Burmese Muslims during
Amarapura Kings era
Muslims in Amarapura were about 20,000 families, at the time of Innwa (Ava) kingdom (1855 AD). Most of them were Sunni Muslims. The first mosque in Yangon was built in 1826 AD, at the end of first Anglo-Burmese Wars. It was destroyed in 1852 AD when the British attacked Yangon again.
During the Konbaung dynasty Alaungpaya‘s attack of Mons near Pyay, Mon warrior Talapan was assisted by Muslim soldiers. Because of their artillery fire, a lot of Burmese soldiers were wounded and died.
In 1755 Alaungpaya conquered Dagon and renamed it Yangon (meaning ‘The End of Strife’). Mon soldiers surrendered and four Muslim rich men also surrendered with the expensive presents, ammunitions and four warships. Although conquered Yangon there are more battles to fight with Mons. So Alaungpaya rearranged the army. Pyre Mamet was one of the “Thwe Thauk Gyi” assigned to serve as the Royal Bodyguard. Alaungpaya attacked Thanlyin or Syriam, and many Muslim artillery men were captured. Alaungpaya captured four warships and Muslim soldiers. They were later allowed to serve him. On the page 203 of the Twin Thin Teik Win’s Cronicles of Alaungpaya’s battles, it was recorded as only three warships.
After Alaungpaya captured Pegu, and at the parade, those Pathi Muslim soldiers were allowed to march with their traditional uniforms. Four hundred Pathi Indian soldiers participated in the Royal Salute March. King Bodawpaya Bodaw U Wine (Padon Mayor, Padon Min) (1781–1819) of the Konbaung Dynasty founded Amarapura as his new capital in 1783. He was the first Burmese King who recognized his Muslim subjects officially by the following Royal decree. He appointed Abid Shah Hussaini and assistants, Nga Shwe Lu and Nga Shwe Aye to decide and give judgment regarding the conflicts and problems amongst his Burmese Muslim subjects. Abid Shah Hussaini burial place was well known as a shrine in Amarapura Lin Zin Gone Darga. Before Ramu and Pan War battles, Burmese army had a march. Among the Burmese army, Captain Nay Myo Gone Narrat Khan Sab Bo’s 70 Cavalry (horse) Regiment, was watched by Maha Bandula. Burmese Muslim Horsemen were famous in that Khan Sab Bo’s 70 Cavalry (horse) Regiment. Khan Sab Bo’s name was Abdul Karim Khan and was the father of the Captain Wali Khan, famous Wali Khan Cavalry Regiment during King Mindon and King Thibaw. Khan Sab Bo was sent as an Ambassador to Indo China by Bagyidaw. During Bagyidaw’s reign, in 1824, Gaw Taut Pallin battle was famous. British used 10,000 soldiers but defeated. During that battle Khan Sab Bo’s 100 horsemen fought vigorously and bravely. More than 1300 loyal brave Kala Pyo Muslims (means young Indian soldiers) were awarded with colourful velvety uniforms.
When Konbaung Dynasty’s 8th. Tharrawaddy Min (King) marched Okkalapa, more than 100 Pathi Muslim Indian Cannoners took part. There are also a lot of Muslim soldiers in other parts of the Tharrawaddy Min‘s army.
But during the Konbaung Dynasty’s 9th. Pagan Min 1846-52 there was a blemish in Muslim’s history. Royal Capital Amarapura‘s Mayor Bai Sab and his clerk U Pain were arrested and sentenced to death. U Pain was the one who constructed and donated the Taunthaman bridge with more than 1000 teak piles and is still in good condition. Although the real background or aim of building the bridge was not known, before the bridge was built, British Ambassador Arthur Fair’s ship could sailed right up to the Amarapura city wall but the bridge actually obstruct the direct access by British.