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Indigenous Communities of Bangladesh

"Indigenous peoples in independent countries (are those) whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations."

There are about 35 smaller groups of Indigenous communities in Bangladesh covering about two percent of the total population have been living in different pockets of the hilly zones and some plain lands of the country (www. Banlaembassy.com.). On the other hand according to the Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, there are 45 ethnic groups with approximately 2.5 million living side by side with the Bengali majority people. According to the government statistics the total number of Adivasi is 12,05,978 which is only 1.03 percent of the total population. However enough doubts remain about this number of Adivasis.

For centuries Bangladesh is enriched with the culture of different Adivasi ethnic communities. A good number of Adivasi live here. The word 'Adivasi' is derived from the Sanskrit. 'Adi' meaning original and 'Basi' means inhabitant. The Adivasi may also mean 'indigenous people'. Most of the Indigenous communities in Bangladesh draw their income from regular agriculture. The Indigenous communities of Bangladesh have their distinctive ways of living. But the Indigenous communities living in Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) are more distinctive than the other to their own living culture, and they live more closely to the natural contact for their livelihood and housing than the other communities in Bangladesh.

Tribal community means such a group of people who are more or less organized in a region having a cultural unity and whose members feel that they are included in the same cultural unit. The convention No. 169 and Article No. 1 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) accepted in 1989 goes thus (Allen 1905 )

"Indigenous peoples in independent countries (are those) whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations:"

Indigenous Communities of Bangladesh BIZUU Indigenous Communities of Bangladesh - BIZUU.

According to some social scientists and anthropologists opined that the Adivasi 'means such a group of people whose economy is characterized by food gathering and rearing of animals for their livelihood.' More recently many countries of the world used a synonym word of 'Adivasi' is – 'forest dwellers' (Andre et.al. 1965). Some characteristics of course, are found in ascertaining the description of Adivasis (Costa1847).

  1. The Adivasis live in such an area which is almost fixed. After the conclusion of procuring food they return generally to a fixed area or go to a new place to start living there.
  2. The Adivasis own the unchanging cultural tradition. The proof of cultural unity is found such a group of people.
  3. Their food procurement system and production skill are of the same kind form generation to generation.
  4. There prevails a sense of unity among the members of the Adivasi- their sense of solidarity is very forceful.

According to Proshanto Tripura, an anthropologist of Bangladesh, (Garos 1885) "To call a particular group of people Adivasis means they are the descendant of an ancient minority group of people of that particular area. It is clear that the whole thing is a relative matter. In what context we call them indigenous or minority group of people is dependent on how the boundary of place and tine are ascertained."

However, at present there is no way to identity separately the Adivasi villages except in some areas mainly in Chittagong Hill Tracts. As now in most of the villages they are living side by side with the Bangali.

But in most cases the Indigenous community lives in a characteristically different hamlet although it is in the same village and their way of life is also remarkably different from those of the Hindus and Muslims Bangali community of the Village (Dube 1977).

There are about 35 smaller groups of Indigenous communities in Bangladesh covering about two percent of the total population have been living in different pockets of the hilly zones and some plain lands of the country (www. Banlaembassy.com.). On the other hand according to the Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, there are 35 ethnic groups with approximately 2.5 million living side by side with the Bengali majority people. According to the government statistics the total number of Adivasi is 12,05,978 which is only 1.03 percent of the total population. However enough doubts remain about this number of Adivasis.

The indigenous communities along with the localities they live are mentioned here; Bawm, Chak, Chakma, Khyang, Khumi, Lushai, Marma, Mro. Pangkhoa, Rakhain, Tanchanga, Tripura in Chttagong Hill Tracts regions; Bhuimale, Lahra, Mahali, Monda, Noonia, Oraro, Pahan, Palia, Rabidas, Raybansi, Ranjoarh, Rana KIarmaker, Santal, in the North Bengal Region and Been, Bhumig, Boraj, Barman, Dalu, Garo, Hajongn, Halem, Kharia, Khari, Koch, Konda, Kurmi, Manipuri, Nayek, Pangan, Patra, Shabar in the Mymensingh and Sylhet region. (Cultural Survey of Bangladesh, Series- 5)

Indigenous Communities of Bangladesh Tribal Communities of CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS.

The Hill Tract Indigenous communities are ethnically different from the settled populaces in Bangladesh. They have closer links with Indigenous of the vast region that extends from Tibet to Indo-China. They are short in stature, have black hair, prominent check-bones and narrow eyes, features that are generally known as typical to the mongoloid type.

One of largest concentration of the ‘ethnic tribal/Adivasis groups of the country is the Chittagong Hill Tracts. About one third of the tribal peoples live here. The different ethnicities of Chittagong Hill Tracts have their own traditional social system, practices, customs, language, literature, heritage, religious practices, costumes, food habit and festivals.

The indigenous people live in CHT are: Bawm, Chak, Chakma, Khyang, Khumi, Lushai Marma, Mro, Pangkhoa, Tanchangya, Rakhaine and Tripura (Chakma 2007). Bangladesh Statistical Year Book 2002:33 also support this number.

Indigenous Communities of Bangladesh

CHITTAGONG & CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS

MYMENSINGH - SYLHET REGION

NORTH BENGAL REGION

  1. BAWM
  2. CHAK
  3. CHAKMA
  4. KHEYANG
  5. KHUMI
  6. LUSHAI
  7. MARMA
  8. MRO or MURONG
  9. PANGKHOA
  10. RAKHAING
  11. TANCHANGA
  12. TRIPURA
  1. BHUIMALI
  2. LAHRA
  3. MAHALI
  4. MAHATO
  5. MUNDA
  6. MUSHHOR
  7. NOONIA
  8. ORAON
  9. PAHAN
  10. PALIA
  11. RABIDAS
  12. RAJBANGSHII
  13. RANA
  14. KARMAKAR
  15. RANJOARH
  16. SANTAL
  1. BARMAN
  2. BEEN
  3. BHUMIJ
  4. BONAJ
  5. DALU
  6. GARO
  7. PANGAN

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