Patani (region)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Pattani (disambiguation).
Patani
Thailand Pattani region.png

Patani (in Malay, or Pattani, (derived from Jawi: ڤتنا), also sometimes Patani Raya, or "Greater Patani") is a term that has been used to describe a region comprising the southern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala (Jala), Narathiwat (Menara), and parts of Songkhla (Singgora), together with much of the northern part of modern peninsular Malaysia.

Patani is historically similar to sultanates such as Singgora (Songkhla), Ligor (Nakhon Si Thammarat), and Lingga (near Surat Thani): Patani was a semi-independent Malay sultanate paying tribute to the Siamese kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. After Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767, the Sultanate of Patani gained full independence, but under King Rama I, it again came under Siam's control.

A modern separatist movement has sought the establishment of a Malay Islamic state, Patani Darussalam, encompassing the three southern Thai provinces. This campaign has taken a violent turn in recent years, resulting in an insurgency across southern Thailand and the imposition of martial law.

Early history[edit]

Main article: Patani kingdom

The area was home to the Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of Langkasuka as early as the second century, as accounts from Chinese travelers attest. Langkasuka reached its peak in the sixth and seventh centuries, and then declined as a major trade center. Pattani subsequently became part of the Hindu-Buddhist Empire of Srivijaya, a maritime confederation based in Palembang, which spanned the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. Regional influence during these early centuries also came from the developing Khmer, Siamese and Malay cultures.

The founding of the Islamic kingdom of Patani is thought to have been around the mid-13th century, with folklore suggesting it was named after an exclamation made by Sultan Ismail Shah, "Pantai Ini!" ("This beach" in the local Malay language).[1] However, some think it was the same country known to the Chinese as Pan Pan.

Siamese Rule[edit]

Main article: Patani kingdom

Patani came under Thai rule briefly during the Sukhothai period, and more extensively during the later Ayuthaya period.

In 1791 and 1808, there were rebellions within Pattani against Thai rule, following which Pattani was divided into 7 largely autonomous states (Mueang): Pattani, Nongchik, Saiburi (Teluban), Yala (Jala), Yaring (Jambu), Ra-ngae (Legeh) and Raman. All were ruled by the King of Ligor.

After the British had taken a large part of southern Thailand in 1909, Great Britain and Thailand signed the Bangkok Treaty of 1909. The British recognised Thailand's sovereignty over Pattani, and, in return, Thailand gave up a territory called Kelantan to the British.[2] All seven mueang were reunited into a monthon and incorporated into the kingdom. Later, the central government in Bangkok renamed certain localities with Thai versions of their names and merged some of the mueang.

When the monthon system was dissolved in 1933, three provinces remained: Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Greater Malay Patani state[edit]

On 8 December 1941, during the Second World War, the Japanese tried to invade Thailand, and crossed Pattani to invade British Malaya. The Thai government later became an active ally of Japan by promising to help Thailand take more than half of her territory back from the British and the French. This included the former Malay dependencies such as Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah and Perlis. It is arguable that this move not only gave more territory to the Thai state but on the reverse, it strengthened the old Malay ties between the Pattani region and the northern Malayan peninsula states.

Before this, the government in Bangkok had relied on local officials in the implementation of policies within the Pattani region. In 1934, the Bangkok government had implemented the Civil Law concerning family with the exemption of the former Greater Pattani state. This had allowed Muslims to continue their observance of Islamic law regarding issues on inheritance and family. However, the rise of Phibun had marked the start of the country's realignment towards Thai nationalism.[3] This was because Phibun's policies were aimed at the reformation and reconstruction of Thailand's culture and society which included the definition of the country's physical boundaries. As a result, the National Culture Act was enforced which promoted the concepts of 'Thai-ness' and its nationalistic intents. By 1944, Thai civil law was enforced throughout the land including the Pattani region overriding the earlier concessions to Islamic administrative practices. This forced assimilation affected the Malays in the south with it affecting not only the social life but the religious aspect as well.[4] For example, the school curricula was revised to that of a Thai-centric one with all lessons in Thai. Muslim courts that were used to handle civil cases were removed and replaced with civil courts run and approved by the Bangkok central government.

Malay Muslim provinces in Southern Thailand with northern Malaysia.

