Friday, 29 February 2008

Muslim Influence in Arakan and Muslim Names of Arakanese Kings.

A ReassessmentBy Alamgir M. Serajuddin*(From Asiatic Soc. Bangladesh (Hum.), Vol. XXXI (I), June 1986
The Arakanese were a daring and turbulent people, a terror at once to themselves and to their neighbours. They fought among themselves and changed masters at will. Peace at home under a strong ruler signaled danger for neighbours, especially the undefended frontier districts of Bengal. Skilled in sea and riverine warfare, they plundered, tortured and enslaved numerous inhabitants of the Gangetic delta. Their cruelty, comparable only to that of bargi marauders of later days, was a byword in Bengal. Shihabuddin Talish thus described it: "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 ships3." Yet, their association with Bengal was not an unmitigated evil. It had a positive and bright side too.
In one of those unhappy periods of internal anarchy and dissension in the history of Arakan4, one of the rulers, Mong-saw-mwan, driven out of the country, took asylum at the court of the Bengal Sultan Ghiasuddin Azam Shah in 1406 AD. After years of exile he regained his throne with the aid of Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah in 1430 AD. The grateful king readily entered into a tributary relationship with the Bengal sultan5. The event turned out to be momentous. The Arakanese king had stayed long enough in Bengal to benefit from her superior culture. On his homeward journey he was accompanied by a host of Bengali adventures, fortune hunters and admirers. While the king moulded his court on Bengal's model, his Muslim followers built the Sandikhin mosque at Mrohaung6. The expatriate Bengalis found employment in the king's civil and military establishments. Their rank was swelled by fresh arrivals and still later by Shah Shuja's followers who escaped slaughter at the hands of the Arakanese in 1661 and were retained as archers of the guard by the king; and some of them rose to very high positions in the court. Towards the end of the 17th century these Muslim soldiers of fortune commanded enormous power and influence and deposed and set up kings at will7. They burnt the palace in 1692 and for the next twenty years were the undisputed masters of Arakan8.
One concomitant of the settlement of a sizeable number of Bengalis in the capital of Arakan was the cultivation of Bengali literature and culture; and the 17th century was its heyday. The influential Bengali officers of the king patronised Bengali poets flourished under them. The Arakanese people, tribal and backward, would not easily be influenced by this expatriate culture. It is also not known to what extent, if at all, did the successors of Mong-saw-mwan, brought up and living in their own primitive society, respond to this cultural challenge. There is hardly any evidence to show that the Arakanese kings themselves patronised the poets and commissioned them to compose literary works for them. If the distressed prince Shuja had found the table manners of Sandathudamma who was revered as a very able and noble king, to be so repulsive as to keep aloof from him10 at his peril, then the Arakanese kings may hardly be said to have been much impressed by Muslim manners, customs and culture. In all probability the cultivation of Bengali literature and culture was confined to the Bengali element in the court and the capital.
Assumption of Muslim names and titles by some Arakanese kings11 and issuing coins in Arabic script containing these names and Bengal into the Arakan court. It is said that Mong-saw-mwan undertook to assume a Muslim name and strike coins bearing the kalima as a tributary. His successors threw off the yoke of Bengal but submitted to far superior culture, civilisation, statecraft, manners and customs of the Muslims and continued the practice.13 Bisveswar Bhattacharya sums up the position thus: "As the Mohammedan influence was predominant, the Arakanese kings, though Buddhist in religion, became somewhat Mahomedanised in their ideas- so much so that for a long time henceforward they used in addition to their own earlier names, Mohammedan designations and even used medallions bearing the kalima in the Persian script."14 But, a study of these coins will tell a different story.
The Arakanese had issued symbolical coins without dates and names of kings as early as the 8th century AD., if not earlier.15 Legendary coins with dates and names of rulers were not known to them and there is no doubt that they borrowed the concept from Bengal.16 One legendary coin of Mong-raza-gri (1593-1612 AD.) containing his Muslim name Salim Shah, now preserved in the Chittagong university Museum, has been published by Professor A. Karim.17 The legend in Arakanese script on the obverse of the coin reads: "963 [1601 AD.]. Lord of the White Elephant, Lord of Men and Land, Salim Shah". The upper part of the reverse having Arabic script reads: "Lord of the White Elephant, and the Just King Salim Shah Sultan" and the lower part containing Bengali described the obverse of three similar coins of Mong-raza-gri, Mong-hka-maung and Thiri-thu-damma bearing the Maghi (Arakanese) dates 963/1601 AD., 974/1612 AD. and 984/1622 AD. and their Muslim names.18 He could not decipher the Arabic and Bengali inscriptions on the three coins and took them to bear "illegible Persian and Nagri inscription".19
Some interesting and peculiar features of these Bengal coin-types have escaped notice of researchers. In the first place, unlike the Bengal coins with only Arabic legends these coins contain Arakanese, Arabic and Bengali legends. Secondly, they gave the Muslim names and titles of the Arakanese kings but not their Arakanese names. Thirdly, not all the successors of Mong-saw-mwan did take Muslim in 1430 AD. to the conquest of Arakan by the Burmese in 1784 AD. 48 kings20 ruled over Arakan and only nine of them, namely, Mong- Khari/Ali Khan (1434-59), Basawphru/Kalima Shah (1459-82), Kasabadi/Ilyas Shah Sultan (1523-25), Thatasa/Ali Shah (1525-31), Mongbun/Zabuk Shah (1531-53), Mong-hpa-laung/Sikander Shah (1612-22), Mong-raza-gri/Salim Shah (1593-1612), Mong-kha-maung/Hosain Shah (1612-22) and Thiri-thu-damma/Salim Shah (1622-38) are known to have assumed Muslim names and struck Bengal coin-types.21 Finally, these coins issued in Chittagong22 were different from those issued in Arakan. Phayre has described and published coins issued by 15 other Arakanese kings, namely, Nara-pati-gri (1638-45),Tha-do (1645-52), Sanda-thu-damma (1652-84), Wara-dhamma-raza (1685-92), Sanda-wizaya (1710-31), Sanda-thu-riya (1731-34), Nara-pa-wara (1735-37), Madarit (1737-42), Nara-apaya (1742-61), Sanda-payama (1761-64), Apaya (1764-73), Sanda-thu-mana (1773-77), Sanda-thadi-tha (1777-82), Dhammarit (1778?) and Thamada (1782-84).23 The coins were struck in the year of accession of these kings to the throne. Unlike the coins described above these coins certain the same inscription in Arakanese script on the obverse and reverse. They give the Maghi (Arakanese) dates of accession of the kings and their Arakanese names and titles. Until 1652 the king is styled "Lord of the White Elephant, Lord of the Red Elephant" but since that year he is no longer lord of the white and red elephants but "Lord of the Golden Palace" and this style is remained until the fall of the kingdom in 1784. Thus, while the coin of Narapatigri (1638-45) reads: "1000 [1638]. Lord of the White Elephant, lord of the Red Elephant, Na-ra-badi-gri", that of thamada, the last king of Arakan (1782-84) merely reads: "1144 [1782]. Lord of the Golden Palace, Ma-ha Tha-ma-da Raza."24
From what has been stated above it is difficult to accept the view that assumption of Muslim names was the manifestation of Muslim influence in Arakan. Among other things, it does not explain why only 9 out of 48 rulers were won over by the superior Muslim culture. Again, Muslim influences rose its height during the long and prosperous reign of king Sandathudamma (1652-84). Yet, he did not take Muslim names and titles and was content with his Arakanese name and coin.25 In fact, increase of Muslim influence in Arakan coincides with total abandonment of Muslim names and coins. Thirithudamma (1622-38) was the last Arakanese king to take Muslim name and strike coin in Arabic and Bengali scripts. In reassessing the significance of Muslim names and titles we must not lose sight of the fact that the rulers who assumed Muslim names had Chittagong under their possession. Mongsawmwan, though a tributary to the sultan of Bengal, is not known to have assumed Muslim name and issued coins in Arabic script.26 His brother and successor Mong-khari (1434-59) who was the first Arakanese ruler to take a Muslim name defied the authority of Bengal and annexed Ramu to his kingdom.27 His son Basawphru (1459-82) took advantage of the weakness of the Bengal sultan and seized Chittagong.28 Mongbun (1531-53), ruler of great ability, remained Ramu and Chittagong in spite of Tipperan ( Tripuri ) raids.29 It was Munbun who leased to the Portuguese free-booters who took service under his flag the port of Dianga30 and introduced the Maghi era (Arakanese Era, AE.) and Maghi (Arakanese) unit of land measurement in Chittagong.31 Munghpalaung (1571-93) held all Chittagong and part of Noakhali and Tippera (Tripura) too.32 His son and successor Mongrazagri (1593-1612) had Chittagong under his sway and so had Monghkamaung (1612-22) who broke the power of the Portuguese.33 Thirithudamma (1622-38) captured and held Dacca (Dhaka) itself for a short while in 1625 and launched an unsuccessful attack against the Mughal fleet in the Hughli river in 1632 in his bid to conquer Bengal.34
It is so coincidence that only those rulers who had Chittagong under their possession at the time of accession to the throne assumed Muslim names and titles and struck coins in Arabic and Bengali scripts bearing these names and titles. Coins are a symbol of sovereignty and these rulers issued the Bengal coin-types to assert their sovereignty over Chittagong.35 The inhabitants of the conquered district being Hindus and Muslims, they expressed their sovereignty over the district in idioms which would be readily understood by them. Their Bengali subjects easily distinguished them by their Muslim names. Chittagong was a bone of commercial importance. For the small tribal kingdom of Arakan, Chittagong must have been a very valuable and proud possession; and they took strong measures to defend it. We have the evidence of Shihabuddin Talish that every year the king of Arakan sent to Chittagong a hundred ships full of troops, arms and ammunitions under a new commandant and then the ships and troops sent in the previous year returned to Arakan.36 Some trustworthy relative or clansman of the king was appointed lord or governor of Chittagong37 and he held the grand title of Mong-Re, meaning 'Bold Chief". During the reign of Monghpalaung (1571-93) his son Mong-nala was governor of Chittagong.38 Mongrazagri's (1593-1612) first governor was his wise minister and jurist Mahapinnyakyaw,39 second governor his uncle Sinabadi40 and third governor his son Anaporan.41 Mongsawphru, son of Nandabaron, king of Pegu, succeeded Anaporan as governor of Chittagong in 1614.42 Thirithudamma's first governor in Chittagong was a brother43 and so was his last governor Matak Rai. It was Matak Rai who revolted against Thirithudamma's successor Narapatigri in 1638 and handed over Chittagong to the Mughal governor at Dacca.44 The power, prestige and prosperity of the Arakanese people, founded on their occupation of Chittagong and profits of piracy came to an abrupt and inglorious end with the decisive victory of the Mughal over them in 1666 AD.

