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  • Introduction :  The Chakma is the largest nation in Bangladesh. Although Bengalis number more than Chakma in the CHT, there are more Chakma in the CHT than all the other Indigenous peoples put together. A large number of Chakma also live scattered about in the states of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India. Chakmas mostly live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Besides, a small number of Chakma also live in Cox’s Bazar district and in Myanmar.

  • Statistics :  According to the census of 1991, the total number of Chakma in the CHT was 239,417. It is unlikely that the 1991 Census accounted for the more than 50,000 refugees from the CHT were in refugee camps in India. The vast majority of these refugees are Chakma. Even otherwise, many indigenous groups in the country believe that their number is actually far higher than is recorded in the official government estimates. It is not known how far this belief is true, but there is no doubt that the actual number of Chakma who are residents of the CHT is far higher than the figure recorded in the Census Report of 1991.

  • Language, Culture and Tradition : The Chakma language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and has close links with Pali, Assamese and Bengali. The Chakma have their own script in which their ancient religious literature is preserved in palm leaves. The script has similarities with Mon Khmer and Burmese. Although many elderly Chakma still sign their names in the Chakma script, most Chakma youths no longer use the script. At school, the Chakma study in Bengali and in English. The Chakma have perhaps proved to be the most adaptive and innovative of all the indigenous peoples of the CHT. By nature, most Chakma are down-to-earth and socially shy, but nevertheless romantic, although they will seldom admit it.

  • Chief of Chakma : The head of Chakma society is the Chakma Chief who is descended from the general who led the resistance movement against the British East India Company’s forces in the 1770s.

 

  • Followers :  The Chakma have been followers of Gautama Buddha for long but the Chakma brand of Buddhism always had room for indigenous gods and spirits, including some from the Hindu pantheon. Chakmas are generally liberal and non-fundamental in religious belief and practice.

 

3 Comments

  1. Dear Bivu,

    Chakma is not minority. Chakma is a nation. So use nation instead of ethnic minority .

  2. Suz Moriz says:

    Mui tik gori dong sia. Aja garong ama chakma gunore ami ikkua jat hwbong bekkune.

  3. Raju says:

    ‘The Chakma is the largest nation in Bangladesh”…what do the writer wants to mean??..it should be replaaced with “largest ethnic group”

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