India to repair Shwedagon

India to repair Myanmar’s most-revered shrine

NEW DELHI: India will repair Myanmar’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda, or Golden Pagoda, which was damaged by cyclone Nargis on May 3. This offer was made during Sunday’s pledging conference where around 52 countries promised rehabilitation and reconstruction aid to Myanmar.

India’s offer is a diplomatic coup of sorts. Shwedagon is Myanmar’s most revered Buddhist shrine and is believed to house eight hairs of Gautam Buddha. For India, it’s an unbeatable way of building up confidence with Myanmar, but it’s also a way of claiming the diplomatic advantage on Buddhism.

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Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part IV


Pyu, one of the three founding father of Bamar or Myanmar race was believed to be the mixture of three groups;

(i) Few insignificant local inhabitants since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) many migrants came from India bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the last group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

Pyu language started in 5AD in Southern Rakhine.

The famous Mya Zedi Pagoda stone inscriptions were written in Pyu, Mon, Bama, and Pali in 1113AD.

  1. Pyu had written records, dated from 1st century A.D.
  2. and Mon from 5th century A.D.
  3. and Bama had its own written records only in 11th century A.D.

Beikthano (Vishnu)

Beikthano (Vishnu) at the end of 4th. AD (9Khmer troops occupied 210-225 AD. (Taung Dwin Gyi) after which the Mons moved in, giving the cities names Panthwa and Ramanna pura. Religious remains show both forms of Buddhism, Mahayanism and Hinayanism, together with Vishnu worship. There are large stone Buddhist sculptures in relief in the Gupta style, bronze statuettes of Avalokitesvara, one of the three chief Mahayanist Bodhisattvas, and so many stone sculptures of Vishnu that the city was sometimes referred to as ‘Vishnu City’.

Pyu chronicles speak of a dynastic change in A.D. 94. Sri Ksetra village was apparently abandoned around A.D. 656 it was sacked by the Nan Cho Chinese Shan in the mid-9th century, ending the Pyu’s period of dominance.

Pyu Kings are Maharajas

In Chinese Chronicles they recorded Pyu as ‘P’aio’. But Pyu Called themselves Tircul..

  • There are records of Nan Cho and Tibet alliance in 755 AD to defeat Chinese.
  • Nan Cho king Ko-lo-fen communicate with Pyu. Pyu Kings were called Maharajas and Chief ministers were called Mahasinas.
  • Nan Cho conscripted Pyu soldiers to attack of Hanoi in 863 AD.
  • In 832 AD Nan Cho looted Han Lin village from Pyu.

Pyu kings named Vishnu as in Gupta, India

Inscriptions in Pyu language using a South Indian script, showed a Vikrama dynasty ruling there at least from AD 673 to 718.

  • On Pyu’s stone inscriptions, kings names with Vikrama were suffix with Vishnu. The same tradition was noticed in Gupta era India 100 BC. and in Sri Kestia, Mon in south, Thai and Cambodia.
  • Statue of Vishnu standing on Garuda with Lakshmi standing on the lotus on left.
  • And Brahma, Siva and Vishnu thrones were also found.
  • Name, Varman indicated that there was influence of Pallava of India.
  • The mentioning of Varman dynasty, an Indian name, indicated there was a neighbouring and rival city, but Old Prome is the only Pyu site so‘ far to be excavated in that area.

Indian Dravidian tribe in Panthwa

In Chinese Chronicles Chen Yi-Sein instead gives an Indian derivation for Panthwa village, as the name of a Dravidian tribe settled in Mon’s areas around the Gulf of Martaban. This group was later one of the pioneers in a ‘Monized’ occupation of Beikthano village, which also led to the village/city being called Ramanna-pura, linked to Mon areas of southern Myanmar (1999:77).

The Tagaung dynasty is explicitly incorporated into the story of Duttabaung’s mother and father; the lineage of the Queen of Beikthano is less consistent, but always intertwined with that of the Sri Kestra village rulers. In all of these, links are made between territorial control, royal patronage of Hindu or Buddhist sects and supernatural events.

Thamala and Wimala. Two princes named Thamala and Wimala (Myanmar version of Indian names-Thalma and Vimala.) established the town Bago in 573AD. Tabinshwehti (Taungoo Dynasty) conquered it in 1539 AD.

The evidence of the inscriptions, Luce warns us, shows that the Buddhism of Pagan ‘was mixed up with Hindu Brahmanic cults, Vaisnavism in particular.

 Dear darling Nan,                                                                                            

Are you tired or fed up of reading my compassionate letters?

It is your prerogative, up to you to decide whether you continue to receive my letter or not. I will stop any time if you say so. 

Kindly allow me to quote a famous saying, ‘My letters could not be written out unto their end even if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea eked out by seven seas were ink’.

May be my favourite song ‘Want to stay together, two of us only but  no-one else’ by Mar Mar Aye could explain my feelings. She sang about using the sky to write upon, a river as the pen and using the ocean water as ink.

But in this age of ICT, neither do we need to use pens nor ink but just ‘typing’ onto the key board is enough. So I have to change or modified these into, “My letters could not finish even if my hands suffered ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome’.

Dear darling, do you still remember the day you showed me the news of the fossilized remains of rhinoceros and crocodiles found in the Pontaung Ponnya regions. Padalin cave paintings are the proof that there were early dwellers in late Old Stone Age Shwe Bama village. In the new Stone Age, stones were smoothly polished to make tools and were perforated to make beads. Fire was built. There were domestications of goat and sheep, buffalo and ox and later horse and elephant. As ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing, pounding rice, cooking rice, weaving baskets, pottery making, spinning, weaving, carrying big stone from a very far place where it was available and lifting it up to the height where they want to place it, the practice of selling and buying came into being through barter system, etc. can be imagined.

