Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-8tfrx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-04-02T06:22:23.544Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Buddhism, Islam and the religious economy of colonial Burma

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2015


Bringing to light the first known Urdu primary source on Islam in colonial Burma, this essay examines the polemical encounter with Buddhism in the years surrounding the Third Anglo–Burmese War. Using the model of religious economy, the Urdu Sayr-e Barhma is contextualised amid the religious pluralisation and competition that accompanied colonisation as a multitude of religious ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘firms’ rapidly entered the colony. Among them was the Indian Muslim author of Sayr-e Barhma, which provided a detailed account of the history, language and theology of Burman Buddhists and included an account of a public debate which, it claimed, culminated in the conversion of the Thathanabaing (Primate). Against the long-standing historiographical emphasis on the economic roots of anti-Indian sentiments in colonial Burma, this essay points to the religious dimensions of these enduring antagonisms.

Research Article
Copyright © The National University of Singapore 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Adas, Michael, ‘Immigrant Asians and the economic impact of European imperialism: The role of the South Indian Chettiars in British Burma’, Journal of Asian Studies 33, 3 (1974): 385401CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Andrew, E.J.L., Indian labour in Rangoon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933)Google Scholar; Baxter, James, Report on Indian immigration (Rangoon: Superintendent, Government Printing and Stationery, Burma, 1941)Google Scholar; Chakravarti, Nalini Ranjan, The Indian minority in Burma: The rise and decline of an immigrant community (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971)Google Scholar; Das, Paramita, ‘Indian diaspora in Burma: History and dimensions of interactions’, in Indian diaspora in Asian and Pacific regions: Culture, people, interactions, ed. Ghosh, Lipi and Chatterjee, Ramkrishna (Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2004), pp. 129–46Google Scholar; Mahadevan, Raman, ‘Immigrant entrepreneurs in colonial Burma: An exploratory study of the role of Nattukottai Chettiars of Tamil Nadu, 1880–1930’, Indian Economic and Social History Review 15, 3 (1978): 329–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Rafi, Mirza Mahomed, The problem of Indian settlers in Burma (New Delhi: Indian Institute of International Affairs, 1946)Google Scholar. On current tensions, see in particular Peter A. Coclanis, ‘Terror in Burma: Buddhists vs. Muslims’, World Affairs (July–Aug. 2013), (last accessed July 2014).

2 Mendelson, E. Michael, Sangha and state in Burma: A study of monastic sectarianism and leadership (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975)Google Scholar and Schober, Juliane, Modern Buddhist conjunctures in Myanmar: Cultural narratives, colonial legacies, and civil society (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011)Google Scholar, chap. 4. On the role of gender, see Rajashree Mazumder, ‘“I do not envy you”: Mixed marriages and immigration debates in the 1920s and 1930s Rangoon, Burma’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 51, 4 (2014): 497–528.

3 For example, Kyi, Aung San Suu, Burma and India: Some aspects of intellectual life under colonialism (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1990)Google Scholar. What little work exists on non-Anglophone Indian responses to Burma still deals with such elites as the Nehrus and Tagores. See Kaung, Thaw, ‘Tagore in Myanmar: Travels, translation and impact’, Myanmar Studies Journal 1, 1 (2013): 6182Google Scholar, and Nijhawan, Shobna, ‘At the margins of empire: Feminist–nationalist configurations of Burmese society in the Hindi public (1917–1920)’, Journal of Asian Studies 71, 4 (2012): 1013–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar. There is greater recognition of indentured labour flows in Amrith, Sunil S., Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The furies of nature and the fortunes of migrants (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 119–22Google Scholar, 146–52 and of cultural exchanges in Bhattacharya, Swapna, India–Myanmar relations, 1886–1948 (Kolkata: K.P. Bagchi & Co., 2007)Google Scholar, chap. 4. On pre-colonial textual contacts, see Charney, Michael W., ‘Literary culture on the Burma–Manipur frontier in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, Medieval History Journal 14, 2 (2011): 159–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and d'Hubert, Thibaut and Leider, Jacques, ‘Traders and poets at the Mrauk U court: Commerce and cultural links in seventeenth-century Arakan’, in Pelagic passageways: The northern Bay of Bengal before colonialism, ed. Mukherjee, Rila (Delhi: Primus Books, 2011)Google Scholar.

