Among the ethnic groups living in Chittagong Hill tracts, the Pangkua are the smallest one. However, like other communities, the Pangkua have their own traditional system, practices customs, language, literature, heritage religious practices, food habit and festivals.
In Bangladesh Pangkua live in Belaichhari, (Tinkunia mauzas, 8. no word Pangkua para) Bagaisori (Sajek) and juraichari upazila (Dumdumia) of Rangamati district. At least 2500 Pangkua community live in over all the country. But 100 families and 600 Pangkua people live in pangkua para in Belaichhri upzila.
According to the member of pankua para, (Delip pangkua) the pangkua who now live in Belaichhari, Bagaichhari, Juraichhari of the hill district of Rangamati and Mayanmar’s Arakhan are mongoloid in origin. At first, In Bangladesh the Pangkua are established their habitated Rangunia Ruabazar. When the kaptai barrage was built. The Pangkua were scartted different area such as Bagaichhari (Sajek) and Juraichhari (Dumdumia) upazila in Ragamati district. After 1979 most of the pangkua families migrated their habited in Belaichhari upazila. (8 no ward, Tinkuna mauzas pangkua para)
They have a language but no alphabet of their own. The pangkua language they have used to communicate from generation to generation has only a spoken form. It origination from Mizoram, Brahmma language that is spoken in the southern areas. The ethnic Pangkua person have inherited their language and take pride of it. They consider it a property from their ancestors. It still remains intact and is in its original form.
The Pangkua language to some extent resembles the Bawm, Lushai, kheyang and Monipuri languages. Among them Bawm and lushai are almost 70% similar to Pangkua. It has similarity also with other Tebeti language such as monipuri.
The main food of the pangkua is rice and vegetables, which they produce in hills through jhum cultivation besides they catch snails and crabs from nearby streams and hunts game birds and animals which all the people of village eat together. The Pangkua are quite skilled in hunting wild animals. The meats of the hunted animals constitute one of their favorite dishes. They eat the meat of any domestic or wild animals such as tigers, deer, cows, boars, dogs, jakals, roosters, bears. buffaloes and snakes.
Among of the meat, they choice dog meat. There is no prohibition in food selection. Besides, they take a huge amount of vegetables which grow in abundance on hills. They usually make nerve-stimulators like tobacco and cigars in their own hands.
The Pangkua have developed a distinctive life style. The handicraft they make carry the typicality of their culture and traditions. The products that they manufacture by using materials available in the wild neighborhood are the evidence of their exquisite artisanship too. They use bamboos, canes, and wood to produce different types of pots and baskets, including the one they carry on their back they also used dried and hard shells of a sort of wild gourd of make different house hold materials. In a world the beautiful handierafts bear the marks of their superb creative acumen.
Like other ethnic groups the Pangkua live on jhum cultivation. Besides traditional and historical engagement in jhum chash (swidden cultivation) for hundreds of yours, the pangkua have recently invented the system of Bagan (gardening) Khamar (farming) livestock rearing and fish cultivation to copy with the growing demand of essentials in every day life. Bagan usually includes the cultivation of various kinds of fruit trees, such as mango, banana Jack-fruit, guava, papaya and lemon.
The products of Bagan meet not only the communities need but also provide considerable surplus for export to market which brings a little comfort to their life. Khamar includes production of different kinds of species and vegetables, which cover their everyday needs. The some extent khamar goods are also sold at market, provding money to ficilate their daily lives. The Pangkua tend to keep various livestock cows, pigs hens and goats in every house. These are essential to maintain their every convention and ritual as well as for religious festivals because presenting hens, slaughtering cows and sacrificing pigs are the common means performing.
Pangkua ritual religious festivals few lives stock and they had to depend on other communities in times of want. Now they have their own. Both male and female members of the pangkua community are hard warking, Now days their inclination towards modern education conspicuously increases, and they extensively take part in financial activities under the supervision of several non governmental organizations (NGO’s ), putting their economic abilities on a solid foundation. Some of them, how ever, began do grab foothold in the reemployment markets as they are gaining literacy.
The Pangkua, who prefer to live in a group, build houses with bamboos and galpata (leaves of a small tree akin to the fan palm) on hilltops. Houses are also set up on the bransches of trees in some places. They fortify their village with hard fences or barricades to resist intrusion by others. In the past, they even had sentries posted around the village. However this practice of posting sentries is now rarely found.
The Pangkua have strong social ties and live in a band under the leadership a headman they select themselves. Everyone is bound to pay loyalty to the headman. The pangkua have a quality of maintaining secrecy on different sensational issues. If the pangkua make a vow, they donot hesitate to die for it. They are well known as law abiding and live under the administration of the Bomang circle king.
They regularly pay jhum tax to the king during a festival called 'Rajpunyah' However the Pangkua are very enthusiastic to take part in social functions. The Pangkua society is based on a patriarchl stnucture. The eldest son succeeds his father inherits all assets and becomes the head of the family. The Pangkua pay honour to the elderly people and maintain the social class structure.
In the past, the Pangkua warshipped various deities, as they did not follow any particular religion. They used to warship gods and goddesses in their own villages following their distinctive norms and practices. They also named gods and goddesses in their own way. On 11 January, 1894 two christen preachers from the Arthirgton Baptist missionary came to the Indian state of Mijoran in order to spread their teaching of jesus Christ.
After few years. Rev Dr. E. Jones from the welsh presbyterian mission came to this region to peach the words of jesus Christ. Hence christainity was spread among the Pangkua in a short period of time. At present 100% pangkua are adhere to the christain faith. Every week in Sunday, the whole people of Pangkua go to the church for proyer. Bibel is there religious book. In a chrismas day, the Pangkua community organizing there traditional sports and cultural program.
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