Dear darling, I was heartened because formerly, we had nothing much about the Bronze Age found in Nyaungkan, lower Chin Dwin region up to confluence with Irrawaddy. At Mon Ywa (1500-1000 BC). There are nowadays evidence of our early Shwe Bama ancestors in Samon valley south of Mandalay, Taungthaman, Amarapura Iron age 460 BC, Pyu 200BC – 900 AD.Dear Nan, most of the historians try to visualize the human characteristics from their archaeological fossils. There were savages in the Old Stone Age from 400,000 to 8000 BC and barbarians in the new Stone Age from 8000 to 2000 BC. In our Shwe Bama village tract’s Iron Age or civilization began from 2000 BC because Iron Age was recognized as a civilized age in the history of the world.In 2500 BC, in U Kala’s village tract villagers in the Indus Valley wrote in cuneiforms which could not be decoded. Later in 1500 BC, Aryan came to India and they later started writing in Brahmi script. Since then, they have had records written in alphabets and people were taken as civilized in the history. Dear Nan lets go back to our topic today to the early Pagan village, which was our first Shwe Bama empire/village tract. There is a saying in Shwe Bama village, if we want to discuss or talk about Pagan village; ‘we need to be armed with sticks and knives or rather machetes.’ Yes there is no consensus about the history of Pagan village and every argument leads to controversy and used to end with a quarrel.

Dear Nan, now I am going into the mind field with the intention to challenge the nationalists with some radical views.  I will start with Ah Yee Gyis or Aries, who were notoriously powerful in Pagan or Bagan village, before the Buddhist Religion arrived in our first Shwe Bama village. Nan, why did your face became red and try to gaze away from my letter. I know my wife, although you already got the grand children, you are still acting like a maiden. I would start a first salvo or bombardment with this fact. Ah Yee Gyis or Aries were related to one Indian sect or religion from Ko Kala’s village tract. The same Aris or Ah Yees from Ko Kala’s village were known for, swimming, martial arts, traditional medicine practice and the custom of sleeping with the brides on the first night of weddings.  

I am not revealing some ‘blue stories’ or Thousand and one nights Arabian stories. I am not sure whether Ko Kalar Aries came physically here or their ‘religion’ or practice only arrived here. Never mind don’t worry dear, I just tease you with this story. Now I would like to trace our ancestors. I hope you already knew my habit of parroting or just informing you what I happened to know by chance. Sometime I just mentioned or write about anything I heard or read in the newspapers or books. All that I mentioned are not because I supported the idea or believed that it is an irrefutable truth. I just mentioned casually, sometimes light heartedly, sometimes as a joke to irritate you or sometimes just wish to highlight a controversy welcoming a heated debate in our platform or stage, this blog. In Burmese ‘Pwe sue aung_ loke thee’. I hope that then only more people will notice or read this Blog or there may be better hits on this web page. I already knew that this web page, is visited by Shwe Bamas abroad but I hope to see more progress. Dear darling that radical ideas came into my mind because I rarely have a chance to read any feed back from our readers. If we could even attract our oppositions and radicals, of course there must be decorum, mutual respect and some politeness from all the sides, to refute what we wrote; it may be a great progress.  You had said before, “Counting the ballots is better than cracking the heads.” 

Let me modify or think beyond that, or apply this to another area. I hereby wish to propose that, ‘we better fight with our pens rather than fighting with live ammunitions’.  Fighting as a gentleman on the Internet is much better, more desirable and humane than fighting on the real battle field. Although I may be seen as a coward because of these words, after all the real battle ground is also not a level playing field for us. In the Shwe Bama village compound, anyone talking, speaking, writing or even possesses the papers against the SPDC or Daw Than Shwe would be arrested and prosecuted or more correctly persecuted.   

Do you remember the famous case of a gentleman, a representative of few western countries, arrested for using the unregistered Fax Machine? (I wrote about him in previous letter.) And on the real battle front, at the border areas our freedom fighters are outnumbered. Their ammunition, transport, organization, intelligent networks and equipments, budget and etc. are also not able to compete with SPDC’s strong forces. Guerrilla warfare in the Shwe Bama village itself is also almost impossible.  So we have only one easy option, ICT warfare or propaganda warfare on internet. And it is relatively safe and quite effective. But because of heavy censorship on Internet contents, it may be less effective inside the Shwe Bama village itself; until and unless those opposition radio stations actively promote and inform regularly on most of the opposition Internet contents. We are sad that there is some intense rivalry and competition every where among our various opposition groups. We should make all the articles bilingual, in Burmese for the general population, in English to attract and explain the foreigners to persuade them to support us. We need to translate all the information vice versa. I had seen a lot of second and third generations of our Shwe Bama Migrant’s children out of touch with our Shwe Bama language. Most of them could still speak fluently in Shwe Bama but could not read nor write in Shwe Bama well enough. Surprisingly most of them still love our Shwe Bama country, they care about our country and interested in all the things Shwe Bama. I hope if we could attract all of our people in the free outside world to participate in the open discussion, discourse, dialogue or even a heated argument, it would be beneficial for all of us as it could definitely lead to more mutual understanding. 

Nan, thank you for the valuable advice you had secretly given to me. Because of your desire to promote unity through mutual understanding and reciprocal respect and of course, as this is the official aim of this blog. Do you notice that in my letters I purposely try to put in few controversial sensitive words or ideas against some of the groups. I just wish to increase their awareness, maturity and thank you for reminding ‘to stay colour blind’, that is against all kind of racial and religious discriminations.   Please may you kindly understand me for provoking the radical ends of the spectrum like a rebel rousers in this letter and my future few letters. With each weekly letters I am probing more and more deeply into Shwe Bama village history. I hope our readers could judge and treat this blog as the one site of revolution that would sparks a thousand ideas. We all need ideas, not only moderate but even from the extreme end of the spectrum, we need all the possible views. Then we must judge or compare our notes with the universally accepted, UN recognized facts. All of us may not agree to all the facts but we have to make a consensus, and once the decisions are made, we all have to accept them as our guiding principle for the benefit of our beloved Shwe Bama country. Even if 95% of Shwe Bamas don’t get what we are writing…the remaining 5% who get it will definitely have an impact on our society. 

