Sunday, October 23, 2011

ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀ရဲ႕ ျပည္ဖ်က္စီမံကိန္း

ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀ဆိုတာ တကယ္႔ တိုင္းျပည္သစၥာေဖာက္ေလာက္ေကာင္ တေကာင္ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ အခုလဲ DVB ကို ခုတုံးလုပ္ျပီး ရုိဟင္ဂ်ာဘဂၤလီကုလားေတြရဲ႕လက္ထဲကို တိုင္းျပည္ကို ထုိးေကြ်းဖို႔ ပိုျပီး အခြင္႔အေရးရသြားပါျပီ။ အရင္တုန္းက ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀အေနနဲ႔ ဘဂၤလီကုလားေတြကို ရုိဟင္ဂ်ာအျဖစ္ ပြဲထုတ္ခဲ႔တဲ႔ သက္ေသအေထာက္အထားေတြကို တင္ျပေပးလိုက္ပါတယ္။

ဘဂၤလီကုလားေတြဟာ ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀ရဲ႕အကူအညီနဲ႔ ျမန္မာ႔သမိုင္းကို ေျပာင္းျပန္လွန္လုပ္ဇာတ္ခင္းလို႔ ရခုိင္ျပည္နယ္တခုလုံးကို သူတို႔ရဲ႕ ဘိုးဘြားအေမြျဖစ္ခဲ႔သေယာင္ ႏုိင္ငံတကာကို လုပ္ဇာတ္ခင္းေနၾကပါျပီ။ ဒီဇာတ္မွာအဓိက ဒါရုိက္တာၾကီးကေတာ႔ ေလာက္ေကာင္ ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀ပဲ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ဒီလို လူမ်ိဳးကိုမွ မသုတ္သင္ မရွင္းလင္းဘူးဆိုရင္ .....

ဘဂၤလီကုလားမ်ားႏွင္႔ ဟန္ေယာင္ေ၀တို႔၏ လုပ္ဇာတ္လမ္းကို အလြယ္တကူ ကူးယူႏိုင္ရန္ PDF ဖိုင္အေနျဖင္႔ မတင္ဘဲ မူရင္းအတိုင္း တင္ျပေပးလိုက္ပါသည္။


A History of Arakan (Past & Present)

byDr. Mohammed Yunus
First Edition Published in 1994

A History of Arakan: Past and Present, by Dr. Mohammad Yunus, President of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), Arakan, is a a welcome addition to the present stock of our knowledge about the history of Arakan and her interrelation with neighbouring lands of Burma and Bengal.

It deals mainly with the advent of Islam in Arakan about 800 C.E. and the eventual growth of Muslim community through thick and thin into a major Rohingya community of the country.

One can say unhasitatingly that for the first time Dr. Yunus has been able to offer, even if in a skeleton form, a connected and continuous history of the Rohingya community of Arakan from the earliest down to the present time. He has explored an enormously wide field in digging up a great variety of new materials drawn from an impressive number of references. Specially commendable in this work is the forging of all the material under his command towards a new direction of studying the history of the Rohingya Muslim community in the perspective of the impact of Islamic civilization on Southeast Asia, not merely considering it as a part of the national or political history of Burma or Myanmar.

Indeed, when we turn our gaze to the whole situation of Southeast Asia and find, to our amazement, the statistic of the Muslims exceeding 50% (fifty percent) of the total population of the region, we can easily realize the importance of the community history of the Muslims of different areas of the region. Because, even though the Muslims of Arakan, like as those of Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam, are suppressed and repressed from time to time out of sheer communal enmity of sister-groups, yet we realize that the grand islamic civilizing impact on the region has come to stay.

Apart from the history of the Muslim community of Arakan, Dr. Yunus has shown this extraordinarily rich and fertile land as falling into a bone of contention between geographically adjacent Bengal and religiously homogenious Burma since time immemorial, which unwittingly, unnecessarily and unjustly preved upon the Rohingya Muslim community with beastly ferocity, breaking thereby the hearth and home of the once majority community of the Arakan region and driving a sizeable number of them out of the land.

In this study the author has also raised a few moot points inviting the interest of the researchers as to the real cause of the fleeing of King Narameikhla from Arakan to Bengal in 1404 C.E. Was it due to communal discord or owing to mere political aggression of the King of Burma? Another moot point attracting the attention of the researchers relate to ascertaining the real intention of the eleven Arakanese Kings from 1430 to 1531 behind adopting Muslim names alongwith their Arakani names. Was it due to their adoption of Islam as a religion or just for political expediency.

A third point calling for close investigation lies in finding out the causes of the political failure of the Muslim community of Arakan and Burma or Myanmar in spite of the enormous growth of the Muslim population in the region along with Muslim cultural and administrative influence in Arakan: whether it lay in the field of education, intellectual failure or greed of wealth?

Such a full-dressed investigation alone canhelp the Muslim community of Arakan and Myanmar to determine and delineate a realisitc attitude towards living peaceful and cherishable lives within and outside of the country adopting a befitting useful point of view towards the politics of the country like s the Muslims of Ceylone, those of France. West Bengal or Bangladesh. In the meantime, we may expectantly look forward towards wider and deeper research, investigation and integration of data and facts in these fields.

In spite of some minor compositional weaknesses of the work as a book of history, it deserves wide popularity as "Arakan: Past and Present" and I am sure, it will prove its mettle amongst specialists as well as general readers throughout the world.

Dr. Muin-ud-Din Ahmad Khan
Professor of Islamic History & Culture
Chittagong University
Chittagong, Bangladesh

In my opinion by Sufi A.M. Waheed

This is the first time that we are having a history of Arakan in a consolidated and comprehensive form. Dr. Mohammed Yunus must have taken a long and deep search to compile the glorious past of Arakan, where the two sister communities, the Rohingyas and the Rakhines lived in peace and harmony.

In my opinion, this book will be a milestone in the freedom movement of the people of Arakan, as the lesson from the history inspires a nation for independence and for achieving fruits of independence. As much all the freedom loving Rohingyas must go through it and should possess a copy of it as a precious belonging.

Ex. Electrical Adviser and Chairman
Electricity Licencing Board
Government of Bangladesh

Opinion by Dr. Ali Ahmad

I feel great pleasure to know that 'A History of Arakan: Past and Present', containing all sorts of information of the Arakanese (Rohingya) Muslim is going to be published. This attempt of Dr. Mohammed Yunus, President of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and an undisputed leader of the Arakanese Muslims, is a timely contribution to the on-going national movement of their independence.

I wish for a peaceful publication and wide circulation of the book and pray for a long and happy life of the author.

Dept. of Islamic History & Culture
University of Chittagong
Chittagong, Bangladesh


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

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

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

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

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

Above all and everything all praises and thanks are due to Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala without whose infinite mercy and blessings, I could not have mustered enough courage to undertake this work. I expect nothing but the sweet pleasure of Allah Almightly only in carrying out this work

He is the best of seers.

Dr. Mohammad Yunus


The present rulers of Burma claim that it's overall indigenous ethnic population - comprising eight major ethnic communities viz Burman, Shan, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon, Chin, and Rakhaing (Arakanese Buddhist), subdivided into 135 ethnic races—are descendants of Mongolian races only. They categorically deny that Burma has any indigenous ethnic race belonging to Arian stock including Rohingya (Arakanese Muslim). Every people in present - day Burma having Indian features are being treated as either foreigners or descendants of foreigners, Kala, no matter how long one might have been established there. Being ignorant of the real history, most of the casual observers confuse people with Indian features with descendants of the Indian immigrants who entered Burma in thousands during British colonial era as in other countries of Southeast Asia. A strong mispropaganda against Rohingya from the part of the Burmans as well as our sister community of Arakan, the Magh, also blurs the truth to some extent.

But who are the real foreigners in Arakan? Is Arakan purely a state belonging to the people of Mongolian stock? Efforts have been made to give appropriate answers to the above questions in this work.

In historical perspective Arakan is more a frontier province of Eastern India than a province of Burma. From very early days till thee arrival of the Mongolian and Tibeto -Burmans in the tenth century Arakan was an Indian land with a population similar to Bengal. The spread of Islam in Arakan during those early times and the impact of Islamic civilisation on Arakan particularly after Bengal became Muslim in 1203 is well known. The Arakanese Buddhists (Rakhaing) who are counted among the Mongolian stock, by the Burmans, are in fact descendants of Arian Maghada Buddhists migrated from Bihar in India around 8th century C.E. who were later assimilated by the invading Mongolians. But the Arakan with both Muslim and Buddhist population had always maintained an independent status although before the establishment of Mrauk-U dynasty by Solaiman Shah (Narameikhla) in 1430, there was from time to time Burman and Mon interference.

From 1430 to 1638 except a few usurpers all rulers of Arakan had been the descendants of converted Muslim King Solaiman Shah (Narameikhla) who was reinstated to the throne of Arakan by Bengal King Sultan Jalaluddin Mohammad Shah. For hundred years from 1430 to 1530 Arakan had extremely cordial relationship with Bengal to the extent of calling it by historians as feudatory to Bengal. It's boundary never extended beyond what was during the conquest of Arakan by Bengal Sultan. But with the change of hands in power in Bengal in 1538 the Arakanese King Zabuk Shah occupied part of south eastern Bengal including Chittagong for the first time in 1540. But it lapsed back again to Bengal Sultans. For almost a century, from 1582 t0 1666, Chittagong remained under the affective rule of the Arakanese.

With close relation with Bengal, which includes Cittagong, since 1430 and the territories of present - day Chittagong and Arakan falling under the same jurisdiction of erstwhile Arakan for about one century, how can one perceive that Arakan could not have pre -British Muslim settlements with the people of Chittagong? The long establishment of Muslim community in Arakan, tracing to the remote past, can not be denied by any unbiased historian. But the fact is that their number and power grew substantially since the establishment of Mrauk-U dynasty by Solaiman Shah.

After the occupation of Chittagong in 1582, the Arakanese kings had to rely on the cooperation of the Portuguese to counter the Moghuls, now in control of Bengal. However, after 1638 change over, the weakened Buddhist kings of Arakan depended on them so much so that the frontier province of Chittagong became a haunt of Firingi (Portuguese) pirates. A traveller of 1650 writes: ''In Chittagong, the Portuguese set up a kind of sovereignty and associating with pirates and bandits of all nations...committed daily robberies by sea and by land." They ravaged the whole of Lower Bengal, depopulated it and turned it into wilderness. These obnoxious activities of Portuguese accompanied by Maghs earned the Maghs the ignoble name of 'Pirate' which is the only reason why the Buddhists of Arakan disown this name today.

The granting of shelter to ill-fated Moghul prince Shah Shuja by the Buddhist king of Arakan, Sanda Thudamma, and his subsequent murder there resulted in further deterioration of the already sour relationship prevalent between Moghuls and the Arakanese leading ultimately to the loss of Chittagong forever. After the massacre of Shah Shuja and his followers till final occupation of Arakan by Burma, there had been internecine fued between the two sister communities enabling the Burmans could be able to legistimise their occupation of Arakan in the process of gaining independence of Burma from British, history is replete with irrefutable facts that they had always been foreign aggressors and occupation forces in Arakan.