4 Metcalf, Thomas R., Imperial connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007)Google Scholar, chap. 1.

5 Green, Nile, Bombay Islam: The religious economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Cf. Islamic connections: Muslim societies in South and Southeast Asia, ed. Feener, R. Michael and Sevea, Terenjit (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ricci, Ronit, Islam translated: Literature, conversion, and the Arabic cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Laffan, Michael F., Islamic nationhood and colonial Indonesia: The umma below the winds (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 ‘[T]exts are “dialogical” moments in the relations that agents … have with themselves and with other agents … once texts are seen as participating in the making and remaking of a living, changing scale of texts, we become aware of their political dimension.’ See Inden, Ronald, Walters, Jonathan and Ali, Daud, Querying the medieval: Texts and the history of practices in South Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)Google Scholar, pp. 11, 12.

8 On the model of religious economy, see Stark, Rodney, ‘From church-sect to religious economies’, in The sacred in a post-secular age, ed. Hammond, Phillip E. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985)Google Scholar and Lawrence A. Young, Rational choice theory and religion (London: Routledge, 1997). For the application of the model to Islamic contexts, see Green, Bombay Islam.

9 On the Muslim presence in pre-colonial Burma, see Chan, Aye, ‘The development of a Muslim enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) state of Burma (Myanmar)’, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 3, 2 (2005): 397420Google Scholar; Gommans, Jos J.L. and Leider, Jacques, eds., The maritime frontiers of Burma: Exploring political, cultural and commercial interaction in the Indian Ocean world, 1200–1800 (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2002)Google Scholar; Khan, M. Siddiq, ‘Muslim intercourse with Burma’, Islamic Culture 10, 3 (1936)Google Scholar and 11, 2 (1937); and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘“Persianization” and “mercantilism”: Two themes in Bay of Bengal history, 1400–1700’, in Commerce and culture in the Bay of Bengal, 1500–1800, ed. Prakash, Om and Lombard, Denys (Delhi: Indian Council of Historical Research, 1999)Google Scholar. The sole monographic treatments of Muslims in modern Burma are Berlie, Jean A., The Burmanization of Myanmar's Muslims (Bangkok: White Lotus, 2008)Google Scholar and Yegar, Moshe, The Muslims of Burma: A study of a minority group (Heidelberg: Universität Heidelberg, Südasien-Institut, 1972)Google Scholar.

10 A short account is given in Myint-U, Thant, The making of modern Burma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 51. Myint-U gives the name as Abhisha Husseini though I have used here a more standard transliteration based on the Arabic spelling of his name provided in an inscription at his shrine near Amarapura. On the milieu from which ‘Abid Shah emerged in eighteenth-century Aurangabad, see Green, Nile, Indian Sufism since the seventeenth century: Saints, books and empires in the Muslim Deccan (London: Routledge, 2006)Google Scholar, chap. 2.

11 Thwin, Michael Aung, ‘Those men in saffron robes’, Journal of Burma Studies 17, 2 (2013): 243334CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ferguson, John P., ‘The quest for legitimation by Burmese monks and kings: The case of the Shwegyin sect (19th–20th centuries)’, in Religion and legitimation of power in Thailand, Laos and Burma, ed. Smith, Bardwell L. (Chambersburg, PA: ANIMA Books, 1978)Google Scholar; and Spiro, Melford, Buddhism and society: A great tradition and its Burmese vicissitudes (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd ed., 1982)Google Scholar, chap. 16.