I wish to present you with the wise advice of the Dalai Lama, our cousin Buddhist (Mahayana) leader. I told you in my very first letter that I even wish to spend my last days of my twilight years and like to even die in your Shan Land but when I have to change my wish now after I read Dalai Lama’s words which came out from his heart and vibrated right into my heart because of harmony of the feelings:“In Tibet, I would have been a prisoner, a puppet leader. But it doesn’t mean I ever forget about Tibet. I never stop thinking about it, and I tell the refugees that if they can, they must return one day or the Chinese will have won.” “But the Tibetans always say: wherever you feel most comfortable, that is your home. Whoever shows you greatest kindness and comfort, they are your family. So I am happy to die in India.”Although we all Shwe Bamas missed home, wish to return for retirement at old age or even die or wish to breathe the last breath at the homeland, most of us have no choice but to stay away from our beloved Shwe Bama Paradise for a long time.The wise religious leader continued:” You have bigger homes, yet smaller families. You have endless conveniences — yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours,” he said. I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have.“Too many people have given up on marriage. They don’t understand that it is about developing a mutual admiration of someone, a deep respect and trust and awareness of another human’s needs,” the Dalai Lama said.  I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have. 

 SPDC is going to ICC with four main charges: (1) being a threat to regional/international stability,(2) genocide, (3) drug trade and (4) nuclear ambitions. UN Security Council could take action urgently on SPDC regime. Nowadays many people and countries around the world want justice to be done by bringing SPDC generals to International Criminal Court in The Hague on these four charges. The choice is yours. If not, once you are going to be charged in the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague, you would know the grave consequences. And even if you could able to avoid that fate, acting like Hitler or Milosevic by deciding to die, you all should understand that once in the hereafter, you have to face the judgment of God or your Kamma. Even at The Hague, you could still show off your colour like Saddam Hussein or Milosevic by arguing your own case with an attack, but in the hereafter you could not argue anything if your deeds are already recorded in the dog-leather book of Tha Gyar Min. (Note: Don’t angry Nan, I understand that you have no connections with SPDC but I am 101% sure that once my letter was sent through Burma Digest, the SPDC spies would definitely ‘peek’ into the letter. And I wish to request those gentlemen to translate and give the full report to their Ah Ba Senior General Than Shwe so that he could review his latest condition or position at the edge of the Ah Thu Yar Gauge.) The facts that we wish to reveal to SPDC Generals are: This is the time to seek forgiveness, to repent, to regret, for salvation and for redemption. Instead of just releasing the fish and birds, release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, U Khun Htun Oo and all the political prisoners. Instead of donating your ill gotten booties, give back the country you looted from the NLD and opposition. Instead of continuing governing Shwe Bama which is not yours and give back our independence. If not they would be charged soon in the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the crimes against humanity and genocide.If they still have some sense of dignity, they should bow to the discontented citizens and relinquish their posts.

Now the whole world knows that the SPDC Junta is trying to cheat the whole population of Myanmar, ASEAN, UN and the rest of the world. So we all wish and pray that the SPDC Generals would just repent, ask forgiveness from all the citizens including NLD Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, all the oppositions and prepare to retreat to the barracks, where they belong, according to the promise given by General Saw Maung, their previous leader before the election. Many of the top SPDC Junta leaders should go for retirement and spent their last precious time on earth with meditation and prayers. 

 Good-bye Yours  loving other side 

(Ko Tin Nwe)


See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII




Burma Issues February 2 0 0 5




Burma Issues is a publication of the Peace Way Foundation and is distributed on a free-subscription basis to individuals and groups concerned with the state of affairs in Burma. Editor Z. Brake 1/11 Soi Piphat 2 Convent Rd, Silom Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Kala Lumyo is the word the Burmese call the Indian who live in Burma. The word Kala is, in general, for those who have dark skin. They originated from India and they come from South Asia and the Western part of Asia in general, most notably form presentday India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The word kala literally means degrading, disgusting and to look down upon. The word “alien” is also used by Burmese people to describe the Indians.

However, the Burmese Indians see themselves as a part of the Burmese people. They have fought for Burma together with the Burmese and other ethnic people to be free from colony rule and independent.

In the midst of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Burma, the international community mostly focuses on the democracy movement lead by Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League of Democracy or on the fighting for the independence by the ethnic groups. When looking to situation as a whole, the Burmese Indians are also in need of the same freedoms as all the other Burmese people.

In their struggle for freedom most people see them as outsiders. Approximately 2 per cent of the Burmese population is Burmese Indians. However this number is not dependable as there is no reliable information. In Burma, the majority of Burmese Indians are Muslim (Suni Set), others are Hindu, Sikhs and Buddhist.

Most of the Burmese Indian Muslim population lives in urban areas and big cities such as Rangoon and post British Hill towns such as Pyin U Lwin ( formerly Maymyo)

1. The first Burmese Indians migrated to Burma in the glorious Bagan period (A.D. 1044-1287) when Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to Burma. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Golden Age of the spices trade attracted more Indian merchants to Burma. This migration continued until the British invasion. When Burma became a part of India under the British colonial rule in 1824, a large number of Indian people moved to Burma. These included entrepreneurs, politicians and  overnment employees. In the following decades infrastructure initiatives of the British caused an unprecedented economical boom in Burma. From 1855 to 1930 the area of the Irrawaddy delta used for rice cultivation increases ten times to roughly 4 million hectares.