Burma.The Changing Nature of Displacement Crises.

Reseach paper by Ashley South.
Oxford University.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Good news (or) Bad News?

How could we handle to our national resourse for people's development?

Gas Found During Tube Well Drilling in Arakan
Natural gas was found during drilling of a tube well in a village in Maungdaw Township in western Burma, with the gas still flowing from the mouth of the well, according to a local office report.
The report stated that the gas was found during tube well drilling at Mro Chaung Village in the north of Maungdaw Township.
The tube well drilling was being conducted by villagers under a program of ACF, an NGO working on rural development in Arakan State.
A local source confirmed the report and said the gas was found on 23 February when the drilling pipe reached a depth of 120 feet.
The drillers realized that they had struck gas when a flame erupted near the lit end of a cheroot being smoked by a worker. A witness said the flame was one foot over the tube well, and many local people came to the drilling site to see the flame once word got out.
The authorities have stopped the drilling and closed off the well by filling it in with soil, but the gas is still continuing to seep out of the ground at the well site.
The authorities are reportedly fencing off a 10 square feet area around the well with barbwire in order to prevent any accidents from occurring with the gas.
Source By:Narinjara news.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

List of Arakanese Kings and British Commissioners to Arakan up to 1886

3325 BC Kingdom of Arakan founded according to legend. c.825 AD First recorded dynasty.
31 Dec 1784 Conquered by Awa (Burma). 24 Feb 1826 Annexed by Britain, part of British Lower Burma (which is part of British India). 1 Apr 1937 Part of separate British colony of Burma. 4 Jan 1948 Part of independent Burma.
1698 - 1700 Naradipati I
1700 - 1706 Sandawimala I (d. 1734)
1706 - 1710 Sandathuriya I
1710 - 1731 Sandawizaya I (d. 1731)
1731 - 1734 Sandathuriya II
1734 - 1735 Naradipati II
1735 - 1736 Narapawara
1737 Sandawizaya II (Sandawizala)
1737 Katya
1737 - 1742 Madarit
1742 - 1761 Nara Apaya
1761 Thirithu
1761 - 1764 Sandaparama
1764 - 1773 Apaya
1773 - 1777 Sandathumana
1777 Sandawimala II
1777 - 1782 Sandathaditha
1782 - 31 Dec 1784 Thamada
31 Dec 1784 - 24 Feb 1826 annexed by Awa
British Political Officer
1825 - 1826 Thomas Campbell Robertson (b. 1789 - d. 1863)
1826 - 1829 George Hunter
1829 - 1830 Charles Paton (d. 1830)
1830 - 1837 Thomas Dickinson
1837 - 1849 Archibald Bogle (b. 1805 - d. 1876)
1849 - 1852 Arthur Purves Phayre (b. 1812 - d. 1885)
1852 - 1858 Henry Hopkinson 6 Dec
1858 - 9 Apr 1867 G. Verner10 Apr 1867 - 23 Apr
1867 E.M. Ryan (1st time) (acting)24 Apr
1867 - 24 Oct 1872 J.F.J. Stevenson (1st time)25 Oct
1872 - 23 Jan 1873 H.N. Davies (1st time) (acting)23 Jan
1873 - Dec 1873 J.F.J. Stevenson (2nd time)Dec
1873 - 7 Feb 1876 E.M. Ryan (2nd time) 8 Feb
1876 - 29 Feb 1876 H.N. Davies (2nd time) (acting) 1 Mar
1876 - 13 Sep 1878 Edward Bosc Sladen (1st time) (b. 1827 - d. 1890)14 Sep
1878 - 10 Dec 1878 W.C. Plant (1st time) (acting)11 Dec
1878 - 6 Jun 1880 G.J.S. Hodgkinson 7 Jun
1880 - 22 Jun 1880 W.C. Plant (2nd time) (acting)23 Jun
1880 - 31 Aug 1880 W. de Courcy Ireland (acting) 1 Sep
1880 - 26 Oct 1880 G.J.S. Hodgkinson27 Oct 1880 - 12 Aug
1883 Edward Bosc Sladen (2nd time) (s.a.)13 Aug
1883 - 13 Nov 1883 G.A. Strover (acting)14 Nov
1883 - 3 Nov 1885 Edward Bosc Sladen (3rd time) (s.a.) 4 Nov
1885 - 17 Dec 1885 J.K. Macrue18 Dec
1885 - 26 Jul 1886 G.D. Burgess

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Bangladesh Authorities Return 19 Burmese Muslims

Bangladesh Authorities Return 19 Burmese Muslims
Bangladesh border authorities pushed 19 Burmese citizens back across the border soon after they had entered Bangladesh to enroll on the voter registration list, said a local official.
"We pushed them back to Burma on Saturday because they were entering our country illegally to enroll their names on the voter list," the official said.
Bangladesh is currently conducting voter registration for the upcoming general election and for the first time ever issuing national identity cards to registering Bangladeshi citizens.
Many Burmese citizens, primarily from the Muslim community, have been entering Bangladesh recently to register their names on the voter lists in order to receive Bangladesh IDs. Most of these Burmese nationals have been arrested, while some have been repatriated immediately to Burma.
An official from the border area said Bangladesh authorities can not allow any foreigners to add their name to the new voter list, and many Burmese Muslims who were able to register for the last election have been purged from the lists.
According to a source, 25,000 names were removed from the old voter lists in Teknaf Township after authorities reviewed them and restricted who could register.
The current voter registration being conducted in Bangladesh is very important, as the government is issuing national ID cards to citizens whose names are on the list.
Source By: Narinjara News.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

We do salute you Pe Do.

