MUGG, n.p. Beng. Magh. It is impossible to deviate without deterioration from Wilson’s definition of this obscure name : “A name commonly applied to the natives of Arakan, particularly those bordering on Bengal, or residing near the sea ; the people of Chittagong.” It is beside the question of its origin or proper application, to say, as Wilson goes on to say, on the authority of Lieut. (now Sir Arthur) Phayre, that the Arakanese disclaim the title, and restrict it to a class held in contempt, viz. the descendants of Arakanese settlers on the frontier of Bengal by Bengali mothers. The proper names of foreign nations in any language do not require the sanction of the nation to whom they are applied, and are often not recognised by the latter. German is not the German name for the Germans, nor Welsh the Welsh name for the Welsh, nor Hindu (originally) a Hindu word, nor China a Chinese word. The origin of the present word is very obscure. Sir A. Phayre kindly furnishes us with this note : “There is good reason to conclude that the name is derived from Maga, the name of the ruling race for many centuries in Magadha (modern Behar). The kings of Arakan were no doubt originally of this race. For though this is not distinctly expressed in the histories of Arakan, there are several legends of Kings from Benares reigning in that country, and one regarding a Brahman who marries a native princess, and whose descendants reign for a long period. I say this, although Buchanan appears to reject the theory (see Montg. Martin, ii. 18 seqq.)” The passage is quoted below.

On the other hand the Mahommedan writers sometimes confound Buddhists with fire-worshippers, and it seems possible that the word may have been Pers. magh=‘magus.’ [See Risley, Tribes and Castes, ii. 28 seq.] The Chittagong Muggs long furnished the best class of native cooks in Calcutta ; hence the meaning of the last quotation below.

1585.—“The Mogen, which be of the kingdom of Recon (see ARAKAN) and Rame, be stronger than the King of Tipara ; so that Chatigam or Porto Grande (q.v.) is often under the King of Recon.”—R. Fitch, in Hakl. ii. 389.

c. 1590.—(In a country adjoining Pegu) “there are mines of ruby and diamond and gold and silver and copper and petroleum and sulphur and (the lord of that country) has war with the tribe of Magh about the mines ; also with the tribe of Tipara there are battles.”—Ain (orig.) i. 388 ; [ed. Jarrett, ii. 120].

c. 1604.—“Defeat of the Magh Rájá.— This short-sighted Rájá…became elated with the extent of his treasures and the number of his elephants.…He then openly rebelled, and assembling an army at Sunárgánw laid seige to a fort in that vicinity…Rájá Mán Singh…despatched a force…These soon brought the Magh Rájá and all his forces to action…regardless of the number of his boats and the strength of his artillery.”—Ináyatullah, in Elliot, vi. 109.

1638.—“Submission of Manek Rái, the Mag Rájá of Chittagong.”—Abdul-Hamíd Lahori, in do. vii. 66.

c. 1665.—“These many years there have always been in the Kingdom of Rakan or Moy (read Mog) some Portuguese, and with them a great number of their Christian Slaves, and other Franguis.…That was the refuge of the Run-aways from Goa, Ceilan, Cochin, Malague (see MALACCA), and all these other places which the Portugueses formerly held in the Indies.”— Bernier, E.T. p. 53 ; [ed. Constable, 109].

1676.—“In all Bengala this King (of Arakan) is known by no other name but the King of Mogue.”—Tavernier, E.T.i. 8.

1752.—“…that as the time of the Mugs draws nigh, they request us to order the pinnace to be with them by the end of next month.”—In Long, p. 87.

c. 1810.—“In a paper written by Dr. Leyden, that gentleman supposes…that Magadha is the country of the people whom we call Muggs.…The term Mugg, these people assured me, is never used by either themselves or by the Hindus, except when speaking the jargon commonly called Hindustani by Europeans.…”—F. Buchanan, in Eastern India, ii. 18.

1811.—“Mugs, a dirty and disgusting people, but strong and skilful. They are somewhat of the Malayan race.”—Solvyns, iii.

1866.—“That vegetable curry was excellent. Of course your cook is a Mug ?”— The Dawk Bungalow, 389.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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