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The Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand

Essays on the History and Historiography of Patani

Patrick Jory

Publication Year: 2012

At the heart of the on-going armed conflict in southern Thailand is a fundamental disagreement about the history of relations between the Patani Malays and the Thai kingdom.While the Thai royalist-nationalist version of history regards Patani as part of that kingdom "since time immemorial," Patani Malay nationalists look back to a golden age when the Sultanate of Patani was an independent, prosperous trading state and a renowned center for Islamic education and scholarship in Southeast Asia -- a time before it was defeated, broken up, and fell under the oppressive control of the Thai state. While still influential, in recent years these diametrically opposed views of the past have begun to make way for more nuanced and varied interpretations. Patani scholars, intellectuals and students now explore their history more freely and confidently than in the past, while the once-rigid Thai nationalist narrative is open to more pluralistic interpretations. There is growing interaction and dialogue between historians writing in Thai, Malay and English, and engagement with sources and scholarship in other languages, including Chinese and Arabic. In The Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand, thirteen historians who have worked on this sensitive region evaluate the current state of current historical writing about the Patani Malays of southern Thailand. The essays in this book demonstrate that an understanding of the conflict must take into account the historical dimensions of relations between Patani and the Thai kingdom, and the ongoing influence of these perceptions on Thai state officials, militants, and the local population.

Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. x-xi

When the Regional Studies Program at Walailak University in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand, was established in the early 2000s, it soon began to contribute to efforts to understand the long-running conflict in Thailand’s southern...


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pp. xii-14

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pp. xiv-xxix

An 18-year-old girl takes a history course at a state university in southern Thailand. Her group assignment is to study a topic of debate in Thai history. As the representative of the group, she takes the stage to give her oral presentation. Speaking Thai in a thick Malay accent, she gives an impassioned address to her class about the tragedy of Patani history and the persecution ...

Part One: Pluralism and Identity in Patani’s History

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pp. 1-33

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Chapter 1: Patani as a Paradigm of Pluralism

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pp. 3-30

The rise of nationalism and the ideology of sovereign equality among uniform nation-states brought huge advances to Europe in the 19th century and Asia in the 20th. The ideology included, however, alarming implications for precisely those societies that had arisen to mediate goods, people and ideas creatively between the major population centers. Among these implications ...

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Chapter 2: Gates, Elephants, Cannon and Drums: Symbols and Sounds in the Creation of a Patani Identity

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pp. 31-52

Symbols and Sounds in the Creation of a Patani Identity The ongoing conflict in southern Thailand has spawned increased interest in the historical processes by which a sense of being “Malay/Muslim” as opposed to “Thai/Buddhist” developed in the contemporary provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Satun and especially Pattani. Because these processes have ...

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Chapter 3: The Patani Region in Chinese Texts of the 6th to the 19th Centuries

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pp. 53-84

The Patani Region in Chinese Texts of the 6th to the 19th Centuries While numerous studies have drawn attention to the importance of Chinese texts for the study of the major Thai polities,1 very little has yet been written on how Chinese sources might be drawn upon to elucidate aspects of the Patani past.2 This is due both to the paucity of materials available and to the ...

Part Two: Patani’s Place in Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern Islamic Networks

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pp. 85-117

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Chapter 4: The Patani ‘Ulamâ’: Global and Regional Networks

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pp. 87-109

Geographically, the Muslim area in Southeast Asia, also conveniently called the Malay-Indonesian world, is often viewed by scholars as being at the periphery of the Islamic world centered in Mecca, Medina, and even Cairo. Situated far from the region known today as the Middle East, the area of Muslim Southeast Asia represents one of the least Arabized parts of the ...

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Chapter 5: The Intellectual Network of Patani and the Haramayn

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pp. 110-128

Since the 17th century, the Haramayn (the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia) played a crucial role in disseminating Islamic knowledge to Southeast Asian Muslims, among them the Muslims of Patani. Previous studies of Patani that discuss the influence of the Haramayn tend to focus on the religious scholars who resided there for the purposes of ...

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Chapter 6: Patani’s Creole Ambassadors

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pp. 129-146

Claims and counterclaims have been made concerning Patani’s uniqueness vis-à-vis other Southeast Asian port city-states. Wayne Bougas argues that Patani’s history and culture have been shaped by its location between the Thai and Malay mandalas of Ayutthaya/Bangkok and Melaka.1 While Islam typically supplanted and eventually replaced Hindu-Buddhist ...

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Part Three: Alternative Histories of Patani’s Decline and Fall

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pp. 147-179

Siam’s Conquest of Patani and the End of Mandala Relations Ghosts_Patani combined text 10-1147 147 11/10/2012 10:30:01 PMGhosts_Patani combined text 10-1148 148 11/10/2012 10:30:01 PM...

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Chapter 7: Siam’s Conquest of Patani and the End of Mandala Relations, 1786–1838

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pp. 149-160

Established scholarship on the political history of early modern Southeast Asia agrees that political entities were borderless, whether characterized as mandalas or “galactic polities.”1 These “states” revolved around charismatic leaders positioned in political centers from which they extended their power as far as their...

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Chapter 8: A Tin Mine in Need of a History: 19th-Century British Views of the Patani Interior

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pp. 161-182

Histories of the Malay Peninsula are histories of its littoral. In contrast to the many excellent accounts of the port polity, the interior of the Malay Peninsula has remained a historical blindspot. Luxury forest products from the interior played a critical role in an Indian Ocean trade of great antiquity and these same resources were critical to processes of local state formation. ...

Part Four: The Struggle for Control of Patani and Its History

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pp. 183-215

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Chapter 9: The Formation of the Islamo-Malay Patanian Nation: Ideological Structuring by Nationalist Historians

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pp. 185-227

The Patanian nation formed and evolved over centuries as a group defined by space — a homeland — and by an Islamo-Malay culture that dissolved Arabic elements from the Middle East, the Malay language and Malay customs, and Indic slivers into a new blend. Since the 1970s, the Thai state has further installed the Indicized Thai language into this mix. In “living ...

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Chapter 10: Historical Identity, Nation, and History-Writing: The Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand, 1940s–1980s

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pp. 228-254

Evidently it was the recalcitrance and rebelliousness of Patani that led King Rama I (1782–1809) to break the sultanate up into seven political units, called hua muang or principalities.1 The main aim was to weaken the resources which had enabled Patani to repeatedly defy Bangkok’s authority. These Seven Principalities — Tani, Jaring/Yaring, Legeh/Ra-ngae, Saiburi, ...

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Chapter 11: Locating Traditional, Islamic, and Modern Historiography inPatani-Jawi Identity

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pp. 255-276

Modern historiography is a novel genre of recounting the past in Thailand’s restive southern region. It is instructive, therefore, to examine how this new genre relates to the older genres of historiography which were formerly dominant in the...

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Chapter 12: Patani Militant Leaflets and the Uses of History1

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pp. 277-297

Since January 2004, the southern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have experienced serious political violence that has claimed the lives of around 7,000 people.3 Opinion about the causes of the violence remains divided, but most scholars agree that the majority of major incidents ...


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pp. 298-321


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pp. 322-325


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pp. 326-336

E-ISBN-13: 9789971696887
Print-ISBN-13: 9789971696351

Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 7 maps, 13 images
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: New