12 On Buddhist patronage in pre-colonial Burma, see Charney, Michael W., Powerful learning: Buddhist literati and the throne in Burma's last dynasty, 1752–1885 (Ann Arbor: Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Frasch, Tilman, Pagan: Stadt und Staat (Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1996).Google Scholar

13 Myint-U, Making, p. 152.

14 Woodward, Mark R., ‘When one wheel stops: Theravada Buddhism and the British Raj in Upper Burma’, Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 4, 1 (1989): 5790Google Scholar.

15 This is not to say that the colonial state did not interfere in any way in religious matters, for even the most avowedly ‘liberal’ religious economies have always involved a degree of state regulation and interference, from the arrogant policing policies that first gave rise to the ‘shoe issue’ in Buddhist pagodas to the restriction of Muslim processions to certain neighbourhoods in the name of public order. This is seen, for example, in the documentation surrounding Rangoon's Muslim ta‘ziyah processions during Muharram: ‘Report of processions during the time of festivals of different nations residing in British Burma’, National Archives of Myanmar, Yangon, accession no. 667 (file 108, box 30).

16 Sein, Tin, ‘The Christian missionaries in Myanmar’, in Studies in Myanma history: Essays given to Than Tun on his 75th birthday, vol. 1, ed. Anon. (Yangon: Inwa Publishing House, 1999)Google Scholar.

17 On the subsequent contours of colonial printing led by such diverse figures as King Mindon (r.1853–78) and the colonial civil servant Taw Sein Ko (1864–1930), see Charney, Powerful learning, chap. 8, and Lewis, Su-Lin, ‘Print culture and the new maritime frontier in Rangoon and Penang’, Moussons 17 (2011): 127–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Suu Kyi, Burma and India, pp. 41–4. For the western Indian Ocean, see Green, Bombay Islam, chap. 1.

18 Anderson, Courtney, To the golden shore: The life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1956)Google Scholar and James, Helen, ‘Adoniram Judson and the creation of a missionary discourse in pre-colonial Burma’, Journal of Burma Studies 7 (2002): 128CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 On this and the many subsequent Baptist publications in Burmese, see Pierard, Richard V., ‘The man who gave the Bible to the Burmese’, Christian History & Biography 90 (2006): 1621Google Scholar and Pinney, F.D., The American Baptist Mission Press: Historical, descriptive, 1816–1916 (Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1917)Google Scholar.

20 Bird, George W., Wanderings in Burma (Bournemouth: F.J. Bright & Son, 1897), pp. 84–5Google Scholar.

21 On the French Catholic missions in the colonial period, see Candier, Aurore, ‘De la collaboration coloniale: fortune des missions catholiques françaises en Birmanie, 1856–1918’, Revue française d'histoire d'Outre-Mer (2000): 177203CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 Charney, Powerful learning, p. 190.

23 ‘Presses worked and newspapers published’ (1984), National Archives of Myanmar, accession no. 1223 (file 5P-2, box 35), pp. 2–5.

24 Hla Pe, ‘The beginnings of modern popular Burmese literature, 1870–1940’, in Pe, Hla, Burma: Literature, historiography, scholarship, language, life and Buddhism (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, pp. 21 et passim.

25 Cited in Pearn, B.R., A history of Rangoon (Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1939)Google Scholar, p. 133. On Bennett's own Baptist missionary work, see Ranney, Ruth Whitaker, A sketch of the lives and missionary work of Rev. Cephas Bennett and his wife Stella Kneeland Bennett (New York: Silver, Burdett & Co., 1892)Google Scholar.

26 O'Connor, V.C. Scott, The silken East: A record of life and travel in Burma (London: Hutchison and Co., n.d. [1904])Google Scholar, p. 58.

27 Pearn, History of Rangoon, p. 195. Some of the original documentation on these grants is still accessible. See, for example, ‘Petition from a number of Mahomedan residents of Rangoon for a grant of land for a mosque’, National Archives of Myanmar, accession no. 903 (file 242, box 41).

28 Seekins, Donald M., ‘Sacred site or public space? The Shwedagon pagoda in colonial Rangoon’, in Buddhism, modernity and the state in Asia: Forms of engagement, ed. Whalen-Bridge, John and Kitiarsa, Pattana (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 139–60Google Scholar.

