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Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Rohingya in Myanmar: Professor Aye Chan of Kanda University

A straight forward message was given by history Professor Aye Chan of Kanda University of Japan that there is no Rohingya in Myanmar, tracing back to centuries of Rakhine chronicle at a lively lecture in spacious MICT Park of Yangon on March 14.
The lecture was attended by members of Rakhine social associations representing Rakhine State among other interested audience.
At the dynamic talk, Professor Aye Chan fanned out the themes on Rakhine chronicle, Bengalis and Rohingya with historical evidences.
According to Aye Chan, there is no national as Rohingya people in history and that the historians would be unethical if they considered things merely on the basis of patriotism and moreover, they should not advocate on the wrong premises. One must not talk or write without the firm evidences and that the history writers must try to present the truth by setting aside the partisanship. He said that he had never advocated on behalf of any national race in the discussions or writings.
The professor continued, “In the chronicle of Myanmar, there never were Rohingya people. I always talk and declare this statement. However, I respect and pay esteem to human rights matters. I have never committed or slip of tongue that undermined human rights. All the evidences are with me.”
Elaborating the past, he said that the existing problem was the bad legacy of the colonial rule for over one hundred year in Myanmar. Landlords in colonial India were given titles such as “Chowdhury” where they cleared up the virgin lands for cultivation and enjoyed (10) years land revenue exemption. Therefore, the rice millers and rice companies working under the British colony called in the workers from Chittagong (now Bangladesh) to Rakhine State (Arakan State of Burma), where they accumulated wealth. Therefore many people from Chittagong migrated in mass to Rakhine State.
He added, “The incidents that occurred in Rakhine State were not in the nature of sudden outburst. The issue was burning slowly and discreetly underneath for very long. It started as slow burner since 70 years ago. We forget the issue and keep it in negligence. We have never thought that one day the issue might burst out. When it erupted, we witnessed unpleasant events. We have not expected that such bomb would explode at a certain time.”
There are talks and discussions spreading to the effect calling for peaceful coexistence between Rakhine national races and Bengali.
The Professor raised a question to the audience, “There is request for cash donation to wage religious war (Jihad - - a holy war fought by Muslims to defend Islam). The handouts are distributed in the Islamic countries. Bank accounts for such donations are opened in Chittagong and Dhaka in Bangladesh. With such sinister scheme in the pipeline, will you believe the idea of peaceful coexistence with Rakhine nationals and Bengali?”
He continued his talks by saying that the word “Rohingya” was first introduced in an article in the then Guardian daily newspaper published in Yangon by a person named Mr. Abu Gaffer, nationalities representative of Buthitaung Township of Rakhine State in 1951. The writer asserted that the Muslims residing in Buthitaung and Maungtaw townships were not the illegal migrants sneaking from the other country, but the residents for centuries. Rohingya were the descendants of the Arabs from the Middle East who survived from ship wrecked in the sea and settled down by marrying the local Rakhine women. The Rohingya are the offspring of the settlers.”
He said, “Just imagine one more point on the appalling assertion that they married the local Rakhine girls and that the Rohingya were born. Think of it. Was that possible? I and French historian Jacques Leider had earlier disproved this theory about the shipwrecked. There was no solid and firm evidence on the shipwreck. We the historians uphold the primary source of evidences. The secondary sources were not reliable as it contained doubtful factors. Moreover, there may be conspiracy and hidden agenda.”
After the meeting, Dr Aye Chan replied to the queries raised by those present.
“Holding such meetings many times will make Rakhine people and other ethnics realize the real history. I was asked if we would like to exaggerate Rakhine conflict by holding such meeting. No, I replied that the conflict would calm down more than the past. I met with a Muslim from Rakhine State. He supposed that he is a Rakhine native. They thought that they are the land lord of Rakhine State. He is about 20 years old. I showed historical evidences to him. I told him, “You are guest citizens and we are hosts. If you live like the guest citizen, we can treat you like the hosts. You are wrong.” I consider that the conflict has become quiet after realizing about the real history,” Rakhine National Affairs Minister Zaw Aye Maung remarked.