The Burman mind is consistently haunted by the apprehension that one day the history of Arakan might be repeated and they have to wash their hands off Arakan. To preclude this, they have resorted to wiping out, the potential danger in their eyes, the Muslims of Arakan. The ethnic cleansing operations being launched off and on against Rohingyas is the result of this deep - seated fear the Burmans are harbouring secretly in their heart.

Chapter I - The land and the people

Arakan – now a western province of Burma – had been an independent country till 1784 C.E. As with other countries, the geography of Arakan has had important influences on the course of its history. That Arakan managed to maintain itself as an independent kingdom until almost the end of the eighteenth century was mainly due to its geographical position.

The total area of Arakan during the British period was approximately 20,000 sq. miles. It is a narrow mountainous strip of land along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. It stretches north and south; wider in the north and tapering down to the south. It touches Bangladesh in the northwest, India in the north and Chin Hills in the northeast. It is cut off from Burma by a long range of near-impassable mountains, of Arakan Yoma, in the east making it a natural physiographic unit. It has 176 miles long maritime and land boundary with Bangladesh which traditionally serves as ‘Gate Way to the Far East’ Its 360 miles long coastal belt in the west makes Arakan esy for sea communication. This rendered Arakan possible that Buddhism reached there earlier than Burma. Islam’s arrival to Arakan and adjacent coastal regions of what is now Chittagong five centuries earlier than mainland Bengal also attributes to its geography.

In all, there seven rivers in Arakan: the Naf, Mayu, Kaladan, Lemro, Ann, Tangup and Sandoway; the Naf serving as the boundary line between Arakan and Bangladesh. The Kaladan is the longest one; it rises from beyond the Arakan Hill Tracts and flows into the turbulent Bay of Bengal at Akyab, the seaport and capital city of Arakan. Like Kaladan the rest of the rivers also flow into the Bay with some variations. All of these rivers are tidal and easily navigable all the year round. None of its rivers rises in Burma, and throughout its history its water communications with Bengal were much easier than its overland communications with Burma. Therefore the flourishing of certain religion in certain period in Bengal – Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam – has had strong influence on the religious predominance over Arakan during the same period. Arakan is in fact a continuation of Chittagong plain. Because of north Arakan’s close overland ties with East-Bengal it is found that after Bengal became Muslim in 1203, the resulting cultural and political influence of the Muslims was of great significance in the history of Arakan.

The spread of Islam by land further into Burma after the Muslim conquest of Arakan in 1430 was prevented by the difficult mountain barrier existing between the two countries. Arakan is a land of mountains, thick forests, rivers and creeks. Bulk of the total land surface area is covered with forests. Northern part of Arakan is wider with alluvial deltaic plains where as the southern portion is narrow and rocky. There are a number of off-shore islands in the Arakan coast of which the Ramree and the Cheduba are the largest. There is a deep water natural harbour in the coast off the Ramree island a few miles northeast of Kyaukpyu township. This deep sea natural harbour can accommodate large ships like U.S. 7th fleet. The alluvial soil of the Mayu, Kaladan and Lemro valleys in north Arakan is so fertile that once the area was popularly called Dhanavati or granary of rice. The growing of rice in Arakan became so extensive and successful that the surplus product till the beginning of the Second World War, was used to be exported in huge quantities to Chittagong,Calcutta, Madaras, Colombo and Kochin. In 1950s Akyab alone had 50 rice mills most of which remained working round the clock the whole year.

Apart from rice Arakan is famous for its naturally grown teak. The Arab traders of early times who established small trading colonies in Arakan were particularly attracted by the rich natural resources of the land and a courteous people. They used to build and repair ships with Arakanese iron wood known as Pyinkadow during their short stay before continuing their onward journey. Besides Pyinkadow Arakan’s forests produce naturally grown teak and good quality timber. Bamboo is plentiful. Arakan is also ideal for rubber and tea plantation. It’s long coastal belt is rich in fish and produces high quality shrimps in the dams built along the estuaries of tidal creeks and rivers. Arakan is also rich in mineral resources. There are confirmed reservoirs of petroleum and other mineral resources but until now totally untapped.

ပိုက္ဆံသာရပါေစ.. သမီးလဲ ကုလားလက္ထဲ ထိုးေပးမယ္႔ သူ

There are, in total, 17 townships in Arakan. Akyab, situated at the mounth of Kaladan river in the northern Arakan, is the capital city which also serves as the main seaport of Arakan. Communication within Arakan is done mainly by water routes. The inland road communication is very poorly developed. There is no railway. Communication with proper Burma is done mainly by air and by sea. There are also Three overland connections with proper Burma through mountain passes across Arakan hill range. The Ann and Tongup pases are now in a much better position than before when it could be used only in dry season. The climate is moderate. There are three distinct seasons: winter, summer and rainy with annual rainfall of approximately 200 inches.

Etymology of Arakan
The term Arakan is definitely of Arabic or Persian origin having the same meaning in both these languages. It is the corruption of the world Arakan plural of the word Rukn meaning a pillar. The fundamental tenets of Islam are called 'five pillars of Islam'. Thus the word Arakan signifies the land of Islam or peace. It is difficult to as certain since when the application of this term to the region now known as Arakan began. But almost certain is the fact that the name Arakan became popular after the Muslim conquest of the country in 1430 C.E. Since Persian was the court language of the then independent Bengal Sultans who conquered Arakan and which continued to be the official language of Arakan up to 1845, the Arakan kings who maintained excellent relation with the Bengal Sultans might have given it its name of Arakan. The Arakan kings were well versed in Persian. "It took a hundred years for the kings (Arakan kings) to learn the doctrine of Islam. When it was well understood they founded what was known as the Arakanese Empire".1

The authors of the Ain-i-Akbar, Baharistan-i-Ghaibi and Siyar-ul-Mutakherin write it as Arkhang, which appears also with a slight change in Alamgirnama and Fathya-i-ibria is close to the name Arakan. Medieval Portuguese and other European travellers mentioned it Arracan, Arracoo, Orrakan, Arrakan and Van Liscoten writes it Arakan which is nearest to the modern name.2

One of the coins found in Arakan and preserved in the Indian Museum, Culcutta, minted by Sultan Bahadur Shah dated 965 A.H. (1557-58 C.E.) is inscribed in Persian with Kalimah on the obverse side and mint name Arakan on the reverse side. Similar coins minted by his predecessor Sultan Muhammad Shah 962 A.H. (1554-55 C.E.) with inscriptions of mint name Arakan was preserved in Indian Museum, Calcutta. Muhammad Shah's coins with the same reading are also found to be preserved in the British Museum. A historian commented: "It is true that in Persian source books the name is written as Arkhank and its slight variations. It might be that the term either as Europeanised form or as pluralised form of Arabic term -piller was more familiar to the mint master than any other forms of name of the country and in this form he probably engraved the word as mint name".3

From the above inscriptions of the coins it can be concluded that the name Arakan was in use since at least mid 16th century. The name Arakan did not appear as a solidary instance in the above languages. Different important places, rivers and mountains in Arakan also bear names of Persian or Arabic origin. For example: the name of the capital city of Arakan is Akyab (Ek-ab) meaning land of one water in Persian like Punjab (panj-ab) meaning land of five waters. The names of rivers: Kaladan (intellectual), Naf (nerve), Kulapanj (fifty learned men) are also of either Persian or Arabic origin testifying to the fact of Islamic sway over the region now know as Arakan. Thus the terms Arakan and Arakanese are attributed to Muslims.

Unfortunately some historians, quite misleadingly, use the term Arakanese synonymous with Magh (Rakhaing) alone although in general sense all the people of Arakan, Muslims as well as Buddhists, should be called Arakanese. The Magh Buddhists of Arakan who call themselves Rakhaings translate the term Arankanese as Rakhaing in Burmese language giving the impression that Rakhaing and Arakanese are synonymous excluding Muslims from the term Arakanese since Muslims are not Rakhaings. But the fact has been elucidated clearly by a famous British Army General who had taken part in the Arakan Campaign during the Second Great War. He wrote: "When we withdrew.... was followed by a bitter internecine struggle for land and power between the Arakanese and the Maughs,4 two sections of the population attributing Arakanese to the Muslims". Maj. Anthony Irwin, another British officer who served in Arakan front wrote: "At first the Maughs had it all their own way, for they were better organised and better armed, having a fair sprinkling of rifles. But as they pushed north, so they met up stiffer and more organised resistance and were not only held but forced to retreat, for they are, man to man, no match for the Mussulman Arankanese"5 clearly attributuing the term Arakanese to the Muslims.

Roang/Rohang/Roshang (old Arakan)

The term Roang / Rohang / Roshang --- the old name of Arakan --- is of much antiquity. It is probably the corruption of Arabic term Raham (blessing, mercy) meaning the land of God's blessing. The Arab and Persian traders of earliest days attributed this name to the old kingdom of Vesali at least a century prior to the Chandras which country they used to visit.6 The shipwrecked Arabs having been washed been washed ashore on an Island in the west coast of Arakan called the land Raham Borri in Arabic which means "the land of Allah's blessing".7 The term is still in vogue with slight corruption in Burmese as Rambre while the English has perverted it to Ramrhee. The land Jazirat-al-Rahmi or Rahma mentioned by Arab geographers of 9th and 10th centuries may have bben referred to the kingdom of Raham corrupted later to Rohang/Roshang/Roang. Ibn Khurdadhbih, an Arab geographer, says that Jazirat-al-Rahmi comes after Sarandip (Cyelon) and contains peculiar unicorn animals and little naked people.8 Al-Mas'udi mentions it as a riparian country after Sarandip and on the Indian Ocean. Yaqut's identification places it as the 'farthest land of India' towards the strait of Malacca (Bahr Salahit).9 While all these descriptions convey a vague impression that Rahmi or Rahma was situated somewhere off the coast between the Bay of Bengal and the strait of Malacca, it is very difficult to point out its exact location. It may be pointed out that the word jazirah was used not only to denote islands but also riparian lands. Solaiman, the merchant who lived in the middle of 9th century mentions that the king of Rahmi was a powerful ruler with 50,000 elephants and an army of 150,000.10

Elephants are even nowadays found in large numbers in Arakan jungles and the hilly regions of Chittagong district. On the whole, therefore, it may be assumed that Jazirat-al-Rahmi of the Arab geographers was attributed to the kingdom of Rahmi as a country of the Mogen (Magh), the Buddhist population of Arakan.11

