Sunday, October 5, 2008


RakhineRakhine comprises 7 ethnic groups.(1) Rakhine(2) Kamein(3) Kwe Myi(4) Daingnet (5) Maramagyi(6) Mro(7) ThetRakhine people formerly Arakanese, an ethnic group of Myanmar, are today recognized as a national race by the Burmese military government, and they form the majority along Rakhine State's coastal regions. They are approximately 4% or more of Myanmar's population but no accurate census figures exist.According to the Arakanese chronicles, the name Rakhaing (Rakhine) was originated from Pali word Rakhapura meaning the land of the people of Rakhasa who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality. The word Rakhaing means, “one who keeps their own race.” They are a strong and proud Buddhist people and claim to be one of the first groups to become followers of the Buddha in Southeast Asia.CultureThe Rakhine are culturally different from the Bamar. They speak a language related to but different from Burmese. The Rakhine language, although mutually intelligible with standard Burmese, has certain differences in vocabulary. The Rakhine are predominantly Buddhists. One major reason for the cultural differences between the dominant Bamar and the Rakhine is their geographical isolation due to the Arakan Yoma (Chin Hills). The Rakhine have been influenced by Indian culture, and traces of Indian influence remain in many aspects of Rakhine culture, including its literature, music, and cuisine.HistoryThe people of Rakhine claim a history that began in 3325 B.C and also archaeological evidence has been found to support this claim. The first Independent Arakan Kingdom was established in 3325 B.C by King Marayu. Buddhism was introduced into Arakan during the lifetime of Buddha himself. According to Rakhine chronicles, Lord Buddha in his life time visited the city of Dhannyawadi in 554 B.C. The Rakhine King Sandar Suriya (Sun Moon) requested Lord Buddha to leave the image of himself. After casting the Great Image Maha Muni (Great Sage) Lord Buddha breathed upon it which resembled the exact likeness of the Blessed One.Ancient Dhannyawadi is located west of the ridge between the Kaladan and Lc-mro rivers. Dhannyawadi could be reached by small boat from the Kaladan via its tributary, the Tharechaung. Its city walls were made of brick, and form an irregular circle with a perimeter of about 9.6 kilometres, enclosing an area of about 4.42 square kilometres. Beyond the walls, the remains of a wide moat, now silted over and covered by paddy fields, are still visible in places. The re­mains of brick fortifications can be seen along the hilly ridge which provided protection from the west. Within the city, a similar wall and moat enclose the palace site, which has an area of 0.26 square kilometres, and another wall surrounds the palace itself.At times of insecurity, when the city was subject to raids from the hill tribes or attempted invasions from neigh­bouring powers, there would have been an assured food supply enabling the population to withstand a siege. The city would have controlled the valley and the lower ridges, supporting a mixed wet-rice and taungya (slash and burn) economy, with local chiefs paying allegiance to the king.Throughout the history of Arakan, and indeed the rest of early Southeast Asia, the king's power stemmed from his control of irrigation and water storage systems to conserve the monsoon rains and therefore to maintain the fertility and prosperity of the land. In ceremonies conducted by Indian Brahmins the king was given the magic power to regulate the celestial and terrestrial forces in order to control the coming of the rains which would ensure the continuing prosperity of the kingdom.Mrauk U Mrauk U Koe thaung temple Mrauk U Koe thaung pagodaHistorical PeriodsPeriodYearsRulerNotesDhanyawady - BC. 3325 - AD. 326The First DhanyawadyBC. 3325 - 1483King MarayuThe Second DhanyawadyBC. 1483 - 580King KanrazagreeThe Third DhanyawadyBC. 580 - AD. 326King Chandra SuriyaGautama Buddha, Himself, visited Dhanyawady and the Great Image of Mahamuni was cast, and Buddhism began professed in Arakan. Currency system by coinage is said introduced in Arakan economy.Vesali – Lemro - AD. 327 – 1430Vesali Kyauk HlaygaAD. 327 - 794King Dvan ChandraSambawakAD. 794- 818Prince Nga Tong Mong (Saw Shwe Lu)LemroAD. 