By Aman Ullah
“Understanding brings respect.Respect prepares for affection. Affection takes us to justice, true and virtuous.” AFK Jilani
On May 1961 the government created the Mayu Frontier Administration Area covering Maungdaw, Buthidaung townships and the western part of Rathidaung Township. The Frontier Administration under took so many socio-economic development works in the Mayu area. Our school, the State High School, Maungdaw, also got a new academic building which was completed in 1964. Then our new Academic Year of 1964-65 was started with not only in a new building and with brand new furniture but also under a newly came Headmaster. Our previous headmaster, Mr. Muzzaffar Ahmed B.A, B.Ed. B.E.S was promoted and transferred to the Punna gyung and then Mr. Faroque Ahmed B.Sc. B.L. came as a new headmaster of our school.
Mr. Faroque Ahmed was the son of Mr. Amir Ali Mir from Bawli Bazaar, a wealthy landowner and grantee (whose family had received a grant in the early days of British occupation for services rendered during the First Burmese War). Mr. Faroque was the third Graduate of Maungdaw while Mr. Faizi was the second and Mr. Sultan Ahmed B.A, B.L lawyer, MP and Parliamentary Secretary, was the first graduate of Maungdaw. It is said that Mr. Faroque was one of the class mates of Burmese former Prime Minister U Nu at Calcutta University in 1930s. He was a lawyer and also served as a Township Officer (T.O) during World War II. Many said that, he was not only a walking English Dictionary but also a walking Encyclopedia.
Mr. Faroque was the head of the Peace Committee of Bawli Bazaar in 1942. He was a delegate member led by Barrister Sawna ullah who met with District Commissioner of Akyab District and requested for the restoration of voting rights of the Muslims of north Arakan in 1946. He was one of the members of the six members Inquiry Commission, which was formed by the then President of Union of Burma to inquiry the situation occurred between indigenous Arakanese Muslims and other indigenous Arakanese in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships, on 29 July 1949.
Moreover, we had got a group of new teachers who joint to our school as Senior Assistant Teachers (S.A.Ts). All of them were fresh graduates from Rangoon University. They were Mr. Abul Faiz B.A, Mr. Mohammed Khan B.Sc., Mr.Shamsul Anwar B.SC., U Maung Nu B.SC., U Hla Tin B.A, U Htun Aung Pyu B.A., U Aung Mya B.A., U Kyaw Tha Htun B.A and U Maung Maung B.A. Later Mr. Ezaharul Haque B.A, B.Ed. was also joined in our school as a SAT who was also a fresh graduate from Rangoon Institute of Education.
Mr. Mohammed Khan later joined in the Burmese Army but died at a battle fought between the forces of No.77 Light Infantry Division (LID) and members of the then out-law Burmese Communist Party at Pegu Yoma. At the time he was a full Lieutenant (Lieut.) and a platoon commander at No.77 LID. A sergeant (a Burmese Muslim) of his platoon and participated at that battle under Lieut. Khan told me it was intentionally shot death by his own men when I met him at Rangoon in 1970. However, Capt. Tin U who was very close with Lieut. Mohammed Khan and also participated at that battle as a company commander told me that the casualty of Lieut. Khan was an accidental and occurred in front of him. I met Capt Tin U at Ann Township in 1971 where I was a school teacher and he was an area commander under No. 34 Burma Regiment. He later became Let-Gen Tin U and Secretary two under SLORC/SPDC regime.
Mr. Shamsul Anwar did not go anywhere and remained by serving as a senior teacher at Maungdaw State High School till he migrated to Pakistan in 1982. He was a soft spoken but a good teacher. I last met him at Maungdaw during early 1980s.
U Maung Nu later became headmaster of State High School and he got retired from the State High School Kyin Chaung (Bawli Bazaar), his home town. I last met him at Chittagong in 2001 when he came to Chittagong for medical treatment by border-pass.
U Hla Tin later became headmaster of State Middle School. I last met him at Alethankyaw, Maungdaw Township; I was serving as a senior Teacher under him at State Middle School, Alethankyaw, during 1982-1985.
U Htun Aung Pyu later became headmaster of state middle school and he was also involved in the political activities of Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSSPP). I last met him at the Rangoon Institute of Education during 1979-80 where we both were doing our Diploma in Education (Dip. Ed.).
U Aung Mya later became township juridical officer. First he was at Ann Township during 1970s at that time I was also there and later he was transferred to Maungdaw Township in 1980s at that time also I was there.
U Kyaw Tha Htun later joined into the BSPP and became Unit Chairman of Punnagyung Party Unit and U Maung Maung was expelled from the job in 1965 the reason I did not know.
Mr. Eazaharul Haque later became a Township Education (T.E.O). I last met him during early 1980s at that time he was the Headmaster of State High School, Paletwa in Chin State. Later he was transferred to Rangoon Division as a TEO.
Mr. Abul Faiz was born at Maungdaw in January 1940. His father was Mr. Abul Khair who was a police officer since British period. He became the president of Township AFPFL of Maungdaw in 1955 and got nomination for 1956 general election for Maundaw South Constituency with AFPFL ticket. He secured the top most votes among all the successful AFPFL members. He was the one who tried very hard to establish the Maungdaw High School, many mosques, madarasas, and Eid –gah not only in Maungdaw, Buthudaung but also Kyauk taw and Sandoway where he served as a police officer. On his request the government has been granted a matriculation examination centre at Maungdaw since 2nd March 1958. Before that, there was only single examination centre in Akyab for all the matriculation students of the whole District .
