Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Mayu Frontier District

Map of Rakhine State with the Mayu Frontier District highlighted in red.
The Mayu Frontier District (Burmese: မေယုနယ်ခြားခရိုင်) was a short-lived administrative zone of Burma (present-day Myanmar) which existed between 1961 and 1964. It covered the Maungdaw District of present-day Rakhine State in the historical region of Arakan. The zone was administered directly from the capital Rangoon (present-day Yangon).

The Mayu Frontier District was named after the Mayu River. It included Maungdaw Township, Buthidaung Township and a part of Rathedaung Township.[1] The Mayu Range of mountains separated Maungdaw and Buthidaung. The Naf River estuary formed the northern boundary of the district, on the international border with East Pakistan.

After the Burmese general election, 1960, Sultan Mahmud, the Burmese health minister, advocated a state for the Arakanese Indian community in the northern part of Arakan. Mahmud suggested the Kaladan River as the boundary between Muslim-majority and Buddhist-majority Arakan. Mahmud submitted his proposal to the Statehood Consultative Committee.[2] Mahmud said that Arakanese Indians would accept a joint state with Arakanese Buddhists if there was adequate protection and representation of the Indian minority. If adequate safeguards were not possible, Mahmud proposed that a separate northern Arakan zone should be administered directly from the national capital Rangoon.[2]
On 1 May 1961,[3] the Prime Minister of Burma U Nu implemented Mahmud’s ideas, albeit the new zone did not extend up to the Kaladan River.

The Mayu Frontier District had an Arakanese Indian majority, among whom most were Muslim. During this period, the term “Rohingya” was widely used to label the Indian community of Arakan, including in the speeches of Burmese leaders and on Burmese radio broadcasts.[1] The term was popularized by M. A. Gaffar after he submitted a memorandum to the first Burmese government in 1949.

Between 1961 and 1962, the Mayu Frontier District was governed by the elected government in Rangoon. The 1962 Burmese coup d’état ended Burmese parliamentary democracy. Following the coup, the Mayu Frontier District was directly administered by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces)[4] and the Union Revolutionary Council.

The Burmese military ended the special status of the district in February 1964.[3] The Mayu Frontier area was placed under the responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1974, when Burmese dictator Ne Win proclaimed the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, the Mayu Frontier area was incorporated into Arakan State as the Maungdaw District.
See also


  1. Partha S. Ghosh (23 May 2016). Migrants, Refugees and the Stateless in South Asia. SAGE Publications. p. 161. ISBN 978-93-5150-855-7.
  2. “Mr Sultan Mahmud and Statehood of Arakan | The Stateless Rohingya”. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. Renaud Egreteau; François Robinne (30 September 2015). Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in Myanmar. NUS Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-9971-69-866-9.
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