29 In such pre-colonial Burmese cities as Amarapura, for example, mosques were large teak-built structures positioned in enclosures of surrounding land.

30 The list of initial investors in Rangoon's Shi‘a Moghul Masjid is preserved on a marble inscription at the mosque.

31 Census data cited in Pearn, History of Rangoon, pp. 234, 254.

32 Egreteau, Renaud, ‘Burmese Indians in contemporary Burma: Heritage, influence, and perceptions since 1988’, Asian Ethnicity 12, 1 (2011): 44CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 Green, Bombay Islam, chap. 2.

34 Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Amir, ‘Local nodes of a transnational network: A case study of a Shi‘i family in Awadh, 1900–1950’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 24, 3 (2014): 405Google Scholar, and Iqbal Singh Sevea, ‘The Ahmadiyya print jihad in South and Southeast Asia’, in Feener and Sevea, Islamic connections, p. 138.

35 Introduction: Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb’, in Yankee Muslim: The Asian travels of Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, ed. Singleton, Brent D. ([Maryland]: Wildside Press, 2006), pp. 954Google Scholar.

36 Russell Webb, Mohammed Alexander, Isha‘at-e Islam, trans. ‘Ali, Hasan (Lahore, 1893)Google Scholar.

37 Parkinson, Yehya-en-Nasr, Muslim chivalry (Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1909)Google Scholar; Essays on Islamic philosophy (Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1909)Google Scholar; and Outward bound (Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1909)Google Scholar.

38 Rafiki, A.S. and Parkinson, Yehya-en-Nasr, Inversion of times (London: Luzac & Co., 1911)Google Scholar. On Bahadur Shah's Sufi credentials, see Green, Indian Sufism, pp. 109–13. The shrine in Rangoon was finally constructed only in the 1990s.

39 Schober, Modern Buddhist conjunctures, p. 40.

40 Ibid., pp. 41, 65–66, and Suu Kyi, Burma and India, pp. 47–52.

41 On this productive interaction, see Kirichenko, Alexey, ‘From Thathanadaw to Theravada Buddhism: Constructions of religion and religious identity in nineteenth– and early twentieth-century Myanmar’, in Casting faiths: Imperialism and the transformation of religion in East and Southeast Asia, ed. DuBois, Thomas David (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 2345CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

42 Baumann, Martin, ‘Modernist interpretations of Buddhism in Europe’, in Buddhism in the modern world, ed. McMahan, David L. (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 89113Google Scholar.

43 Schober, Modern Buddhist conjunctures, p. 64.

44 See Gueth's autobiography, published as Nyanatiloka, Bhikkhu, Der Erste Deutsche Bhikkhu: Das bewegte Leben des Ehrwürdigen Nyānatiloka (1878–1957) und seine Schüler, ed. Hecker, Hellmuth (Konstanz: Universität Konstanz, 1995)Google Scholar.

45 Cox, Laurence, ‘The politics of Buddhist revival: U Dhammaloka as social movement organizer’, Contemporary Buddhism 11, 2 (2010): 173227CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Turner, Alicia, ‘The Irish Pongyi in colonial Burma: The confrontations and challenges of U Dhammaloka’, Contemporary Buddhism 11, 2 (2010): 129–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

46 Schober, Modern Buddhist conjunctures, p. 63.

47 ‘Printed notices regarding signs and wonders and a coming plague published by a press in Shwegyin [1894]’, National Archives of Myanmar, accession no. 3305 (file 2m_23, box 216).

48 Mendelson, Sangha and state, pp. 174–214, and Prager, Susanne, ‘The coming of the “Future King”: Burmese minlaung expectations before and during the Second World War’, Journal of Burma Studies 8 (2003): 132CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 The arrival of the Arya Samaj missionary Saraswati is detailed in ‘Hindu priests coming over to Burma’, National Archives of Myanmar, accession no. 3096 (file 249P, box 194). I have taken the information on the Nattukottai temple from its original foundation inscription.