2. Coolies (Indian labourers) from southern India migrated continuously to Burma in search of work. In 1930 the number of Indians in Burma had grown considerably and in Rangoon 53 per cent of the whole population was Indian

3. Things were going smoothly for the Burmese Indian population even after British left and independence dawned Burma in 1948. There were even Indians in the Cabinet.

Things changed after the coup d’etat in 1962 led by General Ne Win and the introduction of Nationalism. Some Burmese Indians were forced out of the country as a result of the economy’s nationalization. Their wholesale and retail businesses were taken away without any compensation and they were all given 175 Kyat to return to India

4. The Cabinet was pushed out of the government. Although, many Indian had been living in Burma for generations and had integrated into Burmese society, they became a target for discrimination and oppression by the junta.

Today many Indians, particularly Hindus live in central Rangoon on the both side of the Su Lei Paya Road. Most are involved in either legal or illegal businesses, including restaurants, jewellery shops and money exchanges. It is not surprising that the Burmese people believe that these Indians have a better economic rank, than they do. It seems that there are no problems for the Burmese Indians because they are rich, but in fact this is not true. They have many personal issues. Although Burmese Indians have not been violently oppressed by the military government like vlrlrlr_a_a&; 3 jrefrfrmhaha&;&m other ethnic groups in Burma, their rights have been continuously restricted and they have faced different forms of oppression. If Burmese people’s rights are limited, the Burmese Indians’ rights will be doubly limited.

Religion is being used as a tool of oppression against the Burmese Indians by the military dictatorship. Burmese Muslim Indians and Burmese Hindu Indians are not allowed to grandly celebrate any of their religious ceremonies. These religious rights are prohibited. They can not run religious parades anywhere in Burma, like they do in other countries. In South East Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia the governments allow people to grandly celebrate their religions, but in Burma, the military just allows them to quietly celebrate behind closed doors or in the few temples.

The military dictatorship rejects or ignores their request when they want to build Mosque in the country or to go abroad for religious ceremonies

5. The military dictatorship never encourages or supports the Burmese Indians. However, the attitude of the Burmese people towards the Burmese Indian is worse. The Burmese Indians are looked down or mistreated because of their religion, the way they dress or the way they act. Burmese people believe that the “Kala Lumyo” will take over the country and rule Burma. They believe that if there are too many Indians this will happen. According to the religious beliefs, if you were marry someone who is a Muslim or a Hindu you have to change your original religion to their religion and your children will also automatically become Muslim or Hindu

6. Consequnetly, Burmese people do not want their children to marry Indians. Furthermore, the military dictatorship prohibits Burmese Indian from becoming involved or being employed as the government employees or working in any companies run by the State government.

While the military dictatorship is persuading ethnic minority groups to enter what they called the “legal fold” and participate in the drafting of a new constitution which includes sections on religion and political rights, Burmese Indians have not been invited by the military dictatorship to participate.

They will never be invited as they are not seen as important in the eyes of the military dictatorship. The international community does not see that the main issues facing the Burmese Indians are the State’s policies.

The military government always says to the international community that they have opened the opportunity for all religious and ethnic minority groups to live together peacefully.

It seems like the Burmese Indians should not have any problems. In reality, they do not receive any of these opportunities. The military government tries to block them getting in touch with the wider community and working together for a better society, human rights and other meaningful activities.

Like all people in Burma, the quality of health care depends on how much you can pay. Burmese Indians who can afford to pay for health care, receive reasonable care. However, Burmese Indians who cannot afford to pay, receive no health care. The government is suppose to provide free health care for all Burmese people, but this does not happen for most people in Burma, including the Burmese Indians.

Another issue is that the Burmese Indians who have good businesses will send their children to study abroad such as to the USA. Many of them are poor and can not manage to send their children to school. The government is not supporting the education system.

There are some private schools or schools owned by foreign companies from the Middle East who provide free education and basic knowledge on Islam to Indian Muslims. Furthermore, Burmese Indians are not allowed to use their native languages and the junta has banned literature in these languages. The government has even banned some Bollywood movies

7. The New Light of Myanmar is the trumpet of the government, but in this newspaper it never talks about the Burmese Indians. Living as the stranger in their own country Burmese Indians are not trying to make any problems for the society. There is an obvious image of the Burmese Indians “looking after their own”.

At the moment we can clearly see that the Burmese Indians are out of sight of the junta and are looked down upon by the Burmese people. The status of the Burmese Indians in terms of religion, culture and civil rights are the same as the other ethnic groups. The government has used religion to oppress the Burmese Indians.

What will happen to these people when transition comes? There are plenty of questions.

Will they treated equally like other Burmese people or will

they continue to be outsiders?


1 Burmese Indians,


2 Myanmar History Colonial Times, http:// – 01land / em – lan43.htm

3 Ibid

4 Indian and Burma: working on their relationship, The

Irrawaddy (online) , March 1999

5 The outsider, The Irrawaddy vol. 14 No.1, January 2006

6 ibid.

7 How the Indians Government Stabbed Burmese Tamils

in the Back, http:// www. tamiltribune/ 02

0702. html?20065


jrefrfrmhaha&;&m 4



Dr San Oo Aung_

Note: The following was extracted from the Wikipedia, TALK PAGE Burmese Indian article from my argument with other Wiki Editors_

I started doing research on our Muslim history  fifteen years ago. Therefore I have a lot of facts and although I tried my best to put in the relevant facts only in your so called ENCYCLOPEDIA, it is a little bit long.

This is not a fairy tale Mr – – – . Even 1001 Arabian nights is quite long.

