The Bengali began migrating to Malaysia during the early 20th century. They were mainly from Calcutta, Dacca, Chittagong, and Midnapore areas of Bengal in India. Being well educated, the Bengali secured supervisory or medical assistant positions in the Malaysian plantations.
Today's third generations of Bengali are mostly professionals in a variety of fields. The Bengali is a small community, yet they have maintained their Bengali language and rich cultural practices. Marriages are still arranged by parents, with consent from the potential couple. Marriages are often arranged with Bengali from other countries. A growing number of interracial marriages among other races and other languages are influencing this close-knit community. Their community is multi-lingual. As part of a larger North Indian Hindu community living in Malaysia, the Bengali often join Punjabi Hindus, Sindhi Hindus, and Gujarati Hindus in many celebrations and temple functions. They are well-versed in Hindi and often use Hindi or English on such occasions. The younger generation is comfortable using English and Malay, although Bengali is still being used at home.
There are approximately 2,500 Bengali Hindus living in Malaysia. Together they celebrate three major Bengali Festivals: Durga Pooja (worship of the goddess of supreme power) usually in October; Kali Pooja (worship of the goddess of destruction) celebrated during Deepavali (a Hindu festival of lights celebrating good over evil) in November; and Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year) celebrated in April. Durga Pooja is celebrated every year from the 4th to the 9th day of Navaratri (a nine day festival dedicated to the three main deities Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati celebrated by Hindus observing prayers and fasting) in October. The goddess Durga is worshiped as the Divine Mother rather than a god of supreme power during Durga Pooja. During the festival prayers, devotional songs, and evening festivities will take place each day. On the 8th day, young girls who have not reached puberty are worshiped and are likened to the Divine Mother. On the 10th (and final) day, devotees dip clay statues of the Divine Mother into the sea to signify that she is part of the universe once more. Finally, those celebrating will join in Bijoya Dashami (a grand feast for victory) where differences and grievances are forgiven and forgotten between friends and family and rejoicing takes place for the next five days. Lakhi or Lakshmi Pooja (the worship of the goddess of wealth) is celebrated on the 15th day after Navaratri. The Bengali fast until the next day for the prosperity of their community.
There are social issues that need to be addressed among the younger generations of Bengali. There are groups that have been formed to ensure that the present youth and future generations do not lose touch with their rich cultural heritage, beliefs, and language. Bengali language classes are being held for adults and children who wish to learn.
* Pray that their efforts to maintain their cultural heritage will not further isolate them.
* Pray for committed believers who will be sensitive both to the Bengali culture and their spiritual needs as well.
|Profile Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK Copyrighted © Used with permission|
|People Name General||South Asian, Bengali-Speaking|
|People Name in Country||South Asian, Bengali-Speaking|
|Population in Malaysia||78,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Alternate Names||Bangla-Bhasa, Bengali, Muslims, Hindu, साउत एशियन, बिंगाली-स्पीकिंग|
|Persecution Rank||31 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Primary Language||Bengali (78,000 speakers)|
|Language Code||ben Ethnologue Listing|
|Written||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
|People Groups||Speaking Bengali|
Primary Language: Bengali
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1801-1984)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum of Bible Agencies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Bengali Bible stories|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Bangla Version (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Mussolmani Version (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament- Common Version (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)|
|Audio Recordings||Oral Bible stories in Bengali|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Following Jesus (India, JF Project)|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||I Am Guilty (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Bengali|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||Rivka (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Burning Heart (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||The Prophets Story (Indigitube.tv)|
|General||Four Spiritual Laws|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.00 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|