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Chak Culture

The principles of traditional culture are nurtured and practiced by the people of a community throughout their life. Accordingly, the Chak people nurture and celebrate their own festivals with a befitting manner. It is worth mentioning here that the Chaks have multifarious traditional cultures. The rituals they observe are very important in analyzing their cultural movements.

Obsequies

The Apengzer determines the customs of the funeral of the dead body of the Chak, who believe in re-birth. Maternal uncles or matrimonial relatives are entitled to set fire to the dead body if the dead person is made and had natural death. Elder brothers or nephews are entitled to do the same if the death is natural and the dead person is a female. The activities relating to the post-death rituals are as follows:

Lying on the Kabakey: In the Chak community, the dead body is bathed after its head is anointed with oil. Then it is put on a piece of clean cloth and is placed on the kabakey (an open stage) attached to the house. After that, they pray wishing peace for the departed soul by playing with dhol (a tomtom) and other musical instruments such as 'mong' made of bell metal and by reciting from the holy books too.

Placing on the Talah: The dead body is taken to the crematorium (that is called chukha in the Chak language) with a decorated and colorful talah (bamboo frame for carrying dead bodies to the crematorium). Some rice is taken in a pot and these are scattered on the way to the crematorium. It is done in this way so that s/he would not be a needy person after rebirth.

CHAK Women A CHAK Women with Contributors. All Rights Reserved.

Cremation

People who attend the chukha are initiated to panchasheel (Buddhist ceremonial practice) and bestow money to the Buddhist monks before cremation. The dead body is covered with a piece of white cloth from the head to the ground. Then the drops of sacred water are dispersed on the body. Three layers of wood for the male and four layers for the female are essential in cremation. Then the dead body is buried with the talah. The Buddhist monk recites from the sacred text and then the dead body is buried. The person engaged in this activity utters that he (death) might return again.

Kangboeng: Turmeric-mixed water is kept in two chongas (a sort and hollow pipe) made of bamboo on the bank of a canal. People who attend the cremation wash their legs up to the knees and the hands up to elbows with this water. In some clans, there is a custom of washing the head too. It is called Kangboeng (purification) in the Chaklanguage.

Chhaniwalk Svic Freh: The relatives and the invited guests attend the Buddhist monastery with foods and drinks, and wish the departed soul peace by lighting candles to the Buddhist monks after the seventh day of death. It is called Chhaniwalk Svic Freh. Such occasion is arranged for minimum three times after every three years in case of death of an old man.

Sainbalb: Sainbalb means wishing rebirth. The relatives and the successors of the dead take foods to the house of every senior person in their community for one time in case of natural death of an old man. Generally they do not cremate the dead body on Wednesday, but they do it on this day if anybody dies on the last day of the dark fortnight.

Language

The Chak speak the language of 'Suck' or 'Lai' of Tibeto-Burmese branch that is also included in the Sina-Tibeto group. They call their own language 'Tu'.

Literature and Culture

Chak Child

Chak Child. All Rights Reserved.

The Chak community, nourished and brought up by natural beauty, patronizes different cultures such as lokgatha (verse or song handed down orally), rupkahini (floktale), puzzles, poems, dances and songs. Some educated persons of the Chak community develop these, although every one of them is not educated. Their creativity is expressed through the different arts and cultures. Among the famous Chak poets, Wang Chik Chak, Champapru Chak, Nangu Chak, Chaichhaong Chak, Mongnu Chak, M. R. Chak, Mong Koching Chak, Mong Mong Chak, Chingchhahna Chak, Chakra Aung Chakand Mongkow Ching Chakare mentionable. A poem is also mentioned here in this regard.

Musical instruments are very essential to perform dances and songs in the Chak community. The melody is created by natural technology and the mechanism of their own without the help of the modern technology. This melody attracts not only the people but also the domestic animals. These musical instruments are made with the elements such as bamboo, cane, wood, khol (the cast-off skin of a serpent) of bottle gourd and leather, etc. of the forest.

Social structure and economy

The pro-cooperative Chak community lives together with social harmony in the flat lands. They are patriarchal. There are three types of family in their community. They are extended family, joint family and nuclear family. The head of the family takes the leading role in the extended family. There is no habitation of the people of other ethnic groups in a Chakpara. Bomang circle is at the top of Chak administration. Bomang, headman and karbari are under the Bomang circle.

Inheritance

In fact, a headman is traditionally appointed. But the qualification of the successors of the headman is also considered in this regard. The government pays them. The headman runs the administration and settles dispute relating to the property. The role of the headman is similar to those of south Venezuela and Brazil. The sons become the only successors of paternal property. The daughters do not get share of paternal property, although they get demanded money, ornaments and domestic animals after they give birth to their first child.

Occupation

Their economy is mainly agriculture-based. They are engaged in jhum and some other forms of cultivations. But the production of the. jhum fields is now decreasing. The Chak women play an important role in the agricultural sector. The people living in the Aliksyong mouza are mainly engaged in agricultural activities. At present, the people of other mouzas are working as day laborers also. The economic condition of the Chak deteriorated during the period from 1985 to 1995. Among the crops they produce, paddy and betel-leaf are mentionable. Besides, they are working as maidservants. Moreover, some of them are also engaged in different government and non-government jobs.


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