I was heard about Pe Do Maan Sha La Pen at the last minutes ago,
I am so sorrow from my heart about Pe Do was past away at
to day.
Pe Do ,You are Our National Hero!
You are the people's heart!
You are the people's never forgeteen ....
We salute you,
Never Forget!
Never Give-up!

Arakan Eagle.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

History of Valentine's Day.

"Valentine's Day"
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine". Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine.
Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as
flowers. There was often a social gathering or a ball.
In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialised. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February 14. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.

The History of Saint Valentine's DayValentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honour of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feaSt. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

St. Valentine's Story
Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn't like Emperor Claudius, and I wasn't the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.
Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn't going to support that law!
Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies -- secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.
One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.
I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw
flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, "Love from your Valentine."
I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh -- because they know that love can't be beaten!

Valentine TraditionsHundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they sang was:
Good morning to you, valentine;Curl your locks as I do mine ---Two before and three behind.Good morning to you, valentine.
In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and
given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
In some countries, a young woman may receive a
gift of clothing from a young man. If she keeps the gift, it means she will marry him.
Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
A love seat is a wide chair. It was first made to seat one woman and her wide dress. Later, the love seat or courting seat had two sections, often in an S-shape. In this way, a couple could sit together -- but not too closely!
Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.
Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.
If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.


Sayadaw U PANNA DIPAKaba Aye Sayadaw
World Buddhist Meditation Institute, Yangon

The word "Nibbana" is very frequently and extensively used by all Buddhists because Nibbana is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Whenever a Buddhist performs any meritorious deed, he strenuously aspires to Nibbana alone. But actually neither by uttering words nor by praying can Nibbana be attained.
Though one can write and express the word "Nibbana", yet the real meaning or sense of it cannot be realized until one has attained it by oneself. Nibbana is not a thing or an object that one can have, nor a place where one can reach, nor a sense object that one can feel, nor a happiness that one can enjoy in the worldly sense, but the most supreme and pure state of insight (Nana) which surpasses all mundane conditions.
According to the exposition of the Buddhist canonical Texts, Nibbana is a Pali word which is composed Of two constituents, namely Ni and vana. Ni is negative particle and vana means craving and it therefore means the absence of craving: In other words, craving (Tanha) functions as a link between one life and another; but the release or absence of craving is the disconnection of chains of life-process in Samsara.
In Sanskrit, Nibbana is written as "Nirvana" which is derive from the root "Va" meaning "to blow" and the prefix "Nir" meaning "out"; therefore Nibbana means "to blow out", that is to blow out the flame of one's craving.
The Nibbanic state is not a negative concept like nothingness, but positive. From a negative outlook, naturally we often come across pairs of opposites, such as, black and white, darkness and light, short and long; sorrow and happiness; so also life continuum (Samsara) and Nibbana also can be considered in a similar way. As Samsara here means birth, old age, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, grief, pain, and despair, Nibbana therefore means absence of birth, absence of old age, absence old disease, absence of death, absence of sorrow, absence of lamentation, absence of grief, absence of pain, absence of despair and on the whole, absence of all suffering of life.
Again from the positive standpoint, Nibbana is characterized as the Ultimate Liberation, Happiness and Peace. According to Abhidhamma (higher Doctrine), there are two kinds of happiness, (1) happiness enjoyed by senses and (2) happiness attained and experienced in insight or supreme wisdom.
Regarding the former, the happiness cannot be enjoyed unless there is a sense object which is to be sought after. Therefore a sense object is a happiness in the worldly sense, and no sense object means on unhappiness. For this reason, the happiness enjoyed by the sense is only temporary and imaginary.
But in the case of the latter, the characteristic of Nibbana is supreme peace transcending sense experience (Santi lakkhana), the essence of indestructibility (Accuta rasa), and the discernment in the disciple's attainment which is devoid of any sign of from or shape or colour etc. (Animittapaccupathana)
So the Nibbanic state is devoid of everything like the four great elements, existence, static entity, rebirth, death, consciousnessness, mind and matter (Nama & Rupa) and so on. It has only the phenomenal nature of ceasing or, extenuation of Mind and Matter which is always grasping the desirable sense objects.
Actually. Nibbana, in its true nature is single (Ekameva Nibbana), but it can be attained by a twofold way, namely, (1) Saupadisesa Nibbana the attainment of Nibbana while still in life and (2) Anupaldisesa Nibbana =the attainment of Nibbana at the moment of death. Again Nibbana can also be treated from three aspects, namely (1) Sunnata - devoid of the existence of an Ego or Soul, (2) Animitta - devoid of sign of: permanent or shape from and (3) Apanihita -devoid of desire or craving.
Nibbana therefore, being. non-conditioned by any phenomenon is a spaceless timeless and encased state devoid of substance. In reality, Nibbana does not exist in any particular place, but it is attained only by going beyond the conditioned state. Therefore one might say that the Nibbanic state lies within the latent potentiality of everyone who actually searches for it.
The word "Nibbana" is very essential in the Texts of the Buddha's Teaching and is used in many different Ways. For example: (1) Sacca - the state of precise Truth, (2) Mokkha - The state of Liberation from defilements. (3) Siva - The state of Ultimate Peace and (4) Sukha - The, state of Happiness because of the release from the dangers of Samsara.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The First Burman to visit Europe.

