count, for no such count was ever made. The New York
Times, of March 21, 1952, cites 400000 to 500000 Muslims in Arakan (Thompson and Adloff,
op. cit., p. 154). In the 1953 census of urban population in Burma, it was found that
Buddhists constituted 70 percent and Muslims 22 percent; that is 21152 Muslims out of
95101 (Union of Burma, First Stage Census, 1953, Vol. I, Population and Housing [Rangoon,
Superintendent, Government Printing and Stationery, 1957], pp. xxvi, 62-63). On the other
hand, the majority of the Muslim population of Arakan was rural (see Appendix A).
(Yegar 1972, 95, fn. 1)
84



whereas others settled in Rakhine. This was what had led to the annual increase of
Muslim population in Akyab district.
Thirdly, the Rakhines avoided doing hard manual farm work whenever they
could. This led those who expanded cultivated area to hire cheap Chittagonian
Muslims. This also is one of the causes of the growth of Muslim population.
Chittagonian Muslims poured into Akyab district for these reasons, and their
numbers were highest in the frontier regions of Maungdaw and Buthidaung. The history
of the Muslims in those two townships will be discussed briefly here.
True History of the Muslims of Maungdaw Township
Maungdaw township, like today, was a frontier region in King Bodawhpayas
reign. Naaf River served as the border. Myanmar and British forces garrisoned on the
east and west banks of the river, respectively. Chin Byan, having gathered followers
and procured arms in the British territory, often crossed the river and attacked the
Myanmar forces, leading to the depopulation of the Myanmar territory on the east
bank of the Naaf River.
Desiring to populate the area, the Myanmar governor of Rakhine granted some
plots of land to Chittagonians in 1792 as Banerjee describes as follows:
In 1792 some Muhammadans of Chittagong crossed the Naf and
obtained some plots of land from the Governor of Arakan. They purchased
800 bullocks and 95 buffaloes under the pretence of employing them in
cultivation. At the end of the year, however, they returned to Chittagong
with the animals. The Governor of Arakan complained to the Magistrate of
Chittagong, who realised the sum of one thousand rupees from the
offenders and sent the money to the Governor as compensation. (Banerjee
1946, 133)
The source Banerjee cites
76
is the earliest extant document concerning the migration
of Chittagonian Muslims to Maungdaw region in King Bodawhpayas reign.
How the Muslims of Chittagong later migrated to Maungdaw is described in the
records of U Maung Nyo, the kyon-ok
77
of Maungdaw circle, which have been
published by Langham-carter (1938) in the Journal of the Burma Research Society
(Rangoon) 28.2.
The oldest of the records is the letter from Robertson (Commissioner for the
Management of Civil Affairs) to his deputy, and later successor, Paton in 1826. In this
letter, Robertson recommended Maung Nyo for the position of kyun-ok because he

76
Political Consultations of the Government of Bengal, April 25, 1794, No. 14, preserved in
the Imperial Record Department, New Delhi.
77
Kyun-ok is the designation of an administrative officer in charge of a circle.
85



had served with the British forces in the Rakhine battlefield in 1824-25. In another letter,
Robertson reported that he had appointed Kyun-ok Maung Nyos son Aung Hpru as
kyun-ok on 17 September 1860 (the 3
rd
day of the waning of Moon, 1223 ME) because
Aung Hpru had collected up to 7,193 rupees in revenue, his father Maung Nyo, having
become the kyun-ok of Sinmahpyu in 1827, had collected 700 rupees in revenue, and
because he had invited Chittagonians and founded villages for them with a view to
increasing revenue. (Langham-carter 1938)
According to the Gazetteer of Burma: Akyab District, vol. B (Government of
Burma 1921), there were 148 villages, 20,901 households and 118,205 persons in
Maungdaw township in 1921. Of these villages, there were 46 villages with no Buddhists
or with no more than ten Buddhists per village, 19 villages with no Muslims or with no
more than ten Muslims per village, and 121 villages in which Rakhines and Muslims lived
side by side. Of more than a hundred thousand inhabitants, only 22,762 persons were
Buddhists, while 90,714 were Chittagonian Muslims (a ratio of about 1 to 4).
(Government of Burma 1921, 47-51)
Observing the steady increase of Chittagonian population, Smart warns:
This township is a narrow strip of country lying between the Mayu hills
and the Naaf river Its area is 440 square miles and the population in 1911 was
1,31,134, giving a density of 230 per square mile, the highest in the district. . . .
Of the total population no less than 77 per cent are Chittagonians. The influx
from Chittagong is still continuing gradually driving the natives of Arakan
further east. The indolent Arakanese cannot hold out against these hard
working and thrifty people, and if the former continue in their idle,
extravagant ways it will not be long before the whole of the Akyab district
will be in the hands of the Chittagonians as is the case at present in the
Maungdaw township. (Government of Burma 1917, 232)
This was what Smart warned the Rakhines in 1917. Although the Akyab District
(now Sittwe District) is still not in the hands of the Chittagonian Muslims now, the early
days of the 21
st
century, the Chittagonian Muslims are trying to multiply and absorb the
Rakhines by various means. Zaw Min Htuts purpose in presenting the Muslim population
is to turn not only the Sittwe District, but the entire Rakhine coastal region into a
Rohingya land.
Chittagonian Muslims flocked not only into Maungdaw township, but also into
Buthidaung township, and how they immigrated into Buthidaung township will be
discussed here.
The True History of the Muslims in the Buthidaung District
Buthidaung township is adjacent to Maungdaw township. The two townships
are separated by the Mayu range. However, there are many passes. A railway line
connecting the two townships (now replaced by a road) was opened in 1919, and
86



people travelled constantly between these two townships. Buthidaung was another
township in which Chittagonians came and settled. According to the census of 1921
(Government of Burma 1921), the population of Buthidaung township was 78,497:
29,594 Buddhists and 42,854 Muslims.
There is no documentary evidence as to when the Chittagonian migration to
Buthidaung area began. The census of 1901 is the earliest extant document recording
the existence of Chittagonians in Buthidaung. Moreover, there is a book entitled
Kodwe Meyu Mye Hnint Rohingya [Meyu land and the Rohingyas: a first-hand
observation], written by San Tun Aung (fl. 1899-1985), a native of Buthidaung and a
Rakhine politician in the British colonial era and in the post-independence era. He
relates how the Chittagonians settled in Buthidaung area from 1904 onwards in his work.
San Tun Aung (1969) states that there were 124 Rakhine and 11 Kala villages in
Buthidaung township in 1905. By 1942, Kalas had settled in forty-two Rakhine villages.
What was the cause of this sharp increase in the Chittagonian Muslim population? San
Tun Aung observes that the increase was due to the political changes involving the
separation of Burma from India in 1937 as follows:
. . . In 1935 the British parliament decided to separate Burma from India.
Accordingly, Indian political leader ?Mr. Sircar
78
and party and Galon U
Saw's regime [met] and pre-concluded an immigration-emigration
agreement [ie ?concluded a provisional immigration-emigration
agreement], which stipulated that the enforcement of forthcoming
immigration-emigration laws of Burma were to be suspended for three years
from the day of the signing of the agreement.
Our wish was to put the immigration-emigration law into effect as soon
as Burma was separated from India, and put a stop to [Indian] immigration.
However, as the aforesaid agreement was not an agreement signed after
canvassing public opinion and as the legislative council had already ratified
the agreement signed by the two countries, our wish meant nothing.
As soon as the negotiations on the separation of Burma from India
began, Kalas flooded [our region] as if Chittagong district had collapsed.
Streets, ports and towns and the road connecting Maungdaw and
Buthidaung were overcrowded with Kalas. There was an influx of Kalas.
These immigrants were the Kalas who formerly had come to [Buthidaung] to
harvest rice or to do other odd jobs. The Kalas who usually came for
harvesting rice and returned home later, worrying that they would not be
allowed to enter [Buthidaung] or return home [in the future], migrated to
[Buthidaung] under the protection of U Saw-Sircar Agreement. . . . As the
Kalas flooded in for three years, Kala villages sprang up in the localities at
the foot of hills and at the edge of cultivated land. The existing Kala villages

78
I'm not sure about the spelling because the name is in Burmese.
87



also grew two or three times in size. Some Kalas settled in sparsely populated
Rakhine villages.
As we had been enslaved by the British colonialists and as the current
government led by U Saw had agreed, we had no right to say anything. We
just had to watch from the sidelines. As all the district-level officers were
Britishers, none of them would take any action; and they could not take any
action either as the agreement had permitted [the Kalas] immigration [into
Burma]. (San Tun Aung, 1969)
British authorities noticed that hordes of Chittagonian Muslims had been
migrating into Burma without let or hindrance and realized that this could pose a threat
to local Rakhine Buddhists. Therefore, the British government formed a commission to
inquire into the Indian immigration into Burma in 1939.
79
In this commission, Mr. James
Baxter, Financial Adviser, served as commissioner and U Tin Htut and Mr. Ratilal Desai
(Professor of History, Rangoon University) served as assessors (Government of Burma
1941, vii). The Indian population in Rakhine is given in Chapter 7 of the report of this
commission as follows:
80

Arakan Division
Total Population 1,000,538
Indian Population 217,801
The Distribution of Indian Population (by District)
Akyab District 210,990
Arakan Hill Tracts 500
Kyaukpyu District 4,321
Sandoway District 1,990
Total 217,801
The population of Akyab District was 637,580, the number of Indians there was
210,990, or about 97% of the Indian population in Arakan. Thus
According to the census of 1931, there were 71,306 Indians in Akyab District,
and of them 69,461 were occupied as follows:
Occupation Number
Agriculture 42,947
Clerical workers 744

79
The report was presented to the government in October 1940 and published in 1941
(Government of Burma 1941. Report on Indian Immigration. By James Baxter. Rangoon: Govt.
Printing).
80
Translators note.Here, I am quoting Government of Burma 1941, even though Khine
Mra War has excerpted part of it from Hla Tun Hpru 1976. Rakhine Pyine Sibwaye Bandataik
(Rangoon: Zabe).
88



Occupation Number
Craftsmen 3,347
Unskilled and semi-skilled labourers 16,429
Traders and shop assistants 5,994
Total 69,461
Of the male earners engaged in agriculture, 9,442 were cultivating
landowners, 12,848 were cultivating tenants and 19,436 were agricultural
labourers. . . . 5,570 of the agricultural labourers were born outside Burma. . . .
In 1930-31 the then Director of Public Health reckoned that in a normal
year not less than 40,000 coolies entered the Akyab District from
Chittagong. . . . It is hard to believe that anything like an annual influx of
40,000 Chittagonians could find work as harvesters, or indeed as anything
else, in Arakan which at the 1931 Census returned a total number of male
earners of all races and in all occupationns of only 251,945. . . .
69. Eight Arakanese witnesses, seven of whom were members of the
Legislature, maintained that Chittagonian penetration in Arakan is steadily
continuing and is resented not only by the Arakanese proper but also by the
settled Chittagonians. . . . The view was expressed that it was inadvisable to
let Chittagonian immigration go unchecked as it contained the seed of
future of communal troubles. All the witnesses agreed that immigration from
Chittagonng should be restricted. . . . (Government of Burma 1941, 49-51)
Thus, waves of Indian immigration had concerned the British authorities and led them
to form a commission to look into this issue; however they could take no action due to
the outbreak of World War II.
A study of the report of the commission indicates that the majority of the Muslims
who are now living in Rakhine State, especially in the Sittwe District, are descendants
of the Chittagonian Bengalis who immigrated during the British colonial era. Although
the authorities anticipated that the influx of Bengalis would lead to the eruption of
racial violence in the future, they were unable to deal with the problem in time. A riot
between Kalas and Rakhines erupted during World War II. The wounds of this race riot
were too severe that the Rakhines never fully recovered. This will be discussed in
Chapter 6.
Zaw Min Htuts assertions in Chapter 4 that the Rakhines became Muslims and
that there were hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Rakhine in the old days suggest
that he is trying to portray the Muslims in present-day Rakhine as indigenous ethnic
Muslims. However, Banerjees statement that there were only about 30,000 Muslims in
Rakhine when Britain annexed it in 1826 shows that Zaw Min Htuts claims are not well-
founded. Additionally, Smart gives a first-hand account of how the population of
Chittagonian Bengalis increased during the British colonial era and warns that Rakhines
could eventually be absorbed by them (see above). The report of the inquiry
commission also records that the British authorities had taken note of the steady
89



increase in Chittagonian population in the Akyab District and had anticipated racial
disharmony and violence and recommended that their immigration be put to a stop.
All this indicates that Zaw Min Htuts statements are just attempts to disguise the fact
that the majority of the Muslims in present-day Rakhine are Chittagonian Bengalis and
their descendants.
Zaw Min Htut Who Misquotes U Thein Hpe Myint
We have exposed Zaw Min Htuts fabrication that the so-called Rohingya
Muslims had their own language and literature distinct from Bengali language and
literature in Chapter 2. However, he again alludes to the existence of Rohingya
language in Chapter 4, under the sub-heading entitled Differences between
Rohingyas and Bengalis.
He describes Rohingya traditional dress as follows:
- - -


- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 45)
Translation:
. . . [The Rohingyas] dress differs from that of the Bengalis, who wear
long shirts without tucking them into their lower garments. The Rohingyas, in
contrast, wear Bamar-style shirts, tucked into their longyis [traditional skirt-like
garments still worn by most Bamars]. Bengali women wear saris, whereas
Rohingya women wear long-sleeved blouses similar to those worn by Bamar
women.
Thus, Zaw Min Htuts opinion is that the difference in dress is an indication of the
difference in ethnicity. However, dress is not important in determining the ethnicity of
a group of people, because their culture may have been influenced by that of another
ethnic group. One would not become a EuropeanBritisher, Frenchman, etc., just by
wearing coats and trousers like them. We need to study the language, religious faith,
marriage customs, etc. which represent the ethnic character of the people to find out
the similarities and differences between different ethnic groups.
The Muslims who now call themselves Rohingyas and the Chittagonian Bengali
Muslims share a common language. Although Zaw Min Htut says that the Rohingya
language evolves from a blend of Arabic, Parsi, Urdu, Bengali and Rakhine, the
censuses conducted in the British colonial period highlight to the fact that the Muslims
in Akyab District were Chittagonians who spoke Bengali. Present-day Muslims in Sittwe
District also are Chittagonian Bengali speakers, and there is no doubt that their customs
would conform to the teachings of Islam.
90



As regards Rohingya traditional dress, Zaw Min Htut has misquoted Thein Hpe
Myints (1978) Mrohaung Hma Paletwa Tho [From Mrohaung to Paletwa], in the
Ahtettan Pinyin Zagabye Letywezin [High-school Bamar prose] as follows:
()



(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 46)
Translation:
That man would only be about 25 years of age. He was wearing a dark
blue taungshe pahso [a traditional lower garment worn by Bamar men] and
a htamathein-style shirt [a hip-length upper garment worn by Bamar
?women]. He also wore a white turban, and had a moustache. When U Tun
Win and he spoke in Rakhine, I didnt understand them. When I asked Ko
Tun Win about that man [later], I learnt that he was one of us, a Rakhine
Rohingya Muslim.
The word Rohingya in the last sentence is not in Thein Hpe Myints text; it is
inserted by Zaw Min Htut. However, Zaw Min Htut cannot deceive those who had to
study that textbook in high school between 1967 and 1980 by misquoting the late Thein
Hpe Myints article.




