(Sittwe, 2 January 2014): The Arakanese community across the world remembered the 229th anniversary of the Fall of Arakan Kingdom and Arakanese sovereignty with a call for unity among the Arakanese armed groups.
The memorial ceremonies were held in several parts of Arakan as well as in various places of Thailand, Malaysia and the USA on December 31 last.
Mentionable is that on 31st December 1784, the Arakan lost its sovereignty to the Burmese king Bodawpura. Thus it became a part of Burmese territory. The Arakanese refer to 31 December as a Black Day, because the day witnessed the fall of Arakan to the Burmese invaders who initially occupied Mrauk U palace. The invaders even burned the Arakanese king’s palace after deposing the ruler.
From 1784 to 1826, the Arakan region was ruled by the Burmese kings. Later the British forces invaded the eastern part of India with the present day Burmese localities and finally conquered the entire region through Yandabu Agreement in 1826. The British ruled Arakan and also the whole Burma till 1942. Then the Japanese took control over Arakan and Burma from 1942 to 1945. The British forces regained the region in 1945 and continued to rule till Burma got independence in 1948. Since then Arakan remains a part of Burma, officially known as Union of Myanmar, ruled by the successive Burmese regimes.
In the USA, the ceremonies were held in Chicago, Iowa and Georgia where over 200 Arakanese were present. The participants urged the Arakan based armed groups namely Arakan Liberation Army and Arakan Army to get united with a solo entity to carry out activities for the interest of Arakan and its people. The ceremonies in the USA were organized two days before the actual date, as it was a holiday there.
Ko Kyaw Htoo Aung, an organizer of Chicago event said that Arakan was a sovereign country until 1784. After the Burmese king’s invasion the region and its people went under one colony to another.
“Even though Burma regained independence from the British in 1948, our people remained sufferers as the Burmese rulers continued ignoring our people’s plight,” added Ko Kyaw Htoo Aung.
He also added that the unity among all sections in the Arakanese society is very crucial for the overall development of the State and its habitants. The fall of Arakan in 1784 was a result of disintegration among the Arakanese people, which they should not repeat to achieve their collective goal, he asserted.
Many speakers in the ceremonies pointed out that though Arakan is a natural resources rich State, it is still a poor province of Burma. They also urged the Burmese government to ensure the development process in Arakan State to continue without interruption.
Several towns of Arakan namely Pauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk U, Sittwe, Buthidaung, Maumgdaw etc witnessed the memorial ceremonies. A woman leader from Minbya, who arranged the ceremony in her place, also echoed similar version about Arakan’s fall and the need of unity among all sections in the Arakanese society.
The authorities in Arakan did not allow the people to organize the ceremony since Burma got independence. The subsequent Burmese regimes banned such ceremonies inside the country. But this time it has shown the gesture and the Arakanese remembered their glorious days.