Here we call them Bangla. You can’t tell them apart from Rohingya.
Most outsiders are unable to differentiate a Rohingya from a Bengali (Bangladeshi). The only people able to do so are those from Chittagong, i.e. the Bangladesh division where Cox’s Bazar is located.
“With only minor differences in language and appearance, the average Bangladeshi cannot readily distinguish a Rohingya from a Bangladeshi.” — HRW
The passage underlined in red above is from a Human Rights Watch year 2000 report on the sectarian conflict in Arakan (Rakhine).
Rakhine state in Burma borders the Bengal region in neighbouring Bangladesh. The Bengal region provides the root word for the ‘Bangla’ country name (see historical explanation at the bottom of this page).
Updated note: I’ve been made to understand that in Bengali, the ‘Bengal’ that we know – বাংলা – is pronounced Bānlā.
Therefore my preceding sentence in this paragraph has been clarified and amended.
Bangladesh means ‘Land of Bengal’.
You cannot blame the Burmese for insisting to term the Rohingya ethnic as ‘Bengali’.
Section 44(c) of the Burma Citizenship Law 1982 says that to apply for naturalization, the person “must be able to speak well one of the national languages”.
Rohingya speak Bengali which is not one of the national languages of Myanmar. In fact, the Rohingya cannot speak any of the national languages well (see below), according to government findings.
Underlined in red above – click to enlarge – are passages from a 2013 state commission of inquiry report into Rakhine’s sectarian violence.
The commission believed Rohingya (from the townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw surveyed) cannot live peacefully with the Burmese majority. The reason for this is because the Rohingya lean to Bangladesh in their loyalty.
In any case, these Rohingya have already fled to Bangladesh in the exodus (2012 and 2017).
According to September 2020 data provided by UNHCR, 66 percent of Rohingya refugees in the Chittagong camps come from Maungdaw while 24 percent of them are from Buthidaung.
BELOW: Rohingya population factsheet jointly prepared by the UN and Bangladesh
The British really screwed up their colonies
Burma’s nationality law pegs 1823 as its baseline year for citizenship. In other words, if a person’s ancestors were settled in the country before 1823, then he qualifies to be a citizen.
This red line year is vital. Burma came under British rule in 1824 after the omputih invaders won their first war of conquest.
Rohingya migrated to Arakan to work in the colonial economy following the British occupation.
Since both India and Burma were colonies, population transfer across their land border was not difficult, and served to benefit the British Raj.
There is a span of roughly 158 years between 1824 and 1982, i.e. the year Burma’s citizenship law was passed.
One generation is traditionally counted as 30 years. Therefore Rohingya in 1982 could be anywhere between third and fifth generation.
Burma required the Rohingya to be able to speak Burmese in order to be accepted as citizens.
In 2000, the human rights NGO observed that the Bengali-speaking Rohingya still cannot be distinguished from a Bangladeshi.
In 2013, Myanmar authorities found that the Rohingya cannot speak well the Burmese language and appeared more loyal to Bangladesh.
In 2021, we can see that the Rohingya hate that which the Burmese love, i.e. Aung San Suu Kyi.
The NGOs will be putting pressure on us to open our door again to an influx of Rohingya.
Do you think the Rohingya will love that which we love?
Divided after British rule: Two Bengals, two Punjabs, two Kashmirs
The republic of Bangladesh was founded in 1971. Before that the country was one half of Pakistan — i.e. East Pakistan.
East Pakistan was created upon East Bengal.
West Bengal remains a state in eastern India, bordering Bangladesh. The Bengalis in India are Hindu.
• West Bengal → India → Hindu Bengali
• East Bengal → Bangladesh → Muslim Bengali (‘Bangla’)
Punjab too was split into two, partitioned by the Radcliffe Line.
British colonial administrator Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew his line in 1947 on the basis of religious demography … Muslims go to the left, non Muslims go to the right.
• West Punjab → Pakistan → Muslim Punjabi
• East Punjab → India → Sikh Punjabi, Hindu Punjabi
Northern Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan. Southern Kashmir is controlled by India. Both parts are divided by a 450 mile-long line of control (LoC) manned by the military on both sides.
Calcutta was the capital of the British Raj and trading post for the East India Company. Kolkata – as the port city is called today – faces the Bay of Bengal.