50 On Baha'i printing and propagation in Bombay, see Green, Bombay Islam, pp. 121–4.

51 Rose Ong and Foo Chek Woo, Myanmar: History of the Bahá'í faith (2008), (accessed 30 July 2014).

52 Mawlwi ‘Abd al-Khaliq Khan Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma (Lucknow: Matba‘ Mina Lakhnaw, 1310/1893)Google Scholar.

53 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 1. I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for identifying Minbu from the transliteration of Muhawid's ‘Mambu’. Muwahid also mentions having lived in the unidentified town of ‘Parum’.

54 Hunter, W.W., Cotton, J.S., Burn, R. and Meyer, W.S., eds., Imperial gazetteer of India, vol. 21, Pushkar to Salween (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908–31)Google Scholar, p. 33.

55 On Urdu printing in Lucknow, see Stark, Ulrike, An empire of books: The Naval Kishore Press and the diffusion of the printed word in colonial India, 1858–1895 (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007)Google Scholar. On the rail link, see Hunter et al., Imperial gazetteer, vol. 21, p. 33.

56 On the new socio-religious organisations founded by the region's Muslims in this period, see Liebeskind, Claudia, Piety on its knees: Three Sufi traditions in South Asia in modern times (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998)Google Scholar and Robinson, Francis, Separatism among Indian Muslims: The politics of the United Provinces’ Muslims, 1860–1923 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974)Google Scholar.

57 Hunter et al., Imperial Gazetteer, vol. 21, p. 28. The mission was still active when ‘Abd al-Khaliq was writing, closing only in 1901.

58 Powell, Avril A., Muslims and missionaries in pre-Mutiny India (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1993)Google Scholar and Tereen, SherAli, ‘The polemic of Shahjahanpur: Religion, miracles and history’, Islamic Studies 51, 1 (2012): 4967Google Scholar.

59 On the history of the Urdu travelogue genre, see Wahid Qureshi, Urdu Adab main Safarnama (Lahore: Qawmi Press, n.d.). For Bengali and Hindi literary depictions of Burma, see Bhattacharya, India–Myanmar, chap. 4.

60 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 1.

61 Ibid., p. 25.

62 Sivanath, Munshi, Sayr-e Ajmer (Ajmer: Matba‘a Printing Co., 1892)Google Scholar.

63 Sayyid A‘zam ‘Ali ‘Azimabadi, Jada-e Haqq (1879), repr. in Khuda Bakhsh Library Journal 81–83 (1992); see pp. 264–9 for train and steamship details. Nadwi, Sayyid Sulayman, Sayr-e Afghanistan (Lahore: Sang-e Mil, 2008 [1934])Google Scholar; see pp. 8–19 for practical details of travel.

64 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 1.

65 Orwell, George, Burmese days (London: Penguin Books, 1986)Google Scholar, p. 121.

66 Yegar, Muslims of Burma, p. 130.

67 Anonymous, Safarnama-e Uganda wa Mumbasa (Lahore: Khadim al-Ta‘lim Istim Press, 1904)Google Scholar. For a study of the text, see Green, Nile, ‘Africa in Indian ink: Urdu articulations of Indian settlement in East Africa’, Journal of African History 53, 2 (2012): 131–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

68 On the scale of Indian employment in the Burmese transport sector, see Rafi, Problem of Indian settlers, pp. 3–14.

69 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 13. Note that the term used for ‘guide’ (hadi) denoted a specifically Islamic type of guide.

70 Curators of the Buddha: The study of Buddhism under colonialism, ed. Lopez, Donald S. Jr (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995)Google Scholar.