If you can prove that Arakan is not related to Burma and Bangladesh is out of Indian sub continent, my facts written there could be labelled irrelevant.

After all, you all want to lump the Burmese Indian Muslims in this Burmese Indians site or section. So, all the Muslim related facts are appropriate here. Because of your decision (to put all of us under the Burmese Indians) only, Hindi and Buddhist Indians’ related facts became relevant to mention. TQ very much. However, after putting or feeding all the facts, I will stay away from further comments or trying to put back the facts, you erased. You all are free to edit, as you like. My world is much larger than to waste in this small fighting.

Ko  – – -, sorry that you misunderstood my threats as directing to you. Don’t take as an insult, what you do to my article or what happens to you is not important for me at all.

I am only warning the relevant authorities above  to stop the act of GENOCIDE on all of our Muslim-brothers in Burma/Myanmar. These atrocities are even against the Buddha’s teachings. We are trying to persuade the world Muslim countries to support the US action in UNSC. See, we had successfully persuaded Qatar and Indonesia!Please feel free to edit my articles into short and precise up to the Wiki standard. For me 15 years of my collection made me bias. ( Becoming Nga_thine_mya_taut Hin_hone.)But please understand me, I could prove that I had tried to be concise by looking at the following fact_I wrote one very short section only, Arakan Kings minted coins with Muslim names and declaration of Islamic faith. The facts behind are just the gist from the following_

Coins found in Arakan.

Mr. Htoon Aung Gyaw, Barrister-at-law and certain other private collectors of Akyab have coins found in Arakan.

Sixteen of them were confirmed to belong to the Maruk-U dynasty (1430 to 1784 AD) were distinct specimens, bearing the dates and titles of fifteen different kings of that time.

Moreover there were a few coins belonging to the Wesali dynasty (788 to 951 AD).

I propose in this paper to show the relationship of these coins to Indian coinage as a whole and to use them as a document from which to draw certain general conclusions on the history of Arakan.

As that history has never been written and as the data for the early centuries are scanty and controversial, I trust that the inevitable shortcomings of this summary will be understood and excused.

Types of Indian coinage.

Speaking generally the coins of India fall into two distinct types, the Hindu and the Mohamedan.

Specimens of Hindu coinage of as far back as 600 BC are in the British Museum, but it was not until India came into Hindu contact with Mediterranean civilization in 327 BC. that its coinage developed and became an art. This connection, beginning with the invasion of Alexander and continuing through the Satraps into Roman times resulted first in the striking of coins almost pure Greek in design and gradually in the adaptation of that design to Hindu ends.

With the Guptas (320 to 455 AD) a coinage had been evolved which while owing much to the Greek theory of form, was pure Hindu in feeling. Now all this Hindu coinage, from its highest as a work of art to its lowest as a barbarous confusion, has certain definite characteristics. It exhibits portraits of kings, figures and animals, deities and symbols of deities. Inscriptions take a very subordinate place; dates are infrequent; as it is not always possible to identify a coin with a particular king, a classification by dynasties and localities is the most that can often be attempted.

Mohamedan Types of Indian coinage:

Mahomedan coinage, which came into India in 1203 AD has opposite characteristics.

  1. It is of an inscriptional nature.

  2. Save for a few exceptions, it contains not a portrait or a figure.

  3. The King’s name, title, date and faith are carefully recorded.

  4. The coin’s artistic merit depends upon the calligraphy;

  5. and as everyone is aware who has studied the Persian script as at mural decoration this can give a remarkably balanced and vital impression of art.

Coins of Arakan.

The coins found in Arakan belong to both the groups described above;

  1. those of Wesali are Hindu and

  2. those of Mrauk-U are Mahomedan.

Wesaii, Archacological evidence.

The ruins of the city are stilI to be seen on the bank of a tidal creek, about six miles from Mrauk -U (now known as Myo Haung) and about fifty miles inland from the Bay of Bengal. The site has neither been surveyed nor excavated, but the casual observer may perceive the remains of brick walls enclosing a large area. On the south side was to be seen until lately portions of a stone pier. Within the walls are numerous mounds and lying on them are pieces of stone statuary, bas-reliefs, capitals, floral designs in stone and inscriptions in the Nagari character of the 8th century. All these remains are purely Hindu in execution and subject. The figures represent deities; on the capitals is the sacred bull of Siva; the style is rougher than the best Hindu work, but is not debased. Close by the walls is a large stone monolith of Buddha belonging to the same date. This is the image now known as the Paragri, praying at which Fra Manrique found King Thiri-thu-dhamma eight centuries later. Various Nagari inscriptions, still un deciphered, have been found in the vicinity of the city; and at Mahamuni, 15 miles N. E., are to be seen surrounding the mound on which once sat the great image of the Buddha, which is now in Mandalay, a number of statues and bas-reliefs of the Hindu Pantheon. Incomplete and insufficiently worked out as is this archaeological evidence, it suggests that in the city of Wesali were practised both the Hindu and Buddhist religions or that it was a Mahayanist city.Wesaii MSS. evidence.Mr. San Shwe Bu has placed in my hands his translation of a curious Arakanese MS. called. “The true chronicle of the Great Image.” Its caligraphy is order than that of the rest of the MSS. in my possession. – Sam Shwe Bu. The age of this MS. like that of most Arakanese MSS. is unknown, but it purports to give some account of the

Wesali dynasty. 