Review of Chapter 5
Zaw Min Htut claims in Chapter 3 that the Muslims in Rakhine have been living there for
centuries and that they include some Rakhines (who have converted to Islam). In
Chapter 4, he discusses how the Muslim population in Rakhine was high even in the
Mrauk-oo period, how the Muslim population increased in the successive periods and
how the Muslims in colonial-era Rakhine were descendants of those Muslims. In
Chapter 5, he relates how those Muslims spread to Myanmar proper from Rakhine. Let
us examine his claims.
The Spread of Muslims Based on the Story of Shipwrecked Arabs
In Chapter 5, Zaw Min Htut cites Lt. Col. Win Maungs Thathana Yaungwa
Htunzebo [For the promotion of the Sasana] under the subheading Union of Myanmar
and Islam and says: Islam was introduced into Myanmar about 1300 years ago, ie
circa AD 700, when shipwrecked Arab, Persian and Roman traders settled along the
coast of Rakhine
81
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 47). He expands this story as follows:
(-)



- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 49)
Translation:
It is learnt that many ships were wrecked near the island of Yanbye in
the reign of King Maha Taing Candra (AD 788-810) of Rakhine, that the king
settled the shipwrecked sailors who professed Islam in villages. There were
similar incidents of shipwrecks in the old days in the port towns, such as
Kyaukhpru, Pathein, Thanlyin, Mottama and Myeit. . . .
Yegar, however, assumes that the earliest date when the Muslims came to
Myanmar was around the 9
th
century AD. Citing Chinese travelers records, he suggests
that there were trade colonies in Myanmar and Yunnan in AD 860. He believes that
Muslim traders might have visited the southern coasts of Myanmar on their way to

81
- - - () ()

- - - (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 47)
92



China. Persian traveler Ibn Khurdadbeh and Arab traveler Sulaiman, both of the 9
th

century AD, and Persian traveler Ibn al-Faqih of the 10
th
century AD mention southern
Myanmar in their records. This leads Yegar to speculate that Muslim trade colonies had
been established in Bago by that time. According to him, southern Myanmar, or more
precisely, the coastal regions of Arakan, the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, Bago and the coastal
regions of Tanintharyi were known to the Muslim sailors who travelled in the eastern
waters. (Yegar 1972, 2)
Myanmar historian Ba Shin, in contrast, believes:
. . . as far as the seaways are concerned, the ties between Islam and
Buddhist Burma were very limited. In the tenth century the Arabs and the
Persians knew little about the regions north of the ports of Sumatra, except
for the Andaman Islands (Ba Shin 1961, Coming of Islam to Burma, down to
1700 A. D., Lecture before Asian History Congress (Unpublished, New Delhi);
qtd. in Yegar 1972, 3).
Thus, these scholars disagree as to the date when Muslim travelers arrived in the coastal
regions of Myanmar.
Yegar goes on to say that Shwehpyin brothers, two sons of an Arab trader, who
came to Myanmar in the Pagan period are the earliest Muslims mentioned in the
Myanmar chronicles (1972, 2), that the Mon king Razadarit (1385-1423) was able to
conquer Dagon only with the help of Muslim sailors (1972, 9), and that when Tabinshweti
(1531-1550) seized the port of Martaban in 1541, many Muslims took active part in the
defense of the town (1972, 10).
Yegar continues to discuss how the Bamar kings of the sixteenth century settled
the Muslims near Myedu in present-day Shwebo district, Upper Myanmar. Those villages
are still in existence. Most of those Indians had been war captives, captured during the
reigns of successive kings. The earliest Muslims settled in Myedu were the ones who
defended Bago in 1539 and 1599. Among them were the Muslims captured when King
Tabinshwehti invaded Rakhine in 1546. King Anaukhpetlun (1605-1628), when he
conquered Thanlyin, took captive De Brito and the Muslims who had assisted the latter.
They were resettled in Myedu and surrounding localitiesSagaing, Yamethin and
Kyaukse. When King Sane invaded Thandwe in 1707, thousands of Muslim captives
were brought back to Myanmar. In 1708, three thousand Muslims from Rakhine
migrated to Myedu. They were settled in Shwebo, Yamethin and Taungoo districts.
(Yegar 1972, 11)
The Rakhine chronicle relates that the Rakhine Royal Guard and the Kaman
archers joined forces and rebelled in King Canda Vijayas reign, and that three
thousand Muslims from Thandwe escaped to Myedu when the Rakhine king smashed
the rebellion. It is also said that they were captives brought back from Thaungti island
when King Min Ba conquered the twelve towns of Bengal (Candamalalankara [1931],
93



2.68, 248). The Muslims King Min Ba captured in Thaungti island presumably were the
ones who fled in King Canda Vijayas reign.
A comparison of Zaw Min Htuts and Yegars discussions shows that Zaw Min
Htuts statements are unsupported by evidence; they are pure speculations. He says
that there were similar incidents of shipwrecks in the old days in the port towns such
as Kyaukhpru, Pathein, Thanlyin, Mottama and Myeit without giving evidence (Zaw
Min Htut 2001, 49). This is nonsense. Kyaukhpru was a colonial-era town founded only
in 1838, while Thanlyin became well known only because a Portuguese named De Brito
rebelled against King Min Yazagyi of Rakhine and King Anaukhpetlun of Myanmar with
his naval forces. They did not exist in the old days as mentioned by Zaw Min Htut.
As a matter of fact, the Arab and Persian seafarers of the 9
th
and 10
th
centuries
only refer to the coastal regions in a very general way. They never give the names of
specific localities. Also, Yegar only suggests that the localities mentions in the travelers
records were probably located in the Ayeyarwaddy delta or along the Tanintharyi or
Mottama coast.
Moreover, Zaw Min Htut discusses:



- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 51)
Translation:
. . . as the followers of Islam settled [in Rakhine] because their ships were
wrecked, as the Arab and Persian traders established trade centres and as
they moved on to pastures new, they spread all over Myanmar. (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 51)
In this way, he claims that the Muslims who call themselves Rohingyas and who are now
living in various parts of Myanmar (Kachin, Karen and Mon States, Ayeyarwaddy, Bago,
Yangon divisions, etc) for various reasons are the descendants of the Muslims who
entered Myanmar in the ancient times.
However, it should be noted here that the prisoners the Bamar kings captured
in wars and Muslim refugees were not allowed to move to greener pastures. As pointed
out by Yegar, the Bamar kings took care to distribute the Muslim settlers in small groups
and in many villages so as to prevent the formation of a strong Muslim force which
might constitute a threat to the kingdom (Yegar 1972,12).
It can be learnt from Yegars discussion that in the monarchical days the
Muslims spread over various districts in Myanmar and their population was not high.
94



Additionally, they lived side by side with the Bamars and assimilated to the culture of
the Bamar Buddhists; they became Bamar in all respects except in religion. The Bamars
called them Myedu Muslims, Bamar Muslims or Pathi Kalas. They were not connected
with the Chittagonians who immigrated into Myanmar in the British colonial era. To
conceal how those Chittagonians spread all over Myanmar, Zaw Min Htut states that
Rakhine became a bulwark of Islam, and Muslims peacefully spread to various parts
of Myanmar
82
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 52), and that When the Rakhines migrated to Lower
Myanmar in 1599 (during King Min Razagyis reign), many Muslims followed them; in
other words, Muslims spread to various parts of Myanmar via Rakhine
83
(Zaw Min Htut
2001, 54). Here, he is implying that all the Muslims in present-day Myanmar have
descended from the Muslims who were in Myanmar in the reigns of Myanmar kings.
When he refers to the Muslims who came to Lower Myanmar in 1599, Zaw Min
Htut probably means the fifty thousand warriors from the twelve towns of Bengal who
were pressed into military service temporarily in King Min Razagyis reign. He refers to
them as the ancestors of present-day Rohingyas as if they remained in Rakhine (Zaw
Min Htut 2001, 35). Now, he is saying that they were able to migrate to various parts of
Myanmar, as if they stayed behind in Myanmar. Thus, he is implying that those fifty
thousand warriors who returned to the twelve towns of Bengal after completing their
military service in King Min Razagyis reign remained behind in Rakhine and Myanmar.
His intention is to claim that the Chittagonian Muslims who migrated into Myanmar in
the British colonial era and those who entered Myanmar illegally via Rakhine in recent
times were the Muslims who had been living in Myanmar from ancient times. From this,
he very likely intends to refer to those Chittagonian Muslims as Rohingyas and claim
that there are millions of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. I believe the readers would
have noticed that Zaw Min Htut has stated in Chapter 4 that it is learnt that there were
millions of Muslims (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 40).

82
- - -
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 52)
83
- - -
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 54)




Review of Chapter 6
Zaw Min Htut quotes the Ananda Candras Inscription in Wethali in Chapter 6 to show
that some Sanskrit words are akin to Rohingya words; and, as has been discussed
above (in Review of Chapter 2, see on page 41), his attempt to mislead readers has
backfired on him. Moreover, in connection with this inscription, he claims that the
Rohingyas had their own literature. However, as pointed out in my Review of Chapter
2, Qanungo and Leider mention the literary works cited by Zaw Min Htut as Bengali
works. Now, Ill review his other fabrications in Chapter 6: Rohingyas Participation in
the Anti-Colonialist Movement, Race Riots During the War and in 1942, and The
Origins of the Mujahid Movement.
Portrayal of All the Muslims in Rakhine as Rohingyas
Zaw Min Htut introduces the section entitled Rohingyas Participation in the
Anti-Colonialist Movement in Chapter 6 with his lamentation:


(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 61)
Translation:
It is disheartening that the role played by the Rohingyas in the anti-
colonialist struggle does not receive much attention. If we study the matter
carefully, [we will see that] the role played by the Rohingyas was not
insignificant.
He then says that the headmaster of the national high school in Akyab was a
Rohingya named U Zindondin [?Zainuddin], and refers to Thiripyanchi U Ba Sein, U Ba
Shin (BSc.) (who was a leader in the first student boycott), and U Tun Sein (BSc., BL) (who
was the first chairman of the University Students Union) as Rohingyas from Thandwe
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 61). In fact, they were Myedu Muslims from Thandwe. The Muslims
from Thandwe are descendants of the Muslims brought from Myedu during King
Bodawhpayas reign, and they only speak Bamar language. They do not know the
Bengali dialect spoken by Chittagonians. Furthermore, as there were no Rohingyas in
the colonial era, Zaw Min Htuts claim that U Zindondin [?Zainuddin] and the Myedu
Muslims from Thandwe were Rohingyas clearly is a barefaced lie.
Then, he describes U Hpo Khine, a very well-known Kaman Muslim lawyer, of
Akyab and daughter Daw Aye Nyunt as Rohingya nationalists, failing to acknowledge
the Kamans. It does not seem that the late U Hpo Khine would have wanted to be
mistaken as a Rohingya. The Kamans, who were royal archers and who came to
96



Rakhine with Shah Shuja, a Mughal prince, during King Canda Sudhammas reign i n
the Mrauk-oo period, would not want to be mistaken as Chittagonians who had
immigrated during the British colonial era and who had entered Rakhine illegally in the
post-independence era. U Hpo Khine always lost whenever he contested a
parliamentary seat in Buthidaung constituency because he did not get any vote from
the Bengali-speaking Muslims as he could not speak the Chittagonian Bengali dialect.
The Causes of 1942 Race Riot
Zaw Min Htut discusses in Chapter 6, under a subheading entitled World War II
Era and the Race Riot of 1942, as follows:
- - - -
- - -
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 63)
Translation:
. . . As everything that happened during the Muslim Rakhine riot involved
racial and political matters, it is necessary for writers to present these without
exaggeration or partiality. . . .
However, his discussion is full of falsehoods. He was very economical with the truth.
In presenting the causes of the Rakhine Kala riot of 1942, he has left out the
main causes and accuses that the Rakhines were the ones who began the riot. He
says:
- - -

( )