Tengku Mahmud Mahyuddin, a prominent Pattani leader and the son of the last Raja of Pattani, allied himself with the British in the hopes that Pattani would be granted independence after an Allied victory. His main support came from ethnic Malays displeased by the nationalistic policies of the Phibun regime, which were seen by the southern Malays as forcing them to give up their own language and culture and the economic hardship that ensued as a result of alleged mismanagement. According to Ockey, even leading Thai politicians such as Pridi Phanomyong, Seni Pramot were among those that 'overtly or covertly' supported this resistance against the Japanese.[5] During this time the electoral seats for in this region were mainly held by non-Muslim representatives except Satun.[6] Mahyuddin assisted the British by launching guerrilla attacks against the Japanese. In 1945, a petition by Malay leaders led by Tengku Abdul Jalal demanded that Britain guarantee independence for the southernmost provinces of Thailand. At the war's end, the Greater Malay Pattani State (Negara Melayu Patani Raya) flag did fly briefly in Pattani. However, since the British had no power over Thailand, the Thai continued to rule over Pattani, while the British kept Thailand stable as a counterweight to the communist insurgency in Malaya. This led to the formation of several insurgent groups seeking the independence of Pattani.

After World War 2 had ended, the US had wanted to treat Thailand as an ally because of the resistance movement against the Japanese during the war but the British on the other hand had wanted to treat it as a defeated enemy.[7] With this notion in the balance, the newly elected government led by Pridi had to address the issue of the South. With the aid of advisor Chaem Phromyong, a Muslim, the policies of accommodation and integration of the South. With the closure of the war, the government also approved the Patronage of Islam Act. This Act recognised the work and role of religious figures in the South and gave them authority once more in the affairs of the Muslims in that region. Coincidentally, this Act also paved the way for Haji Sulong to become the president of the Pattani Islamic Committee in 1945.[8] It was from this appointment that Sulong began to take an interest in the restoration of the Islamic courts which had earlier been abolished by the Phibun regime. Ockey had pointed out that Sulong was not entirely pleased with the restoration process because the authority in the Islamic courts was still preceded by the presence of a judge from the Ministry of Justice alongside the Muslim judge in cases. However, the negotiations over this supposed unhappiness was in the form of meetings to discuss terms and not open confrontation. This peaceful attempts at resolution would all come to an end in November 1947 when Pridi was forced out of power by opposing army personnel.

Resistance movements in Patani[edit]

During World War II, along with the Greater Patani Malay Movement, led by Tengku Mahmud Mahyuddin, another resistance force under the leadership of Islamic scholar Haji Sulong Tokmina also fought against the Japanese. Their stated goal was to create an Islamic republic in Patani, which frequently put it at odds with Prince Tengku Mahmud who wanted to reestablish the Pattanese Sultanate.

Haji Sulong had emerged at a time when the region of Pattani was in need of new political direction. His appearance supposedly gave new light to the nationalistic intents of the Malays in the region based on Islamic principles. Haji Sulong was born in 1895 to a family in Kampong Anak Rhu. He had completed his Islamic studies locally before being sent by his father to further education in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. There in Mecca, he apparently met up with and studied with famous Islamic scholars and teachers.[9] He even opened a school in Mecca and had students from all over the world study under him. Eventually he married and settled in Mecca. During this period, there was a wave of nationalism sweeping the world in the earlier part of the 20th century and Sulong himself was exposed to Arab nationalism. Sulong's return to Pattani happened almost by chance due to the death of his first infant son in order to alleviate the grief of his family.

Upon his return, he had apparently looked upon the plight of the Pattani region being a distant shadow of its former glory as the 'cradle of Islam' in Southeast Asia. According to Thanet, the Thai historian, this notion set him into action. From teaching in a khru (small Muslim village school), he eventually opened up a pondok to spread his teachings due to his popularity amongst villagers. Even Pridi Phanomyong visited Haji Sulong at his school and it soon became the most popular Islamic school in Thailand.[10] According to Thanet, the rise of Islamic nationalism in the South is not only attributed to Haji Sulong himself but also the religious students who 'were inclined towards modernism' from the northern states in Malaya. Haji Sulong was an ulama who openly distrusted the government's involvement in the religious affairs of the community. His conviction in the matter stemmed from his ideal that a community cannot be established in the south as long as it is solely under Thai rule.

On 3 April 1947, a commission of inquiry by the Bangkok government was sent to the four Muslim states in the South to check on the apparent plight of the Muslims living there. It was during this time that the Provincial Islamic Council of Pattani drafted out a seven point demand to the central government in Bangkok which sought for the betterment of Muslims in the region. According to Thanet, the commission of inquiry pointed to Haji Sulong as the leader behind the conceptualisation of this demands. Prime Minister Thamrong brought the seven point demand for consideration with his cabinet and then decided that they could not be met because he felt that the existing structure of the Bangkok government was still (then) adequate to govern the Pattani region. He concluded that an exclusive reorganisation of the governmental structure in the area to suit the people there would then 'divide the country'.[11]