Sir A.P. Phayre finds etymological relation between Rahmi of the arab writers with Ramu. In his opinion Ramu, a place in southern Chittagong, is but the remnant of the powerful kingdom which is confused by the arabs as Rahma, Rahmi or Ruhmi. The view of Sir A.P. Phayre cannot be taken as correct because of the fact that "Ramu was never more than a principality, the existence of which can never be authoritatively put before the 15th century A.D. It was often times under the Arakanese subjugation and practically nothing is known about its independent position in any time of history. Even if it is supposed that the kingdom might have existed in the 9th and 10th centuries A.D, then it may be said with confidence that it ws never so a big kingdom as to be a sub continental power. Being a small kingdom it could hardly exercise such military power as to contest with some principal northern Indian powers. In fact, the descriptions of the kingdom of Rhami of the Arab writers hardly correspond to the principality of Ramu"12 but fit to the kingdom of Rohang. In Rashiduddin's work complied in 1310 C.E. the name of Arakan appeared as Rahan closely resembling to Rohang. He writes: "The country of Rahan (Arakan) is subjected to the Khan".13

That ancient Arakan was called by the name of Roang/Rohang/Roshang was amply testified by many historians and chroniclers. "In Burmese history Chuijang Kyatha it is mentioned that Burma was divided into three parts, one of which was under the Chakma king. The Chakama selected one of them as their king, named Shakalia (selected by all) who had no son but a daughter named Manikbi. Her husband sided with the Bangalees and fought many battles with the Maghs in the country called Roang (Arakan) in the year 1118-1119 A.D. (Vide Arakan History: Dengyawadi Aradafung, pages 17 to 19). After Manikbi her son Manikgri became king. His son Madalia became king after him. Then Madalia's son, Rama Thongza, became king. Rama Thongza's son was Kamalchega. During his reign there was war in Roang and the Chakmas migrated into that country".14 The Tripura Chronicle Rajmala mentioned that the Tripura king "Dhanyamanikya occupied Chittagong and appointed Roshang Mardan Narayan (the conqueror of Roshang) governor of the conquered country". In another place of the same chronicle it is mentioned "the king penetrated deep into Roshang and conquered it. He built a fort in that place and posted troops to strengthen his position. The king then returned to his capital entrusting Roshang Mardan Narayan, the Tripura governor of Cittagong, to carry the plan of complete subjugation of Roshang into effect".15

The Maghs (Buddhists) of Bangladesh are categorised into two groups namely Jhumia Maghs
and Roang Maghs indicating that the Roang Maghs16 have come from what was known as Rohang and they belong to a separate ethnic group of Arakan.

The celebrated 17th century Arakan court poet Shah Alawal who composed the famous ballad on the lamentations of Ameena, the youngest daughter of the ill-fated Moghul prince Shah Shuja after his death, amply mentioned about the kingdom of Rohang and Rohingyas. The poet similarly referred to Rohang and Rohingyas in his two other popular ballads: Saiful Mulk Badiuzzamal and Sikander Nama. Fro all the above facts and evidences it has become crystal clear that indigenous name of Arakan was Rohang, a term used first by Arabs.

The People of Arakan
There are two major ethnic communities in Arakan. The Rohingyas who from the majority population of Arakan, as a whole, are the believers in the religion of Islam and the Maghs (Rakhaings) who are the minority profess the cult of Buddhism. The Arakan, before 1942, has been occupied over its entire length by both Rohingyas and Maghs. During the 1942 anti-Muslim riotings the Muslims of southern Arakan had bben pushed to the north where as the Buddhist Maghs took over the southern half of the country where they now form majority.

There are a few tribes dwelling in Arakan hills who are mostly animists. Their number is still insignificant. They are Kamis, Mros, Chaungthas, Saaks, Chins, Chaws, Khaungtsos, Ahnus and Kons. The principal races are however, the Mros, Kamis, Chaungthas and Chins.

The Rohingyas
The term Rohingya is derived from the word Rohai or Roshangee, a terminology perverted to Rohingya.17 Rohai and Roshangee are terms denoting the Muslim people inhabiting in the old Arakan (Rohang/Roshang/Roang). Among the Muslim population of Chittagong two distinct ethnic characters are found; one is known as Chatganiya and the other Rohai. Although professing the same religion they have different cultural habits. In fact the Rohais of Chittagong today are those Muslim people who fled Arakan (Rohang) as a result of Burman atrocities after the country was occupied in 1784 C.E. As many as 50% of the total population of Chittagong district are Rohais who trace their ancestoral origin to Arakan. The Rohingyas trace their origin to Arabs, Moors, Turks, Persians, Moghuls, Patthans and Bangalees.18 A British army officer who served in the Arakan front during Second Great War remarked abot the ethnic character of the Arakan Muslims as follow:

"and to look at, they are quite unlike any other product of India or Burma that I have seen. They resemble the Arab in name in dress in habit. The women and more particularly the young girls, have a distinctive Arab touch about them".19

The developement of the 'Rohingya Language' is most curious. It is an admixture of different languages developed during a course of more than one thousand years. It is worthwhile to mention herein that the official language of arakan had been Persian since the days of early Mrauk-U kings till 1845, 22 years further beyond the conquest of Arakan by the Britishers. During Mrauk-U period contact with bengal was so cordial and deep that Bengali literature had flourished in the court of Arakan. Many famous Muslim court poets who seved the kings of arakan like Shah Alawal, Daulat Qazi, Magan Siddiqi etc. wrote in Persian and Arabic or in the mixed language, Rohingya, which they developed among themselves and which was a mixture of Bengali, Persian, Arabic and Arakanese (Rakhaing). Although the Rohingya Language was widespread during the era of Arakan Kings20 today its existence as a written language has diminished as it was mainly destroyed by the Burman invaders in 1784 and not preserved well by subsequent colonialists.

The Maghs (Rakhaings)
The world Magh is undoubtedly of Bengali origin, but the exact significance of the word and the ultimate derivation are not clear. The most satisfactory derivation is the one which connects it to the ancient kingdom of Magadha-raj family in India. Buddhist ascendancy began to wane after the downfall of Maurya dynasty in INdia to which Asoka belonged at the beginning of the Christian era. During the successive eight centuries there was a struggle between Buddhism and an ineluctable Brahmanised Hinduism. There in Magadha, oldBihar, the Buddhists were so seriously persecuted by the chauvinist Hindus and rival Mahayana Buddhist sects that the Theraveda Buddhists were compelled to flee eastward who took shelter in Vesali reigned by Hindu Chandra Kings. Since then they have been called Maghs. But the purity of Arian blood in these Magadah immigrants was lost as a result of intermarriages between them and their co-religionists -- the Mongolians and the Tibeto-Burmans -- who overwhelmed the region for nearly five centuries since 957 C.E. The new hybird, having Indian and Mongolian blood manifesting in their features, could be easily discerned from common purely Mongoloid and Tibeto-Burman reces of today. Thus the present day Buddhists found in Arakan undoubtely trace their origin to Magadah, but that they have been assimilated with the Mongolians and lost the Indian character.

The derivation of the word Magh would probably be Magadhi (the adjective for m of proper name) -Maghi - Magi - Mog or Magh. The new English dictionary states the words Mog, Mogen, Mogue, appear as names of Arakan and the people in 15-16th centuries.21 Ralph Fitch the 16th century English traveller, identified Arakan as the country of Mogen. Today both the Maghs of Arakan and Bangladesh disown this name and claim that this is the coinage of the Englishmen just as they have coined words of similar type. The British came to the East in 18th century but, as stated above, the term Magh was prevalent even in the seventh and eighth centuries. Thus it is clear that the word Magh is not a wanton coinage of the Englishmen as is considered by most of the present day Buddhists of Arakan and Bangladesh.
But the question is why they disown this name? The fact is that for more than 2 centuries from the middle of the 16th century till 1784, the year of Burmese conquest of Arakan, the Maghs of Arakan in collusion with Portuguese freebooters caused such an agonizing terror and consternation in the minds of the people of Bengal that the word Magh became synonymous with pirates. The fierceness, cruelty, lawlessness and their obnoxious activities had led the land under their occupation to earn the ignoble name of Magher Mulluk which means a land without law, justice and order.22 Magher Mulluk has become a proverbial saying in Bengali language meaning lawlessness. Some historians doubt as to whether those relentless and rapacious Magh raiders who plundered and carried out depredation excursions belong to the same racial stock of the Magh Buddhists who now live in Arakan and Bangladesh. With all facts and accounts available the re remains not the slightest doubt as to the ancestory of the present day Maghs to those of the marauding Maghs of Arakan. An account of the mid-seventh century historian Shahaduddin Talish suffices to authenticate the fact that those Magh marauders belonged to the kingdom of Arakan. "Arracan pirates, both Magh and Firingi, used constantly to (come) by water route and plunder Bengal. They carried off the Hindus and Muslims, male and female, great and small, few and many, that they could seize, pierced the palms of their hands, passed thin canes through the holes, and threw them one above another under the deck of their ship. In the same manner as grain is flung to fowls, every morn and evening they threw down uncooked rice from above to the captives as food."23 The Maghs have earned such a bad name during last many centuries that it has become a great shame for their descendants of today to own the name Magh. Instead they started calling themselves Rakhaing the derivative of which is directly related to Arakan and Muslims.

According to Arakanese chronicles, the word Rakhaing is derived from Rakkapura or the land of Rakkash -- a savage man - eating people called Bilo (orge) --- that stands for the Pali word Rakkha or Raksasas. Rakkash signifies a monster half man half beast. The claim of the Arakanese chronicles is based on mere mythological legendaries. There is no historical evidence, whatsoever, to substantiate the claim of the Arakanese chronicles. The term Rakhaing is in fact the corruption of Roang / Recon, the old name of Arakan.24 Sidi Ali Chelibi, a Turkish navigator belonging to the middle of the sixteenth century, writes it Rakanj. It is also possible that the Mongolian Burmans, because of their phonetic difficulties in pronouncing Arabic words beginning with the alphabet Alif omit it and thus pronounced Arakanas Rakan. However, these terms --- Rakan, Rakanj, Arkhank, Recon, Arraco, Arrcan -- used by different historians are all related to either Roang or Arakan. It is in no way related to Rakkapura as claimed by Arakanese chronicles.