Dom Martin 1606 -1643, The first Burman to visit EuropeM. S. Collis in collaboration with U San Shwe Bu2/7/2008
It is the object of this paper to explain who Dom Martin was, why as an Arakanese he had a Portuguese name and how it happened that he paid a visit to Portugal. The story is extraordinary and romantic, but were I to plunge into it without some sort of a preliminary summary of the political situation in the Bay of Bengal at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the result would be unintelligible, a flux of kings, priests, noblemen and pirates, and the Arakanese fortuitously appearing here, the Moghul there, Portuguese everywhere, the whole having the complexion of a cinema drama. In consequence I must trespass upon your patience and preface as briefly as possible his adventures with an historical survey. For the purpose of this view, I select the year 1610 A.D. Readers of my previous studies in Arakanese history will be aware that in that year the Arakanese empire was at the height of its destiny. Razagri was king and his territory stretched from the eastern mouths of the Ganges delta to the delta of the Irrawaddy. In his employ or under his protection were certain groups of Portuguese. Of these, one consisted of the Portuguese mercenaries in his home army and navy, chiefly gunners and engineers; another of traders who had been allowed to build a settlement at Dianga, near the city of Chittagong, on condition that they helped to defend the Chittagong frontier against the Moghul. The Moghul had by 1610 taken over the administration of Bengal and in consequence their territory marched with Chittagong. They were Razagri’s most serious pre-occupation. Portuguese also lived under their protection and at Hugli, on the river of that name, maintained a trading settlement. Besides these groups of Portuguese, the mercenaries in Arakan, the traders at Dianga and at Hugli, there was in the Bay a further group of Portuguese who lived at Sandwip Island within some thirty miles of the Chittagong river. As this group plays an important part in this history, it must be described in some details. King of this island was the famous pirate, Gonsalves Tibau. This man had come out to the East in 1605 as a soldier. In 1607 he had accumulated sufficient money to enable him to purchase a small ship, which he loaded with salt and in which he sailed to Dianga to trade. By a piece of bad luck he happened to put in there on the very day that Razagri was punishing the Portuguese for some treachery or other. As a result, his ship was confiscated and his two years savings were lost. Completely ruined, he gathered round him others who like himself had been reduced to poverty, turned pirate and preyed on the Arakan coast with such success that 1609 he had a well equipped sea force of 40 sail and 400 men. With this he attacked the island of Sandwip, then occupied by one of the Moghul’s men, and proclaiming himself King. It was a rich island inhabited by Hindus. Moreover being situated on the mouth of the Megna, it enabled him to erect custom houses and collect dues from trading ships. Piratical excursions were also undertaken into Delta rivers of the vicinity. By these means he soon acquired funds and is stated in 1610. the date of this survey, to have had a force of a thousand Portuguese and eighty ships with cannon. It must be insisted that Tibau’s sovereignty was real. The Viceroy of Goa had no control over him. By 1610 he had become so prominent and important a figure in the Bay the Razagri, who was contemplating a brush with the Moghul in the matter of a frontier dispute, invited Tibau to co-operate with him on the naval side. It is sufficient for the purpose of this paper to say that Tibau, to whom the control of the Arakanese fleet had been given, turned round at the last moment, allowed Razagri’s land force to be taken at a disadvantage and routed by the Moghul, himself seized the Arakanese fleet, murdered its officers, enslaved its crews and in the general confusion that followed harried the Arakan coast. Razagri returned to Mrauk-U and we can sympathie with him if he took the view that Gonsalves Tibau was the most underhand black villain that any gentleman could be fool enough to trust. Such is a summary of the political situation in the Bay in 1610 and with so much clear in the mind’s eye it is possible to advance upon the story of the subject of this paper. In 1610 Razagri had appointed his younger son, Min Mangri, Viceroy of Chittagong. A son or a brother of the Arakanese kings was usually posted to that charge and there was nothing unusual in Rasagri’s choice except that Min Mangri was not on good terms with the heir to the throne, Min Khamaung his elder brother. This latter was a wild young man. As I have noted elsewhere, in association with the poet Ugga Byan he attempted three times to assassinate his father. Min Mangri urgued, probably with much truth, that an individual upon whom family ties lay so lightly, would make short work of him, hisdetested brother, when he came to the throne. At the very least Min Mangri saw himself deprived of his Viceroyaltly. He therefore cast about for an ally, some one who would lend him support when the inevitable blow fell, some one who would perhaps be strong enough not only to save him from his brother but to put him in his brother’s place. The obvious person to fullfil these requirements was the pirate-king Gonsalves Tibau. Min Mangri therefore sent an embassy to him, suggesting a treaty of alliance. The proposal was admirably suited to the immediate needs of the Prince of Sandwip. That worthy, after his seizure of the Arakanese fleet and his harrying of the coast of Arakan, was in the worst odour at Mrauk-U Min Mangri’s proposal was in effect to provide him with a strong friend in the enemy’s camp, one to protect him from the vengeance he feared and who with good luck might facilitate further lucrative raids. In short he accepted the offer. It was decided to seal it by the marriage of Min Mangri’s daughter with Tibau’s son. Min Mangri had three children, two daughters and a son. In this year of 1610 his son was four years old. It was year of 1610 his son was four years old. It was this son who afterwards became known as Dom Martin and went to Europe. But I must not anticipate. We are now engaged in describing the nuptials of his elder sister. It was agreed that on her marriage she should take the Catholic faith, for Tibau, though a ruffian, was very careful to observe the forms of his religion. Manrique, whom we follow here, states that in this affair the swashbuckler derived his greatest satisfaction from the feeling that he was the divine instrument in saving a soul from damnation. This point need not be pressed. Suffice it to say that he selected as emissary to Chittagong Father Rafael of Santa Monica. This friar was to covert the pricess to Catholicism and afterwards conduct her to Sandwip. Father Rafael spoke Arakanese fluently. He was also much loved by the country people, to whom he appeared a saint. When he came to a village, he used to paint a red cross on the foreheads of the children who pressed up to kiss his hand. The parents recongnising this as some holy symbol allowed it to remain until obliterated by the weather. Such is the amiable picture of the ecclesiastic sent by the pirate-king of Sandwip to further his political machinations. That Father Rafael was a genuine holy man is bone out by the fact that Gonsalves found it very difficult to make him fall in with his ideas of how a Portuguese envoy on so important a mission should conduct himself. The Religious would have much preferred to stroll into the city of Chittagong incognito or recognized only by the poor and children. This did not suit Tibau’s conception of the entry of a matrimonial embassy. But when father Rafael was asked to sail up the Chittagong river in galley with flags flying and bands playing, he flatly refused. The pirate then resorted to a stratagem. Father Rafael started from Sandwip in a common sort of boat accompanied by one catechist. After he had left, ten of the best galleys, with embroidered awnings, musicians and well dressed gentlemen on the quarter deck, proceeded by another route and reached the Chittagong river before his arrival. There they waited, anchoring a little below the jetty. When his small boat came up, the captain of the galleys boarded it and delivered to the Father a letter from Gonsalves, begging him to enter Chittagong in state. Father Rafael was about to refuse, when he noticed that the jetty was crowded with the local nobility and gentry that the bnds had struck up, that the artillery had commenced the salute and that an immense mob behind was clamouring to know what the delay was about and why the Portuguese ships did not approach. Under the circumstances the Father perceived that his original intention of landing from his little boat had become ridiculous and yielding with the best grace possible, he went aboard the captain’s galley. This was the signal for weighing anchor. The galleys advanced towards the jetty, the crew rowing with a calculated rhythm, the soldiers standing at the salute while the band played the martial airs of Portugal. Father Rafael of Santa Monica landed. The waiting nobles received him with great ceremony; the City Magistrate was presented to him; in a body they moved in towards the street. There eleven elephants were waiting. The creature with the gilt howdah was for the Father. He was led up to it by the City Magistrate, who with the accepted gestures intimated that it was a present from the Viceroy. At the same time he gave the Father a parasol and told the elephant to kneel. The public reception on the jetty had been very trying for the Father though he had carried it through, returning salutation for salutation. But now the kneeling elephant and the gilded parasol overcame him. He could not be induced to mount. Thanking the City Magistrate profusely, he firmly said he could not parade through the City on that beast, and calling his catechist he began to walk. This made the Portuguese captains, for whom other elephants had been provided, look blank and it scandalized the City Magistrate. But there was nothing for it, all had to fall in on foot behind the Father and in this manner they made their way towards the palace. Yet the priest walking made a more vivid impression on the populace than had ha been seated in a howdah; his action was in accordance with oriental ideas of how a holy man should behave; and the Viceroy coming to meet him as far as the gate on the third circumvallation, received him with the ceremonies prescribed for the reception of saints. On entering the palace Father Rafael was introduced to the Viceroy’s three children, the eldest being the princess whom he had first to convert. The youngest, as already mentioned, was a boy of four years old, the Viceroy’s heir, grandson of King Razagri and the subject of this paper. Father Rafael asked the princess whether of her own free will she wished to become a Christian. To this she replied with reserve that she desired first to hear expounded the Catholic dogmas and asked for time to listen to the Father’s argument. Where upon the Viceroy summoned the Chief Eunuch and ordered him to admit the Father at any hour into the princess’s apartments. “Thanks to this ample permission and to help from the above” explains Manrique, the Religious soon silenced the princess’s objections. He continued however, to expound and now that he knew she was won over he had no scruples in describing in detail the tortures of the demand. “All those who die unbaptised are damned” he added. This frightened the princess, who burst into tears, asking pretended to be in no hurry and spoke of a baptism on her arrival at Sandwip. But she thinking of hell’s flames and now thoroughly alarmed, cried “Supposing I was to die on the voyage!” and without an instant’s delay told one of the girls to bring in a can of water, there and then forcing the Father to baptize her. A few days later Father Rafael conducted her to Sandwip where amid great rejoicings she was married to Tibau’s son. This sealed the alliance between Min Mangri, Viceroy of Chittagong and Gonslaves Tibau, King of Sandwip. The former now felt that he could at least resist his