Its contents in this respect may be summarized as follows: –The area now known as north Arakan had been for many years before the 8th century the seat of Hindu dynasties. In 788 AD. a new dynasty known as the Chandra, founded the city of Wesali. This city became a noted trade port to which as many as a thousand ships came annually. The Chandra kings were upholders of Buddhism, guarding and glorifying the Mahamunni shrine; their territory extended as far north as Chittagong. The dynasty came to an end in 957 AD. being overwhelmed by a Mongolian invasion. The conclusion to be drawn from this MS. is that Wesali was an easterly Hindu kingdom of Bengal, following the Mahayanist form of Buddhism and that both government and people were Indian as the Mongolian influx had not yet occurred.Hinayanism had already fled the India and that Mahayana Buddhism was really a compromise in which the Hindu gods and Buddha ranked equally.

Wesaii a Mahayanist State.

These are some of the data for forming an opinion as to the religious condition of Bengal from 400-1000 AD. As Wesali was a Hindu State adjacent there to, the presumption is that its religious history was similar. Hinayanism had vanished; Mahayanism had compromised with original Hinduism to such a point that Buddha had become one of many gods; even the sexual magic of Tantricism was no anomaly. Such, it appears, was the Chandra kingdom of Wesaii, Mahayanist in the sense that word carried in the Bengal of the 8th century. It is significant that at least one Tantric sculpture has been found in Wesaii.Wesali, as will be explained later, must be regarded not as an early Burmese but as a late Hindu State. With the whole tradition of the great Hindu past it had inherited coinage. All these data indicate that the coins of Wesali were in the pure Brahmanical tradition. But coins bearing Brahmanical symbols are not inconsistent with a Mahayanist dynasty. I am not aware of any Indian coin of a period later than the 1 st century AD., which contains a Buddhist figure, symbol or inscription. The Mahayanist kings of the periods mentioned above struck Brahmanical coins. Nothing is therefore more to be expected than that the Wesali coins should also be Brahminical. It is merely another proof of how closely the Mahayanist Buddhism of 8th century Bengal approximated to Hinduism.

The end of Wesaii & the beginning of the Arakanese. Such was the kingdom of Wesali, an Indian state in 957 AD, occurred an event which was to change it from an Indian into an Indo-Chinese realm and to endow the region of Arakan with its present characteristics.

The “True Chronicle” records that in the year 957 AD., a Mongolian invasion swept over Wesali, destroyed the Chandras and placed on their throne Mongolian kings.

Over the border in Bengal the same deluge carried away the Pala kings. The evidence for this latter irruption is fully cited in a paper by Mr. Banerji and there is no doubt that the Mongolian invasion, which terminated the ruler of the Palas, closed also the epoch of the Chandras.

But while in Bengal the Hindus regained their supremacy in a few years, it would seem that in Arakan the entry of the Mongolians was decisive.

  1. They cut Arakan away from India

  2. and mixing in sufficient number with the inhabitants of the east side of the present lndo-Burma divide,

  3. created that Indo-Mongoloid stock now known as the Arakanese.

  4. This emergence of a new race was not the work of a single invasion. The MSS record subsequent Mongolian incursions. But the date 957 AD., may be said to mark the appearance of the Arakanese, and the beginning of a fresh period.

The period 957-1430 AD, General characteristics.

The cardinal characteristic of the new period is that Arakan (as the area may now be called) looked East instead of West. The Mongolians were savages and following their invasion supervened a period of darkness.

But the invaders became educated in the culture of the country they had conquered.

The resulting civilization was of a mediaeval character. The capital was moved from Wesali to the Lemro River, some fifteen miles south-east. There during the ensuing centuries numerous dynasties ruled each with its own city but always in the same locality. Few archaeological remains of this period of five centuries exist, though brick foundations may be seen on the Lemro bank. In Bengal the Mohamedans were not to arrive till 1203. Over the mountains in Burma proper was the quaint kingdom of Pagan. It was with Pagan alone the Arakan had any considerable dealings and it was to learn much. Thus during these five centureis the inhabitants of Arakan became more similar to the inhabitants of Burma and less like Indians. Their religion became less Mahayanist and more Hinayanist.Particular Characteristics of the period 957-1430 A. D.

There existed a road connecting the Lemro with Pagan. That road was known as the Buywet ma-nyo. It has long been overgrown, but the present Government is seeking to resurvey it. It was along that road that the ideas of Burma passed into Arakan. But India was again to play its part in the making of Arakan.

To understand the age of Mrauk-U (1430 – 1785 AD.), the profound changes which had taken place in Bengal since the time of the Palas must be called to mind.

From all points of view, military, political and cultural, the Moslem Sultanates were in the van of civilization. For every other state they represented modernity, as industrial Europe now represent what is modern for Asia and Africa. Bengal was absorbed into this great polity in l293 AD. But that was its extreme eastern limit.Why Araken turned towards India in 1450.

The circumstances which made Arakan turn from the East and look West to the Moslem States were political.

In 1404 A. D., Min Saw Mwan was King of Arakan, ruling from Launggret, one of the Lemro Cities already mentioned.

As the kings of Pagan had regarded Arakan as their feudatory. The Kings of Ava, succeeded them was annoyed by the Arakanese who raided the Yaw and Laungshe. The heir apparent to the throne of Ava invaded Arakan in 1406.

Min Saw Mwan fled the country, taking refuge at Gaur, the capital of the Sultan of Bengal.

That kingdom had been independent of the Sultanate of Delhi for eighty six years. It was one of the many sovereign states of the world wide Moslem polity.The Arakanese king remained there for twenty four years, leaving his country in the hands of the Burmese. (This part of the history was written in other chapter.)

The Arakanese king loomed from the mediaeval to the modern, from the fragile fairyland of the Glass Palace Chronicle to the robust extravaganza of the Thousand Nights and one Night.

  • Nasir-ud-din restored him in 1430 A.D.

  • and Mrauk-U was built.

  • It is noteworthy that one of that Sultan’s coins was recently found near the site of that city. It is a unique document in the history of Arakan.

Origin of Arakanese coinage.