By the late part of 1947, Haji Sulong and his supporters realised that their efforts with the government to negotiate better terms for the Muslims in the south was not working. They then decided to adopt a policy of non-cooperation and this included the boycott of the January 1948 elections. Moreover, at this time, the Pridi government had been ousted in a coup by the military which meant a return to the old rigid ways towards the southern states. During this period, Haji Sulong and his associates were arrested and charged for treason.[12] This was a move purported by Phibun even though he was not back yet in power according to Thanet's research (Phibun returned to power a few months after in April 1948). This arrests were soon followed by clashes between Muslim villagers and the police/military forces at Duson Nyior. This event was known was the Dusun Nyior Incident which was led by a religious leader by the name of Haji Abdul Rahman. The ensuing violence involved over 1000 men in open battle [13] and led to the deaths of an estimated 400 Malay Muslim peasants and 30 policemen. After the clashes had been settled, there was an exodus of Malays across the border to Malaya. There was even a petition by the Pattani Muslims to the United Nations to step in to broker the separation of the southern states to join the Federation of Malaya.

While on trial, the court provided many descriptions of the alleged activities that Haji Sulong had carried out to incite unrest amongst the people. This include accusations that state that he held meetings which invoked 'arousing rebellious feelings among the people almost to the point of creating unrest in the kingdom'.[14] According to Thanet, the most serious accusation was that he incited the people to seek for self-government with the intention of inviting Tengku Mahmud Mayuddin, who was the son of the last raja of Pattani, to preside as leader over the four southern provinces. On top of this, the prosecution also stated that Haji Sulong had recommended that Islamic law be implemented and if the government did not comply to the said demands, Haji Sulong would then urge the Malay population to make their complains heard until the government did something about it. Haji Sulong was convicted and spent time in jail until 1952 and after his release, he was ordered by the government to give up his public activities and subject himself to checks by the police on demand. The prosecutor in that trial wanted to press for a heavier sentence citing evidence that Haji Sulong was planning something bigger to the scale of a rebellion. Originally as a result of the state's prosecution citing these evidences, the sentence had originally been longer but due to the willingness of Haji Sulong to cooperate in the investigations, the court reduced the sentence to four years and eight months. In 1954, Haji Sulong, his eldest son, Ahmad and some of his associates were told to report to a police station at Songkhla. Upon leaving to report to the station, they were never seen or heard from again. After his disappearance, his family inquired about his whereabouts but never got any answers. In 1957, his son, Ameen Tokmina ran for parliament in the elections in the hope that a position in the government could help him look for more information.[15]

Today, the goals and ideas of Haji Sulong Tokmina are still carried on by minor resistance groups interested in creating an Islamic republic. After the war, though, British and Thai policies essentially removed the possibility of an independent republic in Pattani.The British originally had the intention to deliver on their promise to the anti-Japanese Malay leaders in South Thailand that they would either create an independent territory out of the Malay-based southern Thai states or incorporate them in British Malaya as a punishment of Thailand for aiding the Japanese conquest of Malaya and profitting from it. However, they were dissuaded by the USA who needed Thai rice to feed the war-ravaged region and Thai friendship to face up to the possibility of China's fall to the Chinese communist army.

Current insurgency[edit]

Patani separatist groups, most notably the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO), began to use violent tactics in 2001. There have been suggestions of links between PULO and foreign Islamist groups, such as al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah.[citation needed]

Estimates of rebel strength vary widely from only 500 to more than 15,000.[citation needed] Weekly reports throughout recent years show an unpleasant activity by extremists, and killings of soldiers, supposed rebels and civilians are quite common.[citation needed] Roadblocks are a common sight everywhere across the three southernmost Thai provinces. Armored military vehicles have vanished in public on the roads and within the cities and villages.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani, Ibrahim Syukri, ISBN 0-89680-123-3
  2. ^ Moshe Yegar, Between Integration and Secession
  3. ^ [Thanet Aphornsuvan, Rebellion in Southern Thailand: Contending Histories ISBN 978-981-230-474-2] pp.35
  4. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Elections and Political Integration in the Lower South of Thailand by James Ockey (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.131
  5. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Elections and Political Integration in the Lower South of Thailand by James Ockey (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.132
  6. ^ [Thanet Aphornsuvan, Rebellion in Southern Thailand: Contending Histories ISBN 978-981-230-474-2]
  7. ^ Surin Pitsuwan, Islam and Malay Nationalism ISBN 974-335-089-6 pp.111-113
  8. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Elections and Political Integration in the Lower South of Thailand by James Ockey (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.133
  9. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.100
  10. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.101
  11. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.101
  12. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.116
  13. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.118
  14. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Malay Muslim 'Separatism' in Southern Thailand by Thanet Aphornsuvan (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.119
  15. ^ Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory (eds.), Elections and Political Integration in the Lower South of Thailand by James Ockey (essay) Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1 pp.136

Coordinates: 6°45′N 100°25′E / 6.750°N 100.417°E / 6.750; 100.417