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Every effort has a purpose. Our effort is to catch the precious souls of our history. History is the mirror of life and measure of its performance. It reflects human life in all its passing phases and evaluates its works through ages. History upholds the great romance of human experience in the past. It is through this mirror that other can know of people who can as well know themselves through this mirror and also guide themselves properly. The correct assessment of a people’s past history determines the pace of its present progress and shape of its future. Great majority of youngsters here and everywhere is running almost bankrupt of wisdom and knowledge of history. Efforts are needed to arrest the tide of degeneration.

We are at the doorstep of welcoming the 25th year (1975-2000) of its founding and the Society has decided to bring to the books its past history. The Souvenir 1999 is one of the small efforts of the Society where we tried to elaborate its history, activities and remembrance of the past. We will understand it a success if it inspires us to serve with dedication for the cause of humanity and betterment of the community.  

What is A.H.S

Arakan Historical Society (A.H.S), Chittagong, Bangladesh is a Research and Welfare Organisation operating in Bangladesh since 1975. Registered under the Societies Registration Act. XXI of 1860, it is a research-oriented organisation whose membership is open to all like-minded Bangladeshi Rohingyas.

The Formation of A.H.S

The trend of inflow of peoples, once upon a time, into Arakan (also known as Rohang) took a reverse turn from the forties of the century. Since then, the influx of the Arakanese, mostly Rohingya Muslims, into Bangladesh continue unabated through different routes. The uprooted Rohingya always felt to have an organisation of their own to ventilate their guineas.   

 In the early 1975, some Rohingya philanthropists in Bangladesh took to the formation of a body for studying and apprising of the past history of Arakan to it’s present plight with a view to surfacing it’s blissful and happy by-gone and other welfare activities. Hajee M.A Kalam, Advocate Moulana Shafique Ahmed and Hajee Fazal Ahmed were commissioned for the noble task, with the assistance of Hajee Zahir Ahmed and Mr. Shuna Ali.       

The three gentlemen invited all Rohingyas residing mainly in Chittagong for suggestion and their participation. The first meeting of A.H.S was thus, held on 20th September 1975 at No. 20, Islam Colony, Asadgonj, Chittagong. Advocate Moulana Shafique Ahmed presided the meeting. In the meeting, the name of the Society as “Arakan Historical Society”, in short “A.H.S” was proposed and all the attending members unanimously accepted the name. The meeting resolved to form an 11 member Executive Committee of A.H.S. Advocate Moulana Shafique Ahmed was elected as the President, Hajee Fazal Ahmed Vice-President, and Mohammed Eliyas as General Secretary and Haji M.A Kalam as Treasurer of the Society. Master Wazi Ullah was Executive Secretary of A.H.S.  Master Mahmudul Hassan, Advocate Shamsuddin Ahmed, Alhaj Ezar Chowdhury, Haji Zahir Ahmed, Hajee Saleh Ahmed, Hajee Abul Hussein, Hajee Sayeddur Rahman, Hajee Ahmed Kabir, Master Habib Ullah, Master Shuna Ali, Hajee Abul Faiz, Hajee Mohammed Osman, Mr. Abdul Rashid, Mr. Mohammed Yunus, Hajee Osman Joher, Master Ahmed, Mr. Sajjad Hussein, Mr. Sirajul Mustafa, Mvi. Mohammed Ismail, Hajee Zakaria, Mr. Saifulmuluk Chowdhury, Moulana Muzaffer Ahmed and etc. were active members of A.H.S.

Since its inception in 1975, Arakan Historical Society has been performing various activities such as conducting research projects, organising seminars, symposium and awarding stipend and assistance to the poor and meritorious students. It is also providing financial assistance to the poor and deserving persons for marriage, funeral purpose; medical treatment, self-employment programs and all other social services. The Society is a non-political and non-profitable Research and Welfare Society. Generous donations and endowments of persons interested in arts and letters support the Society. .


Aims and objects

1.      The object of the Society is to promote the knowledge of history of Arakan, Chittagong, Bangladesh and Burma in particular and the World in general.

2.      To organise conferences, seminars, symposiums and invite eminent scholars at intervals for larger interest of the Society.

3.      To undertake writing and publishing of Articles, Books and Journals on the History of Arakan, Chittagong, Bangladesh and Burma.

