The Paradox of Rakhine History Version
U Kyaw Min
June 21, 2014
The version of Rakhine on their ethnic root is paradoxical. Sometimes they say, they are Tibeto-Burman and akin to Burman proper. Sometime they say they are not from the Tibeto-Burman stock, but Indo-Aryan. Two opposite promises, perhaps for linkage of history, civilization, and grandeur of the past they styled as Indo-Aryans whose rule prevailed in Arakan for more than a millennium until the over run of Burmans. On the other hand not to alienate from their original stock they say they are Burman. Actually the second version seemed correct. In earlier Rakhine chronicles and literature we see Rakhine claimed them as Myanmar. (See: Dannya Waddy Areydaw Pon).
Rakhine in Bangladesh still take Myanmar as their official appellation. Thus the claim to be Indo-Aryan is a plot twist and turn of Rakhine chroniclers to grab away the past history from Rohingya. Rakhine called Indian ―Kalaah as the Burman do. If they themselves are Indian, is it logical to call others as ―Kalaah (see: also above P: 22).
The double paradox is they sometimes claim to be ―Maghadi people from central India where Lord Buddha was born. One of the reasons of calling the Rakhines as ―Magh is because they were from Maghada. But in Muslim sense ―Magh means pirate. Historians say Maghadi people migrated into Chittagong-Arakan region due to religious persecution and these migrants mixed up with natives. Thus Chittagong dialect was Maghadi influence. It has been so extensive that Chittagong dialect is divorced from Bengali proper. Chittagong dialect's being different from Bengali must naturally due to the influence of language of neighboring Burman. But there is no Burmese or Rakhine penetration because those people in early Arakan were Maghadi (north India). Only the influence of Maghadi parakrit is found in Rohingya. Maghadi influence in Rohingya is stronger because Rohang is further away from Bengal than Chittagong. So Bangali impact on Rohingya language is linear. In another way we can say Chittagong Language was highly influenced by the Language of early Arakan. That is it is not Rohingya who speak Chittagonian dialect but it is Chittagonian who speak Rohingya Language. Arakan's early inscriptions bear greater similarity with Rohingya Language despite some changes in Rohingya language in the course of centuries. Rakhine language has no trace of Maghadi or early inscriptions of Arakan. It is just an early form of Burmese. Thus there are adages in Burma.―Pein Reit mamaing Rakhine Mae and Rakhine Ohhara, Myanmar Pohhrana meaning ―ask Rakhine for correct spelling and Rakhine daily usages are Myanmar‘s glossaries. In ethnic aspect the feature, the complexion of Rakhine has no affinity with ethnic Maghadi or Indian. By all measure of ethnicity Rakhine is a Burman race. They are in all aspect; especially the southerners are entirely similar to Burman. No Burmese historian says that Myanmar (Burmans) is Maghadis. So there is no a single strand of reason to assume Rakhine to be Maghadi. If there were Maghadi migrants into Arakan they would be the Rohingya of today. Linguistic and ethnic affinities with those central Indian are only found in Rohingya.