- - -
- - - -
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001,
63)
97



Translation:
. . . Indians of various races [from Myanmar] . . . escaped via Rakhine by
land along the Taunggoke route or by water. At that time (on the eve of
war), anarchy prevailed in the large towns in Rakhine. Robberies, assaults
and murders were rampant. Fanatical Rakhine youths in the localities in
which Rakhines were predominant played a leading role [in these
attacks]. . . .
. . .
. . . It is learnt that the Muslim Rakhine riot began in Retchaung, Panhka
and Paing in Myebon township and Panmyaungyi town in Minbya township
around March 1942.
Thus, he alleges that Rakhine youths caused the race riot when Rakhine plunged into
anarchy due to World War II, seemingly failing to take into account the racial tension
between Rakhines and Chittagonian Muslims before the war spilt over into India and
Burma. The basic cause of the riot was British governments giving permission to
Chittagonian Muslims to migrate into Myanmar without any restrictions or, in other
words, the rapid increase of Indian Muslim population in Myanmar. As has been
explained above, the inquiry commission headed by financial expert James Baxter had
predicted in 1940 that failure to curb the steady increase of Muslim population could
lead to race riots (Government of Burma 1941).
Yegar has discussed that the Myanmar Buddhists resented that the Indian
immigration in the British colonial era had led to the increase of the Zerbadees (persons
of mixed Muslim and Bamar descent), which in turn had given rise to a new class with
a different religion and culture in their midst. This brought about tension between the
immigrant Indians and indigenous peoples of Myanmar. Then, the publication of a
book written by a Muslim named Maung Shwe Hpi which reviled Buddhism sparked off
an anti-Indian riot. In July 1938, a large group of people held an anti-Muslim rally at the
Shwedagon pagoda. Despite the governments attempts to contain it, the riot not
only continued in Yangon, but spread to Yenangyaung, Mandalay, Sagaing and
Shwebo. The government formed a committee to inquire into the matter. The
committee found that although the immediate cause was the publication of Maung
Shwe Hpis book, the underlying causes were political, economic, and social and not
religious. It reported its finding that the continuing immigration of Indians had
concerned the Bamars, especially in Lower Myanmar. (Yegar 1972, 38)
Based on these findings, the committee headed by James Baxter
recommended that Indian immigration should be curbed (Government of Burma
1941). A law was passed in 1941 to restrict immigration. However, as Yegar has stated,
Japanese forces invaded Myanmar before the law was put into operation (1972, 35-
39).
98



A study of Baxters report (Government of Burma 1941) indicates that the steady
immigration of Indians (especially Muslims) into Myanmar was the main cause of the
race riot. Another basic cause was the British governments divide-and-rule policy, as
Maung Htin discusses as follows:
. . . World War II shook the whole country in 1940-41, and Rakhine
descended into chaos. Waves of Indians fleeing war entered Myanmar by
the route of Badaung Taunggoke, setting off seismic waves in Sittwe, which
in turn led to the destabilization of the valley of Kalabazin. . . . The events in
Rakhine in those days were comparable to those in Myanmar proper. The
retreat of the British forces afforded Myanmar revolutionaries a golden
opportunity. Therefore, retreating [British] forces turned different ethnic
peoples against one another to facilitate their retreat. Their way of turning
[the ethnic peoples] one against another was not really out of the ordinary.
They just handed over the weapons they could not carry to non-Myanmars
ostensibly to protect themselves. Those weapons stirred up serious troubles
in Myanmar. The British forces retreating to India also pursued the same
policy in Rakhine. They handed over a fearsome array of weapons to non-
Rakhines. (Maung Htin 1960, 53-54)
A study of Maung Htins discussion shows that the British forces gave an array of
weapons to non-Rakhines or, more precisely, to Rajput Kalas (remnants of the British
Rajput force) to ease their retreat, thus planting the seeds a Kala Rakhine race riot.
Maung Htin merely says that The British [forces] handed over a fearsome array
of weapons to non-Rakhines. However, the Rakhine Pyine Hpyitsin Thamaing names
whom they gave their weapons as follows (in the chapter on Politics):
. . . At that time (March 1942), the Rajput soldiers from the British army
were rampaging in Sittwe. The Rajput soldiers joined forces with local Kalas
and killed the Rakhines. Sayagyi Maung Tha Tuns sons from Sittwe were
killed. (Rakhine State Council 1983, 36)
A Rakhine political leader Bonpauk Tha Kyaw also recorded his first-hand experience
as follows:
. . . It was before a week had passed after the British military
administration was introduced in Sittwe. Hearing loud bangs at the door
around nine oclock at night, we (Bonpauk Tha Kyaw and friend Maung Saw
Htwee) got scared. We saw about forty Kalas with swords and sticks in their
hands surrounding the house, and among them were some Rajput soldiers
armed with rifles.
. . . A Rajput corporal and three Rajput soldiers entered the house, guns
at the ready. . . . They rummaged about the house. They took the things,
including clothes, the members of the household could not carry and also
took our clothes. . . . They told us to go with them to the military
99



headquarters. . . . The Rajput corporal followed close behind us. About three
Rajput soldiers were left behind on the main road. . . . Maung Saw Htwee
shoved the Rajput corporal who was standing only about a foot away from
the two of us, screamed Run! and ran. I also ran. We had to run like hell.
(Tha Kyaw 1973, 65-67)
Thus, the British forces sowed the seeds of race riot by handing over a large
quantity of weapons to non-Rakhine Rajput Kalas to clear the way for their retreat.
Rajput soldiers banded together with local Kalas and terrorized the Rakhines. It can
therefore be concluded that the British governments divide-and-rule policy was one
of the main causes of the Kala Rakhine riot.
To sum up, the main causes of the Kala Rakhine race riot of 1942 were the British
governments immigration policy which allowed the Indians to migrate to Myanmar
without any restrictions and its policy of divide and rule. These policies had been
stoking up racial hatred between indigenous Rakhine Buddhists and immigrant Muslims
for years.
Immediate Cause of the Race Riot of 1942
We have learnt the root causes of the Kala Rakhine riot. What was the
immediate cause of this riot? Was it provoked by fanatic Rakhine youths when Rakhine
was in a state of anarchy as Zaw Min Htut has asserted? The Rakhine Pyine Hpyitsin
Thamaing relates how the riot began as follows:
. . . The Kalas of Retchaung killed the two brothers, one of who was the
village headman of Chaunggyi village in Myebon township. Therefore, a
Rakhine force headed by Thein Kyaw Aung and Kyaw Ya set fire to the Kala
village of Retchaung, igniting a Kala Rakhine race riot. (Rakhine State
Council 1983, 36)
Retchaung mentioned in the above document was the Retchaung village in
Myebon township which was mainly inhabited by Kala Muslims. Its headman was a
Rakhine. The Kalas were dissatisfied with being ruled by a Rakhine headman.
Therefore, when Rakhine was in a state of chaos during the war, the Kalas killed the
headman and his brother brutally, setting off a chain reaction that eventually led to a
race riot. The Rakhines, Thein Kyaw Aung, Kyaw Ya et al. took revenge on the Kalas of
Retchaung village by setting fire to the village, and this triggered a conflagration of
race riot.
Fanning or Extinguishing the Flames of Riot?
Zaw Min Htut portrays U Oo Kyaw Khine, Deputy Commissioner who
endeavoured to put out the flames of riot, as the culprit who handed out weapons to
the Rakhines. Furthermore, he misquotes Bonpauk Tha Kyaws (1973) Tawhlanye Hkayi
100



We to misrepresent U Oo Kyaw Khine and Bonpauk Tha Kyaw who had strove to
extinguish the flames of riot as who fanned the flames as follows:
(
)
( )







( ) - - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 63-
64)
Translation:
According to Bonpauk Tha Kyaw, a Rakhine political leader, the British
government charged U Oo Kyaw Khine (ICS), Deputy Commissioner, with
governing Arakan division under martial law when they retreated to India in
early 1942. U Oo Kyaw Khine imposed martial law. By that time [British]
military forces had withdrawn. Only the members of the police force had
arms and ammunitions. The majority of the policemen were Rakhines.
Rakhine fanatics turned Myebon, Minbya, Mrauk-oo and Pauktaw towns into
autonomous regions and administered them under martial law. The Rakhine
National Unity Organization (RNUO), formed with Rakhine dignitaries and
intellectuals, was unable to control those extremists. U Gandhama took
charge of Mrauk-oo township; U Thein Kyaw Aung, U Kyaw Ya and U Pan
Aung administered Minbya and U Tun Hla Aung ruled Pauktaw. They were
governing those townships according to martial law.
Zaw Min Htut continues:
- - -


- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 64)
101



Translation:
. . . For the Rohingyas only had sticks, swords and zip guns, whereas the
Rakhines had rifles. It is said that U Oo Kyaw Khine, a deputy commissioner
[appointed by] the British government, procured rifles from police stations
and policemen and that Karens from British forces sold their weapons when
they returned home. That was how the Rakhines obtained rifles. (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 64)
Thus Zaw Min Htut has misrepresented U Oo Kyaw Khine, who made efforts to extinguish
the riot, as fanning the flames of riot by selling/providing rifles to Rakhines.
In fact U Oo Kyaw Khine discharged his duty by making every effort to contain
the violence. He constantly toured around the locality under his charge on a naval
boat with Gurkha and Rajput soldiers on board. Bonpauk Tha Kyaw mentions this in his
book as follows:
. . . U Kyaw Khine . . . was touring around the towns in Akyab District on
MGBs [ie. motor gun boats] packed with Gurkha and Rajput soldiers to
administer them. While we were in the lockup in Minbya, one day, after 9
oclock at night, the whole Minbya town was in tumult, with people running
helter-skelter. We stood on a chair in the lockup and looked out; we saw U
Kyaw Khine, together with Gurkha and Rajput soldiers, coming up [the street]
in an orderly fashion, holding lanterns and carrying their rifles at the ready.
On their way from Pauktaw River, where Pauktaw town was located, to
Minbya, they came across a boat crammed with Thakin Maung Maung and
more than ten civilians; [the soldiers] shot and killed them, keeping not a
single person alive. Then, they came to Minbya. (Tha Kyaw 1973, 73)
It is clear from this document that the armed soldiers were Gurkhas and Rajputs,
and that the British armed non-Rakhines to control the Rakhines, in accordance with
their divide-and-rule policy. The armed men were not Rakhines as Zaw Min Htut has
alleged. Moreover, U Kyaw Khine was the one who ordered to fire upon Thakin Maung
Maung and his followers who were Rakhines because he suspected that they were
adding fuel to the fire. In fact, this could even lead the Rakhines to regard U Kyaw
Khine as a British governments henchman or as a public enemy. From the legal and
administrative point of view, however, U Oo Kyaw Khine could be regarded as a good
public servant. Maung Htin, who had served as a deputy commissioner of Rakhine
praises U Oo Kyaw Khine as follows:
. . . In the post-war era, the townsfolk of Sittwe expressed differing views
about U Oo Kyaw Khine. Chittagonians also did the same. One person
reminisced about the favours he did; one expressed disparaging remarks
about him. Whatever they said, nobody could deny that U Oo Kyaw Khine
was a person who loved his birthplace, who was a dutiful public servants,
and who met his death at the hands of retreating British troops while
courageously maintaining security in Akyab District. (Maung Htin 1960, 54)
102



Similarly, U Oo Kyaw Khines efforts to bring the riot to an end are mentioned in the
Pyine Hpyitsin Thamaing as follows:
. . . U Oo Kyaw Khine relocated the administrative council to Buthidaung
when the Japanese bombed Akyab town on 23 March 1942. He went
around on board a navy vessel to control Akyab District. He tried to meet
Rakhine political leaders U Tha Zan Hla, U Aung Tun Oo and U Aung Zan
Wai. . . . Moreover, U Oo Kyaw Khine made efforts to discuss with Marakan,
a rich Kala who was taking refuge in Gudabyin village in Buthidaung
township from war, to work out a settlement to end the riot. However, his
efforts were to no avail. Nevertheless, he did not give up. When he took
Rakhine elders to that village again by boat to negotiate with Kala elders,
an armed Kala who had been lying in wait fired his rifle from the
riverbank/shore, and U Oo Kyaw Khine died on the boat. (Rakhine State
Council 1983, 35-37)
A study of these documents shows that Zaw Min Htuts allegation that U Oo Kyaw Khine
provided the Rakhines with weapons was completely untrue.
Zaw Min Htut makes allegations not only about U Oo Kyaw Khine, but also about
Bonpauk Tha Kyaw. He implies that Bonpauk Tha Kyaw bought rifles from the Karens
and used them to attack and drive out the Muslims without substantiating his allegation
with evidence as follows:
- - -

( )
( )
( )

- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 65)
Translation:
. . . It can be concluded that [Bonpauk Tha Kyaw] used the weapons
he had obtained from the Karens in driving out the Muslims. This resulted in
the death of more than fifty thousand Rohingya Muslims in the inner towns in
Rakhine. Altogether two hundred Rohingya villages in Myebon, Minbya,
Mrauk-oo, Kyauktaw, Pauktaw and Ponnagyun were burnt down, and more
than two hundred thousand persons had escaped to Maungdaw and
Buthidaung townships by about April or May 1942, trekking through jungles
and over mountains.
103



