The Right To Life: The Brutal Treatment Of Rohingyas In Myanmar

Posted on August 14, 2012 in Society

By Karthik Ganesh:

As I set down to type this article after having a bath and performing my daily prayers like a chaste Tamil Brahmin, I begin to wonder how my religious practices have played a pivotal role in shaping my identity in the society. Identity, an action that is conscious by itself, paves way for a human being to seek recognition for his deeds and gives him the integral assurance of his contribution to the society. The value of identity often comes with purpose of life and is such a crucial affair that it mustn’t be rushed into.

But, alarmingly in the modern day world, identity has taken a backseat for Rohingyas: a 750,000 strong group of Bengali Muslims who migrated to Western Myanmar in 1948. Rohingyas have been stripped of their identity and have been declared stateless by an official statement of the Myanmar Government under the ambit of a 1982 rule. This ruling has created an outright disparity against the Rohingyas in Myanmar with them being prevented from travelling freely inside the country, serving in state positions of work and attending higher education institutions. There have also been accounts of them being subjected to violence and public malevolence.

The Myanmar Government has justified their stand by following the principle of jus sanguinis which in the essence claims that citizenship is not determined by place of birth but by having one or both parent who are citizens of the nation. They went to proclaim that Rohingyas are natural residents of Bangladesh who fled from their nation. Instead of rushing to the aid of Rohingyas, the Bangladeshi Government issued an official statement declaring that Rohingyas were never the residents of their nation. And in this stalemate policy war of giving recognition between two nations, Rohingyas have borne the back brunt of the blame game and are literally living an identity less life.

Even though the world has progressed in terms of technology it has definitely regressed in giving importance to the quality of life. The basic requirements to be fulfilled by any government are food, clothing and shelter. We are hardly ever disconcerted by the fact of living an identity less life. Identity is the basic human right of any being in a society with the adherence to its norms and conditions. Rohingyas are innocent souls living in a prison that stretches from Bangladesh to Myanmar where they scrounge for basic necessities of life and are enforced to physical violence for no apparent fault of theirs.

The onus is on the Government to understand the importance of quality of life of people for the nation’s overall development. They have the moral obligation of providing the basic demand of providing proper recognition and identity to a group of people who have been born and brought up there and have contributed with their work to the nation’s economy. An old saying goes as “Every cloud has a silver lining”. Let us hope that this dark cloud cast on Rohingyas soon showers down as the pleasant hope-filled droplets of rain.

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Such issues do prevail in many parts of the World. I agree with you that living in a stateless / identity less situation is terrible to say the least. However if you trace back the origin everything starts with some dispute within the society causing one to migrate from one place to another.

Take the recent example of the Hindus from Pakistan coming into India seeking asylum. We can not accept them. But they get into India with tourist visa & do not go back. They hid themselves from the police by moving around he country. Over a period of time the numbers grow they end up stateless.

You have such scenarios like South Americans moving into US, east European citizens moving to UK, Germany etc. Exodus of people from Sri Lanka into Tamil Nadu, Australia etc. also falls under this.

When the issue starts, it is emotional. But the focus shifts as time moves on & some other issue crops up & these people get forgotten.



We are moved by the plight of Rohingyas. Have we ever thought of the plight of Kashmiri Hindus rather Pandits being stateless in own country and state. There are thousands who have fled their homes in search of a habitat. Terrorism is definitely not the answer to the problem. Yes the Rohingyas need resettlement . It needs human guts to confront the problem and humanity in equal doses. Time has the answer.


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