Arakanese Chittagong Became Mughal Islamabad: Buddhist–Muslim Relationship in Chittagong (Chottrogram), Bangladesh



The 2012 Ramu violence against Bangladeshi Buddhists suggests that Myanmar’s Rohingya conflict has victimized Muslim and Buddhist minorities in both countries. It has revived the anti-Buddhist sentiment expressed in the term Maga/Mog used by Bengali majority to refer to Buddhists being culturally backward, anarchists and pirates. I argue that the term Maga/Mog expresses Mughals’ negative perception of its political rival, the Arakanese, shaping the Muslim–Buddhist relationship in the region since the seventeenth century. In response to this Bengali cultural hegemony, Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have adopted the anti-Bengali “Jumma” identity while Buddhists in the Chittagong plains have embraced the Bengali cultural identity. The latter strategy ensured the Buddhist–Muslim peaceful coexistence for centuries that is now challenged by the Rohingya crisis.


Maga/Mog identity Ramu violence Buddhist–Muslim relationship in Chittagong Rohingya crisis’s impacts on Bangladesh 



I am grateful to the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Buddhist Studies (administered by the American Council of Learned Societies) for its generous funding that enabled me to conduct the research. I also would like to thank the esteem editors of this volume Michael Jerryson and Iselin Frydenlund for their thoughtful comments that enriched the chapter in many ways.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

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