brother Min Khamaung, if he was unable to supplant him. Tibau acquired tone and influence; increased his exactions on ships entering the Megna, accumulated treasure and dreamed of a future sack, perhaps assisted by Min Mangri, of Mrauk-U itself. When Razagri heard of this marriage and realized that this younger son was now allied with the ruffian who had treacherously seized his fleet, harried his coasts and who certainly must be supposed to harbour further designs against himself, he became uneasy. He had every reason to be. The Arakanese MS. histories relate that some eighteen months after the events described Min Mangri broke out into rebellion against his father, declaring himself an independent ruler, no doubt with the intention as the next step, of seizing with the assistance of Tibau the throne of Mrauk-U. So it happened that in 1612 Razagri sent an army against him under the Crown Prince Min Khamaung upon whom he could depend to operate with industry, as it was his own inheritance that was threatened. Chittagong was besieged. Min Mangri had secured from Gonselves Tibau the services of four hundred Portuguese, who were placed at points of vantage on the walls. The leager dragged on. After four months the citizens were starving and lost heart. They sent a message to Min Khamaung to say that they would be glad to surrender the city to him but that this could not be effected, because the Portuguese forces had taken control of the operations. Certain efforts were then made to deflect the Portuguese. These failed and Min Khamaung ordered a more violent assault. The defence began to waver and to stiffen his men Min Mangri himself paraded the walls at the head of his staff. Unfortunately becoming involved in a melee, he was struck by a musket ball and mortally hurt. They carried him into the harem, after he had abjured the Portuguese to continue the defence, as the fall of the city would mean the murder of his children. These perceiving that the Viceroy’s death was imminent and that it would be followed in spite of their efforts, by the surrender of the inhabitants of Chittagong to their liege lord, the King of Arakan, decided to apprise Gonsalves Tibau of these things and invite him to contrive some way of saving the young prince and his sister. Tibau received the intelligence, but did not wish openly to be involved in the rescue of the children. His alliance with Min Mangri had not borne fruit and with the death of that Prince he would again be politically isolated. In such a position he did not desire the embarrassment of the Viceroy’s heir, who, a child of six, without a state and proscribed could be of no service and might draw to him the inconvenient attack of the King of Arakan. On the contrary he had no wish to abandon the children, who were his son and daughter-in-law; moreover at some future date it might be convenient for him to have an heir to the Arakanese throne up his sleeve. The trusty friar, Father Rafael of Santa Monica, was therefore summoned and directed to enter the beleaguered city and evacuate thence the young prince and his sister by artifice. The Father was ready enough to go as he scented two new converts. Disguised as a mendicant, he made an entry which was as private as his earlier arrival at that city had been public, and discovering himself to the Portuguese officers, was taken to the palace. The Chief Eunuch, acting on old instructions, made no difficulty about admitting him into the seraglio, where he found the Viceroy in articulo mortis. This somewhat dashed the Father, for he had counted upon him being at that balance, where, sufficiently conscious to hear his exhortations, he would be sufficiently near his dissolutions to desire to comply with them. He hazarded indeed, a question or two, hinting at the consolations he was able to dispense. But the Prince was too far gone to apostosize. He died a pagan. The woman immediately set up a lament, but Father Rafael had sufficient presence of mind to compose them. It was essential, he pointed out, to keep for a while the Viceroy’s death a secret. If the courtiers heard wailing, it would be over the city in a moment that Min Mangri was dead and the Arakanese would come pouring in before he could get the children away. The ladies saw the same of this and the court dancing girls were ordered to sing their drollest ditties. Suspicion quieted, the Father made his preparations. That night taking the children he escaped with them down a subterranean passage to the sea, where a galley was waiting. Embarking on it, they held on past Sanwip till Hugli, the Portuguese settlement, was reached. Here within the Moghul dominion they were safe from their uncle’s vengeance, safer than they would have been at Sandwip. Meanwhile Min Khamaung had entered Chittagong without opposition and after attending his brother’s funeral immediately called for his nephew and niece. When they were not forthcoming, he suspected Tibau, but it was not until afterwards that he learnt they had escaped to the Moghul. Foiled in this, he finished his business and returned to Mrauk-U, where later in the year he succeeded his father. At Hugli the young prince began his eduction at the convent of St. Nicholas. The Prior reported his case to the Viceroy at Goa and it was decited on no account to press him while still a child to become a Catholic. But funds were made available to give him the training of a Portuguese nobleman. His sister was taken into the house of one of the leading citizens of the town and there cared for in the same manner. From six to thirteen the young prince remained in the convent. The Fathers selected for his perusal Catholic devotional works and histories of the heroes of Portugal. As time went on his reading of the lives of the saints and of the great men of Spain and Portugal, of the conquest of Peru and Mexico and of the fabulous voyages of the mariners, his close association with the leading gentlemen of Hugli and the personal tuition he received from his master, Father Antonio de San Vincente - all these influences combined to make him feel that to become himself a Portuguese nobleman was the most magnificent ambition in the world. He longed to emulate the great captains and he realized that if ever he was to enter their company he must first he enrolled as a member of their faith, in which indeed he had become by reading and suggestion a whole-hearted believer. Inspired by this double motive, one Sunday in 1619 when the community came out after vespers, he went to the Prior and told him the time had come for him to be baptized. The Prior in pursuance of his careful policy would not immediately agree but after the matter had been further discussed by the Fathers of the convent of St.Nicholas, a feast day was selected and with great pomp and magnificence the prince and his sister were bapised. She was given the name Petronilla and he was christened Martin, an old family name of Portugal. As Dom Martin, the Portuguese noble, he is known from this date. It is now necessary to glance for a moment at Sandwip and Arakan to see how the political situation there had changed during the seven years spent by Dom Martin at Hugli. The fall of Chittagong had changed the fortunes of Gonsalves Tibau. As long as Min Mangri was Viceroy, the pirate-king was assured of a dominating position at the head of the Bay. With his death and the appointment of a new Viceroy strictly under the control of the King of Arakan, his position was threatened. He realized that it was a fight to the death between him and Min Khamaung, the King. As he was certain that the Arakanese would choose an opportune moment to send a strong force against him, he planned to forestall their attack and by some startling and particular exploit cause them to decide to leave him alone. With this object in view he proposed in 1616 to sack the capital Mrauk-U itself. As this was beyond his powers alone, he sent an emissary to the Viceroy of Goa, Dom Jeromyno de Azevedo, representing to him that a sudden onslaught upon Mrauk-U by the combined fleets of Sandwip and Goa would probably be successful and that as Mrauk-U was the richest city in the Bay, much treasure might be expected. This proposition illustrates the quality of the Portuguese eastern empire in 1616. It was clearly hastening to its end when a pirate-king could enter into negotiations with the Viceroy and plan with him to make a sudden descent upon with him to make a sudden descent upon a city with which Portugal was at peace. Dem Jaromvno accepted Tibau’s proposal and sent a fleet consisting of sixteen ships under Dom Francisco de Menezes Roxo. The rendezvous was the mouth of the Kaladan river, the present Akyab harbour. Tibau arrived with fifty ships and the combined fleet of sixty vessels proceeded up the river. It was the month of November, the beginning of the cold season, and as is the case at that time of year, the weather was clam and bright. Mrauk-U lies fifty mines from the sea and the final approach to it is a network of narrow creeks. The Portuguese project was in fact ludicrous. Mrauk-U was impregnable from such an attack by ships. The Portuguese had not smallest chance of success and their plan must have been conceived in complete ignorance of the terrain. They were not to get very far. Somewhere in the neighbour-hood of the Urritaung Pagoda the Arakanese fleet attacked, assisted by certain Dutch vessels which happened to be in the port. The engagement was hot and long. To begin with the Portuguese had the advantage of the tide, which was flowing up and assisted them in pressing the attack. But towards evening Dom Francisco, the Viceroy’s admiral, was killed by a musket ball in the forehead and with the turn of the tide Portuguese broke off the battle, headed for the of open sea and returned to Sandwip. The Viceroy disgusted with so ignominious a failure would not hear of a second attempt and withdrew his ships. Some of Tibau’s own men, seeing that he was now isolated, deserted him. Min Khamaung followed up his victory. A strong force was sent to Sandwip. The island was taken. Gonslaves Tiabu escaped the massacre but he was a ruined man and appears no more in history. Such were the events which had occurred during Dom Martin’s seven year novitiate at the convent at Hugli. Their effect was to make him entirely dependent upon the Portuguese of Hugli for his future. His relative Tibau, his elder sister who had married Tibau’s son, the resources of Sandwip, interest with the inhabitants of Chittagong, all had gone. His uncle Min Khamaung was firmly established on the throne Mrauk-U. In such circumstances it is easy to perceive why he turned his mind away from his own country which offered him no prospects and as time went on began to concentrate it upon carving out a distinguished career among the Portuguese. As stated above he was thirteen years of age when he became a Catholic. Shortly after this the Hugli Fathers, who now began to regard him seriously as one of their nation, decided that for a youth of such promise Hugli was too restricted a sphere and wrote to the Viceroy suggesting that he should be invited to Goa and there presented at the Viceragal court in conformity with his rank. This was sanctioned and accompanied by his beloved master Father Antonio de San Vincente, he went to the capital of the Indies. There they lodged him in the convent of Our Lady of Grace, but he also frequented the court and by mixing with the noblemen in the Viceroy’s suite, he completed his education. He seems to have been a young man of open and engaging manners, magnanimous and high spirited and after five years residence in Goa, at the age of eighteen he found his taste for the profession of arms had grown so strong that he begged the Viceroy to give him a commission in the Navy. This request was granted; he left the convent of Our Lady and began his service as a cadet under the personal supervision of that old master of the military art, Captain Freire de Andrada, General of the Straits of Ormuz. This important event in his life took place about the year 1624, who years after his uncle Min Khamaung had died and his first cousin Thirthudhamma had succeeded to the throne of Arakan.Title: Dom Martin 1606 -1643, The first Burman to visit
Author: M. S. Collis in collaboration with U San Shwe Bu