Mr. Faiz early education was at Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Akyab then he went to Kyaukpyu intermediate College and Rangoon University for his higher education. While he was in the Rangoon University, he played very important role for the Muslim students of the University. He was elected the Vice- President of the Rangoon University Muslim Student Association (RUMSA). In his capacity as the vice-president of RUMSA, he successfully faced the University authorities in revoking the expulsion notices served to some Muslim students, construction of a student center with the help of Minister U Rashid, U Khing Mung Lat, Gazi Hashim, Col. Ba Shin and many others.
After the 7th July 1962 massacre of Rangoon University students, all the students were required recommendation from any gazette officer in their new admission forms. Mr. faiz with help of U Ba Thaung , a Burmese Muslim and the then secretary of the House of Nationalities, managed to get recommendations for all the Rohingya students of the University. He also took major part in collecting advertisement for the publication of RAMSA annual magazine.
He was one of the founder members of ‘Rohingya Students organization’ which was formed in March 1962 at YMCA Hall, in present of Dr. Ting Maung (a) Abul Hussain Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. Mr. Hussain Quasim was as elected as president; Mr. Jaffar was as vice-president and Mohammed Khan as a general Secretary in that organization for two years term and after two years Mr. Jaffar became President and Mr. Shabbir Hussain became general secretary. Mr. Jaffar who is one of the founder members of RIF and the founder and president of Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF), was at that time a student of Rangoon University. Mr. Shabbir Hussain who later became one of the Key leaders of Rohingya Independence Force (RIF), RPF and ARIF was also a student of the Rangoon University at that time.
Mr. Abul Faiz after graduating from the university joined in the Education Department as a senior teacher and his first posting was at State High School Maungdaw and later he also served at the State High School Pauktaw also. Afterward he passed B.L with distinction then he applied for the Township Juridical Officer post and was selected for it. However when he went to attend to the training for this post he faced trouble there. He was a bearded man, who never shave his beard from his teen age but beard was not allowed in that training. Then he had have only two options either to shave his beard or to leave the job and the training; as a pious Muslim he did not want to shave his beard so he had have only left the second option that was to leave the training and the job.
Beside to his teaching job, he was involved in the underground activities of Rohingya movement. He was one of the key organizers and founding members of Rohingya Independence Force (RIF). He was not only an emissary of RIF in Rangoon to deal with embassies of Muslim countries but also West Pakistan with Mr Hussain Quseem where they had have to deal the diplomats from the Muslims countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria. For his involvement in the underground activities, he was arrested for many times and faced various kind of harassments by the authorities in many occasion and some time he had to cross the border to escape arrest and persecution.
RIF emerged on 26 April 1964 with the objective of creating North Arakan as an “Autonomous State”. The head of the movement was named as Grand Raja (GR) and members were named as rajas. Mr. Sultan was first elected GR of RIF. Mr. Sultan hails from Myoma Kayandan village of Maungdaw and was not only the headmaster of a primary school but also was the president of teachers association of all government primary, middle and high schools in Maungdaw Township.
During the 88 uprising Mr. Faiz again actively took part in the mass uprising in Maungdaw. When NLD was formed he joined into the NLD and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Arakan State NLD. He got nomination for 1990 general election for Maundaw South Constituency with NLD ticket but could not success. During the SLORC/SPDC regime he had also faced several kinds of harassments by the regime authorities at last he had to cross border and took refuge in Bangladesh in 1992.
Without any legal status and always in the risk of
Although, staying in Bangladesh without any legal status and always in risk of arrest by the Bangladesh authorities, Mr. Faiz did not sit idle. He tried his best in contributing his service for the cause of Rohingya Community. He continually took part in the Rohingya political movement. He was one of the Members of Standing Committee of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) since 1998. Since then he always try to render his services for the publicity works of ARNO. He served as a Senior Vice President of ARNO during 2000s and early 2010s. Mr. Abul Faiz was one of 4 members (Mr. Abul Faiz, Mr. Nurul Islam, Dr. Mohammed Yunus and Ustaz Salimullah) who lobbied with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to set up special body for the Rohingya. He also involved in many social and community activities of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh including Arakan Historical Society. He was one of the members of Research and Publication Department of Arakan Historical Society during 1999-2000.
His favorite hobby was reading and writing. Whenever he gets a chance he tried to write at least an article, in Burmese or in English, particularly on history and politics. He wrote his first book in Burmese in the name of ‘Revolution on Nile’ on the situation Arabs-Israeli conflicts and war in 1960s. I was able to read his MSS in 1970 while I was in Rangoon. However he can’t publish his MSS for various reasons. He got these chances while he was staying in Bangladesh where he wrote not only so many articles, letters to Editor in many national dailies and periodicals but also he wrote many books. Some of his books those he wrote while he was in Bangladesh are: -
1. The Rohingyas of Arakan: Their quest of Justice
2. A Cultural History of Rohingyas
3. Human Rights Violations in Arakan
4. Aung San Suu Kyi: The Lady of Destiny
5. The Muslims of South- East Asia
He also translated into English ‘A Short History of Rohingyas and Kamans of Burma’ a book written by M.A. Tahir Ba Tha in Burmese. He also wrote some books and articles in Burmese and in English while he was in Malaysia.
In the Forwad letter of his first book, The Rohingyas of Arakan: Their quest of Justice, Edith T. Mirante the Director of Project Maje of USA, wrote that;
“This comprehensive and fascination work of historical literature by AFK Jilani tells the story of one of Asia’s most extraordinary and little-known ethnic groups, the Rohingyas.”
“While the historic victimisation of the Rohingyas at the hands of Burmese brutal military regime is well-known due to periodic refugee crisis, Mr. Jilani gives us history of their resistances as much as their oppression. The struggles of the Rohigya intellectual elite, and ordinary farmers and fishing –folk, against the military campaigns of obligation, as well as portrayed in these pages.“
“Mr. Jilani draws on an astounding array of sources for his history of the Rohingya people, and makes his work especially valuable for the scholars of the region.”