4.      To establish and maintain Reading Room, Library and Research Centre.

5.      To work with the Muslim Ummah in promoting Islam throughout the world.

6.      To render social services for destitute, aged and infirm.

7.      To award scholarships and to give stipends to deserving students of member families for higher studies in medicine, engineering and in other fields of science and technology, social science and commerce.

8.      To provide social assistance to the poor and deserving persons for marriage, funeral purposes and medical treatment.

9.      To organise indoor and outdoor games & sports.

10.  To render arbitration for non-cognisable matters if any member seeks so.

11.  To distribute relief materials and alms among the poor particularly during the time of natural calamities.

12.  To aid the Rohingya refugees.

13.  To distribute winter and Eid clothing to the poor.

14.  To distribute Iftar and Sehri food during the month of Ramadan and Vermicelli (Sami) and sugar on Eidul-Fitr.

15.  To aid the sick, disabled and crippled.

16.  To receive donations in cash and kind for any of the objects mentioned above and for the purpose of promoting knowledge of History of Arakan, Bangladesh, Burma and India, from any individual or private institution or from any firm or companies, etc.

17.  To purchase or take on lease or exchange or otherwise acquire, possess lands or buildings or houses for fulfillment of any of the above-mentioned objects and to let out any portion of those buildings or houses.

18.  To establish premises for social gatherings

19.  To do all other things that are in identical or conducive to the attainment of the cherished objects of the Society.

20.  To create reserve and invest surplus funds profitably.

21.  To render assistance to the other Societies working with similar objectives.

22.  To render assistance for small-case economic projects that help create self-employment facilities.

23.  To arrange Quran-Khani and Milad Mafil from time to time.

24.  The fund made up of membership fees, donations, alms and etc. shall be used for the materialisation of its objective only.



 At present the Society is located at Eneses Chamber, No. 1102, Nur Ahmed Road, Chittagong, Bangladesh.     



In any organisation, it is the men who make it a living one, and make its mark in the space-time continuum. The Arakan Historical Society is no exception. The Society is run by its own statues and is administered by an Executive Committee (E.C) elected once every two years. The required numbers of E.C members are elected by the General members of the Society in its Biennial General Meeting who then elect one President, two Vice-Presidents, one General Secretary, one Joint-Secretary and one Treasure.

Applications for membership are proposed and seconded by two E.C members of Arakan Historical Society in prescribed forms. The application is then vetted by a scrutiny Committee. Applications deemed eligible are then forwarded to the Executive Committee. The E.C in its regular monthly meeting approves the membership of the applicants. On having been approved by the E.C, the applicant pays the admission fee and membership fee as stipulated by the E.C of the Society. There are 10,230 members including 250 Life Members and more than one lakh supporters and patrons.

All business of the Society is transacted at two levels: E.C Meetings and Biennial General Meeting. The E.C normally meets once a month and all matters relating to the management of the Society are presented and approved. Vital decisions like approval of new memberships, appointing new staff, shifts in current policies, proposal for amendment of the bylaws; allocation and disbursement of the funds for various departmental projects are taken at the monthly E.C Meeting.

It is a voluntary and private research body, which has its own bylaws, and the Executive Committee is charged with upholding the bylaws, formulating policies and managing the affairs of the Society and is responsible to the general body. The General Secretary acts as the Executive arm of the Committee, conducts daily business, maintains records, convenes meetings under provisions laid down in the bylaws and presents a report at the Biennial General Meeting of the Society. The accounts of the Society are audited every year by a reputed firm of chartered accountants and placed before General members in the Biennial General Meeting. The Biennial General Meeting receives a report on the activities of the Society and is held on 25th. December.



Apart from working with various private and public institutions and universities, A.H.S is primarily active among the regional historical and social institutions. In these programs, the institutions and universities join from their independent position. At this stage, its aim is to establish working relation among the different organisations and bring their beneficiaries under the same network.     


Registration of the Society

A Bylaws Sub-Committee consisting of the following members was formed on 5th September 1987 to finalise the bylaw of the Society.

(1)    Al-Haj Moulana Shafique Ahmed

(2)    Al-Haj A.M Waheed

(3)    Master Muzaffar Ahmed

(4)    Al-Haj Abul Kalam

(5)    Al-Haj Ashraf Alam


The committee completed bylaws in time and forwarded for registration in accordance with the provision of the Society Act 1860.