Monday, 4 February 2008

The Burma we love by Dr.Aye Kyaw

THE BURMA WE LOVEAye Kyaw (MA, B.L, Ph.D)8/30/2006

A Position Paper of the Arakanese Perspective Presented at the Oslo Burma Seminar on January 15-17, 2004
Burma vs. MyanmarThe present military junta changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar- a term first found in the Taungguni inscription of Pagan, A.D. 1090. In the Burmese language, ba and ma are interchangeable as in the case of myint and byte. The Arakanese called the country of Myanmar the country of Bama. As both names are the same, the Arakanese finds no sound reason in the change of the same names. Thus we continue to use the name, Burma. Why did the military junta change the name of the country?Rakhaing vs. ArakanBoth terms come from Pali, one of the oldest and sacred languages of India, the other two are Sanskrit and Prakrit. The name Rakhaing is derived from a Pali word, Rakkhita, which means cherish, maintain, or take care of. The name, Arakan comes from Arakkha, which bears the same meaning of Rakkha. However, the name, Rakhaing is well know and well used as well. The name, Arakan is known to a five percentage of the whole population of Rakkhaingland. As both Rakhaing and Arakan come from the same meaning and the same Pali root; one can use either name. Both are legitimate and original.The name can be written in two ways: Rakhaing and Rakhine. Both are correct. However, phonetically speaking, we prefer Rakhaing to Rakhine. In the Rakkhaing literary tradition, the way we spell and the way we pronounce are the same.In the historical sources, the name of Rakhaing Kingdom is mentioned as Rakkhapura (Rakhaingland) and Arakhadesa (Arakanland). This is the oldest name recorded in both Sanskrit and Pali traditions.The name Rakhaing is also found in the earliest Burmese inscriptions of the Pagan dynasty (1044-1282).Some Indian scholars call Rakhaing “Magh” or “Mugh”, which means the people from Magadha- a region in the east of India where the Pali language and Buddhism during and after the life of the Buddha in the 550s B.C flourished. Note that Pali is known to the Rakhaing, Burmese and Thai as Magadha Bhasa, the language of Magadha.Name and MeaningIn the Rakhaing tradition as well as in the Burmese tradition, there are two kinds of name given to: (1) ordinary name and, (2) extraordinary name.As to the meaning of the name, Rakhaing, is explained in Pali as: Kulavasam Rakkhatiti Rakhaing. The name Rakhaing is given as they take care of their race. In an ancient historical record in poetic form, the meaning of the name, Rakhaing is mentioned as:Amyo sila ngit htana koPyiwas mandaingCaun cwan hnaing theRakhaing nama anyuta thinnyaKho aup cwa teeAshin Nagainda Mawgun(14 century)Because they are capable of cherishing their race and their Buddhism as their two central pillars, they deserve to get the honourable called Rakhaing (Ashin Nagainda’ Historical Record).Rakhaing vs. Arakan HistoryA history of Rakhaing begins with King Marayu who founded the first Dhayawadi dynasty in B.C 3325-1483. The 234 kings ruled Arakan for a long period of 5108 years.By the invasion of Bodaw Maung Waine in 1784 (in the Burmese chronicle, Bodawpaya), the Rakhaing kingdom came to a close. Since then Rakhaing culture, tradition, and literature declined. One might wonder about the length of long period of Rakhaing history. The city of Thandwe was one of the three oldest cities in the world. The other two are Damascus in Syria and Beneres in India. The present of neo-lithic culture in Thandwe district supports this statement as well. In view of this long historical period of Arakan Kingdom was therefore quite possible. We need further scholarly research.Rakhaing vs. Buddhism In the history of Southeast Asia, the Rakhaing are the people who first received Buddhism from India. This happened due to the fact that Rakkhapura, the Kingdom of Rakhaing, was adjacent to the Magadha region where Buddhism flourished. This statement is supported by the discovery in 1872 of two stone slabs, bearing the first couplet of the Buddhist text from Ye dhamma down to Maha Sramana. The first stone slab was found at Ngalonmaw village, which is near my birth village, Ywathit, and the second one was found at Byewa near the town of Thandwe. In addition, the renowned Buddha image known as the Maha Muni is the earliest image made in the Kingdom of Arakan. At present the great image is in Mandalay.The Rakhaing Buddhist king built such beautiful pagodas as the Andaw, Nandaw, and Sandaw on three hills near Thandwe town. These pagodas were erected by Rakhaing king of the Vesali dynasty in the years 1761 A.D., 753 A.D., and 784 A.D. Comparatively speaking, while the Rakhaing Buddhist king was building these pagodas, a wealthy and powerful king of the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia was constructing in Java the largest Buddhist temple in the world, known as Burobudur around 750 A.D. By this time, there was no existence of the Pagan dynasty, which was founded by King Anorahta in 1044 A.D., nor did the numerous pagodas seen at present Pagan exist.Buddhism vs. Other Religious The Rakhaing have been cherishing, maintaining, and taking care of Buddhism for nearly three thousand years. They are committed to doing so at present and in the future as well. The Rakhaing are aware of the fact (1) that the most famous Library of Nalanda University was burnt down by Islamic terrorists. It is recorded the flame was rising for six months;(2) that Borobudur was almost destroyed by Islamic terrorist; but now it is under UN protection, and (3) that in 2001 the ancient Buddhist statues were destroyed by Islamic terrorists of Afghanistan. In view of these historical facts, the Rakhaing are worried about and are wondering when the turn of our Great Shwedagon Pagoda, originally built by the Mon, will come?The Rakhaing are pleased to see that Professor Pe Maung Tin, a Christian, who became the first President of Rangoon University in 1937 attended the church wearing the Burmese gaung baung- headgear and Burmese taik pon- jacket.In the history of modern Burma, there exists no serious clash between the Buddhists and the Christians. However, it took place between the Buddhists and the Muslims in the 1930s. The problem does not stop there.Ethnic Minorities vs. Non-ethnic MinoritiesWith respect to the definition of an ethnic minority, Dr.Maung Maung, a lawyer and a State Councillor, who later became president of Burma invited Professor U San Tha Aung, Director General of the Department of Higher Education, and myself as Rakhaing representatives in 1979. Present at that meeting in his office was U Kyaw Nyein who later became Minister of Education. I submitted my proposal that those people who appeared in the Inquest (census) of King Bodawpaya taken in the 1880s ought to be regarded as ethnic minorities. Through the discussion, we agreed that those people who were in Burma before the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1826 should be regarded as ethnic minorities. Those people who came along with the British colonial administration were regarded as non-ethnic minorities.This definition is in line with the principle defined by General Aung San, father of the Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This definition is historically valid and sound, thereby not creating any further problem.We have accepted this definition. In April 2001, the Arakan League for Democracy (in Exile) held its third conference in New Delhi, India. This conference laid down, among others, a principle, which was very important for shaping the destiny of Burma. This principle is called the Bhumi Rakkhita Putra Principle. Bhumi means land; Rakkhita taking care of; Putra sons and daughters. Those who were in Rakhaingland, and who have been cherishing, maintaining, and taking care of this land generations after generations before the end of the first Anglo-Burmese War ought to be given priority and preference.Rakhaing National Guards vs. Burma ArmyWe have sizable and respectable troops fighting for democracy. They are, Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Arakan Independence Army (AIA), Arakan Army (AA), Democratic Party of Arakan (DPA), National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), and United Arakan Party (UAP). And the ALP was founded by some patriotic Rakhaing