The spoken language of maghs -- Maghi or Rakhaing -- as they call it, is not a separate language but pure Burmese with slight phonetic variations. There is no separate written Rakhaing language. Historians commented on the Rakhaing language as follows: "The question of the emergence of Arakanese (Rakhaing) language is more difficult. Whether it was the language of the Mongolian invaders of the 10th century or whether it filtered across the mountains after contact with Burma in the 11th and 12th centuries is undecided. As Arakanese (Rakhaing) language is the same as Burmese, being merely a dialect , to suppose that it was the language of the invaders is to contend that the Mongolians who extinguished Chandras spoke the same tongue as those who afterwards became predominant in the Irrawaddy plain. If the contrary is postulated, and it is argued that the Burmese language, coming over the mountain road, impinged upon the Mongolian speech of the then Arakanese and created modern Arakanese. Linguistic difficulties are raised which are difficulties are raised which are difficult to resolve, this question awaits judgement."25

1. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay in Journal of the Burma Research Society (JBRS), Fiftieth Anniversary Publications No. 2, p. 491-2
2. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo Vol. 1, p. 232
3. Ibid, p. 194
4.Defeat into Victory by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, p. 146
5.Burmese Outpost by Anthony Irwin pp. 21-22
6. Rohingya's Outcry and Demands p. 36
7.Burma, an Arab Land of the East by Ch. Mohd. A.F. Hazary in the Dacca Review, p. 35
8. Ibn-Khurdadhbih, op. cit. p. 65
9. Al Mas'udi, Muruj al-dhahab Wa-Ma'adim al-Juwhar, Cairo edition, 1938, Vol.
1, p. 129-130
10. Silsilat-al-Tawrikh, extract translated in Elliot, Op. cit. p. 5
11. History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo Vol. 1, Page 233
12. Ibid p. 76-77
13. History of India as told by its own historians ed. HM Elliot and J Dowson 1, 73
14. Bangladesh District Gazetteers, Chittagong Hill Tract p. 33-34
15. History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B, Qanungo Vol. 1, p. 159-60
16. Bangladesh District Gazetteers, Chittagong p. 115
17. Burman, an arab land of the East by Ch. Mohd. A.F. Hazary
18. M.A. Rahim, Reader in History, social and Cultural History of Bengal, Vol. 1 (1201-1576), University of Karachi, Pakistan Historical Society, 30, New Karachi, Co-Operative Housing Society, Karachi-5
19. Burmese Outpost by Anthony Irwin p. 22
20. The Muslims of Burma, A study of a Minority Group by Moshe Yegar 1972 p. 25
21. Footnotes in the article 'King Bering', JBRS Fiftieth Anniversary Publicaitons
No. 2 p. 443
22. Ibid
23. Fathya-I-Ibriya p. 183
24. Bangladesh District Gazetteers, Chittagong, p. 115
25. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay in JBRS, Fiftieth Anniversary Publications No. 2, p. 489

Chapter II - Early History
The Kingdom of Dhanavati
All available historical records, traditions, accounts and chronicles refer to the
conclusion that in time in the long past Arakan was a Hindu land. Chronicles record a
line of kings reaching back to the year 2666 B.C. More certain is the kingdom of
Dhannavati a city that flourished on the bank of lemro river about 40 miles northwest of
Mrauk-U (Mrohaung), the ancient capital of Arakan, around first century Christian Era.1
Archeological findings indicate that before 8th century the area now known as Arakan
had been for many years the seat of Hindu dynasties. Adjacent to Arakan, in the Ganges
delta, the contemporary to Arakan, in the Ganges delta, the contemporary religion was
also Hinduism.
Four hundred years before the Chandras, Fa-Hein (405-411 C.E.), the Chinese pilgrim,
visited the plain of Hindustan when that land was ruled by Guptas (320-455 C.E.). The
supreme government was Brahmanical, but he was able to collect from the thousands of
Mahayanist and Hinayanist monasteries, which were flourishing side by side with the
temples of ancient gods, quantities of Buddhist books and relics, with which he returned
to China. India was no longer Buddhist but numerous Buddhist foundations persisted.2
M.S. Collis, in his book 'the land of the Great Image' wrote: "In the early period before
the Mongolian invasion a town had stood there (in Arakan) called Dhannavati. when I
visited the hill in 1924 I saw lying there numerous stone sculptures of the Hindu
Pantheon in the Gupta style of the 5th century A.D"3
Arrival of Buddhism to Arakan during those early days could not be unusal because of its
contact with the centre of this great civilisation, India, via sea routes. There is no doubt,
states Elliot: "that the intercourse between the east coast of the Bay of Bengal and the
straits of Malacca was far greater in the ancient times. It had attained its height when the
Buddhists were in ascendant i.e. during the fifth and sixth centuries.4
According to Arakanese Chronicles Buddhism arrived during the reign of King Chandra
Suriya of Dhannavati and that the image of Buddah, Mahamoni, was built under his
patronage around first century C.E.5
A hundred and fifty years before the Chandras (788-957) another Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen
Tsang (630 C.E.) visited Hindustan then under emperor Harsha who had erected temples
to Siva, to the sun and to the Buddah.6 This narration allows to conclude that Mahayana
Buddhist was a compromise in which Hindu gods and Buddha ranked equally. This
concept of religious practices of that time must have influenced the religious practices in
the adjascent land of Arakan also. Citing all the above references we can reach to the
conclusion that both Hinduism and Mahayanist form of Buddhism flourished in Arakan
before Vesali period.
The Kingdom of Vesali (788 - 957 C.E.)
In 788 C.E. a new dynasty, know as Chandra, founded the city of Vesali. This city
became a noted trade port to which as many as a thousand ships came annually.