The same Bylaws Sub-Committee was transformed as Registration Sub-Committee to take all necessary steps for the registration of the Society. Accordingly it was processed through an appointed person. The Society has been registered by the Assistant Registrar of Chittagong Joint Stock Company, Chittagong bearing its registration No. C.H.S. 42/2 dated. 19th October 1989 titled as Arakan Historical Society (A.H.S), Chittagong, Bangladesh.





SEMINAR (1995-96)

On 1st December 1995, the Executive Committee of Arakan Historical Society resolved to hold a seminar on the following subjects. They are:


(1)   The advent of Muslim in Arakan and Rohingyas.

(2)   Bangla Shahittya Arakan.

(3)   The Origin of Rohingya.


The Arakan Historical Society (A.H.S) had successfully held a Seminar on 31st December 1995 at Chittagong Zilla Parishad Hall, Chittagong with co-operation of Chittagong University which was presided by Janab Al-Haj Abul Kalam, President of the Society.



           The Paper was presented by Prof. Mohammed Ali Chowdhury, Asst. Professor, Department of History and Ph.D. Research Scholar of ARAKAN - BENGAL RELATION under Chittagong University.

           Chief Guest: Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim, Ex. Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University and Eminent Historians of Sub-Continent.

Historians who participated as discussants are: -

1.         Prof. Dr. Sunuti Bhushan Qanungo, Department of History, Chittagong University.

2.         Prof. Dr. Shabbir Ahmed, Department of Islamic History and Culture, Chittagong University.

3.         Prof. Dr. Emaran Hussain, Department of Islamic History and Culture, Chittagong University.

4.         Prof. Dr. Ekhalsur Kabir, Head of History Department, Chittagong University.

5.         Prof. N. M. Habiullah, Director, Bangladesh co-operative Book Society, Dhaka and the writer of “Rohingya Jathir Itihas (The History of Rohingya Nation)”.


Elite and prominent persons from Chittagong who attended the seminar as Special guests were: -

1.         Janab Advocate Badiul Alam, Lawyer of Chittagong Session Court. Chittagong.

2.         Janab Salaudin Kashem Khan, Chairman, Council for world Muslims Affairs, Bangladesh.

3.         Janab Principal Azmat Ullah, Ex-Principal Chittagong Commerce College, Chittagong.

4.         Janab Advocate Shamsuddin Ahmed Mirza, Lawyer, Chittagong Session Court.

5.         Principal Prashentu Shan Gupta, Rangunia College, Chittagong University.

6.         Prof. Dr. Nuzarul Hossain, Dean of Science, Chittagong University.

        About 180 members, students and guests attended the Seminar. Prof. Mohammed Ali Chowdhury who presented the keynote paper in the Seminar said, “Arab Muslims first came into contact with Arakan through trade and commerce during 8th Century AD and since then Islam started spreading in the region.” He also said that in collaboration with the Muslim traders and adventurers, some Muslim saints played the dominant role to preach and consolidate Islam in Arakan. Prof. Mohammed Ali Chowdhury further said that the history of Rohingyas reveals that they developed a nation from different stocks of people who concentrated in a common geographical location.

        The Chief guest Ex. Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim stated: “ Arakanese Rohingya Muslims are the aborigines of Arakan. They have a more than 1200 years old history, tradition, culture and civilisation of their own expressed in their shrines, cemeteries, sanctuaries, social and cultural institutions found scattered even today in every nook and corner of Arakan.” He also said that in the glorious past Arakan was a centre of education, civilisation and business. The Rohingyas have got language, culture and a heritage, and above all the 20 lakhs Rohingyas formed a homogenous group in Arakan. This is eyesore to the ruling military juntas of Burma and this is the reason why they have been trying to expel the Rohingyas, men, women and children. It is also true that initally the Muslims did not enter into Arakan in their own interest, rather they were invited by the rulers of Arakan. The founder of Mrauk-U Empire and his successor invited the Muslims to exploit their economic resources because their own people could not do it or did not know how to do it.

        He further said that the successive ruling military juntas of Burma in 1978 and in 1991-92 uprooted several lakhs of Rohingyas, men, women and children from their homeland Arakan and took shelter in Bangladesh. This is a man-made problem, created by the Burmese ruling juntas. It is their deliberate policy to denationalise the Rohingyas and their oppression and suppression compelled the Rohingyas to leave the country. So, expulsion of Rohingyas from Arakan alleging them as an alien or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh is unjustified.