Bonpauk Tha Kyaw, despite the fact that he had to struggle free from a Muslim
Rajput corporal, three or four soldiers armed with rifles and about forty Indian civilians
armed with sticks and swords and run for his life, did his best to end the riot. He says:
. . . I explained the plans for our struggle against British colonial rule and
our struggle for independence in detail to Sayagyi (Thaukkya Aung). As we
needed to fight the British colonialists who were our common enemy,
Hkamwis, Chins, Muslims and Rakhines must unite; and hence we need to
put a stop to the ongoing Kala Rakhine race riot. I explained this repeatedly.
After I had explained this for two or three days, Sayagyi accepted [my
advice] without reservation. Therefore, he undertook to arrange a meeting
between U Thein Kyaw Aung, who lived in Kyauktaw Township which was
engulf in the flames of Kala Rakhine riot, and me. . . . At Minbya bungalow,
their leaders including U Thein Kyaw Aung, U Maung Kyaw Ya and I discussed
the struggle against British imperialism and the courses of action to be taken
to regain independence for two or three days. . . . As the majority of the
leaders including U Thein Kyaw Aung accepted them [our ideas], the
majority of the captains and troopers under them also accepted them. . . .
The ultimate cause of the Kala Rakhine riot was British colonialists policy of
divide and rule. (Tha Kyaw 1973, 76-77)
. . . Whatever were the underlying causes, to struggle against British
colonialism and to struggle for independence were the duties we need to
perform immediately. Therefore, I am pleased to have been able to risk my
life to carry out these duties. (Tha Kyaw 1973, 79)
Bonpauk Tha Kyaws statements clearly indicate that he made an all-out effort to
extinguish the flames of race riot before the arrival of the BIA forces headed by Bo Yan
Aung. As he has stated that his discussion with other leaders made most of them
accept that their real enemies were British colonialists, it can be regarded that he was
able at least to damp down the flames, if not to put them out.
Although Zaw Min Htut has alleged that Bonpauk Tha Kyaws intention in
procuring rifles and bullets from Akyab prison and wooing the Karen soldiers was to kill
or drive out the Muslims, I believe that his intention was to use those weapons to defend
his homeland and to drive out the British colonialists. By wooing Karen soldiers he was
trying to win over friends who would help the Rakhines for their security, and Bonpauk
Tha Kyaw deserves to be praised for this.
Taking Advantage of the Riot to Overstate the Muslim Population
After misquoting Bonpauk Tha Kyaw, Zaw Min Htut exaggerates the account of
how the Muslims escaped to Maungdaw and Buthidaung as follows:
104



- - -
( )
( )
( )
- - -
( )
( ) (
)










- - - (Zaw Min Htut
2001, 65-66)
Translation:
. . . more than fifty thousand Rohingya Muslims lost their lives in the inner
towns in Rakhine. More than two hundred Rohingya villages in Myebon,
Minbya, Mrauk-oo, Kyauktaw, Pauktaw and Ponnagyun townships were set
to fire, and more than two hundred thousand persons had escaped to
Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships by about April or May 1942, trekking
through jungles and over mountains. . . .
During the riot, about ten thousand Rakhines and more than sixty
thousand Rohingyas reached the refugee camp in India. The post-war era
government of Myanmar (General Aung Sans regime) issued entry passes
to the refugees after scrutiny, took them back and resettled them. . . . Here,
as stated in previous chapters, it is learnt that Rohingyas from Rakhine had
fled to Bengal before and during King Bodawhpayas reign. Those refugees
105



reentered [Rakhine] and resettled there in the British colonial era and the
refugees fleeing from the riot of 1942 also returned [later]. These are the
reasons why the Rohingya population is high in Maungdaw and Buthidaung
townships.
Thus, Zaw Min Htut attributes the high population density of Rohingyas in
present-day Maungdaw and Buthidaung to the remigration of refugees1) those who
had escaped to British India [before and] during Bodawhpayas reign, and 2) those
who fled from the riot in 1942. (This has been discussed above in Review on Chapter 4,
see on page 76.)
Furthermore, Zaw Min Htut maintains that the number of Muslims who escaped
to India during the 1942 riot was sixty thousand. However the number Yegar gives was
only 22,000 (1972, 95). Moreover, Yegar, citing Anthony Irwins (1945) Burmese Outpost
(London: Collins) (p. 27), says:
. . . After the end of the war and during the following years, the regions
Muslim population increased greatly, thanks to the immigration of the
Chittagongs who came in the wake of the British, as well as to the return of
thousands of the Arakanese Muslim refugees who had in 1942 fled from the
south of Arakan and who returned to the north after the war. (Yegar 1972,
96)
Thus, Zaw Min Htuts statement that the high population density of Rohingyas in
present-day Maungdaw and Buthidaung was due to the remigration of refugees1)
those who had escaped to British India before and during Bodawhpayas reign and 2)
those who fled from the riot in 1942is not supported by evidence. It is just a flat-out
lie.
Compared with the population figures given in the census of 1931, Zaw Min
Htuts figures are excessively high. According to him, the number of Muslims killed was
fifty thousand, that of those who fled to Maungdaw and Buthidaung was two hundred
thousand, and the number of persons who arrived at the refugee camp in India was
sixty thousand, adding up to 310,000 Muslims. According to the census of 1931, the
number of Indians in Rakhine was 217,800, and that in Sittwe District was 210,990, and
these figures included Hindus.
84
Thus, the number of Muslims Zaw Min Htut mentions
exceeds the census figure by about a hundred thousand, indicating that he is just
overstating the figures to give a reason for the high Muslim population in present-day
Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.
Whatever Zaw Min Htut says, the figures given in the Burma Gazetteer: Akyab
District and the census of 1931 for Muslim population in Rakhine and the statement in
the Burmese Outpost that Chittagonians had poured into Rakhine clearly show that the

84
Government of Burma 1941, 49.
106



majority of the Muslims in present-day Sittwe District are Chittagonians or are of
Chittagonian descent.
Efforts to End the Riot and the Wounds this Riot had Inflicted
Now, readers have seen Zaw Min Htuts fabrications concerning the riot of 1942.
The efforts to end the riot and the wounds inflicted by this riot will be discussed here,
even though Zaw Min Htut does not mention them.
As has been stated above, U Oo Kyaw Khine lost his life at the hands of Muslims
while trying his best to quench the flames of riot. Then, a Karen force, a part of the
Deputy Commissioners office which U Oo Kyaw Khine had relocated to Buthidaung,
marshalled the youngsters in town and defended the town against Muslim attacks.
Meanwhile, a ten-member delegation formed with Rakhine elders who came from
Sittwe to Buthidaung to escape from war and Rakhine elders from Buthidaung, went to
Sittwe to report Bo Yan Aung, head of the BIA force there, on the threat posed by Kalas.
By that time (May 1942), Bo Yan Aung had captured Sittwe. Bo Yan Aung told them:
Since its main duty is to drive out the British forces and capture Sittwe, BIA should not
get involved in the ongoing race riot. (Rakhine State Council 1983, 40)
Then, a peace mission was formed with U Tha Zan Hla and U Paasiha of
RNUO and U Hpo Khine, lawyer and U Ya Sin from the Muslim side, and was sent to
Buthidaung via Rathedaung (Rakhine State Council 1983, 40). When this committee
arrived in Buthidaung, Kalas were attacking the town ferociously.
While the peace mission was in Buthidaung, a platoon commanded by
Bo Yan Naung and Bo Myo Nyunt (from Bo Yan Aungs column) went in a
caravan of trucks to Maungdaw, where they held a rally and gave speeches
mainly on anti-colonialist struggle and national unity. After the rally, a meal
was served. Then the Kalas set upon the BIA platoon . . . and the whole
platoon was annihilated. (Rakhine State Council 1983, 41)
When this incident was reported, Bo Yan Aung came to Buthidaung with two
companies on board Aungzeyya.
After arriving in Buthidaung, Bo Yan Aung personally conducted the
investigation. . . . As he suspected that the two Kala representatives were
responsible [for the incident], he had those two representatives and many
Kala Muslims taken into custody, and interrogated them. Then, he decided
that they were innocent and released them. (Rakhine State Council 1983,
41-42)
Bonpauk Tha Kyaw, who was among Bo Yan Aungs troops, describes this incident in
his Tawhlanye Hkayi We as follows:
Two days after Bo Yan Aungs force left [?Sittwe], the Kala refugees who
had been testing their strength came and fired into Buthidaung from its
107



southern entrance. As [?the armed men defending the town] had taken up
positions on the knolls near the southern entrance, the enemies could only
make a limited attack; they fell back, carrying the dead and wounded with
them. A soldier who was about nine yards away from me got shot. To make
an effort to end the Kala Rakhine race riot, Bo Yan Aung was accompanied
by U Paasiha and Rakhine Muslim leaders U Hpo Khine and U Yasin,
barristers-at-law. Although Bo Yan Aung and I, together with these persons,
tried our best to stop the Kala Rakhine race riot, Bo Yan Naung and a group
of Rakhines were killed by the scheming Muslim leaders in cold blood. (Tha
Kyaw 1973, 92-93)
Bo Yan Aung, while striving to extinguish the flames of riot, received an order
from the War Office in Yangon to withdraw the BIA troops. Accordingly, he planned to
pull back on 26 June 1942. This news horrified the townsfolk, who scrambled to board
the ship Miwa, which was lashed to Aungzeyya, the ship used by Bo Yan Aungs troops.
Unfortunately, Miwa had been holed by malefactors. Water poured in and the ship
sank, claiming about 400 lives. (Rakhine State Council 1983, 42)
Bo Yan Aung had to withdraw to Sittwe without succeeding to end the riot. He
arranged the formation of civil administrative committees headed by RNUO members
from the towns in Rakhine, such as Sittwe, Minbya, Mrauk-oo and Kyauktaw. Military
matters, however, were controlled by the Japanese.
Northern Rakhine which was engulfed in the race riot gradually returned to
normality. Rakhine leaders gave protection to the Indian villages in Pauktaw, Minbya,
Mrauk-oo and Kyauktaw townships. In Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships, where
Rakhine villages were torched and about twenty thousand Rakhines were killed, the
race riot ended because it had weakened the local Rakhines to the extent that they
would never recover and because the Japanese army made the region its foothold.
To the Rakhines, this tragic event brought losses that could not be replaced: 1)
the riot claimed about twenty thousand lives; 2) all the Rakhine villages in Buthidaung
and Maungdaw townships and some Rakhine villages in Rathedaung townships were
burnt down; 3) a loss of labour made rehabilitation of cultivable land impossible; and
4) the increase in Muslim population that resulted from more Chittagonian Muslim
immigration made the rehabilitation of Rakhine villages impossible.
Mujahid InsurgencyAn Outcome of the Riot
Zaw Min Htut discusses the main causes of the Mujahid
85
insurgency in Chapter
6 under the subheading entitled The Origins of Mujahid movement. He implies that

85
The word mujahid (Persian/Arabic [mujhid]) means a person doing Jihad
(struggle), or a holy warrior. Its plural form is mujahideen (Arabic [mujahidin]).
However, I will be using Mujahids as the plural form throughout this book.
108



the following five reasons are mentioned by Yegar (1972) as the main reasons of the
insurgency:
()

()
( )
()
()
() (Zaw Min Htut 2001,
146-47)
Translation:
1) the Rohingyas were not allowed to resettle in the villages in the inner
towns of Rakhine, which they had to abandon in 1942
2) more than thirteen thousand refugees who had fled to Ronpur camp
in Bengal in 1942 to escape the race riot were not allowed to return
3) the property of the refugees were confiscated
4) most of the officers who had worked for the British government were
dismissed from their jobs
5) the British governments promise to establish an autonomous area
[?Muslim National Area] was not fulfilled.
The first three reasons are not mentioned by Yegar. They were the grievances voiced
by the Mujahids when they negotiated a peace deal with the representatives of the
AFPFL government in July 1948. The last two reasons are discussed by Yegar. Zaw Min
Htut just presents these reasons as Yegars views. As readers should know the root
causes of Mujahid insurgency, Yegars discussion may be quoted here:
. . . The Mujahids rebellion was localized in the north of Arakan, in the
regions of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and that part of Rathedaung . . . Most
of the population of this area is Muslim. During the period of British rule,
disaffection between the Buddhist population and the Muslims in Arakan
developed for the same economic and social reasons . . . The accumulated
tensions reached an explosive point at the time of the British evacuation
109



before the advancing Japanese forces. Gangs of Arakanese Buddhists in
southern Arakan, where the Buddhists are in the majority, attacked Muslim
villages and massacred their inhabitants. Whole villages were sacked and
their inhabitants all murdered. . . . Muslim refugees streamed to northern
Arakan . . . [Muslim majority in Maungdaw and Buthidaung] began to mete
out similar punishment upon the Buddhist minority in their midst. These acts
. . . caused the Buddhist population in northern Arakan to flee . . .. It was in
this manner that Arakan became divided into two separate areas, one
Buddhist and the other Muslim.
The Japanese invaded Arakan at the end of 1942 . . . The Japanese
ruled in these areas until the beginning of 1945. Most of the Muslims were pro-
British and many of them joined their service in work units, reconnaisance
[sic.], and espionage on the other side of the border or in underground
activities. In order to strenghten [sic.] their standing in the region and
encourage Muslim loyalty, the British had published a declaration granting
them the status of a Muslim National Area. This entire area was reconquered
by the British at the beginning of 1945. . . . After the end of the war and during
the following years, the regions Muslim population increased greatly, thanks
to the immigration of the Chittagongs who came in the wake of the British,
as well as to the return of thousands of the Arakanese Muslim refugees who
had in 1942 fled from the south of Arakan and who returned to the north
after the war.
. . . after Burma was granted independence, a great many Muslim
officers and officials were dismissed and replaced by Arakanese Buddhists.
These latter tried to rehabilitate the deserted ruined Arakanese villages. Part
of the Arakan population uprooted during the community riots at the
beginning of the war was returned, and the Muslims who had grabbed their
land were removed. These arrangements, together with the remembrance
of British promises unfulfilled - to establish a National Area - led the Muslims
to acts of sabotage against the government. The Muslims boycotted the
Arakanese villagers who were returned and resettled again on their own
lands, deprived them of drinking water and food supplies, and found all sorts
of other ways to bedevil them, until eventually these villagers were forced to
leave and go back south. Gangs of Muslims began to roam about, armed
with the guns and ammunition left over in large quantities in the region after
the war. There were many clashes. Many Muslims even began to nurture
hopes of separating the Maungdaw region from Burma altogether and of
creating an independent Muslim state between the rivers Kaladan and
Mayu, or of annexing the area to Pakistan [ie East Pakistan (now
Bangladesh)]. . . . [in May, 1946] Arakanese Muslims addressed themselves
to Ali Jinnah and asked his assistance in the annexing of the region to
Pakistan that was about to be formed. . . . The Rohinga did not especially
favor it. Jinnah himself assured General Aung San that he was not a
supporter of the plan.
110



