Etymology of racial term is always vexed and imbiguous. No one can give an exact root and derivation of racial names. So there are different names of the same people in Myanmar as well as in the world. Peoples are called by different names by different peoples. It is very rare that the Governments and parliaments designate or choose the name of an ethnic group. It is the peoples that choose their own name.
Talaing definitely chose to be Mon; TaungThu beame Pa-Oo; KarenNi is today called Kaya; very recently ShanNi adopted the name TaingLaing. Again many ethnic names in 1973 census changed in 2014 census. No one opposed or criticized it. It is strange why there are all this oppositions to Rohingya. More unethical and anomalous is that some senior politicians who are preparing to rule the country ignore Rohingya’s indigenous status they enjoyed during the rule of post-independent governments. How comes is it? What will be the future of our country if this politicians become the rulers? They even do not know the history of immediate past of our country. It is a pity.
First they said “Rohingya is a fake term, created by politicians since 1950. It is nowhere in the history records”. When records were brought out, They cannot deny it. Then different Rakhine politicians give different version of that Rohingya terminology. Some say Bengali had adopted it from Rakhine phrase “ Rwahaung Thaa” Another popular politicians said “Rohang” is Rakhine;gya is returnees. Thus returnees form Rakhine to their native is called “Rohingya” by native Bengali.
Again so called some Rakhine historians said Rohingya is a term Bangali called to Rakhine. A paradox of former version Bengali term for Rakhine is not Rohingya but Mug. We can find it in all early historical works of Arakan. Dr Buchanan in his comparative study of Languages in Burma Empire, analyzed comparatively Rakhine and Rohingya languages. Rakhine language has nothing and to do with Rohingya language. So Rohingya and Rakhine are different entity.
Very strange! The latest explanation of Rakhine politicians is “Bengali adapted “Rakhine tha” with Rohingya”. All this different versions are hypothetical and designed to serve their purpose and to deceive and confuse the world. Gil chrit’s study of south Asian languages and Rennel map of Bengal described “Rohang” and Rohingya in 18th century. Dr J-P.leider an advocate of Rakhine version of Arakan history wrote, “Bodawphaya’s army in 1785 deported a lot of Muslims and Hindus along with the Rakhine from Arakan who claimed their ethnicity as Rohingyas.” (See; J.Leider, Rohingya the name, the movement, and the quest of identity 2014)
Again J.leider said Mrauk-U in 17th century was Found peaceful, tranquil and harmonious. Muslims and Rakhine had a close amity. Qouting shah Ala-oL, a courtbard in Maruk-U, J.Pleider described;
Ala-oL said, “the city Rosanga is a matchless place on earth constantly full of grains and fishes.”- - -another sentence of Ala-ol eulogy was, “ Revering the sword of justice the lamb and tiger meet peacefully and drink water together at the same ghat (water). No trace of the malevolent and wicked men’s vice anymore, the honest conduct of the king destroys all kind of pains. (J.leider; Traders and poet in Mrauk-U in 17th century, 2011)
If people in Rakhine (Arakan) can adopt a social- political atmosphere of that kind, it will be better for both communities： Rohingya and Rakhine. Mrauk-U was a cosmopolitan and multicultural city.
It is time for all not to make base-less, censorious arguments. It is time to reconcile to reason, reality and history. Indians in Arakan were completely registered and issued FRCs where native, Buddhist, Hindus and Muslims were issued NRCs after independences. That NRCs are citizenship cards and remained valid until today. That is why people with NRCs were allowed to vote and contest in 8 November 2015 election. The issue of citizenship is not what elite persons say, but what the laws say. Rohingya had the right to vote and to contest in all election until 2010. Then how can they be foreigners today? How could over a million Rohingya obtain their identity and citizenship cards (NRCs) and other related documents without Government consent. The requisite of Myanmar citizenship, according to law is not race and religion.
Denial of people’s identity and depriving of existing citizenship is arbitrary, unjust, unfair. That sort of manoeuvres are steps of ethnic cleansing which the world today high lighting in the context of Rakhine violence and conflict.
A notable thing is there were no violence, conflict and demonstration against recognition of Rohingya as a indigenous people in the post independence period. Again all Rohingya were allowed to apply for citizen scrutiny card under 1982 law (with Rohingya identity) before 1990 election. No censorious protest raised from Rakhine people. The present problem and objection shown by some vested interest is not the real reflection of the mind of grass root people. It is a creation of politicians. It is a political gambit of racists to gain power and to perpetuate the grasp of power.