People of Bandarban

Posted by BandarbanTours November - 18 - 2009


There are more than fifteen ethnic minorities living in the district besides the Bengalis, including: the Marma, the Arakanese descendants and Arakanese (Rakhine), who are also know as Magh, Mru (also known as Mro or Murong), Bawm, Khyang, Tripuri (also known as Tipra or Tipperah), Mizo (also known as Lushei), Khumi, Chak, Kuki, Chakma and Tenchungya, who are closely related, Reang (also known as Riyang), Uchoi (also known as Usui) and Pankho.

The Mru, also known as Murong, who are famous for their music and dance. The Mru in major numbers have converted to Khrama (or Crama), the youngest religion in Bangladesh that prohibits much of their old ways. They are assumed to be the original inhabitants of Bandarban. The Bawm are another major tribe here. Now converted almost totally to Christianity they have taken full advantage of the church to become the most educated people in the district. The Marma are Arakanese descendants of Myanmar by origin and Buddhists by religion, and are the second largest tribe in the hill districts of Bangladesh. The Khumi live in the remotest parts of the district, and the group is thought to include yet unexplored/ unclassified tribes.

These ethnic groups are again divided in hundreds of clans and sects, principally dominated by four religious threads – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and a number of pagan faiths. All these clans and groups are clustered into two major ethnic families, namely the hill people and the valley people. Since the Kaptai dam flooded the valley creating to Kaptai lake, the valley people have started to live on hill tops along the hill people.

Bengali settlers, coming in with the forced settlements in 1979, and Rohingya settlers, coming in across the Myanmar border since the junta came to power in Yangon in 1992, now has become two major ethnic groups outside minorities. But, there are a number of Bengali families who claim to have settled earlier than some of the tribes.in there live many Barua also.

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