According to Arakanese chronicles there reigned, in lineal successions, nine kings of this
dynasty from 788 to 957 C.E. The ninth sovereign in named Tsu-la-taing Sandra (951-
957 C.E.) who went on an expedition to Bengal and defeated one Thu-ra-tan and erected
a victory memorial at a place called Tsetta-going (Chittagong).7
To ascertain the religious practices of the Chandras study of the site of the ruins of the
old city, still to be seen on the bank of a tidal creek six miles from Mrauk-U and about
fifty miles inland from the Bay of Bengal, and the study of the coins found in Arakan
belonging to Vesali group are of great significance.
The site of the ruins of the old city of Vesali has neither been surveyed nor excavated but
the casual observer may perceive the remains of brick walls enclosing a large area. On
the south side was to be seen until lately portions of a stone pier. Within the walls are
numerous monds and lying on them are pieces of stone and inscriptions in the Nagari
character of the eighth century. The figures represent deities; on the capitals its the sacred
bull of Siva. All these remains are purely Hindu in execution and subject.8
Stamped on the Vesali coins are the bull, Nandi, the avatar of Siva; Siva's trident; on one
is what appears to be a vase of votive flowers; on some there is undecipherable Nagri
inscription. all these indicate that the coins of Vesali were in the pure Brahmanical
tradition.9 But coins bearing Brahmanical symbols are not inconsistent with Mahayanist
dynasty. The Mahayanist kings of Bengal in the same period, the Palas, struck
Brahmanical coins. It is a proof that how closely the Mahayanist Buddhism of 8th
century Bengal approximated to Hinduism.10
As Vesali was a Hindu State adjacent to Bengal it is presumed that its religious history
was similar. Hinayanism had vanished; Mahayanism had compromised with original
Hinduism to such a point that Buddah had become one of many gods; even the sexual
magic of Tantricism was no anomaly. It is significant that at least on Tantric sculpture
has been found in Vesali.11 The conclusion to be drawn from all the above references is
that Vesali was an easterly Hindu kingdom of Bengal, following Mahayanist form of
Buddhism and that both government and the people were Indian.
Advent of Islam in Arakan
The Arabs were a foremost seafaring and maritime people of the ancient times. They had
been in contact in contact with Southern Asia, South eastern Asia and Far East as early as
third century C.E. Since then the Arabs had founded small trading colonies all along the
shores of Southern Asian and South eastern Asian waters including Arakan up to
Sumatra, Java and the Molucus.12 Then towards the middle of the seventh century C.E.
dawned a new day for the Arabs with the rise of Islam as a great spiritual, social and
political force. Within a hundred years of the demise of the Prophet they became the
masters of a mighty empire than that of Rome. Their domination of the seas extended
from the two basins of the Mediterranean, down the Red sea to the known lengths of the
Indian Ocean... The Red Sea was virtually an 'Arab Lake'. In the Indian Ocean, however,
their direct political control did not extend in the east beyond the coastal areas of the
lower Indus. Yet we find the strange spectacle of numerous Arab settlements with the full
enjoyment of their religious and social practices, along the Konkan, Malabar and the
Coromandal coasts, in the Maldives and Ceylon, and their commercial activity extended
to the Andamans, the Nicobars., the Arakan coast, Malaya, Sumatra and Java. Islam had
come to these regions without any political support whatsoever and remained rooted to
the soil for centuries, away from the turmoil's of Mahmud's invasion of India and the
struggle between the Cross and Crescent in the world of the west.13
Mr. R.B. Smart, author of Burma Gazetteer, stated: "About 788 A.D. Mahataing Sandya
ascended the throne, founded a new city (Vesali) on the site of 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 Mohamedans, were sent to Arakan proper and
settled in villages."14
During the same period, stated Arakanese chronicles that Muslim faqirs and dervishes
(saints) used to visit Arakan coast. One of the widely known fact is the existence of
Muslim shrines called Badr Moqam are essentially the commemorative shrines originally
erected by the followers of devotees of Pir Badrudin Badri-i-Alam, popular known as Pir
Badr scattered along the coastline of Arakan.15 The legendary Hanifar Tonki and
Khayafurir Tonki (shrines) in Mayu territory, the shrines of Babaji Shah Monayam of
Ambari and Pir Badr Shah at Akyab all bear conclusive evidence of the arrival of mystic
saints in arakan as early as 8th century C.E.16 The Arakanese chronicle further gives
reference to the travelling of Muslim mystics in the country during Pagan period. The
chronicle while referring to an incident during King Anawrata's rule (1044-1077) states :
"when he (attendant of the king) entered the forest he found a fakir, possessed of mystic
wisdom, dead with marks of violence upon him". Thus it is proved that not only Muslim
merchants but also saints and dervishes used to frequently the coast of the bay during
those early times.17
The Arab merchants and mystics carried out missionary activities among the locals. The
superior moral character and high missionary zeal of those devout followers attracted
large number of people towards Islam who embraced it enmasse.18 Many of the Arabs
married local women and settled in towns and villages permanently. The Arab merchants
used either overland routes across Arakan Yoma to upper Burma and then to China or
travelled by the water way through Malacca, Sumatra and Java to the far East. On their
return journey to the Middle East the Arab traders used the same routes via Arakan. The
Arabs are said to be in control of the foreign trade of Arakan until recent centuries.19
During the successive centuries Muslim population grew in large numbers as a result of
conversation and new immigration. Historian G.E. Harvey stated: "After the tenth
century the country was professedly Buddhist, not withstanding the spread of
Mohammedanism which by thirteenth century had dotted the coast from Assam to
Malaya with the curious mosques known as Budder mokam. Doubtless it is
Mohammedan influence which led to women being more secluded in Arakan than in
By the 13th century Islam had conquered the heart and soul of the people between
Africa's Atlantic seaboard and Bengal. It disseminated the most powerful set of values of
the age. Arakan being adjacent to Bengal and having already a substantial Muslim
population of its own the impact of Islamic influence on Arakan since 13th century had
been tremendous. Historian D.G.E. Hall, in support of the above stated: "In the reign of
Anawrahta Pagan asserted its authority over Arakan, but after 1287 this lapsed; and
although before the establishment of Mrohaung by Narameikhla in 1433 there was from
time to time Burmese and Mon interference, Arakan's contacts with Mohammedan India
were probably closer than those with Burma".21
It is noteworthy that the Arakan king, Narameikhla, had preferred to take refuge in
Muslim Bengal rather than adjacent Buddhist Tripura or Hindu Indian states. However
his long stay in Bengal has had a tremendous impact in the history of Arakan.
"Narameikhla had spent the intermediary years at Gaur court learning revolutionary ideas
in the fields of Mathematics and natural sciences which together with monotheistic belief
fostered the Islamic success. Asia's feudal caste oriented societies could offer no lasting
resistance and were unable to half the eastward surge of this formidable alliance of faith
and knowledge".22
Influx of Magadah Buddhists into Arakan
Arrival of Buddhism into Arakan, as stated earlier, bagan around first century Christian
Era. In 8th century under the Hindu revivalist leader, Sankaracharijya, Buddhists in India
were persecuted in large-scale. In Magadah, old Bihar of India, Buddhists were so
ruthlessly oppressed by chauvinist Hindus and rival Mahayana sect of Buddhists that
large numbers of Hinayana Buddhists had been compelled to flee estward23 who
ultimately found shelter in Arakan under the Chandra kings. also, Buddhist refugees from
Bengal, during the Tibeten conquest in the eighth and ninth centuries, crossed over to the
nearest place viz. Arakan where they could preserve their religion.24 It is to be noticed
that Magadah in its pristine days included Bengal. These Buddhist immigrants assumed
the name Magh as they have migrated from Magadah. By this time, in Arakan, all the
three religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam -- flourished side by side, but there had
been large-scale conversion to Islam.
The Mongolian Invasion
While the three great religions were flourishing side by side, a Mongolian invasion from
the north swept over arakan which ended the Chandra dynasty in 957 C.E. Hinduism in
the easterly Hindu State of Vesali thus vanished for ever. This invasion not only closed
the epoch of the Chandras but also carried away the Pala kings of Bengal at the same
time. Vesali could never reemerge but in Bengal the Hindus regained their supremacy in
a few years by pushing back the barbaric Mongolians into deeper mountainous areas.25
"The Mongolians were a savage people and the five centuries which followed the arrival
of Tibeto-Burmans in Arakan were an age of darkness".26 But the invaders became
educated in the mixed culture of the country they have conquered and were ultimately
assimilated with it's inhabitants during those long five centuries. After the disappearance
of Hinduism and the assimilation of Mongolians and Tibeto-Burmans there remained
only two distinctive races -- the rohingyas and the Maghs -- who lived together in Arakan
centuries after centuries.
Arakan became feudatory to Pagan under Anawrahta (Aniruddadeva) 1044-1077.
According to Arakanese chronicle, the country shook off the Pagan yoke and regained
independence. A new dynasty was founded in the city of Parim. King Gaulya, the sixth
sovereign of the dynasty ascended the throne in 1133 C.E. Numerous dynasties ruled
during the ensuring centuries each with its own city but in the same locality on or near
the Lemro river. However, till 1287 Arakan had been more or less feudatory to Pagan
kings, and that is to say it maintained its own kings but paid tribute as an
acknowledgement of suzerainty.27
After 1287 there is not even the pretence of Burmese over lordship till 1374. In that year
some Magh Buddhists of Arakan went to Ava and asked for in their internal affairs. But
the Burman intervention did not last long and Arakan went on her own way.28 In 1404
Narameikhla was the king of Arakan ruling from Launggret. Again another batch of
disgruntled Magh Buddhists went to Ava and appealed for intervention. Three possible
propositions may be forwarded as to why some Buddhist Maghs went to Ava to surrender
their independence and sovereignty to the Burmans. The first proposition is that under the
growing world-wide Islamic influence, which had conquered the heart and soul of the
people from Africa to Bengal, Narameikhla might have embraced Islam. This enraged the
fanatic Buddhists to the extent of surrendering their independence by inviting Buddhist
Burmans from the other side of the Arakan hill. The second proposition is that
Narameikhla might have established such cordial relation with Muslim Bengal or had
shown such favour to his Muslim subjects of arakan that it became intolerable for the
Buddhists. The third proposition is that intercommunal fighting might have broken out
between the Muslims and the Maghs where the king, Narameikhla, did not take side with
the Maghs. This caused dissatisfaction among the Buddhist section of the community
leadiing to the plot to oust him by inviting the Burmans. The king of Ava, Minkhaung,
sent his son Minye Kyaw Swa, the heir apparent to the throne of Ava, to invade Arakan.
Narameikhla fled to Bengal leaving the country at the hand of the Burmans.
During the long five centuries of Tibeto-Burman over lordship religious ideas and culture
infiltrated to Arakan through the overland route connecting Arakan with upeer Burma.
Thus the Buddhist religion became less Mahayanist and more Hinayanist in Arakan.29
1.Burma the Golden, designed and photographed by Gunter Pfannmuller, written
by Wilhem Klein, First Edition p. 94
2. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay, JBRS, Vol. II, Fiftieth Anniversary
Publications No. 2, p. 487
3. The land of the Great Image, by Maurice Collis p. 147
4. Magh Raiders in Bengal by Jamimi Mohan Ghosh p. 18
5. The Land of the Great image by Maurice Collis p. 163-166
6. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay, JBRS, Vol. II Fiftieth Anniversary
Publications No. 2, p. 487
7. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (JASB), XIII (18444), p. 36
8. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay, JBRS, Vol. II Fiftieth Anniversary
Publication No. 2, p. 486
9. Ibid p. 487-488
10. Ibid p. 488
11. Ibid p. 487
12. Muslim Contribution to geography by Nafis Ahmed M.A. Ph.D. (London) p.
13. Ibid p. 121-122
14. Burma Gazetteer, Akyab District, Vol.1, chapter II, History and Archeology by
R.B. Smart
15. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan (JASP), Vol. VII, 1962, Analytical
Study of 'Badar Muqum by Siddiq Khan'.
16. Rohingya's Outcry and Demand by Shamsuddin Ahamed B.A., L.L.B., p. 3
17. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B Qanungo Vol. 1, p. 111-112
18. History of Burma (in Burmese) by U Kyi p. 160
19. A research paper read by Daw Kyi Win, from Commerce University,
Rangoon, on Burma's foreign trade
20. Outline of Burmese History by G.E. Harvey p. 90
21. Burma by D.G.E. Hall, formerly professor of History in the University of
Rangoon p. 57
22. Burma the Golden, designed and photographed by Gunter Pfannmuller, written
by Wilhem Klein, First Edition p. 94
23. Magh Raiders of Bengal by Jamini Mohan Ghosh p. 18
24. Ibid
25. Arakan's place in the vivilisation of the Bay, JBRS, Vol. II Fiftieth
Anniversary Publications No. 2, p. 488
26. Burma the Golden, designed and photographed by Gunter Pfannmuller, written
by Wilhem Klein, First edition p.94
27. Outline of Burmese history by G.E, Harvey p.91
28. Ibid p. 63
29. Arakan's place in the civilation of the Bay, JBRS, Vol. II, Fiftieth Annivarsary
Publication No. 2., p. 489
Chapter III - Muslim conquest of Arakan
Early Mrauk-U kings of Arakan
In 1404 the deposed Arakanese king, Narameikhla, fled to Bengal. He was well received
by sultan Giyathuddin Azam Shah (1390-1411), the greatest and most famous of the
Ilyas shahi Sultans of Bengal. The capital of Bengal, at that time, Shah (1390-1411),
the greatest and most famous of the Ilyas shahi Sultans of Bengal. The capital of Bengal,
at that time, was at Pandua (Firozabad). Sultan Giyathuddin was a great patron of Islam
and Islam learning. After the death of the Sultan the throne was usurped for a while by a
Hindu courtier named Raja Ganesh. He was killed by his converted son Jalauddin
Mohammed Shah who shifted the capital from Pandua to Gaur. After a reign of more
than 2 decades with the same religious fervour and enthusiasm he died in 1433. So during
his long 24 years exile, the Arakanese monarch had the opportunuty to live closely with
two most learned and pinous Sultans of Bengal and Noor Kutb Alam, the famous
spiritual leader, who brought down the rule of Raja Ganesh. He learned many things from
the culturally superior Bengal sultans and above all, Islam -- the dynamic sociocultural
and political for ce of the age -- which completely changed his ideas and life-style. In the
words of a historian; "He turned away from what was Buddhist and familiar to what was
Mohamedan and foreign. In so doing he loomed from the mediaeval to the modern, from
the fragile fairy-land of the Glass Palace Chronicle to the robust extravaganza of the
Thousand Nights and one Night".1
Narameikhla embraced Islam and adopted the Muslim name of Solaiman Shah. The
Arakanese chroniccle corrupted it to Sawmuan. After the conversion of the Arakanese
king to the fold of Islam, the king of Bengal, Jalauddin Mohammad Sha, dispatched his
military commander of Chittagong, Gen. Wali Khan, at the head of 50,000 soldiers to
conquer Arakan and reinstate Solaiman shah on the throne.
Wali Khan drove away the Burmans but betrayed his trust. He came to terms with an
usurper named Shua Mangji, and took control of the power himself. Solaiman Shah
returned to Gaur. In Arakan, Wali Khan introduced Persian in his court and appointed
Qazis.2 On hearing the news of Wali Khan's betrayal, Jalaluddin Mohammad Shah sent a
second army under Gen. Sandi Khan overthrew Wali Khan and ultimately restored
Solaiman Shah to the throne in 1430 C.E.
The Bengal king who restored the fugitive king to the throne of Arakan is mistaken by
some historians as Sultan Nasiruddin Shah or Nazir Shah, the first Sultan of the restored
Ilyas Shahi dynasty. But Nasiruddin Muhammad Shah had not become king yet in 1426.
As numismatic evidence suggests, Jalauddin Mohammad Shah was holding the sceptre of
the Bengal ruler at that time and therefore the credit of restoring the king of Arakan
should go in his favour.
Solaiman Shah shifted has capital to a new site known as Mrauk-U or Pattahri Quillah in
1433. One year after he died. It is noteworthy that one of the Sultan's coins was recently
found near the site of the city. It is unique document in the history of Arakan. When the
Muslims entered Bengal in 1203 they introduced the inscriptional type of coinage, and it
was on that coin and it fellows that the coinage of Mrauk-U was subsequently modelled.
In this way Arakan became definitely a modern civilisation resulted in a renaissance. The
coutry's great age began.3
Eleven Kings successively ruled Arakan for the hundred years from 1430 to 1530. The
relation with Bengal remained extremely cordial. The Arakanese paid tribute to Bengal
and learnt history and politics. In 1531 Minbin (Zabuk Shah) ascended the throne. With
him the Arakanese graduated in their Moslem studies and the empire was founded.4
Eleven kings who ruled Arakan since 1430 are enumerated hereunder along with their
Pali titles.
1 Solaiman Shah Narameikhla 1430-1434
2 Ali Khan Meng Khari 1434-1459
3 Kalima Shah Ba Saw Phyu 1459-1482
4 Mathu Shah Doulya 1482-1492
5 Mohammed Shah Ba Saw Nyo 1492-1493
6 Nori Shah Ran Aung 1493-1494
7 Sheikh Modullah Shah
Salingathu 1494-1501
8 Ili Shah Meng Raza 1501-1523
9 Ilias Shah Kasabadi 1523-1525
10 Jalal Shah Meng Saw Oo 1525
11 Ali Shah Thatasa 1525-1531
The territory of Arakan in the north, during that period of one century was confined to
present-day Bangladesh-Burma divide. The district of Chittagong was undoubtedly under
the control of Bengal Sultans till 1540.
The assertion of Arakanese Chronicle that Meng Khari or Ali Khan (1433-1459),
successor of Meng Saw Muan, "did not long submit to the authority of the king of Bengal
and that he took possession of the country as far as Ramu";5 and Sir A.P. Phayre's
suggestion that Ba Saw Pru or Kalima Shah (1459-1482), successor of Ali Khan had
extensive possession in Bengal including the town of Chittagong are without merit.
Phayre wrote: "for the next half century (1482-1532) though by reason of the weakness
of the kings of Bengal they retained Chittagong".6 But the happenings during that period
do not justify either the statement of the Arakanese chronicle or the suggestion or Phayre.
From 1434 to 1459 the throne of Bengal Sultanat had passed again to a descendant of
Ilias Shahi dynasty, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. It was during Ilias Shahi's rule that the
king of Arakan, Narameikhla , fled to Bengal and took shelter there. Sultan Nasirudddin
Mahmud was a strong ruler and find-spots of his inscriptions and mint-towns mentioned
on his coins show that during his reign there was no diminution of the territory of the
Bengal Sultanat and that he effectively exercised his jurisdiction over the whole of
Bengal.7 There is also no reference to any military expedition undertaken by him. So the
assertion of Arakanese chronicle that Meng Khari took possession of part of Bengal lacks
historical evidence.
From 1459 to 1475 Rukunuddin Barbak Shah son of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud ruled
Bengal. Epigraphic evidence definitely tells that Chittagong was under the effective
control of the Bengal Sultan in 1474 C.E. and it remained under the Gaur occupation till
the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah (1476-1481 C.E.) the son and the successor
of Ruknuddin Barbak Shah. An old mosque inscription in Hathazari, close to Chittagong,
reads that the building which contains the inscription was constructed by Rasti Khan in
1474 C.E. during the reign of Sultan Ruknuddin Barak Shah.8
Neither the Arakanese chronicle nor nay other source gives slightest reference to any
hostile engagement between sultan Barbak Shah and King a Saw Pru (Kalima Shah).
Sultan Barbak Shah was one of the greatest conquerors among early independent Sultans
of Bengal. A powerful ruler and a many sided genius as he was the Sultan would not give
up the claim over the territories on which his predecessors had full control.9 The rule of
Barbak Shah ended in 1476 and it was followed by that of his son and successor, Sultan
Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah who reigned from 1474-1481.
His sway over Chittagong is proved by an inscription engraved on the surface of a wall of
a mosque built during hus rule.10 The mosque is situated only about 2 miles to the north
of Rasti Khan's mosque. There is also no indication that from 1482 to 1494 the monarchs
of Arakan (Daulya to Ran Aung) ever invaded Bengal as they had been comparatively
weaker rulers than their predecessors. In 1493 Sultan Hussain Shah ascended the throne
of Bengal. Before 1513 C.E., the year of temporary Tripura conquest of Chittagong by
Dhanya Manikya, the district of Chittagong was definitely under the hold of Sultan
Hussain Shah from whom Dhanya Manikya wrested Chittagong. But Hussain Shah sent a
large reinforcement consisting of twelve Bengalas and certain other army divisions to
recapture Chittagong in 1514. The next year in 1515 Chittagong was reoccupied by
Sultan Hussain Shah. On the authority of the contemporary Portuguese historians we
have definite evidence of Hussain Shah's occupation of Chittagong. During Joao Coelho
and Joao Silveria's visits (1517-18) to Chittagong the governor of that place was a
Muslim.11 Contemporary Portuguese historian De Barros explicity writes that "the King
of Arakan was that time (1517-18) subject to the King of Bengal".12 The map of De
barrows shows a large tract of land comprising Chittagong, Hill Chittagong and northern
Arakan as part of the kingdom of Bengal.13 From 1517 to 1538 Chittagong remained
under full Gauri control. In fact, the Hussain Shahi governors of Chittagong made their
hold over the district so well founded that it became almost impossible for either
Arakanese or Tripuras to challenge the hegemony of the Bengal Sultanat even on a
portion of the district.14
Thus the suggestion of Phayre that Chittagong was under the control of Arakanese kings
from 1482-1532 is not based on historical facts. It seems also illogical to think, given the
then prevailing situating in the estern and southern front of Arakan where the Burmans
and Mons had only recently been driven away, that the Arakanese kings should rebel
against their benefactors without the support of whom they could never dream of
regaining their country.
Zabuk Shah (1531-1553)
Zabuk Shah (Min Bin) was one of the strongest rulers in the history of Arakan. He
ascended the throne in 1531 and founded what was known as the 'Arakanese empire'. By
now, the Arakanese had become politically matured having graduated in their Moslem
studies.15 Two capital events occured which gave Zabuk Shah necessary weapon and
opportunity to consolidate and enlarge his empire --- the arrival of Portuguese and civil
war in Bengal. The Portuguese had already entered Arakan port (1517) fourteen years
before Zabuk Shah's accession. Zabuk Shah turned Mrauk-U into the strongest fortified
city of the Bay, employing the Portuguese to lay out his walls and moats and to forge and
mount his cannon. He appointed them as military officers to train and equip a mercenary
army of heterogeneous races, foreign and domestic; and he built with their aid, a large
fleet manned with his own men, who were hardly boatmen but guided and stiffened by
Portuguese mariners. Zabuk Shah, in this way, became master of a powerful modern
weapon. The second opportunity was the civil war in Bengal. Sher Shah, an Afghan,
captured Gaur in March 1538 for a while. But in July of the same year the Moghuls under
Humayun entered Gaur and the Afghans traced back to Bihar. Chittagong, the capital of
southeastern Bengal, had become a bone of contention between two rival governors of
Mahmud Shah of the last Hussain Shah dynasty, Nogazil, the general of Sher Shah and
Humayun's appointee to its governorship. The contending parties fought each other
rendering southeastern Bengal defenceless.
The political change in 1538 also put an end to the loyalty and friendship of Arakanese
Kings towards Bengal. They bore no moral obligation to be loyal to the usurper Sher
Shah and the Moghul expansionists who were not their benefactors. Taking advantage of
the weakened position of the various contending parties fighting to wrest control of
Chittagong, the Arakanese king Zabuk Shah advanced northwards and occupied eastern
Bengal including Chittagong in 1540.16
The occupation of Chittagong by Abuk Shah resulted in the flight of the Pattahn governor
of Chittagong to the Tripura Court. The Rajmala informs us that the Pattahn chief of
Chittagong with his army of not less than one thousand took shelter in Tripura. The
fugitive Pattahn chief prayed for intervention of the Tripura king Bijoymanikya to
conquer Chittagong from the Arakanese and it was granted.17 In 1546, Tabin Shwehti, the
king of Burma, of Toungoo dynasty attacked Arakan in the cold weather. Many of Tabin
Shewhti's war canoes were wrecked on the west coast. However, all his land forces
arrived but Mrohaung (Mrauk-U) was a strong town; it has deep moats filled with tidal
water, and the only chance of taking it was when the walls were in disrepair.18 Zabuk
Shah had his defences in perfect position. Unable to occupy Mrohaung Tabin Shwehti
returned home.
While Zabuk Shah was thus engaged with the invading Burman King in 1546-1547 the
Tripura king Bijoymanikya invaded and occupied Chittagong. Rajmala states that the
king who had been in command of two thousand troops led the campaign in person. THe
exiled Pattahn chief of Chittagong with his thousand Pattahn troops and carriages under
Tripura wazir followed the advancing troops under royal command. The combined
opearation was crowned with success and the Pattahn chief regained his position.19
The Arakanese chronicles state that Zabuk Shah not only regained his lost possessions
but retained it till his death in 1553. But the assertion of Arakanese chronicles seems to
be incorrect as there is no supportive evidence either in Tripura chronicles or Bengal
history to justify the claim. In fact since 1546 Chittagong remained under the Pattahn
governor till it was again brought under Tripura subjection for a while But Mohammad
Khan Sur, the governor of Bengal who proclaimed independence assigning the royal title
of Shams al-Din Abu al-Muzaffar Mohammad Shah reoccupied Chittagong from Tripura
control with the collaboration of deposed Pattahn governor of Chittagong around 1554.20
Zabuk Shah, although a Muslim by faith was able to fuse diverse elements into a
particular style. Arakan had turned into a Sutanat. The court was shaped on Gaur and
Delhi; there were eunuchs and seraglio, the slaves and the executioner. There was
absolute freedom of religion, thought, movement, culture nay all the fundamental rights
and freedoms. Zabuk Shah embellished Mrauk-U with mosques, pagodas and monuments
which were neither Indo-Islamic nor Indian but of a particular type came to be known as
'Bengali Muslim architecture' of the Muslim Bengal period. Zabuk Shah died in 1553 and
the throne was usurped by a commoner anamed Dikka whose reign was marked with
misrule that lasted for noly two years (1553-1555).21 The usurper seems to be a Buddhist
Magh since he bore no Muslim name.
Second Conquest of Arakan by Bengal
The Bengal Sultan, Shamsuddin Abu Muzaffar Mohammad Shah, after conquering
Chittagong in 1554 ordered his generals to proceed further south into Arakan the same
year. The generals, in obedience to the king's command, carried their victorious banner
into Arakan and forced the Arakanese king to submit to the authority of Bengal Sultan.
To commemorate his victory over Arakan, Shamsuddin Abu Muzaffar Mohammad Shah
ordered striking of coins in Arakan in 962 A.H.22 (1554-1555). Whether he appointed a
Pattahn governor in Arakan or could be make any appreciable change in Arakanese
government or was he simply satisfied with the submission of Arakan king as a vassal is
not known. Strangely, the conquest of Arakan by Sultan Mohammad Shah has
completely been ignored by the Arakanese chronicle.23
The successor of Mohammad Shah, Giyathuddin Bahadur Shah (1555-60) also struck
coins in his name in Arakan proving that Arakan remained under the effective control of
Bengal Sultan till 1560. Two more kings, Saw Hla (1555-1564) and Min Sekkya (1564-
1571) ascended the throne of Arakan, according to Arakanese chronicles. They are
seemed to be Magh Buddhists commoners as they bore no Muslim names. If the assertion
of Arakanese chronicles were true, Saw Hla and Min Sekkya must have been vassal kings
under Bengal Sultan. But how long the Pattahn rulers after Bahadur Shah's death could
hold on Arakan given the internal political crisis in Bengal remains in the dark.
Sikandar Shah (1571-1593)
After an interrregnum of misrule by usurpers for more than two decades Sultan Sikandar
Shah (Min Phalaung), the worthy son of Zabuk Shah, ascended the throne in 1571. At
that time Chittagong district, bordering north Arakan, was held by Pattahns and their hold
on the same lasted till 1580 in which year Amar Manikya, the king of till 1580 in which
year Amar Manikya, the king of Tripura, overpowered Pattahn garrison at Chittagaong
and occuppied it.24 after that time Chittagong became the bone of contention between
Tripura king and Skiandar Shah who finally conquered it in or around 1582. It was not
possible for the arakanese King to capture Chittagong before that years because he had to
be on his guard against the aggressive designs of Burman king Bayin Naung (1551-81),
the successor of Tabin Shwehti who earlier failed to capture Arakan. Bayin Naung's
unexpected death while he was actually sending expedition to annex Arakan greatly
relieved the Arakanese king in the eastern front to enable him to divert his energy to
Chittagong then under the occupation of Tripuras.25 Besides the territorial ambition of the
contending monarchs, there was another cause of hostility between them. The Tripura
king gave shelter to Adam Shah, the arakanese governor of Ramu and Chakaria. The
latter had incurred displeasure of the Arakanese king and to avoid punishment he fled
from his assigned terriotory.26 Sikandar Shah not only captured Chittagong but also gave
a hot prusuit to the fleeing Tripuras till their capital was taken over. The most significant
result of the war was that it decided the age long rivalry between Arakanese and the
Tripuras for the supremacy over Chittagong. The Arakanese gained possession of the
whole of Chittagong including the Hill Tracts and they retained it for about a century
while the Tripuras permanently lost Chittagong.27
Following their occupation of Chittagong the Arakanese now felt directly exposed to the
Moghul threat as the Moghul emperor considers Chittagong to be under his rightful
jurisdiction. Sikandar Shah was, therefore, favourably disposed towards the assistance of
Portuguese in the light of prevailing political events. He gave the Portuguese immense
facilities for carrying on trade within his kingdom; but the latter's high-handedness and
disloyalty to the Arakanese government soon strained the good relation that had been
prevailing between them. One Portuguese marauder, Antonio de Souza Godinha, took up
arms against the Arakanese king and forcibly captured the fort of Chittagong in or about
1590.28 But later the matter was resolved through conciliation.
Salim Shah (1593-1612)
Sikandar Shah was succeeded by his son Salim Shah (Min Raza Gyi) in 1593. During his
reign Arakan reached its zenith of greatness. For a short period during his reign Arakan
extended from Dhaka and Sundarbans to Moulmein, a coast strip of a thousand miles in
length and varying 150 to 20 miles in depth.29 This large domain could have been built by
Salim Shah by means of the strong cosmopolitan army and navy initially organised by
Sultan Zabuk Shah and by including the Portuguese outside his army to fight for him in
return for trade concessions. But the Portuguese were out only to serve their selfish ends.
They proved tracherous whenever their loyalty was put to test. They are like a double
edged sword. Thus only when there was a strong central government at Mrohaung, the
Portuguese could be kept in order. Salim Shah's reign was the first and only period in its
history when Arakan was able not only to repulse Burmans but also annex part of their
The Burman menace in the east reduced after the death of Bayib naung. His son, Nanda
Bayin (1581-99), had been compelled to recall the expedition against Arakan as rebellion
broke out at home. Later, the prince of Toungoo, first cousin of the king, actually wrote
to Arakan king proposing a joint attack on Burman king and division of the spoil. The
Arakanese shipped a force which occupied Syriam, effected a junction with Toungoo
levies, and with them besieged Pegu in 1599. The townsfolk and officers deserted. The
king and a faithful son surrendered on a promise of good treatment but were put to death.
On the division of the spoils the strip up to and including Syriam and Moulmein was
added to his long coast line. This campaign was rendered possible by Salim Shah's
excellent navy and the participation of his Portuguese subjects. The spoils included the
daughter of Nanda Bayin and a white elephant. A Portuguese mercenary, Philip de Brito,
was appointed governor of Syriam by the Arakanese king after the successful Pegu
In the northwest the Moghuls had been increasingly asserting their authority and a
showdown with Moghuls had become imminent. The Portuguese reaped maximum
advantage out of that situation and gave great trouble to the Arakanese king. The friendly
relation between the Arakanese and Portuguese soon turned to hostile one. In 1602 the
Portuguese captured Sondip from the king of Bakla. The conquest of Sondip alarmed the
Arakanese king of the danger to the security of his kingdom. The Arakanese king took
necessary steps, first, by driving out the Portuguese from Diang and capturing Sondip in
1603. In spite of the reverses the Portuguese could not be prevented from piratical
activities. The hostile relation between the two sides, however, did not last long. A
recondition ws eventually reached between the contending parties. The Arakanese king
allowed the Portuguese to stay in his kingdom and Sondip was returned to them.31 The
few years of peace following the reconciliation provided the Portuguese with sufficient
time to strengthen their bases. they conduced several hostile incursions in different parts
of the kingdom. Unable to tolerate their evil doing anymore, the Arakanese king
determined to destroy their bases. Accordingly in 1607 he ordered a general massacre of
the Portuguese inhabitants in his kingdom. The order was most barbarously carried out.
About six hundred Portuguese lost their lives in that cold blood massacre. Some few
scaped to the woods, whilst others managed to reach their vessels and put out to sea
among whom was Sebastio Gonzales.
At this time the island of Sondip was ruled by a Portuguese namely Manuel de Mattos.
The death of Mattos in 1607 gave Fateh Khan, his subordinate officer, an opportunity to
curving out an independent Muslim principality in that island. Sebastio Gonzales made
an arrangement with the King of Bakla to wrest Sondip from Fateh Khan. In 1609 the
Portuguese occupied Sondip again.
The establishment of the Potuguese base at Sondip gave a signal of danger to the
Arakanese king. Salim Shah died in 1612 leaving the Portuguese Problem unsettled.
Salim Shah's rule was epoch making in the history of Arakan. If Zabuk Shah founded the
prosperity of Mrauk-U, Salim Shah, his successor of 40 years later, may be said to have
consolidated it.
Hussain Shah (1612-1622)
Salim Shah was succeeded by his eldest son Hussain Shah (Min Khamaung). The
establishment of moghul sway over Bengal was viewed as a common danger by both
Hussain shah and Gonzales, the ruler of Sondip. And naturally both now thought in terms
of cooperating with each other against Moghuls who consider Southern Bengal including
Chittagong under their rightful jurisdiction. Moghul Viceroy Islam Khan's conquest of
Bhulua (Noakhali) practically brought the Moghul power in direct contact with the
Arakanese. Hussein shah soon patched up his quarrel with Gonzales and in league with
him launched a combined land and naval attack upon Bhulua early in Decembar, 1614.
Hussain Shah proceeded by land from Chittagong with a large army including 700 warelephants
and accompanies by the Portuguese land forces, while his navy joined that of
Gonzales advanced by water. Abdul Wahid the Moghul Thanadar of Bhulua, found it
impossible to oppose the invading forces and retreated north towards the Dakatia river
and the Machwa Khal in order to be out of reach of the large Portuguese-Arakanese warboats.
This gave a free hand to the latter who, after plundering Bhulua and the land that
lay on both sides of the river, advanced up to Dkaria river. At that stage, however, the
allies fell out among themselves when Gonzales' forces decided to withdraw. The
Arakanese king arrested the Portuguese officers in his company including the nephew of
the Portuguese admiral, Antonio Carvalho, while the latter, in retaliation, captured the
admiral and other officers of the Arakan fleet; plundered its treasures and artillery and
quickly retired to Sondip leaving the Arakanese king alone on land to face the Moghuls.
Abdul Wahid did not fail to take advantage of the situation. Meanwhile he received more
reinforcements. He crossed the Dakatia and launched a vigorous counterattack upon the
Arakan King forcing him to make a precipitate retreat across the Feni river leaving
behind a large number of his soldiers and war-elephants in the hands of pursuing Moghul

