By Aman Ullah
Mr. M.A Gaffar, son of Ulah Meah, was born in 1910 in Rwanynotaung (Roanga daung) village of Buthidaung, Arakan, Burma. He was graduated in his Islamic studies from the Chittagong Senior Madrassa in 1924. Then he obtained B.A degree from the University of Dhaka in 1930 and his B.Ed degree from the Aligrah Muslim University of India in 1933.
He served as a District Inspector of School (DIS) in Akyab from 1931 to 1942 and Township Officer (T.O) of Buthidaung from 1944 to 1945.
He was an elected member of 1947 Constituent Assembly and continued in his office, representing the Buthidaung constituency till Burmese independence and took the oath of allegiance to the Union of Burma on the 4th January 1948 as members of the new parliament of the Union of Burma. He was also an elected member of the Chamber of Nationalities (Upper House) in both 1952 election and 1956 election representing the Akyab district north constituency (Maungdaw and Buthidaung). He also served as Parliamentary Secretary during Nu-Tin government in the Ministry of Health. He was also one of the 7 members Inquiry Commission of Arakan, which was appointed by the President of Union of Burma on 29 July 1949.
He wrote, in his Memorandum, which was presented to the Regional Autonomy Enquiry Commission dated the 24th May, 1949, that “We the Rohingyas of Arakan are a nation. We maintain and hold that Rohingyas and Arakanse are two major nations in Arakan. We are a nation of nearly nine lakhs more than enough population for a nation; and what is more we are a nation according to any definition of a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions aptitude and ambitions, in short, we have our distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law the Rohingyas are a nation in Arakan.”
The following is his Memorandum of Appeal presented to the Principal Secretary of the Government of Union of Burma, dated 20 November 1948.