Thursday, February 7, 2013

Buddhism in Arakan:Theories and Historiography of the Religious Basis of Ethnonyms

Michael W. Charney
of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS], University of London
Interest in Rakhaing (Arakan), has resurged after a considerable period in which few studies appeared outside ofMyanmar (Burma).1 This newly found interest, at least newly found in terms of foreign scholars, is indicated in the numerous studies which have appeared since the early 1990s and in the holding of the present workshop. One frequently discussed topic that has not yet yielded a satisfactory conclusion, is the association between religious identity and local ethnonyms, which is the subject of the present paper.
“Rakhaing" (Arakanese) used as both an ethnonym and as a geographical and politicaI name for the littoral and the district on the eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal, has become inexbicably associated in the prevailing scholarly and popular literature with a Buddhist identity. As one Rakbaing scholar, U Tha Hla, has recently

The etymology of Arakan, Rohingya and Rakhine

By Mohamed Ashraf Alam

ARAKAN is the modern name, in the ancient times the country was known as Rohang or Rakhapura or Rakhaingpryi. The Rohingya Muslims of Arakan played a glorious role in the establishment and consolidation of the great Arakanese Empire known as Mrauk-U Empire. Unfortunately for us this part of history has been subjected to utter negligence. As a result, the glorious chapter of the history of the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan has up till now remained unexplored. In the previous chapter we have discussed the geographical features of Arakan. In this chapter, we are going to discuss first the population and people of Arakan and then the etymology of Arakan, Rohang, Rohingya, Rakhine and the Magh. Then we will discuss the historical background of Rohingya Muslims of