818 -1430King Nga Tone MunThis period was the highest civilization in the Bay and highly prosperous with busy international trade with the west. Pyinsa, Purain, Taung Ngu and Narinsara, Laungkrat cities were flourished and gold and silver coinage was used in trade relation in Arakan in this period.Golden Mrauk-U - 1430 - 1784First Golden Mrauk-U1430 - 1530King Mun Saw MwanSecond Golden Mrauk-U1530 - 1638Solidified by King Mun Bun (Mun Ba Gri)Arakan reached at the zenith of the national unity and of the time of most powerful in the Bay in this period.Third Golden Mrauk-U Period1638 - 1784King Mahathamada Raza1785 - Armies led by the Crown Prince, son of King Bodawpaya, of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma marched across the western Yoma and annexed Arakan.Mrauk U Sakkyar Man Aung pagoda c 400 ad C 1000 Mrauk U Shittaung pagodaAn ancient stone inscription in Nagari character was discovered by renowned Archaeologist Dr. Forchhammer. Known as Salagiri, this hill was where the great teacher came to Arakan some two thousand five hundred years ago. Somewhere from eastern part of this hill, a stone image in Dhamma-cakra-mudra now kept in Mrauk-U museum, was found earlier in 1923. This relief sculpture found on the Salagiri Hill represents Buddha preaching King Canda Suriya belongs to 4th century A.D.; five more red sandstone slabs with the carving were found close by the south of this Salagiri Hill in 1986. They are the same type as the single slab found earlier in 1923.These sculptures provide earliest evident about the advent of Buddhism into Arakan; during the life time of the Buddha and these discoveries were therefore assumed as the figures of King Canda Suriya of Dyanawady, who dedicated the Great Maha Muni Image. These archaeological findings have been studied by eminent scholars and conclusion is that the Maha Muni was made during the king Sanda Suriya era.Cubic stone inscriptions record the peace making between the governor of Thandaway Mong Khari (1433-1459) and Razadhiraj the Mon Emperor in Arakanese inscription. This was found from a garrison hill at the oldest site of Parein. A stone slab with the alleged figure of the Buddha preaching, King Canda Suriya bored testimony to the Salagiri tradition, depicting of the advent of the Teacher to Dyanyawaddy.The crowing event in the history of Arakan was the Convention of the Buddhist Council at the top of golden hill of Vesali under the royal patronage of King Dhammawizaya in 638 AD. through joint effort of two countries, Arakan and Ceylon. This momentous triumph of the great council was participated by one thousand monks from Ceylon and one thousand monks from Arakan kingdom. Royal patronage has always been significant factor contribution to stability and progress of the religion in Arakan.The country had been invaded several times, by the Mongols, Mon, Bamar and Portuguese and finally the Bamar in 1785 when the armies led by the Crown Prince, son of King Bodawpaya, of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma marched across the western Yoma and annexed Arakan.The religious relics of the kingdom were stolen from Rakhine, most notably the Mahamuni Buddha image, and taken into central Burma where they remain today. The people of Arakan resisted the conquest of the kingdom for decades after. The year 1826 saw the defeat of the Bamar in the First Anglo-Burmese War and Arakan was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Yandabo. Akyab (Sittwe) was then designated the new capital of Arakan. In 1852, Arakan was merged into Lower Burma as a territorial division.Mahamuni BuddhaDuring the Second World War, Arakan was given autonomy under the Japanese occupation and was even granted its own army known as the Arakan Defense Force. The Arakan Defense Force went over to the allies and turned against the Japanese in early 1945. After the war, Arakan was the centre of multiple insurgencies which fought against British rule, notably led by the monks U Ottama and U Seinda.In 1948, Arakan became independent as a division within the Union of Burma. Shortly after, violence broke out along religious lines between Buddhists and Muslims. Later there were calls for secession by the Rakhine, but such attempts were subdued. In 1974, the Ne Win government's new constitution granted Rakhine Division "state" status but the gesture was largely seen as meaningless since the military junta held all power in the country and in Rakhine. In 1989, the name of Arakan State was changed to "Rakhine" by the military junta.Copyright

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