        Other historians who participated in the Seminar as discussants also expressed their view that no Rohingya could be expelled from their homeland Arakan with that lame-excuse. Principal P.S.Gupta in his speech further said that the arrival Muslims in Arakan was over one thousand years, whereas, that of Burman was only two hundred years. It is funny to brand indigenous Rohingyas as aliens by the newcomer, the Burman. Dr. S.B. Qanungo also urged A.H.S to establish a Cultural Centre for the research works to highlight the true history of Rohingyas and Arakan to counter the efforts of removing the Rohingyas from the History of Arakan. In conclusion, Janab Abul Kalam, President of the Society, sought co-operation of the historians to write true history of Rohingya and Arakan through Research Projects of the Arakan Historical Society.


            In 1995-96 the Society published its Annual Magazine containing various activities of the Society and some important articles on Arakan and Rohingyas. The seminar paper “The arrival of Muslims in Arakan and Rohingyas” was also published in the Annual Magazine.


            The Arakan Historical Society proposes to publish the following books during 1999-2000.


(1)   The Rohingyas: A Short Account of their History and Culture by Dr. Abdul Karim, former Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University.

(2)   A Short History of Rohingyas and Kamans of Burma by M.A Taher Batha, edited by Ashraf Alam.

(3)   SARJAMINE ARAKAN KEE THAREKI AZADI TARIKE PASMAN GARMAN (IN URDU) / The Liberation Movement of Arakan in Historical Perspective by Mvi. Taher Jamal Nawdevi.

(4)   ARAKAN-E-MUSALMAN: ITEHASH ABON OTIJJAW. A Collection of Articles by various writers on Arakan and Rohingyas (in Bangla) edited by Dr. M. Mohibullah Siddiquee, Associate Professor of Islamic History, Rajshai University.

(5)   MUSLIMS OF ARAKAN: HISTORY AND HARITAGE. A Collection of Articles by various writers on Arakan and Rohingyas (in English) edited by Dr. M. Mohibullah Siddiquee, Associate Professor of Islamic History, Rajshai University.                 



 1)      To finance a research programme project on the history and culture of Rohingya.

2)      To set up a Technical Institute.

3)      To establish Research Centre with Rohingya National Museum.

4)      To establish an Educational Institute.

5)      To award Scholarship for higher studies.

6)      To build up Hospitals and Clinics.

7)      To help in Rehabilitation Programmes.

8)      To open domestic and overseas branch offices.



             As per E.C meeting held on 24th May 1996, the Society has undertaken to finance a research project.

The title of the Project is The Rohingyas: Their History and Culture. The project will be carried out under the supervision of University of Chittagong / University of Dhaka as a Ph. D. programme. The Thesis to be completed within 3 years.




              Besides continuing its all on going activities, A.H.S also plans to takeup some of the challenging programmes of our time to fulfil its dream of building a happy and prosperous nation through producing better citizens. This Institute will offer admission to students of various schools and colleges of the country. This will definitely help build technical experts among the students.



          One of the A.H.S’s major plans for future is to establish a research centre with Rohingya National Museum, first of its kind in Bangladesh. Here A.H.S wants to preserve all necessary documents and matter related to the people of Arakan, particularly Rohingya people. This will be a place where members can identify their own position, role and responsibility. This will educate them to know about themselves and other countries. They will know about the rights of their people and be able to prepare themselves as responsible citizens of their motherland.



           A.H.S also wants to build up hospitals and clinics for the services of the members and general people. This will help us to reach a wider range of people. The programmes can be utilised for generating income.



           The biggest venture that A.H.S plans to take up is to establish an Educational Institute. A unique concept of its kind where A.H.S plans to help the children of the members to have a place of their own for exploring their educational potentialities. It will be equipped with all necessary facilities such as auditorium, training hall, residential facilities etc. which besides providing necessary support to its own programmes can be utilised for generating income. When completed it will no doubt be a bold step towards A.H.S’s self-sufficiency. From this Institute A.H.S will be able to locate potential students to award scholarship for higher studies.


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Last updated: Friday, June 01, 2001