71 Only a generation or so later, and linked to the Muslim fascination with Japan, did such works begin to appear. See Green, Nile, ‘Anti-colonial Japanophilia and the constraints of an Islamic Japanology: Information and affect in the Indian encounter with Japan’, Journal of South Asian History and Culture 4, 3 (2013): 291313CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

72 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, pp. 1, 3–4, 6, 9, 13, 17–18, 28, 33–5. From the contexts of its use in the text, Pahasya clearly refers to part or all of the Tipitaka (Buddhist scriptures). The word itself may derive from local usage of the Sanskrit bhāṣya (‘words’, ‘speech’), often used in the compound form Buddhabhāṣya (‘words/teachings of the Buddha’), which via the Pali Buddha-bhāsā Burmese renders the common Burmese word for Buddhism boda-batha. Alternatively, ‘Abd al-Khaliq's term Pahasya may be his Urdu rendering of the Burmese word peza (‘palm-leaf manuscript’, ‘[physical] text’). I am grateful to Robert Buswell and Patrick Pranke for advice on this matter.

73 Myint-U, Making, p. 252.

74 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 33.

75 Ibid., p. 34.

76 Judson, Adoniram, Judson's English and Burmese dictionary (Rangoon: W.H. Sloan for the American Baptist Mission Press, 1877)Google Scholar. It is also possible that ‘Abd al-Khaliq was referring to Sloan, W.H., A practical method with the Burmese language (Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1887)Google Scholar. In either case, the argument regarding the use of Christian missionary material remains the same.

77 Cf. the cases of Indian Muslim missionaries operating in Iran and South Africa in Green, Bombay Islam, chaps. 4 and 7.

78 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 2.

79 Pahya, the term ‘Abd al-Khaliq used here, is a common Burmese epithet of the Buddha meaning ‘Lord’ (often romanised as ‘paya’ or ‘hpaya’). The epithet is also given to monks, pagodas and kings. I am deeply grateful to Patrick Pranke for identifying the Burmese terms and text names in this section of the essay.

80 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 2. Here ‘Abd al-Khaliq was referring to: Gaguthan (Pali: Kakusandha); Gonagon (Pali: Koṇāgamana); Kathapa (Pali: Kassapa); Shin Godama (Pali: Gotama), the historical Buddha; and Ayi Medaya (Pali: Ariya Metteyya) the fifth and final Buddha of the present cosmic aeon.

81 A'yi Madi was a reference to Ayi Medaya or Maitreya (Pali: Metteyya).

82 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 4. The Burmese term Sulamani (Pali: Culamaṇi) means ‘crest jewel’. It is not commonly associated with a particular Buddha, but is the name of an important pagoda at Pagan. This seems to be echoed in ‘Abd al-Khaliq's uncertainty as to whether Sulamani was a king or a pahya. My thanks again to Patrick Pranke for his generous advice.

83 Ibid. The Burmese referents for the names ‘Abd al-Khaliq gave as Dajalla and Ma Daniga are unclear. The name of the Burmese text cited here might be romanised as Niyatadāna Kyam, literally Niyatadāna (Pali: ‘perpetual donation’) + Kyam (Burmese: ‘book’ [pronounced jan/jhan]).

84 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 5.

85 Ibid., p. 4.

86 Ibid., pp. 5, 6–7, 9.

87 Ibid., pp. 7, 9.

88 Ibid., p. 9.

89 Ibid., p. 9.

90 Ibid., pp. 9–12, 18–20, 26–27.

91 Ibid., p. 30.

92 Ibid., pp. 26, 29.

93 Ibid., p. 29.

94 Nijhawan, ‘At the margins’. On colonial stereotypes of Burman women, see also Myint-U, Making, pp. 34, 244.

95 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 26.

96 Ibid., p. 26.

97 Ibid., pp. 20–23.

98 Although Phayre's History of Burmah first appeared, in two parts, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1868, it did not appear in book form until 1883. On his research and manuscripts, see Patricia Herbert, ‘The making of a collection: Burmese manuscripts in the British Library’, British Library Journal 15, 1 (1989): 64.

99 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, pp. 21–2.

