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Saturday, May 23, 2015

EARLY MUSLIMS OF BURMA, 1830's - 1930's

By 1885, Britain had conquered Burma and deposed her king. As a consequence of the Third Anglo-Burmese War, Burma not only became a part of the British Empire but more humiliatingly, was made a province of India under the rule of the British Raj.

Thousands of coolies emigrated from the Chittagong district in the 1830s to work in Arakan. Chittagong is located in the Bengal region and its people are called Bengali.
Over the next few decades, the British encouraged a massive immigration of Bengali Muslim labourers into Arakan until the Muslim population (called “Chittagonian” then, Rohingya today) were almost the same number as the Arakanese natives.

map burma bangladesh

In the 1921 census of Burma, Muslims were listed as “Mahomedan” at the same time Bengalis were listed as “Indians” and with some overlap in the categories.
There was resentment of the Indian Muslim immigrants by the locals and anti-Indian riots broke out in Burma during the colonial period.
In Arakan Burma, communal violence between Arakanese Buddhists and Muslim Chittagonians erupted in 1942-1943 – a short period of anarchy between the evacuation by the British from the area and the occupation by Japanese troops.
Burma achieved independence from British rule in January 1948.

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