Following are some questions and answers after the meeting.
Q: Is stone inscription a primary source or secondary one?
A: Primary source.
Q: Is Arnanda Sandra stone inscription Rakhine words or Bamar words?
A: It is neither Rakhine or Bamar words and it is Sanskirt.
Q: Are most words of Arnanda Sandra stone inscription same as those of Rohingha of today?
A: Arnanda Sandra stone inscription is written in Sanskirt. When the language experts categorize languages, Bengali language is Sanskirt and Pali languages. All Hindu and Bengalis include in Indo-Arira language. For that reason, it is nothing strange that the words of Sanskirt and Bengali are the same.
Q: Is the phrase of Parabaik compiled in the time of Myanmar King Bodaw Phaya (Waithali age) same as the words of Rohingya of today?
A: Parabaik used in the past cannot exist more than fifty years. Palm-leaf cannot exist more than a century. It had to be applied with kerosene. It is unbelievable that the phrases written on the Parabaik in Waithali period.
“Unbelievable” my teacher Dr Myo Myint replied.
Q:  There was Rohingya tribe and they are Islamists in Arakan Rakhine region, stated in the paper of British attaché Francis Buchanan arriving in Inwa palace in 1799?
A: This is a leading question. The way of question is wrong and the presentation is also wrong. But I will answer it. I have four copies of Buchanan’s book. It wrote that those ran from Rakhine were Rakhinegya. Bengali termed Rakhine as Roshan, Rohan. Which page number showed that those were Muslims? Who can tell and show about that?
Q: Do you know the writer recorded that there is a separate Rohingya language and it differs from the Bengali?
A: Rohnigya means Rakhinegya and Rahanga. Rakhine and Bengalis speak differently. Those who call themselves Rohingya are really Bengalis. Here, there may be someone who has been to Bangladesh. I have made two field trips. I can speak the language used in Butheedaung and Maungdaw. While I was in Bangladesh, I went to Arlavan region where I used the Chittagong language when I wanted to eat mutton. But they don’t understand it. If I speak Rakhine, some Bamar people may not understand it. There is no record that there is a separate Rohingya language. I never lie to others. I love the truth.
Q: Do you also know a British administrator mentioned in 1926 that there were 30,000 Arakan Muslims and 10,000 Bamars?
A: Of course, I know. But he did not mention the term Rohingya. Jacques Leider said about more than 100,000 Rakhine people. This is not concerned with whether there is Rohingya or not.
Q: The international community has foreigners who are living with overstayed visas. Are they also living in your country with overstayed visas?
A: No, they are illegal immigrants.
Q: Are there any guest citizens in the international community who are not allowed to be naturalized? If there are, what are their rights?
A: I have never leant that there are guest citizens in other countries, except Myanmar. I worked in the United States. After I had worked as a faculty member for four years, I got a green card to live there permanently. Both my wife and daughter got green cards. It is just a permit for permanent residence. But we don’t have the right to vote. It is because we are not naturalized citizens.  But in Myanmar, a former immigration and population minister (maybe Maj-Gen Maung Oo) issued white cards to the immigrants, who were allowed to vote. Those white cards are temporary national registration cards. They are not permanent residents. Why do they have the right to vote? After colonizing Korea, Japanese took Koreans to their country as slaves. The Koreans were forced to do what the Japanese did not want to. Now those Koreans have reached the third generation. They are permanent residents but they don’t have the right to cast a vote. In Myanmar, all the immigrants holding white cards could vote in the previous elections. Is there any other country that can respect human rights as much as our country does?
Q: Are you inciting a racial conflict because you came to Yangon for such talks?
A: Actually I am kind of man who fears. I don’t want wars. But I want to ask you a question. I will stay at your house for one day. Then, I will ask for one day more, for a week, for a year or two. Finally, can you accept it if I knock you out of your house? Please answer this.

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