By Aman Ullah
Arakan Muslims Kheouk or Headman appointed to the charge of Division
By Aman Ullah
On April 26, 1826, the then Sub Commissioner of Arakan sent a report to the George Swinton Esquire, Secretary to Government in the Secret and Political Department Fort William, on the cultures and inhabitants of Arakan.
According to that report, it was mentioned that: –
“The province of Arracan exclusive of the capital includes 55 village Divisions or Districts, each District or Division containing according to its size from 2 to 60 Paras, or small villages, each division is placed under the control of a Sirdar (Division Head)who is held responsible for the good conduct of the Paradas of his division, who are generally appointed by the suffrage of the villages.
The Town of Arracan was divided by the Burmese into eight wards according with the number of outlets from the fortifications, each ward had its own police, but all were placed under the Moosoogree and Acherong of the city, who received the daily reports of any complaint was preferred not cognizable by them it—was referred to the judicial court, consisting of the Akonwan (collector of land revenue) Akonwon(Collector of port customs), two Cheekaydos (law officers) and two Nakhandos (royal reporters). lf the case could not be settled by them, an appeal was made to the Rajah whose decision was final in all cases, not affecting the officers of the state, or Kheonks of village Divisions, who had the privilege of appealing to the Shaway hlwoldo or court of the king in council.
The province of Ramree including Amherst islands is divided into 25 village Divisions, the province of Sandaway contains 17 village divisions, the island of Cheduba has always been considered as one district and contains 10 paras, the provinces of Ramree, Sandaway and Cheduba had each a Deputy Governor but all were subordinate to the Rajah of Arracan.”
In that letter there was also mentioned about Mr. Robertson’s settlement of the province of Arracan and its dependencies. According to it the following Arakanese Muslim were appointed as Kheouk or Headman appointed to the charge of Division.
1. Sheikh Junoo, a Mussalman of the province of Arracan; This man has been for upwards of a twelve month past attached to the Artillery as head man of the coolies required in the Magazine; he is a relation of Sooja Kazee and formerly lived in his village, but having sided with Khyng Berring was obliged to seek refuge at Har Bang in the Chittagong District.
2. Lal Mohammed and Alle Mohammed, the former thanadars of Arracan.
3. lbrahim – an Araracan Mussalman; This man is an old inhabitant of the village and rendered considerable service to the army in its advance, he has since been appointed by captain Drummond asst. 2 Wn. Genl. to the Head of the lntelligence Dept. and has been invested with the charge of this village as a reward for past and an incentive to future Exertions.
4. Sheikh Soojah- Acherung, – an Arracan Mussalman; This man is a distant collateral relation of Soojah Kazee and is a person of considerable influence amongst the Mussalman of the province, during the Burmese rule he was entrusted with the Management of a large Division of the province, his father is at Umrapoorah where he holds a situation in the King’s household’ These circumstances have rendered his profession to the British government obnoxious to suspicion which however, his conduct has not on the whole afforded any sufficient reason for regarding as well-founded, he is a man of intelligence and Possessed of great information relative to the province and the Burmese Empire in general; he has resided at the capitals of both states and is better acquainted with their respective powers and resources than any other Person in the province.
5. Ameer Allee, a remigrant Mussulman from Cox’s Bazar where he was from some time employed in the subsidiary Police establishment. This person was interpreter to Brigadier Gen. Morrison. The village was held under the Burmese by Soojah Acherung who voluntarily resigned it to the present occupant.
6. Soojah Acherung and Ameer Ali; This village is divided between the two Kheonks.
7. Mohamed Haneef allas Bong Naproo – an Arracan Mussalman; This man has been head of this village for the last 30 years he was a Sardar under the Burmese but joined our camp between the 29thMarch- 21st of April 1825.
8. Hassan Allee- an Arracan Mussalman; This man was sword bearer to the Rajah of Arracan it was at this village the army encamped on the 29th March.
9. Shawayoo Alias sheik Omr Khutob – An Arracan Mussalman; This man was employed by the Burmese as Acherang he is now an interpreter in the police court.
10. Meer Mohamed Ally Alias MongLa -an Arracan Mussalman; This man at various times held responsible situation under the Burmese government, he was attached latterly to the King of Ava’s Raja Gooroo’s suite but having been ill treated by the Gooroo he left him was entertained as an interpreter in the police, He is intelligent and possesses a fund of information and has always conducted himself much to the satisfaction of the Sub Commissioner.
11. UbidulKareem & Napfroo; This is the only Mussalman in the village, of the Sirdars the first was appointed by Lieutt. Coll. Murray the second has been associated with him at the request of the villagers.
12. Sheikh,Soojah Kazee -An Arracan Mussalman; This individual whose name must be familiar to government is regarded at the chief of all the Mussalman in Arracan, under the Burmese he held by a tenure Somewhat similar to that of a Jageerdar in Hindoostan nearly one third of the province. Such a sovereignty it would have been impolite and unjust to allow him to retain, but it was at the same time expedient to prevent his feeling being hurt at the change of ruler, and therefore an extensive and fertile portion of the District has been left under his charge.
13. Nambochay; In this Mahilla there are twenty Burmese, thirty Musslaman and two hundred Mugh house holders, it was formerly chiefly peopled by Mussalman and on that account is now placed under the charge of a person that tribe.
Among the Mug Headmen only 10 headmen were from Arakan Mug and the rest were either immigrant Mugs or re-immigrant Mugs where most of them were from Ramoo. Some Burma Headmen and a Portuguese Headman were also among them.
The population of Arakan at that time was also mentioned in that report. The population of Arracan and its dependencies Ramree, Cheduba & Sandaway does not at present exceed 100,00 souls, may be classed as follow—
– Mughs six tenths
– Mussalman three tenths Total 100,000 Souls
– Burmese One tenth
The followings are Mr. Robertson’s settlement of the province of Arracan and its dependencies.