Wie hebben Arakan in de 19e eeuw meer vernietigd: de Birmezen of de Britten?

By Khin Maung Saw, (Facebook, May 13, 2020)

Who destroyed Arakan more in the 19th century? The Burmese or the British?

Many Arakanese blamed the Burmese for their mismanagements and cruelties after their occupation for about 40 years. It is true that Burmese rulers and soldiers were so cruel like savages, however, the present author, on the other hand, wants to state that the destruction of the Arakanese society by the British, wittingly or unwittingly, was worse than what the Burmese had done.

Burmese rulers and soldiers totally ignored the fact that they and the Arakanese share the same language and religion, but committed barbaric war crimes. However, in any case, they did not have enough brains and guts like the British to sow the poisonous seeds on Arakanese soil!!

Arakan has very fertile soil with sufficient rain falls, hence the British wanted to expand rice fields in Arakan. Arakan was very under-populated at that time. Therefore, the British brought tens of thousands of Chittagonian Bengali Muslims into Arakan. The Arakanese (Rakhaings) have to bear the burdens of these aliens until today. These aliens tried and are still trying to Islamize Arakan and then the whole of Burma by all means. Therefore, the destruction of the Arakanese society by the British, wittingly or unwittingly, was worse than that of the Burmese occupation period.

Apart from that, the British destroyed the whole society, tradition, and culture of the Arakanese by opening pubs to selling alcoholic beverages and also opium halls which were traditionally forbidden by the Buddhist monarchs of Arakan and also by their successors, Burmese authorities, who were Buddhists[1].
In 1869, an assistant commissioner reported: “Full one half of the male population between the ages of 17 and 35 are opium eaters and/or smokers, and full one half of these principally exist on the earnings of the other portion of the population not by gifts but by thefts.” He concluded another portion as: “The natural result of this state of a thing is that the population must degenerate year by year, and eventually become useless to themselves and the world around them. The people who were honest, hardworking and the truthful people when the British took the place, are now so far as opium eaters and smokers especially are concerned, the very opposite of their fathers …”[2]
[1] As a result, nowadays in Burma, it is well known that most Arakanese consume alcoholic beverages more than any other ethnic minority group of Burma.
[2] Report on the Progress Made in the Arakan Division from 1826 to 1869. (Rangoon: Government Stationery, 1870, pp 11, 47.