youths in Rangoon in 1965. Those who belong to these parties and others ought to be integrated as Rakhaing National Guards. They would be under the command of the Governor of Rakhaing State and would be responsible for homeland security. Rakhaing had this kind of tradition in the history and in the independence movements as well.Rakhaingland vs. Territorial UnityRakhaing have been enjoying their life since the beginning of their history with King Marayu in B.C 3325. In ancient time Rakhaingland comprised the area of present Bangladesh and the area west of the Rakhaing Roma (Arakan Mountain Range). In 1853 the Governor of Pathein annexed the south portion of Thandwe District. By 1935 Burma Act, the Paletwa Township was given to the Chin Division. These areas had been in the Rakhaing Kingdom for more than two thousand years. We ask whether or not these areas would be in the newly created Rakhaing State under the new Federal Constitution?Rakhaing vs. Modern Burmese PoliticsIn the political history of modern Burma, the Rakhaing intellectually lead and enrich the political life of Burma. U Shwe Zan Aung who wrote A Compendium of Buddhist Philosophy (1897) was the first philosopher from Burma. Ven. U Ottama was the first monk-politician, who initiated the non-violent concept in the politics of Burma. He opened the new political arena in modern Burma. He was also the first professor in Japan. U Ba U was the most influential Rakhaing student leader, who led the most famous university boycott movement in the 1920s. this student boycott led Burma to her independence in 1948. In the history of the student movements, the first student causality was a Rakhaing student, Maung Oo Kyaw who died on Friday March 18,1921. The second causality was a Burma student as Bo Aung Kyaw, who died on December 12, 1938. The first politician, who initiated and supported the formation of the Rangoon University Student Union in 1923 was U May Oung, who was a Rakhaing and later became a minister under the (diarchy). The first ambassador to Japan during the Japanese occupation in 1942-45 was a Rakhaing, U Aung Ba. The Rakhaing were those who first resisted against the Japanese occupation long before such resistance took place in Burma on March 27, 1945, were the Rakhaing. U Nyo Tun who became an ambassador to Australia during the socialist government in 1970s. We fought for independence shoulder to shoulder with the Burmese.At present, Rakhaing leaders are working hard with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to region our lost Democracy. In particular, Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) led by a well-know leader Dr.Saw Mra Aung and U Aye Tha Aung won a landslide victory in Arakan State in the 1990 elections. My classmate U Tha Bann is a Rakhaing leader who has been in prison for many years.We point out these facts to help both ethnic and non-ethnic minorities understand how the Rakhaing are committed to restoration of democracy and freedom. From the beginning modern Burmese politics, we have been scarifying ourselves to enhance the national dignity and national consciousness of Burma as a whole. We ask, “Do we get equal right?”One -Way Cultural Traffic vs. Two-Way Cultural TrafficBecause of the fact that the Burma of today has only one way traffic. We study the Burman history, which provides only one way. We need both ways. The Burman ought to study the history, culture and tradition of the ethnic people, and at the same time, the ethnic minorities ought to learn both Burman and their own culture and tradition. This does not happen in Burma, thus creating problems after problems.In December 2003 the ceremony for the fourth annual talk on Burmese language and literature was held in New York. On this occasion, Dr. Saw Shwe Dah, Ph.D. pointed out that he was pleased with the talks; however, don’t forget to talk about the Karen language.Rakhaing vs. Rakhaing HistoryIn our Rakhaing State, the history of Rakhaing side by side with the Burman history should be taught. This will help Burma unify in diversity. This principle ought to be seriously taken into account by other ethnic minorities as well.Rakhaing vs. Road MapWe believe that one who comes to the court of Law should have clean hands. Without releasing the political prisoners, the Road Map sounds good but it does not have substance. Should the military junta sincerely be interested in providing democracy to Burma, junta would have already validated the first fair election of 1990. And we Rakhaing visualize that the military junta will change its name again. This will help the regime prolong its power. To stop the military regime, there are at least three ways. First, the United Nations Security Council should be given the power to dismantle the military dictatorship which has been destroying democracy process. Second, Burma gained her independence through the intervention of Japanese and British as an essential external force. Without having an external force such as the United States, the second independent movements of Burma will be very difficult. And third, the modern history of Burma indicates some examples that a government could be terminated by a united upraising of the people within the country.Rakhing believe that we have to give the best legacy to our younger generations. We believe that the 1990 election should be validated for them. This statement is for the national unity and for the future dignity and prestige of THE BURMA WE LOVE.Identity vs. National ConsciousnessNational consciousness is a community of aspiration, response and action. This element should be united for regaining democracy and human rights and freedom. The fact that endless political disputes come to occur in our beloved land because the picture of national conciseness as a whole was or is not painted by the collective wills of our ethnic minority. So long as the picture of national consciousness is painted by one group of people, as with the present military junta, there will be no peace and unity in Burma. Therefore, the Rakhaing firmly believe that we should not repay our past mistakes in creating our bright future.We believe that one who wants identified himself with whom is equally important for cementing the lasting unity between and among us.Issues and Solution Issue comes from two sources:1) Lack of a two way cultural traffics, and 2) identity and national consciousness. To solve these problems, we should work together, ethnic minority and non-ethnic minority and the Burman enjoy studying the two way culture. As scholar for my life, I had never come across a Burman who is completely at home with Karen language and litterateur, scholarly. I believe that a Burmese citizen ought to be well verbs at least in two native languages. While teaching at the various universities in Burma, some Mon professors complained that we dear not speak Mon language at the campus, so did some Karen professors. So long as this situation is taken place at the various university campuses, we cannot enjoy our peace and prosperity. Each of our brothers and sisters understands our feelings; the problems of Burma can be solved very easily.A Burmese can be a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Muslim. It is justice for all, freedom and dignity and equality. Being a Burmese citizen, we have to take pride in having the three world records: 1) Burma is a country where we can find the most numerous ancient pagodas in terms of per-square mile. 2) the Buddhist scripture has about twenty five thousands pages. Burma is a country which is capable of producing the most learned Buddhist monks who can recite these pages. And 3) Burma the country which can produce the first female Noble Peace Prize Winner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. For these reasons alone, our country ought to be in peace and harmony. To make this happen, we should establish our unity through sincere understanding. We should also appreciate the beauty of our diversity and differences. A whole cannot exist without its parts, so are the parts without a whole.
Aye Kyaw (MA, B.L, Ph.D)
January 10, 2004
Contact address:
P.O BOX 140397
Brooklyn New York,
NY 11214USA.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

National Hero Van U Oottama.

Histiry of Van U Oottama.
We will never forget Ashin U Oottama.

May you satisfaction beloved father?