The conquest of Sondip marked the culmination of the Portuguese power in the region.
The Portuguese now, are considering to conquer the whole eastern coast off the Bay of
Bengal with Chittagong and Pegu as abses for their activities. Having been betrayed by
Gonzales, in the expedition of Bhulua, and Philip de Brito, who made himself
independent at Syriam, the Arakanese king decided to destroy their bases. In early 1615,
the Arakanese laid siege to the island of Sondip. Gonzales found himself now in
precarious position and being in need of assistance, in order to maintain his power, went
to Goa for aid. Gonzales' appeal for aid was responded to and the vicerory of Goa sent a
fleet under the command of Dom Francisco de Menazes Rovo who arrived Arakan on
October 3, 1615. The Arakanese King in the mean time, made alliance with the Dutch --
the chief competitors of Portuguese in trade. On October 15, the joint Arakanese and
Dutch fleet launched an attack on the Portuguese expeditionary forces. The naval
engagement that followed inflicted great loss to both sides but the Portuguese were
defeated. Gonzales withdrew to Sondip where he found no body obeying his command.
His dispirited followers quarelling among themselves allowed the Arakanese to occupy
the island. The Arakanese capture of Sondip in 1615 shattered the Portuguese dream of
establishing a maritime and religious empire in the region.33
In the eastern front Syriam and Pegu were lost to the Burman king Anaupetlun (1605-28).
But Burman king's engagement in the east with Siam relieved Hussain Shah for a while.
By capturing Sondip and as both Burmese and Portuguese threat now averted, the
Arakanese king renewed his attack on Bhulua. As on the previous occasion, this time
also, Abdul Wahid, the Moghul thanadar, found it necessary to withdraw to the more
convenient position near the Dakatia river. His son, Mirza Nur al-Din, however, made a
plan to trap the Arakan forces. He lay in hiding with a considerable force of cavalry
opposite a bog near the river. When the Arakan king had just crossed that spot Nur al-din
suddenly made a cavalry charge upon him. Abdul Wahid also attacked him from the
other direction. Thus being surrounded by enemies the Arakan forces were thrown into
utter confusion. In their attempt to retreat they were forced into the quagmire. A large
number of them were killed, some managed to escape, but the king himself together with
his nephew and war-elephants were stuck up in the muddy ground. In utter distress he
sued for peace offering to surrender all his officers and men including his nephew, and
also the elephants and other war-equipments and praying in return only to be spared his
life and personal liberty. Abdul Wahid accepted these terms and allowed the Arakan king
to escape almost alone towards Chittagong.34
In February 1616, moghul viceroy Qasim Khan sent an expedition under Abdul Nabi to
drive away the Arakan king from Chittagong and to capture that place. The progress of
the Moghul forces were checked, however, at Khatgar, near Sitakund, where Arakan king
had erected a forte and had concentrated a large force backed by a fleet of about 1000
war-boats. Abdul Nabi at first attempted to capture the forte by assault, but being
unsuccessful in that effort he laid siege to it. The siege dragged on for a long time as a
result of which food supplies ran short forcing the Moghul general to raise in May 1616
and to return to Bhulua.35
the unsuccessful Moghul invasion of Chittagong in 1616 effected the frontier policy of
Hussain Shah. He depopulated the whole area north of Chittagong between the hill ranges
and the coast and it was allowed to be covered with forest growth to serve as natural
resistance to possible Moghul land invasion. After the capture of Sondip the Portuguese
were reduced to submission. Hussain Shah now employed them in his service; the port
town of Diang was assigned to the Portuguese in exchange of their promised help against
Moghul sea invasion. This helped the Portuguese in making Diang their chief place of
settlement and a base of piratical activities.
Hussain Shah proved to be a great and most successful king of Arakan. He subdued the
rebels of his kingdom, crippled the power of Portuguese, defied the world conquering
Moghul army and baffled the aggressive designs of the Burmans.
Salim Shah II (1612-1638)
Hussain Shah was succeeded by his son Salim Shah II (Thiri Thudamma) in 1622. The
Portuguese menace upon the throne of Arakan now relatively diminished, Salim Shah II
turned a blind eye to their piratical activities in league with the Arakanese as they are an
asset to him to counter the Moghuls. However, Salim Shah II sent an envoy to the
Moghul prince, Shah Jahan, who came to Dhaka in 1624 for a while. Salim Shah, with
great humility, prayed that he should be considered as loyal vassal and he swore by God,
the Great, that he would serve loyally whenever he would be summoned for any work.36
This was merely a diplomatic move on the part of the Arakan ruler who before long
resumed his father's policy of aggressive raids into Bengal as soon as Shah Jahan retired
from the province, Shajahan came to Bengal in rebellion against his father in a palace
intrigue. Shah Jahan's rebellion, followed by Bengal viceroy Mahabat Khan's coup, had
thrown Bengal out of gear. Taking advantage of the situation, the arakan king made a raid
upon Bhulua, plundered the territory and then retired with a rich booty.37 When Mahabat
Khan was away, he led another expedition into Bengal; advanced as for as Dhaka and,
according to one account, "entered the city, burnt and looted it, and retired with a large
number of captives".38