Nasir-ud-din’s coin is in the tradition and it was on that coin that the coinage of Mrauk-U was subsequently modeled.

In this way Arakan became definitely oriented towards the Moslem State.

Contact with a modern civilization resulted in a renaissance. The country’s great age began.

The Mrauk-U dynasty

l450-1786 Period 1. 1430-1530.

As feudatory to Bengal.

It was a curious fact that while the government of Further India was Mongolian-Buddhist, that of India and westwards beyond was Mongolian- Mohamedan. That basic distinction centred in the matter of war and agggrandisement.

They founded what was known as the Arakanese empire.

  • For the hundred years, 1430 to 1530,

  • Arakan remained feudatory to Bengal,

  • paid tribute and

  • learnt history and

  • politics.

  • Eleven kings followed one another at Mrauk-U in undistinguished succession.

During the whole of Minbin’s (Zabauk Shah) reign the administration of Bengal was totally defenseless. Minbin occupied Eastern Bengal and remained to Arakan for the next hundred and twenty years, till 1666. Its administration was left in the hands of twelve local rajahs, who paid an annual tribute to the Arakanese king’s Viceroyat Chittagong. In Mr. Htoon Aung Gyaw’s collection is one of Minbin’s coins. It presents a succinct commentary on the sudden rise of Arakan to importance in the Bay.

  • On one side of it is inscribed the word “Minbin” in the Burmese character.

  • On the reverse in Nagari is his Moslem title, Zabauk Shah.

  • So Arakan had turned into a Sultanate.

  • The Court was shaped in Gaur and Delhi;

  • there were the eunuchs and the seraglio, the slaves and the executioner.

  • But it remained Hinayana Buddhist. Mahamunni was still there, still fervently worshipped.

The architecture of the Period.It is Hindu, but of so unique a design. This architecture was the work of Indian builders employed by Minbin and working to his general specifications. It illustrates the cosmopolitan origins of the state of Mrauk-U, which derived from the Hindu and theBuddhist as well as from the Prortuguese and the Moslem. But it also indicates how Minbin was able to fuse diverse elements into a particular and separate style.

If Minbin founded the prosperity of Mrauk-U, Razagri, his sussessor of forty years later, may be said to have consolidated it. In 1576 central and western Bengal was definitely administered by Akbar. Hence the Arakanese in eastern Bengal found themselves on the frontier of the Moghul. There was now no buffer state between.

It was known that the Moghul regarded all Bengal as rightly his and that it was entered in his records as such. Hence it behaved Mrauk-U to guard that frontier well. But it was not feasible to do so with the regular army. Arrangements were therefore made with Portuguese mariners who had been allowed to found a trade settlement and refitting base near Chittagong. It was agreed between them and the king that they would protect the frontier against the Moghul in return for all the trade openings their position at Chittagong afforded. The king had his brother or near relative as Viceroy. Portuguese, made a dash at the city of Mrauk-U itself but they were defeated. Thus at this time, the government of Mrauk-U was strong enough to keep the Portuguese in order. Maruk-U, having turned the tables on Bengal proceeded to do the same on Burma,

This was the first and only period in its history when Arakan was able not only to repulse the Burmese but even to annex part of their country.

  • Razagiri, in alliance with Ava, took Pegu.

  • On the division of the spoils the strip up to and including Syriam and Moulmein was added to his long coastline.

  • This campaign was rendered possible by his excellent navy and Razagri in appointing the Portuguese de Brito, as Governor of Syriam was repeating the policy of the north west frontier. He depended on those mariners, in conjunction, presumably, with his own seamen,to keep his borders for him.

For a short period during the reign of Razagri,

Arakan extended from Dacca and the Sundabans to Moulmein, a coast strip of a thousand miles in length and varying from 150 to 20 miles in depth.

This considerable dominion was built up by means of the strong cosmopolitan army and navy organized by Minbin and by inducing the Portuguese outside his army of fight for him in return for trade concessions. It is difficult to conceive of a state with less reliable foundations. But during the short years of its greatness, the century from 1540 to 1640, it was brilliant and imposing.

Copying the imperial Court of Delhi, its kings adopted the title of Padshah.

The French traveller Fyiard, who was in India at the time, sums up its position in the Bay as second only to that of the Moghul. In my studies from Fra Manrique and the Arakanese MSS. I have tried to paint a picture of Arakan at this moment of its highest destiny. He depended upon his foreign mercenaries. These were ready to unmake him. The sanctity of authority was gone. Moreover the victories of previous reigns had flooded the country with Moghul, Burmese and Portuguese prisoners of war.

These were centers of discontent on which any adventurer could count. On such men counted Shuja, Aurangzebe’s elder brother, rightful Emperor of Hindustan, when he fled to Arakan after being worsted in the struggle for the imperial crown which followed the death of Shah Jahan. Only a strong national king can control an army of foreign paid soldiers.

After 1600 a change for the worse overcame the Portuguese. They became pirates.

They recruited their numbers from the halfbreeds. Yet it was on the good faith of these desperate men that the King of Mrauk-U depended for the defense of his Northwest Frontier. As the 17th century advanced, the Moghuls consolidated their administration. But Bengal remained and irritant. It was the base from which resolute pirates crossed into their domains, raiding even to Moorshedabed.

The pirate boats were manned by pure Portuguese, half-breeds and Arakanese. They seized from the riverbanks’ goods and persons. They were latter sold in Arakan, as slaves.

But it was a shortsighted policy for the kings of Arakan to annoy so strong a neighbouring State as the Moghul Empire. However, it is doubtful whether the usurping kings after Thiri-thu-dhamma attempted to control the Portuguese. They had established an independent bandit State on the Bengal border.

So intolerable a condition of affairs could not last. Moghul Sultan Aurangzebe sent to Bengal a strong Governor, Shaistah Khan with instructions to stop the piracy.