100 Ibid., pp. 23–4.

101 Ibid., p. 24.

102 Ibid., pp. 22–3. On the parallel concerns in Burmese historiography, see Candier, Aurore, ‘Conjuncture and reform in the Late Konbaung period: How prophecies, omens and rumors motivated political action from 1866 to 1869’, Journal of Burma Studies 15, 3 (2011): 231–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Aung-Thwin, Michael, ‘Prophecies, omens and dialogue: Tools of the trade in Burmese historiography’, in Historical essays in Honour of Kenneth R. Rossman, ed. Newmyer, Kent (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980)Google Scholar.

103 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 25.

104 Ibid., pp. 6, 9, 28, 33–9.

105 Ibid., pp. 34–5.

106 Ibid., p. 35.

107 Ibid., pp. 36–9. It is worth noting here the simultaneity of ‘Abd al-Khaliq's research on reckoning systems with that of colonial ethnographers. See Temple, Richard Carnac, ‘Notes on the Burmese system of arithmetic’, Indian Antiquary 20 (1891): 5369Google Scholar.

108 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 28.

109 Ibid.

110 Ibrahim, Muhammad, al-Hukm al-Salat: Chivalkar (Bombay, 1307/1890)Google Scholar.

111 These texts are respectively: Hko, Maung [Mirza ‘Abbas], Nuri Taw Kyan (Moulmein, 1889)Google Scholar; Ali, Hazrat, Sakhawetnama, trans. Nana, Ismail Hajjo ‘Arif, Naki, Ibrahim ‘Ali and Yusuf, Muhammad (Rangoon, 1898)Google Scholar; Muhyi al-Din ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, Shajarat al-Iman (Rangoon, 1896)Google Scholar and Faza'il al-Shuhur (Rangoon, 1896)Google Scholar; and Ibrahim, Muhammad, Annavada-niggaha-vija-htoy Kyan (Rangoon, 1892)Google Scholar. I have inspected these books at the British Library having initially traced them via Barnett, L.D., A Catalogue of the Burmese books in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1913)Google Scholar.

112 Siraj, Bibi Khadija Tha-hkin ma Vatthu, trans. by Maung Hia Tin (Mandalay, 1911); Tin, Maung Hia, Hujjat al-Islam (Mandalay, 1911Google Scholar).

113 Berlie, Burmanization, p. 80.

114 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 1.

115 Ibid., pp. 23–4.

116 Charney, Powerful learning, chap. 11; Schober, Modern Buddhist conjunctures, pp. 24–38; and Woodward, ‘When one wheel stops’. On the transformation of the Shwegyin monastic groups in the modern period, see Carbine, Jason A., Sons of the Buddha: Continuities and ruptures in a Burmese monastic tradition (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

117 Woodward, ‘When one wheel stops’, pp. 62–3. Thus Thant Myint-U notes ‘the disappearance of the various state agencies which provided secular support for the authority of the Thathanabaing and his Thudhamma Council’. Myint-U, Making, p. 10.

118 Woodward, ‘When one wheel stops’, pp. 65–6.

119 Ibid., p. 64.

120 The statistics and their sources are cited in Myint-U, Making, p. 208.

121 Woodward, ‘When one wheel stops’, p. 68.

122 Ibid., p. 221.

123 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 13.

124 Maung Maung Lay, ‘The emergence of the Panthay community at Mandalay’, in Studies in Myanma history, vol. 1; Yegar, Moshe, ‘The Panthay (Chinese Muslims) of Burma and Yunnan’, Journal of Southeast Asian History 7, 1 (1966): 7385CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Unfortunately, I have been unable to trace a copy of the widely-cited Ba, U, Mandalay centenary: History of Burmese Muslims (Mandalay, 1959)Google Scholar. However, even though the Muslim presence in Burma at large dated back centuries, the first two mosques in Mandalay itself were only built in the late 1860s. See Lay, ‘Emergence’, p. 98.

125 Sein, ‘Christian missionaries’, p. 148.

126 Yi, Khin Htwe, ‘The Methodist Mission in Upper Myanmar proper (1886–1914)’, in Studies in Myanma history, vol. 1, pp. 157–8Google Scholar.