Around 1630, the Arakanese governor of Chittagong came to know the Portuguese
making an underhand plotting with the Moghul governor of Dhaka to overthrow
Arakanese rule in Chittagong. He informed Salim Shah II to take appropriate steps who
ordered to prepare 500 galias and forty galleys and to proceed with full speed to the port
of Dianga.39 The captain was also instructed to conduct a surprise attack on the
Portuguese to make them prisoners. In case of the failure of a naval seizure he was
instructed to lay a siege on them. Meanwhile the Portuguese residents of Arakan proper
got scent of the preparations and hurriedly sent messengers to Chittagong to warn their
countrymen therein of the impending danger.
Manrique, the Portuguese friar then preaching at Diang, led a mission to the court of
Arakan to allay the king and restrain him from seizing the Portuguese settlements. On
July 2nd, 1630 Manrique undertook his memorable journey from Diang to Arakan. The
mission was successful in the backdrop of Moghul threat looming large in the west and
Burma's returning to strength. The king of Arakan sent orders recalling the Arakanese
navy. Manrique complied memoirs of his journey to Arakan which contain remarks
derogatory to Muslims.
Since the time of Salim Shah II, Portuguese piratical activities increased in the Bay. The
Maghs and Rohingyas also took part in the raids. But the Portuguese pirates took a
leading part in the slave hunting expeditions and the participation of the Arakanese in
such expedition was on lesser scale then that of Portuguese.40 The Portuguese freebooters
committed inhuman atrocities in lower Bengal. Besides plundering its wealth and
manufactures they carried away thousands of men, women and children and sold them as
slaves or forcibly converted them to Christianity. Innocent boatmen, traders and travellers
lived in constant terror of the Feringi pirates.
Salim Shah II cultivated friendly relations also with the Dutch at Batavia who were in
urgent need of regular supplies of rice and slaves for their Indonesian settlements. The
Dutch opened a factory at Mrohaung to carry out trade with the Arakanese.41 During
Salim Shah II's reign a terrible famine visited Arakan in 1631-35 C.E.42 The price shot up
to four times of the normal price. The famine was due to crop failures of the past
successive years.

1. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay in Journal of the Burma Research
Society (JBRS), Fiftieth Annivaersary Publication No. 2, p. 491
2. Bangladesh District Gazetteers, Chittagong, p. 63
3. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay ib Journal of the Burma research
Society (JBRS), Fiftieth Anniversary Publications No. 2, p. 491
4. Ibid p. 493
5. Phayre, op. cit p. 78
6. Ibid p. 79
7. History of the Muslims of Bengal Vol. I A, p. 168 by Dr. Muhammad Mohar
Ali, M.A. (Dac.), Ph.D. (London), Professor of the History of Islam in South
Asia, Research Centre Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University Riyadh.
8. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo Vol. I, p. 151
9. Ibid p. 151
10. JASP XII (1967), p. 323-325
11. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo, Vol. I, p. 161
12. Ibid p. 162
13. Ibid p. 162
14. Ibid p. 166
15. Arakan's place in the civilisation of the Bay in Journal of the Burma Research
Society (JBRS), Fiftieth Annivaersary Publications No. 2, p.493
16. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo Vol. I, p. 188
17. Ibid p. 189
18. Outline of Burmese History, G.E. Harvey, p. 100
19. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo, Vol. I, p. 189
20. Rajmala II p. 46
21. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo, Vol I, p. 193
22. Ibid p. 192
23. Ibid p. 194
24. Ibid p. 200-201
25. Ibid p. 233-234
26. Ibdi p. 234
27. Ibid p. 239
28. Kings letter, qt H.J. p. 203
29. Outlie of Burmese History by G.E Harvey p. 111-113
30. Ibid
31. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo, Vol 1, p. 136
32. History of the Muslims of Bengal by Dr. Mohammad Mohar Ali Vol. I A, p.
33. A History of Chittagong by Dr. S.B. Qanungo, Vol 1, p. 318-319
34. History of the Muslims of Bengal by Dr. Mohammad Mohar Ali Vol. I A, p.
35. Ibid p. 331
36. Bahanistan-i-Ghaibi 1. Vol. 1, p.710-711
37. Bahanistan-i-Ghaibi 11, Vol. 11
38. History of Bengal Vol. 11, Dhaka University, 1948, p. 314
39. Manrique 1, p. 90
40. Ibid p. 286
41. Studies in Dutch relations with Arakan in JBRS, Fifteenth Anniversary
Publications Vol. 2, p. 69-70
42. Ibid p. 81

Chapter IV - The Decline and fall of Arakanese Empire
Usurpation of Arakan Throne by Narapati
With the death of Salim Shah II in a palace intrigue in 1638 the period of Arakan's
greatness came to an end and the period of Arakan's greatness came to an end and the
period of decline began. He was succeeded by his son Meng Sani but was murdered by
the lover of the dowager queen, a commoner, who usurped the throne and now assuming
the title of Narapati.1 Although Narapati tried to win the support of the people by heaping
up blames and accusations on his predecessor he utterly failed to achieve it. In fact the
usurpation of power resulted as culmination of a deep rooted conspiracy to grab power
from Muslims. Narapati was a Magh Buddhist commoner.
The late king's brother, Matak Rai (Kamal),2 viceroy of Chittagong, there upon declared
independence and attempted to oust the usurper. Kamal failed in his attempt, however,
because of lack of adequate naval power and was forced to seek asylum with the Moghul
thanadar of Bhulua. As Kamal proceeded towards Bhulua an Arakanese fleet of about
200 war-boats (Jalias) pursued him up to Feni river and attempted to prevent his crossing
the river. The forces of the Moghul thanadar drove back the Arakanese fleet by incessant
gun fires and Kamal was enabled to cross the Feni river safely and to reach Jahangirnagar
with his family and nearly 9000 of his Arakanese followers.3
Narapati did not, however, give up the attempt to get hold of Kamal and fitted out a fullscale
naval expedition against Bengal with more than 650 vessels of different types.
Islam Khan, the Moghul governor of Bengal, met the threat by mobilising his army and
navy near the mouth of the river Meghna. Although the Arakanese fleet had entered the
estuary of the river, it did not dare

မုတ္ဆိတ္ဖားဖား ကုလားဆိုးမ်ားအား အေဖေခၚခ်င္သူမ်ား


Anonymous said...

we need to be united. All those low standard guys must fail one day. We Myanmar nations must win them.

Anonymous said...

သူတို႕မ်က္ႏွာေတြကကို လံုး၀က်က္သေရမရွိဘူး။ ဘယ္တိုင္းရင္းသားနဲ႕ယွဥ္လုိက္ယွဥ္လိုက္...ျပီးေတာ႕ ဒီေကာင္ေတြက လူမ်ိဳးကိုခ်စ္မယ္႕ေကာင္ေတြမဟုတ္ဘူး ဘာသာကိုသာ တိုးပြားေအာင္လုပ္မယ္႕ေကာင္ေတြ. ျမန္မာမူစလင္ေတြႀကည္႕ပါလား ျမန္မာသို႕ဘယ္တိုင္းရင္းသားကိုမဆို သူတို႕ သိပ္ျပီးခ်စ္၂ခင္၂ရွိတာမဟုတ္ဘူး ဘာသာတူကိုသာ ေပါင္းသင္းႀကတာ။ ေျမျမိဳလို႕ေတာ႕ လူမ်ိဳးမတုန္းဘူး၊ လူမ်ိဳရင္သာ လူမ်ိဳးတုန္းမွာ။

ZAR NI said...

We (Burmese) have only the ethnic with Buddhist and Christian religions. NO MUSLIMS ARE OUR ETHNICS.

Anonymous said...

မနာလိုမၿဖစ္ၾကပါနဲ့ေနာက္တခါ အစည္းအေဝ ရွိရင္ မင္းတို့ ရဲ့ ေမ်ာက္မ်က္ခြက္ေတြကို မိတ္ကပ္လိမ္းေပးၿပီ

Eric said...

ဟန္ေညာင္ေ၀အေၾကာင္းကေတာ့ သိျပီးသားပါ။ ဒီေခြးမိ်ဳးက ပိုက္ဆံသာရ သူပါ သူ ့ဖင္ကို ထုိုးအပ္မယ့္ေကာင္ပါ။ တကယ့္ကို တိုင္းျပည္ သစၥာေဖာက္ပါ။ ေနာက္ျပီး အန္တီစုေတာ့ အားနာပါရဲ့..သူ ့အစ္ကို၀မ္းကဲြ ျပည္ေျပး စိန္၀င္း၊ ဒီေကာင္ေတြလဲ အသားထဲက ေလာက္ထြက္ေတြပဲ။ တိုင္းျပည္မွာ တကယ္ကို အႏၱရာယ္ေရာက္ေအာင္ တြန္းပို ့ေနတဲ့ ေခြးမိ်ဳးေတြ ျဖစ္ပါေၾကာင္း။

Jester508 said...

ေခြးသား ဖင္ကာလီမ်ားႏွင့္ ေခြးဇာတ္ခင္းသူမ်ားအား ၁၀၀၀၀% ရႈတ္ခ်ပါသည္။ ရွိသမွ်လူအားလံုးက တိုင္းရင္းသားအားလံုးက မဟုတ္ပါဘူးဆိုတာေတာင္ ေစာက္ေခြးေနာက္ပိတ္ေတြက ႏုိင္ငံၿခားက လာေအာ္ေနတယ္။ ေခြးထက္ယုတ္တဲ့ေကာင္ေတြ