Shaistah Khan warned the Purtuguese bandits to come over to his side before he attack. They were promised the rewards greater than they had received from the king of Arakan.

In 1665 the Moghul operations took place, the huge fleet built by the Nawab, the assisted by the Dutch defeat the rest of the Portuguese fleet. When the Moghuls advanced into Arakan proper, the Arakanese army resisted them in force with success.

After the loss of Chittagong the territory of the Kingdom of Mrauk-U was reduced to the present districts of Akyab, Kyaukpyu and Sandoway.

Those areas In Lower Burma which had been won by Razagri and resumed in part by Thiri–ru-dhamma had all lapsed back to the Burmese. Arakan was now confined to its natural boundaries and was no larger than it had been two hundred and fifty years previously. There were twenty five kings of Mrauk-U during those hundred and nineteen years. The coins themselves exhibits little variations Their design is neither more not less inserving. It remains in the Mohamedan tradition of 1450 AD.The fall of Mrauk-U.

The Moghuls had ceased to an expanding power. Burma was mearly as distracted as Arakan; the English were new comers.

In 1760 the Alaungpaya dynasty had united Burma, Mrauk-U’s fate was certain. In 1782 Thaniada became king of Maruk-U and Ngathande asked Bodawpaya, king of Burma, to invade the realm.After so long a period of looking west, Arakan turned eastward again. Ngathande’s idea was that Bodawpaya would place him on the throne as a feudatory monarch.. Bodawpaya, however used Ngathande, invaded the country and reduced it to the position of an administered province, the first time in its long history that it had lost a home government of its own. It is noteworthy that when Bodawpaya decided to annex Arakan, he bowed to the old idea that the Mahamuni was the defence of that kingdom. For so many centures it had been the common belief of Further India that as long as Mahamuni was in Arakan, the country would remain independent, that Bodawpaya thought it safer to tamper with those calculations in Yadaya which were reputed to protect both the image and the realm. He therefore sent masters of that Art before his troops crossed the mountains and the formula were detected. After his victory he removed Mahamuni to Amarapura, where it now sits. This event, long prophesied and long guarded against, crushed the Arakanese more than defeat in the field. Bodawpaya’s first act was to strike a medallion in the style of the Mrauk-U coinage.The Burmese administration of Arakan. ( 1784 to 1825) Bodawpaya’s medallion.Burmese had never used coins and hence he had no model of his own. He copied therefore the Moslem design. The legend reads- “The kingdom of the Master of Amarapura and of Many White Elephants.” This is the numismatic document to the fall of Mrauk-U.It was the last coin struck in Arakan.The Burmese governor of Mrauk-U found the country in a very lawless state. One Chinbya organized a rebellion. To secure peace and maintain order the Burmese put to death some and deported others to Burma. Two hundred thousand are said to have fled to India.In her previous connections with outside states Arakan had always been the gainer. As feudatory to Pagan she had received the Little Vehicle and learnt her present alphabet. As feudatory to Bengal she had laid the foundations of her great age. But administered as a governorship by the Burmese of the 18th century, she had nothing to gain for the Burmese had nothing to teach a country which for centuries had been in touch with the world of thought and action through the Moslem Sultanates at a time when Burma herself was isolated and backward. But an extraordinary turn of events had changed the face of India since the fall of Chittagong in 1666. The Moghuls had disappeared and their place had been taken by the English. They became irritated with the Burmese in 1824 because of frontier raids. The Burmese were not aware that the English, the masters of Hindustan represented a more modern polity than their own. The Arakanese, however, were better informed. For just as Min Saw Mwan realised in 1430 that the Sultanate of Bengal was a polity in the van of the world’s thought and would be able to drive the Burmese out of Arakan and restore him, so the Arakanese of 1824 perceived that the English were moderns and that the Burmese could not resist them. Accordingly they sided enthusiastically with them and facilitated in every way the English occupation of Arakan in 1825. When the Burmese had fled and Mrauk-U was occupied by the English, the Arakanese expected that the history of 1430 would be repeated and that an Arakanese prince would be placed on the throne.The significance of the English administration of Arakan. 1825 to 1929. Conclusion.The rhythm of the history of Arakan is that of a dancer who sways now to the East and now to the West. Rarely has she stood Upright.AUTHORITIS CONSULTED1.Mr. Tun Aung Gyaw’sArakanese coins, arranged, translated and annotated by Mr. San Shwe Bu.
2.The True Chronicle of the Great Image. An Arakanese MSS. translated by Mr. San Shwe Bu.
3.Notes from private Arakanese MSS. placed at my disposal by Mr. San Shwe Bu.
4.Lecture by Mr. Htoon Chan, Bar-at-law. Printed in “Arakan News” of May 1916.
5.The coins of India. P. Brown.
6.Coinages of Asia. S. Allan.
7.The Palas of Bengal, Banerji
8.Early History of India. V. Smith.
9.Travels of Fa-Hein. Edited by Giles.
10.Padre Maestro Fray Seb. Manrique (Translated in Bengal Past and Present).
11.Shihabuddin Talish. Persian MS. Translated by Sarkar.
12.The Glass Palace Chronicle. Tin and Luce.
13.History of Bengal, Stewari.
14.Musaimans of Bengal. Fuzli Rubbee.
15.Outline of Burmese History. Harvey.
16.Catalogue of Coins in Phayre Provincial Museum.
17.Reportof Superintendent, Archaeoligical Survey, Burma, fortheyears 1917,1921,1922 and1923.
18.From Akbar to Aurangzebe. Moreland.
History of the Portuguese in Bengal. Campos.
19.Coins of Arakan, of Pegu and of Burma. (In Numisman Orientalia) Sir Arthur Phayre.