May you satisfaction beloved father?
May you satisfaction beloved father?Blood ocean!Huge mountain dead bodies!Sorrowful sight!Grieve and painfully crying, mourning of Arakanese!"O" beloved father" like in every year when meet with this day 31st December, we (in and out of Arakan) are suffering as in nightmare dream.Decomposed dead bodies of your sons and daughters of Arakanese, were flooding in blood mixed reddish water of the rivers of the Mayu, Laymro, Kaladan, Kalindaung, etc.And in land, beasts like dogs, foxes, crows, vultures, eagles, etc were eating also dead bodies of your sons and daughters who were grossly killed by Bamar colonial invaders in 1784 under the policy of the whole nation cleansing and demolishing ruled."Kill them! "Don't left even pregnant for the whole nation end" in that way thousands of pre-mother of Arakanese were died under the helpless condition."Kill babies! "Don't left even from cradles! Babies were thrown to the sky by Bamar invaders then spires, swords were provided under the falling down straight way of the babies. In that way, thousands of innocent Arakanese babies were grossly killed even from their cradles by heartless Bamar invaders as an inhuman being acts.Had arakanese pre-mother any guilty for Bamar invaders?Had Arakanese babies any guilty for Bamar nation?According to Arakanese history, from 1784 to 1788 within four years, Arakanese wer killed by Bamar invaders as followed:* One thousand in Paung Htook Prun* One thousand in Tharunk Ouke * One thousand in Krunk Roe Taung* Two thousands in San Gurr Taung* Ten thousands Arakanese babies* One lakh eightyu four thousands (184, 000) in Dinggy, Fararr Pour, Moung Sway, Nga Ra Kaunght, Goung Pro Taung, Parain, Paung Took, Ratana Prun, Lunkma Tawdam , Koe Say Koe Daung, Thandway (Sandwe), Ramree.In that way, from 1784 to 1824 during 40 years over twenty lakhs ( over 20, 00, 000) Arakanese were grossly killed by Bamar invaders.On the other hand, in Taw Pan Zum villages over the one thousand Arakanese were killed by Maung Nu's soldiers mercilessly under the period of so-called Union Govt of Burma in 1952.And also, on 13 August 1967, in Akyab (present capital city of Arakan) around 400 Arakanese were Buried with alive and dead by Ne Win's Bamar chauvinism.In that way, if we count from 1784 to up to today, two and half millions of Arakanese were killed cruelly by Bamar Chauvinism by the name with kingdom, so-called false Union Govt of Burma and under the BSPP, SLORC, SPDC, etc."O" beloved Arakan, we must see as dead bodies of huge mountain! If above mentioned all of two and half millions dead bodies of Arakanese are provided at the one place.In that way, we must se endless appearance of blood, red like in every sight every where as a blood ocean!If we pour at the one place for all of bleeding blood from above mentioned two and half millions dead bodies of Arakanese.Do you forget it "o" beloved Arakan?Should we forget about it?"O" beloved father" If arrive on today, we fell that we are hearing sounds of grippingly crying and sorrowful sight of views about the poor helpless our Arakanese conditions from the past."O" beloved father" you could born over Arakanese heroes, sons like Marayu, Mun Htee, Mun Bun and provided over 5000 years as a sovereignty Arakan Kingdom with such kind of eras like Danyawadi, Visali, Laymro, Mrauk Oo. In the result of that we could fly our Arakanese flag as tallest among the other nations and also we could proudly say that " Rakhaing Tharr Way! among the world nation families as a level of dignity."O" beloved father" even we lost lour sovereignity under the Bamar colonial in 1784, we are struggling to restore our freedom sithout generation gap up to today till over the two centuries and two decadeds. During those long period of our struggling, if I have to mention some of our important figures revolutionaries, who were, Taung Mun Gri Kyaw Htwe, who fought firstly to Bamar invaders since incursions in Arakan in 1784. And Bo Shun Byan. Then prince U Hree Ban, Day Wann Aung Kyaw Hree, Mayou Aung Kyaw Zan, etc.Some of them had left poems as precious stones for next generation of our Arakan revolutionaries.If I have to mention the translations upon their poems as what ever I can:Prince Hree Ban's last will and testament - "Radu" ( in translation)* I am a true prince Accordance to that I struggled For fatherland, my life was heartily sacrificed in kalar landAnd my old life will change.* Every living things must die one day as a natureEven though any body don't kill them.* VindictivenessThey also never live in absoluteEven though I die, my bones will speakor case one day as a noble value in our revolutionaries' rule."O" my next generation of revolutionaries ArakanWe must get freedom of fatherland one day.If you don't change and obeisance my true rule of revolutionary.* If human effort by hard industriousMust get even for nirvanaThis is referendum of mine.Hree Ban's-----------------------------Daywann Gri Aung Kyaw Hree's last will and testament, "Radu"(in translation)* "O" next generation of revolutionaries ArakanWe, three masters of you, have value and worth in some time And in some time their lives are worthlessWhen other bodies from upper hand torture them.* "O" nest generation of revolutionaries Arakan!Don't take patience if any body of you accept corrupt moneyAnd treat you by disgrace mean.* Accordance to freedom struggle histories of worldwide According with harmonium had to use both of knowledge and abilityby the way of continue efforts and trustAnd had to pour blood and sacrifice their lives for the final meanBecause of no wish to live under the other.Aung Kyaw Hree------------------------------Mayor Aung Kyaw Zan's last will and testament "Radu"( in translation)* VindictivenessAung Kyaw Zan's struggleAnd also our golden land Arakan become for other so sadlyfor traitors San Hree Foay and other of his fellows' betrayedAnd ideology of dog thought that the whole life for thembut for one meal.* Even though parent, master, ancestor's already left talkthat not to accompany with villainsAnd careless mistakenly didn't obey for that have to face like present trouble for me.* If I will be human in another lifeI'd like to revenge newly for those traitors like right nowBecause of never forgivable.Aung Kyaw Zan"O" beloved father" even though our struggles are running in so long under the various kind of colonial, listism ( under the Bamar, British, Japanese, British and now Bamar and false socialism , false communist, false Unionist in and out of so-called Burma), We are struggling continually without generation gap for restore Arakan dignity.Early 21st centuries of nowadays, is so considerably happening for our Arakan revolution and revolutionaries' struggle according to wheel changing of present worldwide revolutionary history.Therefore, without gap our version from past, present and future of Arakan very recently, we must create an international level terminal and will try to qualify from our weakness.May you satisfaction beloved father?
Khaing RomaNB: This article was submitted by me (in Rakhaing) on the occasion of Arakan National Black Day in Dhaka in 2004.
Copy by:GMA News.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Own Country

Enslaved Nation in its own CountryFor more than five thousands years, Arakan has been flourished and developed their own culture, religion and literature. But, today Arakan is an illegally occupied country and its peoples are outnumbered by Burman invaders, its national heritages; historical monuments, culture, literature are systematically destroyed and Burmanized by the series of Burman rulers. Besides,the Burman obviously importing the Bangladeshi Chittagonian Muslims in to Arakan in order to minimize the Arakanese population on their own land.The Burman king Nga Wine (Bodaw Maung Wine) invaded and occupied Arakan in 1784. During one year period of 1785 alone, twenty million Arakanese including infants and women were brutally killed by the Burman forces. Ten million Arakanese fled to British India in order to avoid the ethnic cleansing of Arakanese people by the Burman. Tens of thousands of Talented Arakanese including the last king Mahathamada Raza and his family were brought to the Amarapura of Burman capital and there Mahathamada Raza was beheaded by the Burman King and his queen was forced to marry to Burman king Nga Wine. But, the brave Arakanese Queen show her faith to her husband and to her nation by starving herself to death.By the mid 1980s, over 1.2 million Arakanese died of starvation, forced labour and execution; thousands of Arakanese including Pandit U U Tha Tun (a noted historian and candidate of 1990 General election from ALD), Dr. Saw Mra Aung (Chairman of Arakan League for Democracy, ALD) and U Aye Tha Aung (General Secretary of ALD) were imprisoned and tortured for their active activities before the elections was held. Among them, U U Tha Tun was assassinated during his imprisonment in Akyab jail on August 14, 1989. Many other political prisoners were also persecuted to death by the MI of Burmese junta without any proper trial.Of over five millions Arakanese population inside Arakan of present Burma, reportedly, at least five hundred thousand Arakanese were forced to leave their native land in order to avoid the various terror mentioned above. But, today''s Arakanese migration have mainly tendency towards only to the east because all available accesses to India and Bangladesh were totally blocked by many battalions and their outpost as well as by totally difficult geographical and religious differences. Nowadays many thousands of Arakanese young men were compelled to leave their beautiful land for Kachin and Shan states, Rangoon (Yangon) and middle Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan where they find themselves free from forced labou, forced portering and various tortures under the terror of the evil Burmese army. Due to lack of boys in every Arakanese villages throughout the country abundance of socio-economic problems are coming to arise in present Arakan.
Auther: Narinjara News.