#Rohingya #society: Past and Present
Mutual respect is very important to maintain peace in a society, we need to refuse receiving or repeating rumors, extend only positive approaches, speak up on behalf of others, and avoid hurtful words. A word can brighten or blacken the face of a person who knows the value of words.
Human ideologies and faiths should serve the life of human society, morality, and progress. Faiths bring honor, peace, and self-respect of people in a society. Belief in resurrection, hereafter, or afterlife, demonstrates vital consequences for the life of society because it is fundamental to the society, personal life, happiness, prosperity and achievement. It can restrain people from aggression, oppression, destruction and ensure the tranquility of the society.
In the history of human societies and civilizations, we can find good and evil, dirty and clean, light and dark side by side. Society should take what is pleasant and leave what is distressing and turbid for the tranquility of the society.
Rohingya had a remarkable society based on Fara or village, Muhallah or ward, quarter, and Aelaka, town or township area. Rohingya society is called Samaaj or Samaaji which has a Sardar or leader but Sardar has no right to make any decision without consultation of respected members of the society.
For every particular event or incident, Sardar calls on Samaaj, respected members, discuss with them and makes decision. There are three types of consultations in Rohingya’s Samaaj society:
1. Firstly, Pan-Salla which is particularly for marriage and engagement; pan means betel-pan, and Salla means discussion. In this consultation, the host provides at least tea and betel-pan. Chewing betel-pan is Rohingya’s custom as well as Burmese custom. In the past, elders didn’t allow younger generation chewing betel-pan like now, only elderly people could chew.
2. Second type of consultation is Salla-Mashuwara; Salla means discussion and Mashuwara means suggestions. This type of consultation is held whenever society need to make an urgent decision for a particular event such as building a road or a bridge, appoint a new Imam in the Mosque, need help for the progress of the village etc.
3. The third type of consultation is called Bisaar, some people call it Insaaf. Bisaar means “decide and give just right”If a person want to claim his or her right from another person or group, he or she appeal Sardar to organize Samaaj , make a right decision, and announce the society. This type of consultation is held based on condition, urgent or delayit .
Rohingya Samaaj society was a solidarity which emphasized on unity, equality, justice and peace. Every year Rohingya need to change their roof of their house. In the past, they didn’t hire any particular carpenter or worker to build house or change old roofs oftheir houses with new one. Villagers helped for changing new roof stichednipa leaves into thatch.
From ancient time to 1970, Rohingya Samaaj society could make decisions to for the benefit of the society. During colonial period, British didn’t abolish Samaaj society, British took advantages of it.
Dictator Ne Win banned all activities of Samaaj in 1970 and started persecution regime has been persecuting Rohingya since 1970s, deprived all fundamental rights of Rohingya since 1970s that cause 1000s of Rohingya refugee all over the world.
Under persecution, oppression and restriction of Burmese regime, Rohingya people could not keep Samaaj society in active. Slowly percentage of educated person decreased that brought three main diseases into Rohingya society: ignorance, poverty and disunity.
Before British colonialism, there was no systematic education; no school, no university. British missionary groups built schools in the whole Burma. Before British colonialism and under British control, Rohingya learnt all social, moral, ethical and religious knowledge from Mali-saaf, religious person in Madrasa as Magh and Burmese learnt in the monasteries.
Until 1970, Rakhine were called Magh or Mog or Mugh, dictator Ne Win changed Magh to Rakhine, Arakan to Rakhine Sate, Akyab to sittwe, in order to conceal the reality.
Since 1970s, Rohingya’s diaspora started and Rohingya scattered all over the world. 1000s of Rohingya moved to central Burma because of persecution by authority since 1970s. After genocidal violence of June and October 2012, Rohingya in Arakan state of Burma,divided into three dire groups:
1. Rohingya whose houses were burnt down, properties were looted, relatives were killed, and brought into concentration camps, UN organizations and other INGOs provide rice and bean for them.
2. Rohingya who left their houses as military and police asked them to save their lived. They were helped by the villagers first 1-2months, later when villagers couldn’t help they became unregistered refugees who gets no aids from any organizations.
3. Rohingya who have houses, animals and properties, no Rakhine attacked them, but military and security forces block them on security excuses. In this group, there are three types of people:
a) Rich people, who have properties, can help people, and active, up to 4-6 months after violence, most of them became poor and can’t help other people. Some of them were arrested by police; some of them gave bribes to the security forces and went to Yangon or sailed to aboard.
b) Middle class people, who had business or farm lands, most of them became poor and semi-starving; some of them have their family members aboard who send some money for them to survive.
c) Workers, labors who hardly earned their income before, now, because of blockage, they are starving.
International communities should put pressure on Myanmar government to lift blockage immediately restore Rohingya’s own places and rights, help them academically, socially and financially. Rohingya are essential human resource of Burma who can serve building democratic and human right as infrastructure of Burma. Diversity is not main cause of Burma, State policy and discretionary laws are the main causes of all violence and #Genocide against #Christians and #Rohingya.