They desire peaceful co-existence among all communities they are living with. Their struggle is for establishment of justice and peace.Rohingyas are aboriginal inhabitants of Arakan.
The word Rohingya is not a surfacing from politics. It is a historical name of a community living in Arakan. Historically the old name of Arakan is Rohang and her people are Rohingyas. Rohingyas did not write the history of Rohang, it was written by other people, mostly Europeans. It appeared not only in a single book, it appeared in many books. It is not a myth; it is a history by evidence.
Arakan was an independent sovereign Muslim Kingdom up to 1784AD in which year it was colonized by Burmese king Bodawphaya. It is a multi-national country with two major communities of Rohingyas and Maghs. Rohingyas are Muslims and Maghs confess Buddhism. It is a riverine country comprises an area of 22,000 sq. miles. It is situated between Bangladesh and Burma and bordering India in the north. It is harboring Bay of Bengal with a length of about more than 300 miles in the west. Arakan is separated from Burma by a barrier of big high mountain call Arakan Yoma in the east sloping down from north to the south. It is ornamented with a thick tropical evergreen rain forest. Naturally and geographically it has relation with Bengal in many ways.
“In actual fact, although there are 135 national races in Myanmar today, the so-called Rohingya people are not one of them. Historically, there has never been a “Rohingya” race in Myanmar. Since the first Anglo-Myanmar war in 1824, people of Muslim faith from the adjacent country illegally entered Myanmar Naing-Ngan, particularly RakhineState. Being illegal immigrants they do not hold immigration papers like other nationals of the country”.
This is the official historical version which the Burmese government constantly refers to in order to justify its policy of discrimination and exclusion. If the last wave of immigration, triggered by the British, is indeed important, one must nonetheless point out that the arrival of the Muslims in Arakan goes back to a much earlier time.
The Rohingyas have been present for several centuries in Arakan, where they settled in three successive waves. The first Muslim sailors (originating from Persia, Arabia, Turkey, and Bengal) settled in the region in the seventh century, and integrated with no difficulty. During the 12th and 13th centuries, larger groups arrived in Arakan and rapidly integrated as well. The second wave of Muslim immigration into Arakan began in the 15th century. The Muslim influence lasted until 1784, when the Burmese king Bodawpaya conquered Arakan. This expansionist policy at the edge of the British Empire resulted in tensions which led to the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1824. The British victory was enshrined in the 1826 Yandabo Treaty. Arakan was annexed and the third and massive wave of “immigration”was launched, which lasted until the 1940s. Under British rule, the population of Arakan increased from less than 100,000 inhabitants to more than one million, as a result of a deliberate policy of relocating Muslim and Hindu Indians in the East. This large-scale arrival of Indians led to the first communitarian tensions, worsened by the economic recession.
In the 1950s the regime changed its approach regarding the Rohingyas. Prime Ministers U Nu in 19543 and U Ba Swe in 19594 gave the first signs of recognition of the Rohingya people. In 1961, the new U Nu government created the Mayu Frontier Administration Area (MFA), a special region covering the Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Western Rathidaung districts, directly run by Rangoon and thus sidelining the regional authorities of Sittwe, who were dominated by Arakanese Buddhists. In 1962, the creation of the Arakan State (and hence, the end of the MFA) was adopted when General Ne Win took power and dissolved both Houses of Parliament.
Lastly, the Rohingya are subject to a repression and a policy of discrimination which targets them specifically. First of all, they are victims of a governmental policy encouraging anti-Muslim feelings among the Buddhist population at a national level, using them as scapegoats to divert attention away from social or political problems which could jeopardise the power of the junta. But the Rohingyas are also and above all the target of a double exclusion. Above all, by law: since the Independence, they have been progressively deprived of their rights, even the right of citizenship itself, thus becoming stateless in their own country. Secondly, they are excluded by a policy of settlement, which forces them to move up to the extreme north of Arakan, to finally be pushed out on to the other side of the border.