Among the ethnic groups living in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Murong is a small ethnic minority group. Who live scattered in the hill district of Bandarban. The Mrus (Murang) are a tribe which formerly dwell in the Arakan hill, they now live principally to the west of the river sangu and along the Matamuhori river within Chittagong Hill Tracts. Mro are also Known as Mru and Murong. Chakmas and Marmas call them Lengta, Kuki or Langye or wild/primitive people while some people of the plains designate them as Murongs.
Murong community mostly found in Bandarban district. Murong lives in Lama, Ruma, Alikadam and Thanchi Upazilas near Chimbuk mountaion of Bandarban district. Mru also distributed in Toin, Mangu, Toinfa, Luloing, Uttarhangar, Dhakkinhanar, Tankabati, Harinzuri, Takerpanchari, Renikyong, Pantala Thankhyong, Swalock, Tindow, Singpa, Alikhaung and Bhariyatali Mouzas. The Mro population in Chittagong Hill Tracts in 1956 was 17000 and 1981, it stood at 20000 and in 1991, the Murong population in Bangladesh was 22,178 and constituted the fourth largest tribe in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
|1||1872||2,378||Sangu research paper, year six, Volume – One|
|2||1956||17,000||National Encydopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of BD.|
|3||1959||16,121||Parbottgo Chattagramer upajati translated by Sufic Khan|
|4||1981||17,811||B. H. Swarowardi|
|5||1981||20,000||National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic society of BD.|
|6||1991||22,129||Govt. Census of 1991.|
|Serial||Name of Upazila||Population||Year||Reference|
|1||Bandarban Sadar||5,223||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|2||Roangchari||3,541||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|3||Ruma||4,970||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|4||Thanchi||10,191||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|5||Lama||11,721||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|6||Alikadam||21,861||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|7||Naikhangchari||2,241||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
|8||Total||59,748||1995||Survey of Mro social council|
Murongs are famous aborigines of Arakan and the two Murong kings who ruled Arakan in the tenth century, were A-mya-thu (957) and Pai-phyu (964). At that time wathaly was the capital city of Arakan.
Murong had a bloody war with Khumi on the bank of the Koladain. The Khumi tribe difeated the Murongs and ousted them from Arakan. Murongs moved to Chittagong Hill Tracts some times between the 17th and 18th centuries. Many however, believe that this happened in the 14th century. Murongs living in the district of Khagrachari are in fact a clan of the Tripura. There is a linguistic affinity between the two groups of people. In the Indian state of Tripura, the counterparts of Murongs are Known as Riangs. However, on many occasions, Mros are contemptuously Called Mro-Dang or Myawktong, Meaning lower type of animal being. But Mros introduce themselves as Mro-cha. The word Mro means man and cha stands for being.
In the 14th century, Mros were driver out from Arakan by Khumis, a powerful tribe. They moved to the Hill Tracts of Bandarban and settled Sangu along the Matamuhuri river. This is supported by a letter of the king of Burma to the chief of Chittagong district. The king stated in the letter that that some Murongs Arakan and took refuge in the Chittagong region, from where they operated raids on the both sides of the border.
Mros have mongoloid features but are tall and strong and have dark complexion. They are peaceful and timed. Moustache and beard are hardly seen on their face. Physically they have a close resemble with Semang of Malaysia.
Mros take boiled rice twice a day and consume all types of meat but hardly use spicy items in cooking curry. Dry fish is their favorite food. Drinking is popular and they have no taboo as regards any food. Rice and home made bear are their main food and drink. Their delicacy is nappi made of fermented fat of fish, frog, deer or boar mixed fermented rice.
They build their houses on hilltops. The houses are big and seem to be built for community dwelling. Murongs build houses on Machangs (plat froms) on the top of the hills. Their houses are bigger than the houses of other tribes. This main profession of the Murongs is Zhum cultivation and lumbering wood from jungle. Women work harder than the men. Mros depend mainly on hunting but many of them are now engaged in zhum cultivatiom, zautha Khamar (colleetive farming) and gardening. Mro women are very active in economic pursuits, weave their own clothes and manage all affairs of the house.
Mro men wear round the waist a strip of cloth called legti, which is passed between the two legs. The female use a small piece of dark blue cloth (wanglai) to cover the private part of the body. The wanglai is 6 inches in width from top to bottom. The women hardly cover their breasts. They bind their hairs on the left side of the back of the head.
Male wears a lungi and a shirt and female uses a piece of cloth on the upper part of her body when they go to the market.
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