127 Egreteau, ‘Burmese Indians’, p. 43 and Ong and Woo, Myanmar: History of the Bahá'í faith.

128 In 1784 initially Bodawpaya installed four Thathanabaings before replacing them with a single Thathanabaing four years later. Thanks to Patrick Pranke and my anonymous reader for advice on this matter, though any misrepresentations remain my own. For the primary colonial account of the office of Thathanabaing, see Scott, J. George, Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States, 5 vols. (Rangoon: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1900)Google Scholar, pt. 1, vol. 2, pp. 3–5. For more favourable depictions, see Charles Henry Allan Bennett, ‘The Thathanabaing’, Buddhism: A Quarterly Illustrated Review (Rangoon: International Buddhist Society) 1, 4 (1904): 177208Google Scholar and Twomey, D.H.R., ‘The Thathanabaing: Head of the Buddhist monks of Burma’, Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review & Oriental and Colonial Record 17, 34 (1904): 326–35Google Scholar. In preference to the more accurate but obscure translation ‘Keeper of the Sasana’, I have adopted the term's translation as ‘Primate’ given in Myint-U, Making, p. 73.

129 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 12.

130 Schober, Juliane, ‘Colonial knowledge and Buddhist education in Burma’, in Buddhism, power and political order, ed. Harris, Ian (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 6061Google Scholar.

131 The circumstances and details are given in Scott, Gazetteer, pt. 1, vol. 2, pp. 8–15.

132 Muwahid, Sayr-e Barhma, p. 13.

133 Ibid., p. 12.

134 Ibid., p. 13. In a footnote, the author or publisher added that these conversions were due to Christian missionaries giving the Burmans money, legal redress or employment.

135 Ibid.

136 Ibid., pp. 13–17.

137 Ibid., p. 15.

138 Ibid., pp. 14–15.

139 Ibid., p. 14.

140 Ibid., p. 16.

141 Ibid., p. 17.

142 Ibid.

143 Ibid.

144 Tereen, ‘The polemic’, p. 63.

145 Schober, Modern Buddhist conjunctures, p. 64.

146 On Ledi Sayadaw's activities, see Braun, Erik, The birth of insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism and the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

147 Sayadaw, Ledi, Thathanawithodani (Sāsanavisodhanī), vol. 1 (Yangon: Hanthawaddi Pitakat Pon-hneik Taik, 1954 [1919]), pp. 118–90Google Scholar; the section on Islam is on pp. 126–7. Thanks to Patrick Pranke for bringing this text and its contents to my attention.

148 Colbeck, James Alfred, Letters from Mandalay: A series of letters for the most part written from the Royal City of Mandalay during the troublous years of 1878–79 (Knavesborough: Alfred W. Lowe, 1892)Google Scholar and Yoe, Shway [Sir James George Scott], The Burman (London: Macmillan & Co., 1882)Google Scholar.

149 Thus, see Revd Armstrong, W.F., ‘Missions to the Muslims of Burma’, Baptist Missionary Magazine 89 (1909), pp. 6062Google Scholar.

150 The text and circumstances are described in Chakravarti, Indian minority, pp. 157–9, and restated in Berlie, Burmanization, pp. 14–15. The use of the term yogi in the title for Buddhists may be a reference to the lay meditation practitioners led by the highly popular and influential Ledi Sayadaw. Thanks to Patrick Pranke for this suggestion.

151 On the monk as a contemporary socio-political actor, see Tosa, Keiko, ‘The chicken and the scorpion: Rumor, counternarratives and the political uses of Buddhism’, in Burma at the turn of the twenty-first century, ed. Skidmore, Monique (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2005), pp. 154–72Google Scholar, and Zin, Min, ‘Burmese Buddhism and its impact on social change’, in Burma's modern tragedy, ed. Metraux, Daniel A. and Oo, Khin (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2004)Google Scholar.

152 Razvi, Mujtaba, ‘The problem of the Burmese Muslims’, Pakistan Horizon 31, 4 (1978)Google Scholar, p. 88, citing the Indian Asian Recorder news digest.