Racial Discrimination against Burmese Indians


Racial Discrimination against Burmese Indians

Numerous acts of discrimination were conducted against Indians in Burma, bot by the British as well as the local populations. This is an ongoing issue that is yet to be resolved.

Anti-Indian Riots

British Official White Paper

This paragraph's basic facts are taken from Maurice Collis' "Trials in Burma". He was the judge in Rangoon, eyewitness of the riots, and wrote his book based on the British Official White Paper given by The Simon Commission (The Royal Statutory Commission, appointed according to the Law of the Government of India 1919, The Montague-Chelmsford Law.) [Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma]

Anti Indian sentiments

Anti Indian sentiments started after the First World War during the British rule. [Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 32] In Burma there were half million Muslims in 1921. More than half of Indians were Indian Muslims. [Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 29 paragraph 1 and foot note 1. Page 31 line 1, 2, 11] Although Myanmar Muslims are different from the Indian Muslims and Indian Myanmar Muslims, Burmese Buddhists put them together even mixed with Hindu Indians, and called them Kala. [Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma]

The root of this hatred was_ [Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma] [Moshe Yegar, Muslims of Burma, page 111, paragraph 4, line 8 to 15. Page 27, paragraph 4, line 5,6,7. Page 31 paragraph 2. Page 32 paragraph 4]

#Different in religion.
#Basic anti foreigner feelings.
#Low standard of living of the recent migrants.
#Recent migrants willingness to do, Dirty, Difficult and Dangerous jobs.
#Indians took over the Burmese lands especially Chittiers.
#Indians had already filled up and monopolized the government services when the Burmese were later ready for those jobs.
#Professional competition.
#World economic recession of 1930 aggravated the competition for the reduced economic pie.

1930 anti-Indian riots

In 1930 there was an anti-Indian riots in Burma under British rule.

The problem started in Yangon port, because of the irresponsible action of the British firm of Stevedores. It had employed hundreds of Indian labourers. While those Indians were on strike, that firm had employed the Burmese workers just to break the strike. So the Indians had to give in and ended the strike. Next morning when the Burmese workers came and report for work they were told by the British firm that their service was no more needed. Some of the Indian workers who were angry because they had to end the strike at failure because of these Burmese workers laughed at them. Some Burmese workers were angry and started the fight and Indians retaliate. It grew rapidly into anti Indian (including anti Muslims) riots. Even within the first half-hour at least two hundred Indians were massacred and flung into the river. Authorities ordered the police to fire upon any assembly of five or more who refuse to lay down the arms, under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. That was a black day of 26 May. Within two days it spread to the whole country and no one knew the exact causality. [Maurice Collis, Trials in Burma]

Anti Muslim riots in 1938

There was another anti Muslim riots in 1938, while still under British rule. The real basic hidden agenda was aimed at British Government but the Burmese dare not show this openly. The growing Nationalistic sentiments fanned by the local media disguised as anti Muslim to avoid the early detection and notice followed by the full blown force of mighty British Government machinery.Throughout the Burmese struggles against British rule, all the political issues, movements, meetings, demonstrations, riots, rebellions and even the revolutions were instigated, inspired, influenced and led by newspapers. [Democratic Voice of Burma, Media conference (July 19-20, Oslo) Burmese Media: Past, present and future by U Thaung (Mirror/Kyae Mon news paper Retired Chief Editor)] [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 32 paragraph 4.Page 36, paragraph 1, line 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15]

Burma for Burmese Campaign

Burmese started the Burma for Burmese only Campaign. Then marched to the Muslim (Surti) Bazar. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 36, paragraph 3.] While the Indian Police broke the violent demonstration, three monks were hurt. Burmese Newspapers use the pictures of Indian police attacking the Buddhist monks to further incite the spread of riots. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 36, paragraph 4. Page 37, line 1,2] Muslim properties: shops, houses and mosques were looted, destroyed and burnt to ashes. They assaulted and even massacred the Muslims. It spreads to all over Burma and recorded that 113 mosques were damaged. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 37, paragraph 2.]

The Inquiry Committee by British

On 22.9.38. British Governor set up the Inquiry Committee. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, line 1] They found out that the real cause was the discontent in the government regarding the deterioration in sociopolitical and economic conditions of Burmans. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, paragraph 2] The book was used as an inciting factor by the irresponsible Burmese newspapers. [Muslims of Burma” A study of a minority Group, by Moshe Yegar,Page 38, paragraph 2, line 12,13,14] They use the anti Muslim propaganda as a disguise to cover up for the political struggle to gain independence.So the Buddhist used the Muslims as a scapegoat, for the first time, to fight against the British.

The Simon Commission (The Royal Statutory Commission, appointed according to the Law of the Government of India1919, The Montague-Chelmsford Law) to inquire the effects of Dyarchy system of ruling Burma, had recommended that special places be assigned to the Myanmar Muslims in the Legislative Council.

It recommended that full rights of citizenship should be guaranteed to all the minorities: the right of free worship, the right to follow their own customs, the right to own property and to receive a share of the public revenues for the maintenance of their own educational and charitable institutions. It recommended Home Rule or independent government separate from India or the status of dominion.

But the British Government refused to accept all those recommended except the separation, at the round table committee on India held in London in 1930.

After Independence

King Dragon expelling Rohingyas

While preparing for that Citizenship Act, General Ne Win expelled some of the Arakan Rohingya Muslims in an operation, code named-‘King Dragon’. There are still some refugees in Bangladesh and some of them have set up anti-Rangoon groups to fight for self-determination. About 60,000 of Muslims have since migrated to Saudi Arabia where they were greeted with open arms as brothers-in-Islam. [Newsletter WAMY World Assembly of Muslim Youth Movement, Riyad Saudi Arabia]

Massacre of Indian Shans

--- the sort of fighting and bloody killings that took place between 1812-19 when the Burmese kings of Mandalay tried to conquer and subdue the Shan Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula's troops committed indescribable cruelties and barbarities as to decimate something like 2/3 of the population and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys - disemboweling them, eating their flesh and burning them alive in cages to intimidate and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam,India. [History of Assam by Sir Edward Gaits.]

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British. Before that from about 1220 - 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao 568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion. [“DIALOGUE WITH A SHAN LEADER, H.R.H HSO KHAN PHA” . Tiger Yawnghwe or His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Pha; he is the eldest son of Sao Shwe Thaik, the former Saopha [Prince] of Yawnghwe [Nyaung-Shwe] and the first President of Burma after Burma's Independence from British colonial rule. Interview with Dr Tayza, Chief Editor of Burma Digest.] [http://www.tayzathuria.org.uk/bd/2006/2/12/dialouge.htm] Burmese translation of above interview_ [http://www.tayzathuria.org.uk/bd/2007/2/11/b/soab.htm]

ee also

*Burmese Indians

References


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