For a time the Muslims were rather subdued and quiet on the subject,
even after Pakistan became an independent state (in August, 1947); but in
April, 1948, there was a renewal of excitement on this score in the wake of
the return of lands to the displaced villagers of Arakan. The moulvis began
to incite to jihad against the Arakanese infidels. Within a short time many
Mujahids gathered at a place called Taung Bazaar. An armed police boat
sent out to disperse them met with fire. In the ensuing shooting, policemen
were killed. With this head-on clash, the Mujahids rebellion had begun.
(Yegar 1972, 97) [Emphasis added]
The above excerpt from Yegars work shows that only the last two of the five
reasons Zaw Min Htut mentions are correct. We can ignore Zaw Min Htuts statements
and sum up Yegars discussion as follows: The unrestricted immigration of Indians into
Myanmar during British colonial era brought about hatred between native Buddhists
(esp. Myanmars and Rakhines) and immigrant Indians for economic and social reasons.
A race riot erupted in Rakhine in World War II era, Rakhines from Maungdaw and
Buthidaung had to flee, and Muslims became the majority of the population there. In
this way, the region that had been Rakhines ancestral homeland became a region in
which Muslim immigrants were predominant. Taking advantage of this, these Muslim
immigrants even planned to take over Maungdaw and Buthidaung and to secede
from Myanmar and join [East] Pakistan. In this way, the Mujahid insurgency began.
Yegar also gives the following information in his book:
The rebellion spread quickly, for the central government was busy
putting down rebellions that broke out in other places in Burma . . . Sober
Muslim leaders tried, on the one hand, to influence the rebels to desist from
their undisciplined behavior, and on the other, to explain to the government
that the rebellion was the work of a handful of individuals, that the vast
majority of the Arakanese Muslims did not support them and were even
themselves among the victims of the rebels . . .
The government also made attempts to negotiate with the rebels. In
July, 1948, a government delegation came to them to hear them out: the
rebels claimed that the Rohinga were indigenous sons of Arakan,
descendants of Muslim settlers of hundreds of years ago, differing from the
neighbouring Chittagongs despite the similarities in language, culture, race,
and despite the identity of religion. The propaganda of the extremists
among the Arakanese attempted to identify themselves with the Pakistan
Muslims.
Muslims were not accepted for military service. The government
replaced Muslim civil servants, policemen and headmen by Arakanese who
increasingly offended the Muslim community, discriminating against them,
putting their elders to ridicule, treating them as Kalas, and even extorting
money and bribes from them, and arresting them arbitrarily. . . . The
111



Arakanese conducted propaganda against the Rohinga, accusing them of
being pro-Pakistan and of aspiring to annexation to Pakistan . . .
. . . The Muslims were not resettled in the villages from which they had
been driven out in 1942 (with the exception of the villages they left in the
Maungdaw and Buthidaung regions). Some 13000 Rohinga still living in
refugee camps in India and Pakistan whence they had fled during the war,
were unable to return; as for those who did manage to return, they were
considered illegal Pakistani immigrants. The properties and lands of all these
refugees have been confiscated [during the riot]. The Mujahids took to arms
only after all their protests and complaints brought no results.
. . . All the attempts to hold talks together failed. . . . (Yegar 1972, 97-98)
[Emphasis added]
The text in bold face in the above excerpt is what Zaw Min Htut has presented as
Yegars views. However, they clearly were the grievances expressed by Mujahids.
It can be concluded from Yegars discussion that the riot between native
Buddhists and immigrant Muslims in World War II era, the predominance of Muslims in
Maungdaw and Buthidaung which led the Muslims to attempt to take over Rakhines
ancestral land, and the rebellion of the disaffected Mujahids who justified their action
on religious grounds, all originated in the British colonialists policy of open immigration.
Rakhine Historians View on Mujahid Insurgency
Khingyi Hpyaws View
After discussing Yegars opinions on Mujahid insurgency, let me discuss Rakhine
historians views briefly. First, let us study Khingyi Hpyaws view. He wrote in Rakhine
Dazaung Magazine as follows:
. . . Mujahin
86
is the name of a Muslim insurgent group which was formed
clandestinely to engage in an armed struggle against the Union of Myanmar
and the Rakhines. As regards the emergence of the Mujahid insurgent
group, there was an organization named Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam [meaning
Council of Islamic Clergy], which was formed by Muslims in Maungdaw.
With the guidance of this organization and help of some Muslim officers, the
Muslims formed the Mujahid insurgent group in 1947.
Their objectives were to wage an armed struggle against the Myanmar
government and the Rakhines with a view to separating Maungdaw,
Buthidaung and Rathedaung regions from the Union of Myanmar and to
incorporate them into Pakistan. The Mujahin group had to follow the orders
of Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam, which collected land rent from the Kalas who
unlawfully took possession of the cultivated land in the wake of the Kala

86
Probably the Rakhine pronunciation of the word mujahideen.
112



Rakhine riot in 1942, to spend on various matters concerning the Mujahin.
Moreover, it raised a substantial amount of funds through contributions from
some of its members and some Muslim government servants for procuring
arms and ammunitions to fight against Rakhine Buddhists and Myanmar
government, and stockpiled weapons. In soliciting donations, they gave the
purpose of raising funds as to build schools. They actually built thirteen
schools for appearances' sake. Those schools were called
[?Arabic schools, i.e. madrasahs or Islamic schools], meaning
theological seminaries in Muslims language [?Arabic or Urdu].
In accordance with the decision made by this organization, Maulvis
Azizaroman and Yusuf from Maungdaw went to India and invited Maulana
Muhammad Mujahid Khan, the ?Mufti of Peshawar,
87
and Maulana Ibrahim
to open Islamic schools. When they arrived, a meeting was held at the
Islamic school in Dulara village in Maungdaw in December 1947.
It was decided at this meeting that Arabic and Urdu are to be taught
in those Islamic schools, and that Bamar language was not to be taught at
all, and, if the Myanmar government objected, the Muslims were to rebel
[against the government] as a united force.
An insurgent group was formed with Zafar Husain, Dudumya and
Muhammad Singh (aka Osin Ulla) (appointed as captains) and their
followers and was named the Mujahin League. The directives the Mujahin
insurgents were to follow in fighting against the Myanmar government got
to Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam, and were distributed to the insurgents. I heard
that a copy of the directive was obtained from Adu Wali [?Abdul Walid] and
government officers had sent it [?to the authorities] on 11 April 1948 under
Diary No. 11/48.
Additionally, at a meeting held at the school in Kanyindan village on 14
April 1948, the members of Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam decided to have Muslims
included in the AFPFL committee in Maungdaw for the ostensible purpose of
crushing Mujahid insurgents. It can be regarded that some Muslims have
now joined some AFPFL committees for a similar reason.
In June 1948, B A Onmawmya and Zahir Husain distributed pamphlets
stamped with the words Mujahin Government, in Bengali and Urdu
languages. The pamphlets, saying that the Myanmar government was an
evil government
88
[?infidel government] according to their religion, urged
all the Muslims in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung to unite and rise
up, fighting side by side with the Mujahins [against the government] to

87
The person who presided over the whole judicial and theological hierarchy in Peshawar.
88

113



liberate all the Muslims from the oppression of the evil government and evil
people
89
[?infidel government and infidels]. (Khingyi Hpyaw 1960, 23, 24,
29)
San Tun Aungs View
After giving Khingyi Hpyaws views on the Mujahid rebellion, let me give the
main facts about the Mujahids as recorded by San Tun Aung, a Rakhine political leader
and a native of Buthidaung, who had observed the rebellion first-hand.
A group of young men outfitted in black uniforms headed by
Muhammad and Mustabi (who later became a Mujahid leader), shouting
Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Pakistan or Victory to Pakistan) marched
by the police post in Gwazon village at about 11:00 am on a day of the first
week of May 1947. This is an indication of their intention. After that, a large
meeting attended by representatives of many villages was held; there they
decided to take up arms and chose Dabyuchaung village, which was
situated seven miles to the southeast of Buthidaung, as the armed insurgents
headquarters.
With the help of surrounding villages, barracks for the members [of the
insurgent group] were built in a short time.
With [this village] as their base, they wooed [the people in] the villages
nearby. A singer by the name of Zafar Kawal, who not only had travelled
around Myanmar, but was of noble descent, became the head of this
group, and his charisma expedited the growth of the group.
Some so-called dignitaries of the town could not contain themselves.
They were to-ing and fro-ing between Dabyuchaung village and the town.
As every village had a large quantity of arms and ammunitions, [the
Mujahins] were able to form a group of 2,700 armed men easily.
. . .
When the Mujahid movement began in Buthidaung township,
Dudumya, secretary of Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam who resided in
Alethangyaw village in Maungdaw township, together with more than three
hundred armed men, joined the Mujahid. The Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam,
although named as a religious organization, played a leading role in politics.
It chose candidates for the Parliament, spread propaganda, canvassed for
vote during the elections and made political decisions.
I have discussed the matter with Mr. Abdul Khai, who was a police
inspector at that time and who later became a member of parliament. He
told me that [the rebellion] resulted because the British government had

89

114



inspired them [to break away] when they reentered Myanmar. Seeking
Muslims help, the British government had promised them that it would
establish a Muslim autonomous state. He told me that the rebellion was
brought about by this and the outbreak of the Rakhine Muslim riot. Therefore
it would be unconvincing to say that the Mujahid insurgency had nothing to
do with Jamiat-ul-Ulama e-Islam.
. . .
I was not only the leader of a volunteer force guarding the town, but
also a person responsible for the security of the whole town when the
Mujahids laid siege to Buthidaung town and a battle was fought for more
than forty days. I saw with my own eyes Muslim elders, with Pakistan flags in
their hands, leading the Mujahid force. I had to be extra vigilant because I
learnt that [the people] inside the town were helping them and sending
provisions [to them].
. . .
When the Mujahids from the northern part of Buthidaung township
advanced on Buthidaung town, every village welcomed them, praising and
garlanding Captain Shukur and Zafar Kawal. It was learnt that the region
was resounded with their rallying cry Pakistan Zindabad. Could this not be
regarded as the wish of local Muslim populace?
How would these people who were pro-Pakistan love Myanmar?
Moreover, the Mujahids were unable to extricate themselves from the strings
pulled by the puppeteers from Pakistan. . . . (San Tun Aung 1969, 10, 11, 12)
It can be learnt from U San Tun Aungs record and Khingyi Hpyaws discussion
that the purpose of Mujahid uprising was to fight against the Myanmar government
and the Rakhines with a view to turning the region around Maungdaw, Buthidaung
and Rathedaung into an autonomous Muslim state. After establishing their own Muslim
state, they intended to secede from Myanmar and join East Pakistan (now
Bangladesh).
San Tun Aungs and Khingyi Hpyaws statements are true facts, which agree
with the information given by Maung Htin. Part of Maung Htins discussion will be
reproduced here.
Maung Htins View
Dissatisfied with the political structure [established] in Myanmar [after it
regained independence], the White Flag communists went underground.
Strong aftershocks of it were felt in Rakhine, and the Mujahid movement
began amid them. The post-war era Chittagonians policy was to turn the
Mayu hill region and Kalabazin valley on the other side [on the east side] of
115



Naaf River into their new territory. The person who first propounded this
policy was a Chittagonian who had lived in Rakhine for years. He had
planned to enter [Rakhine] en masse with his tribe to resettle [there];
however, his plan went awry when Myanmar regained independence
[because] the Myanmar government paid special attention to control
immigration and emigration. This made it impossible for Chittagonians to
enter Myanmar freely. Therefore, this Chittagonian began disseminating
anti-Myanmar government propaganda through various newspapers in
Dhaka. Later, the Mujahid movement grew gradually, making the rebel
leader Kasim famous. (Maung Htin 1960, 58)
It can be learnt from the above excerpts that Maung Htin and Khingyi Hpyaw
agree that the political goal of the Chittagonians was to establish a Muslim state and
to separate it from Myanmar and incorporate it into East Pakistan. This is also
corroborated by San Tun Aungs record.
These three authors have highlighted the fact that the Chittagonians who
immigrated during British colonial era intended to turn Buthidaung-Maungdaw region
into their new territory as they had become predominant in the region, and to make
this territory a part of East Pakistan.
Thus, the Chittagonian Muslims had disguised as Mujahids (warriors for the
faith) and took up arms to pursue their political goal of establishing a new territory.
Portrayal of Rohingyas as Patriots
Now, let us consider whether Zaw Min Htuts portrayal of Mujahids as patriots
and his statement that the Mujahid insurgency failed only because of Rohingya
policemens attack are acceptable by checking his statements against the
information given in Yegars work. Zaw Min Htut first says:
-





- - - (Zaw Min Htut
2001, 67-68)
Translation:
More important reasons for the emergence of Mujahid movement were
because [the Muslims] were concerned by the wounds of the Muslim
116



Rakhine riot of 1942 and because the Rakhines had their own underground
armed groups. Rohingyas believed that they would suffer losses just like in
the 1942 riot if they did not have an armed group. The Mujahid movement
was initiated by Rohingya youthsKawal Jawhar, U Swalay, U Rashid et al.,
and was soon controlled by Kasim and became well known. However, the
Mujahids failed to get public support in later times because they began to
oppress their own people. . . .
In Chapter 8 (under the subheading Myanmar Army and Ethnic Rohingyas),
however, he contradicts these statements, saying:
- - -


- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 100)
Translation:
. . . Some Rohingya patriotic young men took up arms against the AFPFL
government, making Maungdaw-Buthidaung region in Rakhine as their base
in the post-independence era, because the Rohingyas from Rakhine had
been deprived of their rights.
Thus, after saying the Mujahids failed to get public support as if he sympathizes with
the people, Zaw Min Htut refers to Mujahid insurgents as patriots.
Moreover, Zaw Min Htut does not accept that the Mujahids were forced into
surrendering by Myanmar Armys offensives. He praises the Mujahids, saying that U Nus
regime had to make various offers to persuade the Mujahids to surrender because it
was unable to crush them. He goes on to say that a few local Rohingya leaders and
Rohingya policemen led the annihilation of the Mujahid group as follows:
- - -



- - - (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 68)
Translation:
. . . At that time (?1950), a few local Rohingya leaders and Rohingya
policemen led the annihilation of the Mujahid group. Police Constable U
Kasim and Dy. Police Constable U Miramat led a force and fought
117



courageously in wiping out the Mujahids, and hence the government
awarded them Yethura titles in 1955 in recognition of their loyalty to the
nation.
- - -


(Zaw Min Htut
2001, 100-101)
Translation:
. . . At that time (1948-50), U Nus regime was not in a position to crush
Rohingya armed forces, and hence it made various offers to persuade the
Rohingyas to make their armed men lay down their arms. The ceremony of
Mujahids surrendering was attended by Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi, the then Vice
Chief-of-Staff [of the Myanmar Army].
In the first paragraph, Zaw Min Htut means to say how the Myanmar army was
having to fight against the Mujahids while U Nus regime was in a tight corner, with
various insurgent groups rebelling against it. At that time, a Chin battalion had to
defend the ?Rakhine/Buthidaung-Maungdaw region so that it would not fall into the
hands of the Mujahids. However, Zaw Min Htut states how some local Rohingya leaders
and Rohingya policemen quelled the rebellion, portraying the Rohingyas as the heroes
who had saved the region.
The second paragraph only has two sentences. In the first sentence, Zaw Min
Htut implies that the insurgents surrendered only because of the promises U Nus
government made, and in the second sentence, he says that Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi
attended the ceremony in which the Mujahids surrendered. Thus, he presents these
facts as if they were connected, and implies that the surrender was not a result of the
armys offensives. In fact, ten years intervened between these two events. The year U
Nu made them some promises was 1950, whereas the year the Mujahids surrendered
was 1961. Zaw Min Htut is just trying to distort the facts here.
The Mujahid insurgents were forced to surrender by the Monsoon Operation
headed by Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi and the conclusion of an agreement between
Myanmar and Pakistan to cooperate on border affairs, which had extinguished their
hopes. Concerning this, Yegars discussion may be quoted here:
All the attempts to hold talks together [in 1948] failed. The rebels made
rapid progress and banished the Arakanese villagers who had been
resettled. There was heavy fighting against army units and police patrols in
the region which for a long time had been under virtual siege. In June, 1949,
government control was reduced to the port of Akyab only, whereas the
118



Mujahids were in possession of all of northern Arakan, and other groups of
Arakanese rebels had other districts in their control. Because of the paucity
of regular troops, the government formed special Arakanese Territorial
Forces; they performed many acts of cruelty against the Muslims; and the
rebels, for their part, returned the full measure of acts of cruelty against the
Arakanese.
Political tensions between Burma and Pakistan were created when
Pakistani newspapers began writing about the suppression of Arakanese
Muslims by the government of Burma. In 1950, Prime Minister U Nu,
accompanied by the Pakistan Ambassador, went to visit Maungdaw. . . . in
1952, accusations of Arakanese Muslim persecution were renewed in the
press of Pakistan. The Burmese newspapers reacted by describing the
persecution of Buddhists by fanatic Muslims in Pakistan who compelled them
to convert to Islam. They reiterated the old rumors that had already been
bruited about in previous years, that the Mujahids were getting arms and
finances from Pakistan. These rumors were denied both by the government
of Pakistan and by the government of Burma . . . The aid the Mujahids
received in Pakistan was not given officially, but it cannot be denied that
there were Pakistanis who supported the Mujahids, seeing them as national
and religious heroes.
. . . Arakanese Buddhist monks proclaimed protest fasts in Rangoon
against the Mujahids. As a result of this pressure, the government launched
an extensive campaign in November (Operation Monsoon). The major
centers of the Mujahids were captured and several of their important leaders
were killed. Since then their threat has been vastly reduced. Their ranks broke
up into small units which continued to loot and terrorize Muslims and Buddhist
alike, especially in the remote regions difficult of access.
. . . Kassem [Kasim], the Mujahid leader, had . . . been arrested in
Chittagong. . . the rebel leader was not handed over [to Myanmar]. . . . After
his release from jail, Kassem remained in Chittagong where he runs a hotel
to this very day.
Kassems forces, although scattered, set up a camp for their families on
the Pakistani side of the border and continued their revolt by smuggling rice
and by plunder - until July 4, 1961, when 290 Mujahids of the southern region
of Maungdaw were captured by Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi . . . The rebels felt that
there was no longer any hope for their rebellion, especially since an
agreement had been reached between Burma and Pakistan at the
beginning of 1961 which also provided for cooperation between the border
commands of Pakistan and Burma . . . The balance of the Mujahid gangs,
numbering just a few hundreds, surrendered on November 15, 1961, in east
Buthidaung to Brigadier Aung Gyi. . . .
119



Thus ended the Mujahid rebellion; but before it was over, it had given
rise to political results which were also affected by the great hatred existing
between the Muslims and the Buddhists in Arakan . . . (Yegar 1972, 98-101)
Yegars above description shows that in 1949 U Nus government was able to defend
only the urban areas in Sittwe, Maungdaw and Buthidaung. In the outlying areas, the
Mujahids and other insurgent groups held sway.
Mujahids oppression of the Rakhine civilians led Rakhine monks in Yangon to
go on a hunger strike, compelling U Nus government to launch a military operation
against the Mujahids in 1954. This operation caused the disintegration of the Mujahid
group. Zaw Min Htut omits these facts and says that the disintegration of the Mujahid
group was brought about by an attack led by Rohingya civilians and police officers.
He fails to mention that Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi led a military operation against the
Mujahids in 1961, capturing 290 insurgents and forcing the remnants of the Mujahid
League to surrender. Zaw Min Htut has distorted the facts to say that what had
persuaded the Mujahid insurgents to surrender were U Nus offers. He seemingly desires
to highlight U Nus offers and to portray Mujahids not as defeatists, but as patriotic
Muslim heroes.
The Alethangyaw Convention which Moshe Yegar Fails to Mention
As stated above, Yegar remarks that the Mujahid rebellion had given rise to
political results. What are they? He has pointed out that the Muslims objected to the
demand of the Arakan Party for the status of a state for Arakan within the framework
of the Union of Burma (Yegar 1972, 101). He also discusses how U Kyaw Min, leader
of this party, failed in all his attempts, after the 1951 elections, to win over the Muslim
Members of Parliament from Arakan to form an all-Arakan faction within Parliament,
with the promise of securing their rights as Muslims in the State to be constituted; how
the large majority of the Muslim organizations of the Rohinga of Maungdaw and
Buthidaung demanded autonomy for the region, to be directly governed by the
central government in Rangoon without any Arakanese officials or any Arakanese
influence whatsoever; and that their minimal demand was the creation of a
separate district without autonomy but governed from the center (Yegar 1972, 102).
These facts are true. These objections and demands made by Muslim intellectuals
should not be dissociated from the Mujahid insurgency, but should be regarded as the
political results of the insurgency as Yegar has observed.
An important part of this political movement was the Alethangyaw Convention,
which was held in June 1951 in the Alethangyaw village in southern Maungdaw
township. It is said that the convention was attended by Muslim representatives from
various parts of Rakhine and Myanmar. This convention was where the Chittagonian
Muslims explicitly stated their intention to take over northern Rakhine. The demands
made in the open letters from this convention to the British government, written in
English, had served as guidelines for future generations of Muslims. When Prime Minister
120



U Nu planned to establish the Rakhine State in 1961, the Muslims from Maungdaw and
Buthidaung raised strong objections and expressed their desires. Everything they
presented was based on the policy laid down at the Alethangyaw Convention. Some
of the decisions made in this convention, which Yegar does not mention in his work, will
be given here:
Rakhines and Muslims are the two most important racial groups in
Rakhine, Rakhine and Muslim populations being the highest and second
highest, respectively. . . . Autonomous regions for Rakhines and Muslims within
the Union should be established. In the following matters, the Rakhines and
Muslims should be made to act jointly:
1) the formation of a single defense force to defend Rakhine State
2) the administration of the Sittwe port which belonged to both races
3) concerning (i) the cooperation in defense matters and (ii) the sharing
of the portwhich are of equal interest to Muslims and Rakhinesa scheme
by which Rakhines and Muslims would participate in equal ratio should be
adopted.
Northern Rakhine State should be established as an autonomous Muslim
State like Shan and Karen States as soon as possible. This Muslim state should
have State Army, State Police Force and State Security Force controlled by
the Union government. . . . A representative of the Muslim State in northern
Rakhine should be appointed as Minister for Muslim Affairs in the central
government. . . .
An assurance should be made that the Muslims, in suitable proportions,
would be included in the Union governments armed forces, permanent
forces, temporary forces, police force, educational institutions and law
enforcement agencies. . . .
The permission to open Islamic high schools and colleges should be
granted. Arabic language and the history and culture of Islam should be
allowed to be taught in those schools. Using Urdu language as a medium of
teaching in all the subjects should be allowed in Muslim primary and middle
schools. Muslims should not be made to learn other literature against their
wishes. (Hla Tun Hpru 1974. Report to the ???th meeting of Rakhine State
Council. I have no access to the original report.)
Note that the word Muslim is used in the above excerpts. The word Rohingya
had not come into use when the Alethangyaw Convention was held in 1951. The
Muslims of Maungdaw and Buthidaung used the word Muslim to avoid using the word
Bengali although they were Chittagonian Bengalis. The word Rohingya was first used
only in an article in the Guardian Daily published on 20 August 1951 by Mr. Gaffar, MP.
It was a new word used to refer to the Chittagonian Bengalis.
121



Let us compare the resolutions made at the Alethangyaw convention (above)
with the line taken by the Muslims who called themselves Rohingyas on the
establishment of the new Rakhine State in 1960. First, Yegars discussion of the position
taken by Mr. Sultan Mahmud (MP) on this matter will be cited here. Sultan Mahmud,
representing the Muslims in the townships in Rakhine, except Maungdaw and
Buthidaung, submitted a memorandum to the inquiry commission on Rakhine State.
This memorandum mentions the demands of the Muslims who supported the
establishment of the whole of Rakhine as a state. The majority of the Muslims from
Maungdaw and Buthidaung, however, disagreed with Sultan Mahmuds proposal and
desired to establish a Rohingya Muslim State with those two townships.
According to Yegar, Sultan Mahmud states in his memorandum as follows:
. . . they would support the State only on two conditions: if the
Arakanese Buddhists would support their demands; and if the constitutions
of the State would include, specifically, religious, cultural, economic,
political, administrative, and educational guarantees for Muslims. The Head
of State of the new State of Arakan would alternate: once a Muslim and
once a non-Muslim. When the Head of State was a Muslim, the Speaker of
the State Council would be a non-Muslim, but his deputy, a Muslim; and vice
versa. The same arrangement would also be in effect in the appointments,
committees and other bodies. No less than one-third of the States
ministers were to be Muslims. No law affecting Muslims would be passed
unless and until the majority of the Muslim Members of the Council voted for
it. In the matter of appointments to jobs in Muslim areas, the Chief of State
would act on the advice of the Muslim Members of his Cabinet. In all
appointments to government posts, to public services, to municipal positions
and the like, Muslims would enjoy a just proportion in accordance with their
percentage in the population. . . . No pupil would be forced to participate
in religious classes not of his own religion. Every religious sect would be
allowed training in his own religion in all institutions of learning. Every and any
religious sect would be permitted to set up its own educational institutions
that would be recognized by the government. Muslims would be completely
free to develop their own special Rohinga language . . . and to spread their
religion. A special officer for Muslim Affairs would be appointed whose job it
would be to investigate complaints and obstructions, and to report on them
to the Chief of State. . . . (Yegar 1972, 104)
Let me continue to mention the demands made by other Muslim organizations.
Twenty two demands made by the leaders of Rakhine Muslim organizations at a press
conference on 27 October 1960 appeared in a paper submitted to the inquiry
commission on Rakhine State. Some of these demands are cited here to enable the
readers to compare them with the resolutions made at the Alethangyaw Convention
and the suggestions made by Sultan Mahmood.
122



. . . 1) All the Muslims now living in Rakhine, with the exception of those
who are holding Foreigner Registration Cards (FRC) or foreign passports,
should be recognized as the citizens of the Union of Myanmar.
2) All the Muslim members of parliament from Rakhine, whichever
locality elected them, should become members of the Rakhine State
Council like the non-Muslim members of parliament from Rakhine.
4) A person should be nominated from among the Muslims and non-
Muslims alternately for the position of the head of Rakhine State who, ex-
officio, would serve as Minister for Rakhine Affairs and as a member of the
Union government. If a non-Muslim serves a term of one year, a Muslim must
be made to serve a term of one year after that.
5) If the head of Rakhine State is a Muslim, that of the State Council must
be a non-Muslim and vice versa.
6) . . . Not less than one-third of the cabinet ministers must be Muslims.
7) . . . A bill that encroaches on the rights and liberties the Muslims are
enjoying as a distinct society [within Myanmar] should not be passed as law
if the majority of the Muslims in the State Council oppose it.
9) Muslims must be included in the State Services Commission in
proportion [to population]. Moreover, a Muslim and a non-Muslim must
alternate as the chairman of this commission.
11) Muslims must have equal rights in the State Services Commission, all
the other selection boards and organizations, corporations and municipal
committees.
14) State government must make special endeavours to raise the
educational and economic levels of the Muslims and minorities in the State.
15) The State funds and the funds allotted by the Union Government
must be expended for areas in which the Muslims and non-Muslims reside as
proportionately as possible on the basis of population.
21) . . . In resettling the Buddhists from [East] Pakistan in Rakhine, they
must be settled only in the localities in which non-Muslims reside.
22) When the Frontier Administration in Mayyu Frontier Region is
dissolved and the administration is taken over by the Rakhine State
[government], the region must be governed as a separate region, and no
change nor interference in the existing civil administration must be made.
(Guardian Daily [Rangoon], 27 October, 1960)
123



Readers may compare these demands with those made by Mr. Sultan Mahmud
and the resolutions made at the Alethangyaw Convention.
A study of the above three documents shows that the Chittagonian Muslims
who called themselves Rohingyas concurred in expressing their desire to establish a
separate Muslim State or Region that comprised Maungdaw, Buthidaung and part of
Rathedaung in northern Rakhine because of their predominant position there. They
also wanted the government to recognize them as citizens and to not resettle Buddhists
who at that time were in East Pakistan in their Muslim State. Sultan Mahmud, who did
not demand the establishment of a Muslim State or Region, but desired the foundation
of the Rakhine State, however, just wanted the Rakhines to make an assurance that
the Muslims would enjoy certain rights. However, his demands were more serious than
those made for the establishment of a Muslim State.
All in all, as a result of the Mujahid insurgency, the Rakhines could not turn their
ancestral land into a state without Muslims interference. The Rakhines had to relinquish
control of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and part of Rathedaung, where a minority of
Rakhines felt imprisoned by the predominant Bengali Muslims.




Review of Chapter 7
Portraying Chittagonian Muslims as an Indigenous Race of Myanmar
Zaw Min Htut introduces Chapter 7 Legal Issues and Rohingyas with the words: The
right of the persons who are Union citizens by birth to acquire Union citizenship is one of
the fundamental human rights.
90
[?He seems to mean: the right to acquire Union
citizenship is one of the fundamental human rights of the persons who are born within
the Union]. Then he cites Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to a nationality.
91
In this way, he claims that the Rohingyas
have the right to acquire Myanmar citizenship as they are natural-born citizens of the
Union of Myanmar. Thus, he is demanding privileges for the so-called Rohingyas.
Then he refers to articles 10 and 11 of the Constitution of the Union of Burma
(1947), and cites the Union Citizenship Act of 1948 as follows:
Section 3 (a) For the purpose of section 11 of the Constitution the
expression any of the indigenous races of Burma shall mean the
Arakanese, Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon or Shan race and
such racial group as has settled in any of the territories included within the
Union as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1823 A.D. (1185
B.E.).
92
(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 71)
Holding onto the phrase a period anterior to 1823 A.D. (1185 B.E.) in this law, Zaw Min
Htut claims as follows:
()
()

- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 74)
It is mentioned in the report (dated 12 July 1825) of Robertson,
commander of a British force, that the population of Rakhine at that time
was about 100,000sixty thousand Rakhine Buddhists and thirty thousand

90
- - -
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 69)
91
United Nations 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (proclaimed by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December, 1948), Article 15.
92
Government of Burma 1948, Union Citizenship Act (Burma Act No. LXVI of 1948), Article
3 (a).
125



Muslims. There is no reason to refute that the descendants of those thirty
thousand Muslims are Myanmar nationals. . . .
However, the thirty thousand Muslims mentioned by Robertson comprised of, inter alios,
the captives brought back from the twelve towns of Bengal during the reigns of Mrauk-
oo-period kings, the Muslims bought from Portuguese pirates and the Myedu Muslims
(ie the Muslims brought back to Myanmar by King Bodawhpaya). They could be
regarded as Indians (mostly Bengalis) who had been living in Rakhine in those days.
However, there is no evidence that they were Rohingyas.
The thirty thousand Muslims Zaw Min Htut refers to are the ones mentioned in
Banerjees work. With the intention of inflating the Muslim population, he discusses as
follows:
- - -


- - -
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 74)
Translation:
. . . The people from Rakhine who took refuge in Chittagong to escape
Bamar invasion in 1784 and because of the lack of security under
Lemrowuns rule after 1785, returned home when relative security was
restored after 1826. . . . Those [refugees] included not only Rakhine Buddhists,
but also a large number of Muslims and hill peoples. . . .
As Zaw Min Htut represents the Muslims who had immigrated during the colonial era as
indigenous Muslims in Chapter 4, I have refuted that they were immigrants by citing the
works of Smart and Yegar.
Furthermore, Zaw Min Htut attributes the high population density of Rohingyas
in present-day Maungdaw and Buthidaung to the remigration of approximately two
hundred thousand refugees who had escaped from the riot of 1942; and this has been
discussed in Chapter 6 (under the subheading Taking Advantage of the Riot to
Overstate the Muslim Population).
He does not stop with this. He refers to Mr. Gani Markan, who contested for a
seat in the legislative council as a Myanmar representative from Maungdaw and
Buthidaung under 91-department scheme in the colonial period as follows:
- - -
() [sic.] ()
126



() ()

(Zaw Min Htut 2001,
75)
Translation:
. . . A general election was held in November 1936. Ten members of the
legislative council were elected from ten constituencies in Rakhine9 for
Myanmar nationals and 1 for Indians in Sittwe. The Rohingyas were allowed
to vote in the constituencies for Myanmar nationals, and a Rohingya by the
name of U Gani Markan was elected as a Myanmar representative from
Maungdaw-Buthidaung constituency.
93

Thus, according to Zaw Min Htut, the Muslims who had the vote in this election were
Myanmar nationals, Mr. Gani Markan was a Muslim and a Myanmar representative,
and all those Muslims, including Gani Markan, were Rohingyas. Although, as an
accomplished liar and with his writing skills, he can adroitly portray the Indians who
immigrated in the colonial era as Myanmar nationals, Zaw Min Htut cannot change
Smarts record (Government of Burma 1917), which gives the populations of indigenous
Buddhists and of Indian immigrants as recorded in the census of 1911. The census does
not mention a race called Rohingya. It only mentions Bengalis and Kaman Muslims.
Zaw Min Htut should understand that true historical facts cannot be kept dark.
Zaw Min Htut discusses at some length how the Muslims from Maungdaw and
Buthidaung were entitled to contest, and some even won, in the three parliamentary
general elections held under AFPFL rule. He means to say that they had the rights to
vote and to contest in the elections only because they were Myanmar nationals. It is
true that the Muslims from Maungdaw and Buthidaung had enjoyed those rights;
nevertheless, they were not recognized Rohingyas. It was clearly stated in the 100
th

press conference held during SLORC era that the Muslims who called themselves
Rohingyas were not recognized as an indigenous race of Myanmar.
In 1988, the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) fell from power, and the
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) took over the reins of government.
When the government planned to hold multi-party democracy general elections in
1990, seven Muslim parties from Maungdaw and Buthidaung ran for the elections. The
SLORC government did not include Rohingya among the list of national races in

93
Since the name Rohingya was not used throughout the colonial era, how could Gani
Markan be recognized as a Rohingya? Zaw Min Htut has not proved that Gani Markan was a
Rohingya or even a Muslim. Furthermore, if there were Rohingyas in the parliament, why
could/did they not make the government recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group?
127



Myanmar. Brig. General Khin Nyunt, secretary 1 of SLORC, made a statement on this
matter in the 100
th
press conference of SLORC on 13 July 1990 as follows:
. . . Some political organizations are claiming that certain races which
are not officially recognized as national races to be considered to be
national races.... We do not recognize nationalities depending on their faith.
Those who are not in the nationalities list previously in trying to obtain
nationalities status can harm the drafting of the constitution. . . .
94

After this press conference, the Muslim parties which formerly planned to name their
parties as Rohingya parties took other names. Those parties were:
1) National Democratic Party for Human Rights
2) Mayyu Development Student Youth Organization (Arakan)
3) National Ethnic Reformation Party
4) ?National United Party of Arakan
5) Amyotha Party
6) Rakhine Nationalities League for Democracy
7) Kaman National League for Democracy
Although those parties had to change their names because they were not allowed to
use the name Rohingya, Zaw Min Htut says:

()
- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 87)
Translation:
. . . The Rohingya nationals, just like their brethren nationals, had the right
to vote in 1990 elections. Every Rohingya who had reached the age of 18
were allowed to vote, and the establishment of Rohingya political parties
legally were allowed.
He then gives brief histories of those seven political parties. Despite Zaw Min
Htuts references to Rohingya nationals and Rohingya political parties, the name
Rohingya was not used in the names of those parties. Why? The answer can be
found in the above press statement made by Brig. General Khin Nyunt, who denied the
use of the word Rohingya as an ethnonym, pointing out that Those who are not in

94
Burma Press Summary, (from The Working People's Daily), Vol. IV, No. 7, July 1990, <http:/
www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/BPS90-07.pdf> (accessed on 15 May 2014)
128



the nationalities list previously in trying to obtain nationalities status can harm the
drafting of the constitution.
Moreover, Zaw Min Htut states as follows:
()


(Three Generations)




- - - (Zaw Min Htut 2001, 76-77)
Translation:
During the BSPP era, a person could run for the elections only if his/her
grandparents, parents and he/her himself/herself were Myanmar citizens
under the constitution of 1947. Dr. Nyi Nyi, Minister for Mining and U Win Ko,
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs had to resign as members of the Pyithu
Hluttaw
95
because they did not have the qualifications for membership of
the Parliament. Thus Rohingyas had the right to run for and vote in the
elections for the Pyithu Hluttaw and different levels of Pyithu Councils
96
. (Zaw
Min Htut, p. 76-77)
In addition, he says:
() ()


(Zaw Min Htut, p. 92)
Translation:
Every Rohingya who had reached the age of 18 were allowed to run
for Myanmars last general elections held on 27 May 1990, during the SLORC
era, because Rohingya was an ethnic minority group of Myanmar. (Zaw Min
Htut 2001, 92)

95
the unicameral legislature of Myanmar during the socialist era.
96
administrative councils during the socialist era.
129



It is true that Dr. Nyi Nyi and U Win Ko had to resign as members of the Pyithu Hluttaw in
the BSPP era because they did not have qualifications to become members of the
Pyithu Hluttaw under the constitution. However, Zaw Min Htuts statement that the
Muslims who called themselves Rohingyas were allowed to stand for the Pyithu Hluttaw
and the hierarchy of Pyithu Councils is a flat-out lie. In the Rakhine State, Muslims could
not even become full-fledged members of the BSPP. They had to content themselves
with becoming provisional members of the party or party sympathizers. They were
appointed as chairmen of village-level councils only in Muslim villages.
Moreover, when the BSPP government launched an operation codenamed
Naga Min (King Dragon) to check identity documents, more than four hundred
thousand so-called Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine State fled to the other side of the
border, as the entire world knew. Why did they take flight? The answer is obvious. They
were not indigenous people; they were not even citizens. That was why they dared
not face scrutiny and took flight. Zaw Min Htut further states that the Rohingyas were
allowed to vote in and run for the elections in 1990 because they were an ethnic
minority group of Myanmar.
97
The SLORC did not recognize the Muslims who called
themselves Rohingyas as an indigenous race. This is clear from the statement made by
Secretary 1 of SLORC at the 100
th
press conference of SLORC.
Muslims Plan to Seize Maungdaw on 13 May
Zaw Min Htut discusses so-called Rohingyas political movements under various
subheadings in Chapter 7 Legal Issues and Rohingyas. One of those subheadings is
88 Democracy Movement and Ethnic Rohingyas. He relates how the democracy

97
Zaw Min Htut discusses the spread of Islam in Rakhine and the Muslim population in
Rakhine before and during the colonial era. Of course, it is true that there were Muslims in those
days. However, Zaw Min Htut fails to prove that they were Rohingyas, although he refers to
them as Rohingyas. If they were Rohingyas, why did the British government not include
Rohingya as a race in their censuses? Zaw Min Htut claims that the Rohingyas had/have their
own language and literature. However Rohingya is not in the list of the languages spoken in
Myanmar in the censuses conducted during the colonial era, especially in the census of 1931,
which even included twenty Indian languages, fifteen European languages and eleven
languages grouped as Other Languages.
Zaw Min Htut mentions several Rohingyas who stood for or won in and vote in the
elections (during the colonial era [in 1936)], during the post-independence era under AFPFL rule,
during the socialist era, and during the SLORC/SPDC era). It is true that Muslims were allowed to
vote and compete in the elections held in Myanmar if they were citizens, and I believe they will
continue to enjoy those rights in the future. This shows that successive Myanmar governments
have not been oppressing religious minorities. However Zaw Min Htut has not proved anywhere
in his book that those Muslims were/are Rohingyas. In fact, he has never proved the existence
of a single Rohingya. He just replaces the word Muslim with Rohingya whenever he wants to.
Moreover the fact that successive Myanmar governments allowed the Muslims (Zaw Min
Htut has referred to) to vote and compete in the elections indicates that the governments had
recognized them as citizens and had issued them IDs (NRCs or Citizenship Cards). Therefore, the
Kalas in Arakan who, or whose parents, do not have IDs clearly must be illegal immigrants.
130



movement of 1988 began and how the Muslims attempt to seize Maungdaw township
on 13 May 1988 was connected with it as follows:
()

()
(Zaw Min Htut
2001, 85)
Translation:
. . . On 13 May 1988, a popular uprising against one-party dictatorship
broke out in Maungdaw township in Rakhine State. This uprising was jointly
orchestrated by local Rohingyas and Rakhines. However, the Lon Htein (anti-
riot force) of BSPP fired on [the demonstrators] to crush the uprising, killing
two Rohingya youths and wounding many people.
Zaw Min Htut makes a barefaced lie that the incident in Maungdaw was a popular
uprising against one-party dictatorship, and that it was jointly engineered by Rohingyas
and Rakhines. But it was not. No Rakhine was involved in it either. In fact, this incident
was perpetrated by the Muslims whose intention was to attack the Rakhine minorities
in Maungdaw town and township.
Zaw Min Htut also proudly states that a Muslim political leader by the name of
Dr. Tun Aung from Maungdaw town delivered a speech at a mass rally in Maungdaw
on 13 August as follows:
- - -
- - - ()


(Zaw Min Htut 2001, 86)
Translation:
. . . Dr. Tun Aung, a Rohingya who was the leader of the democracy
movement committee in Maungdaw . . . expressed, inter alia, that the
demonstrations that took place in Maungdaw on 13 August marked the start
of a democracy movement in Myanmar and urged the people to continue
this movement with perseverance and patience and in harmony until
democracy prevails in Myanmar.
Note that Tun Aung said 13 August instead of 13 May for the date of Muslim
uprising in Maungdaw. As the Muslim uprising posed a serious threat to the safety of
131



Rakhine Buddhists in Maungdaw township who were a minority there, the Myoma
Sayadaw (the abbot of the Myoma monastery), who was chairman of the Township
Sanghanayaka Committee in Maungdaw, reported the matter to the Central
Sanghanayaka Committee on 28 September 1988. The important parts of this letter
may be cited here:
. . . A group of kalazoes
98
who call themselves Rakhine Ywahaunggya
have taken refuge in Bangladesh and are issuing leaflets named
Ywahaunggya and distributing them worldwide. According to them apart
from the 186,996 Kalas Myanmar [government] has allowed to return under
Hintha Operation in 1979, there are about five hundred and fifty thousand
Kalas in Bangladesh and other Muslim countries. They are demanding
[Myanmar] to let those Kalas return. After 9 pm on Friday, 13/5/88, about
fifty thousand Kalas closed in on Maungdaw from the south, east and north
sides to kill the Rakhine Buddhists. On the same day, they demolished the
Myothit monastery in Ward 4 and surrounded the main monastery building.
Rakhines narrowly escaped being massacred only because the Peoples
Police Force and the No. 2 battalion of Lon Htein (Anti-Riot Force) reacted in
time to prevent the attack. If their [the kalazoes] attempt was successful,
they would bring in two hundred and fifty thousand people from
Bangladesh, take over the region as a Muslim territory and incorporate it into
Bangladesh. It was a despicable act.
. . . Therefore, I would like to implore you to take this report into careful
consideration and guide the authorities as you think necessary for the
welfare of the Sasana.
This letter clearly indicates how serious the threat posed by the so-called Rohingyas
was. The Rakhine Buddhists in Maungdaw and Buthidaung could do nothing to remove
this threat as they were a minority there. They would be able to eliminate this threat
only with the help of other nationals of the Union.
A Monuddin Nasir wrote an article on the incident of 13 May, entitled Rohingya
Issue Calls for Early Solution, in the Friday Weekly (dated 2 September 1988) published
in our neighboring country. The author said that the Myanmar government had passed
the Burma Immigration Act
99
and launched twelve operations against the Rohingya
Muslims. Under this law the Muslims in Rakhine were foreign nationals who had no right
to reside in Myanmar, and the Myanmar government had been oppressing the Muslims
pursuant to this law. Therefore, he continued, more than a million Muslims had
abandoned their land. Moreover, the Myanmar government launched the Galon

98
Kalazo literally means a bad Kala.
99
I dont know which law he is referring to.
132



Operation in 1979 in preparation to pass a new law named Burma Citizenship Law,
100

which recognized the Rohingyas as foreigners and deprived them of the right to vote
or stand for the elections. He went on to say that this [Galon] operation was the most
harmful operation for the Muslims, and that now there were around four hundred and
fifty thousand Muslims in Bangladesh who were eager to return to their mother land.
The author also referred to Shabbir Hussein, head of the Arakan Rohingya
Islamic Front as saying that the Muslims in Rakhine had been crusading for a long time,
and that they were now taking part in Myanmars uprising against dictatorship.
The author also said he was told by a government official who was made to
leave Myanmar quite recently that the Muslims in Rakhine staged a demonstration on
13 May, and that the Myanmar government had suspended most of the government
servants who were regarded as organizers.
Then, the author said that the majority of the one million Muslims who had left
Myanmar were living in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, some gulf countries and in India, and
that the Muslims of Rakhine should take up arms and risk their lives if they were not
allowed to take part in the national reconciliation talks.
Thus, the author condemned Myanmars immigration law, and his statements
that this law had led a million Muslims to flee the country and that four hundred and
fifty thousand Muslims were eager to remigrate to their mother land suggest that his
intention was to exploit the political instability in Myanmar to the Muslims advantage.
This article corroborates the statement in the report made by the chairman of
the township Sanghanayaka committee of Maungdaw township that the Muslims were
demanding permission for the return of around five hundred and fifty thousand Muslims.
It is obvious that the intention behind the 13 May incident was to pave the way for the
return of the Muslims who had fled to avoid the governments actions taken pursuant
to the immigration law. It was the prompt actions of the Peoples Police Force and the
No. 2 battalion of Lon Htein (Anti-Riot Force) that had saved the Rakhines in
Maungdaw. As stated above, Maung Htin who formerly was the commissioner of
Rakhine has pointed out that the aim of the Muslims who called themselves Rohingyas
was to turn Maungdaw and Buthidaung into a Muslim territory. As the purpose of the
incident of 13 May also was the same, let me quote him again:
. . . The post-war era Chittagonians policy was to turn the Mayu hill
region and Kalabazin valley on the other side [on the east side] of Naaf River
into their new territory. The person who first propounded this policy was a

100
?Government of Burma 1982. Burma Citizenship Law (Pyitthu Hluttaw Law no. 4),
published in the Working Peoples Daily, 16 October 1982. For an unofficial translation of this law,
follow this link: <http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae64f71b.html> (accessed on 15 May 2014)
133



Chittagonian who had lived for years in Rakhine. He had planned to enter
[Rakhine] en masse with his tribe to resettle [there] . . . (Maung Htin 1960, 58)
This statement agrees with the article written by Monuddin Nasir in the Friday
Weekly and the report made by the chairman of the Maungdaw township
Sanghanayaka committee. The Chittagonian Muslims intention is to reenter Rakhine
en masse, and this could be prevented only with the help of the citizens of the Union
who are our siblings.




Review of Chapter 8
Be Loyal to the Union
Zaw Min Htut gives the title of Chapter 8 as Governments Recognition of Rohingyas
in the Post-Colonial Era. This chapter is arranged in seven sections: Excerpts from
Prime Minister U Nus Broadcast Speech, Excerpts from the Speeches Made at Rallies
by U Ba Swe, Prime Minister and Former Minister for Defense, Notifications Issued by
the Frontier Administrative Department Subordinate to Prime Minister, Excerpts from
Myanma Swezonkyan [Encyclopedia Birmanica], Indigenous Language Programs
and Rohingya Language Program of Burma Broadcasting Station, Excerpts from the
Hkitye Journal Published by Myanmar Military, and Vice Chief-of-Staff Brig. Gen. Aung
Gyis Speech Delivered at the Ceremony of Mujahids Surrendering on 8 July 1961.
Zaw Min Htut presents the speeches made by U Nu, U Ba Swe and Brig. Gen.
Aung Gyi who had spoken as Myanmars leaders to sway the Muslims while Myanmar
was quelling the Mujahid rebellion. They used the word Rohingya in some of their
speeches, the broadcasting of Rohingya Language Program was allowed from 15 May
1961 to 1 October 1965, and Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships were administered
as Mayu Frontier Region. Nevertheless, they were not recognizing the so-called
Rohingyas as a national race of Myanmar.
101
U Nu and other political leaders of
Myanmar were just using their political guile to deal with the political situation at that

101
It is impossible to use U Nu and U Ba Swes politicking to prove that the government
recognized the so-called Rohingyas as an ethnic group, indigenous or non-indigenous. They
used all their political guile to gain or stay in power. Consider how U Nu made an election
promise to adopt Buddhism as a state religion. After he was re-elected as Prime Minister in the
parliamentary session held on 4 April 1960, his government formed an advisory committee to help
them draft a bill to adopt Buddhism as the state religion. U Nu did not have power to adopt
Buddhism as state religion. Only the parliament had that power. Therefore, U Nu tabled the Third
Amendment of the Constitution to make Buddhism the State religion in the parliament on 17
August 1961, and some objections were raised (Proceedings of the Third Session of the
Parliament, 5/3, 1961, 309ff.). The issue was put to the vote, and the parliament passed the Third
Amendment of the Constitution by a vote of 324 to 28 on 26 August 1961 (Hanthawady
[Mandalay], 27 October 1961). I have not found any evidence that U Nu made any attempt to
recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group. It is true that Rohingya Language Program was
broadcast for some years from 1961 onwards. However, neither the Burma Broadcasting Station
nor Prime Minister U Nu had the power to recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group. This program
was put to a stop in the BSPP era. If a government of Myanmar really had recognized Rohingya
as an ethnic group, there certainly should be some official documents, such as parliamentary
records. Also, if the prime minister himself did not have that power, how could Brig. Gen. Aung
Gyi have that power at that time? He was not even a member of the cabinet and Myanmar
was not under military rule at that time.

135



time. They never recognized those people as a national race like the Kachin, Kayah,
Karen, Chin, Mon, Myanmar, Rakhine and Shan.
The heads of successive governments of Myanmar had to deal with the affairs
of the so-called Rohingyas from its western frontier. The immigration problem
bequeathed to them by the British imperialists had been a headache for Myanmars
successive governments. It brought about the Kala-Bamar riot in 1938 before World
War II broke out, the Kala-Rakhine riot in 1942, and the Mujahid rebellion in 1948. As
Yegar has remarked, this insurgency had given rise to political results; When the
Mujahids surrender, Mr. Gaffar, MP, tried to win the governments confidence by giving
a press conference to state that they were not pro-Pakistan separatists.
Zaw Min Htut also mentions the speech Brig. Aung Gyi delivered at the
ceremony of Mujahids surrendering. However, the main purpose of his speech was to
tell the Muslims in Maungdaw and Buthidaung, including the Mujahids, to give their full
allegiance to the Union of Burma.
Zaw Min Htut reproduces Brig. Gen. Aung Gyis speech from the Myanma Alin
[New Light of Myanmar] (Rangoon) to try to prove that the leaders of Myanmar had
recognized the so-called Rohingyas as an indigenous ethnic group. A study of the
speech, however, shows that Brig. Gen. Aung Gyis intention was to tell them to be loyal
to the Union, not to recognize them as indigenous people even though he referred to
them as Rohingyas.
102



102
It is true that Brig. Gen. Aung Gyi used the word Rohingya in his speech. It seems that
he did not check whether Rohingya was recognized by the government as an ethnic group of
Myanmar and did not know the history of the so-called Rohingyas.




Conclusion
Now, I have reviewed Zaw Min Htuts book and exposed the falsehoods in it. I believe
the readers have learnt the true history of the Chittagonian Muslims who call themselves
Rohingyas.
To sum up my review, the so-called Rohingyas entered Myanmar during the
colonial era when they could freely immigrate to the country as agricultural labourers.
Their number in Akyab district increased rapidly within sixty years (from 1870 to 1930),
and they even outnumbered indigenous Rakhines in Maungdaw and Buthidaung
townships. Although the British government planned to put a curb on their migration
to Myanmar, it was unable to implement this plan because World War II spilt over into
Myanmar.
World War II had caused many problems for Rakhines. Many Rakhines lost their
lives during the race riot of 1942 and those who survived the riot lost their property.
While they were still licking the wounds of this riot, the British who were Myanmars
former overlords, swayed the Muslims of Maungdaw and Buthidaung in 1945, saying
they would let them establish a Muslim state. After the British army had reentered
Myanmar, Chittagonian Muslims flooded into Rakhine, jacking up the Muslim
population in Maungdaw and Buthidaung.
British army officers promise encouraged the Muslims in Rakhine to strive for the
establishment of a Muslim state. As they had become predominant over the Rakhines
in Buthidaung and Maungdaw region, they planned to use this situation to translate
British governments fake promise (to establish a Muslim State) into reality. They
intended to take over Maungdaw, Buthidaung and part of Rathedaung and to
incorporate them into East Pakistan. The Mujahid insurgency bore testimony to this
intention. The Muslim parliament members, on the other hand, demanded the
government to establish a Muslim State, or at least a new region with Maungdaw and
Buthidaung placed under direct control of the central government, which also
reflected their political goal: to take over part of Rakhine as their new territory.
The right to establish a state the Muslims have been demanding is the right only
enjoyed by indigenous races. The Chittagonian Bengalis who call themselves
Rohingyas do not have that right. To overcome this obstacle, they have invented a
history of indigenous Rohingya Muslims, and are using the media for their propaganda
campaign and demanding the establishment of a Muslim State.
Successive Myanmar governments knew the Muslims policy to enter en masse
into Rakhine to acquire a new territory. Therefore they had turned down the Muslims
demands and recognized them only as associate citizens. A new citizenship law was
enacted during the BSPP era. When the immigration officers scrutinized them for
137



registration, the Muslims who called themselves Rohingyas escaped to the other side
of the border to avoid scrutiny. This turned into a refugee crisis which the United Nations
had to mediate, and this had led the international media to frequently use the word
Rohingya as the ethnonym of a new Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar. In this way, the
word Rohingya has become widely known. As the so-called Rohingyas are making all-
out efforts to achieve their political goal, by both peaceful and violent means, some
people have come to believe their false history and regarded their movement as a
human rights movement of the oppressed people. Zaw Min Htuts book entitled The
Union of Burma and Ethnic Rohingyas also is published with a view to misinforming the
Myanmars working or living abroad about the history of so-called Rohingyas.
To conclude, the purpose of the false history Zaw Min Htut has presented is to
enable the Muslims to take over the homeland of Rakhine Buddhists.

Khine Mra War




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