Chakma in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Identity

More than 430,000 Chakma people inhabit Bangladesh and adjoining areas of northeast India. Approximately 300,000 live in the Chittagong Hills area of south-east Bangladesh, including Chittagong City. They are the largest Buddhist group in that Muslim-dominated country. The Chakma are not the same as the smaller Chak tribe, who inhabit areas further south.

In India the Chakma are a scheduled (official) tribe. They number over 100,000 people spread over five states, including south-western Mizoram along the Karnafuli River (39,900 in 1981), northern Tripura (34,797 in 1981) and Assam (22,789 in 1971, living in the Karbi Anglong, North Cachar and Cachar districts). Small numbers of Chakma live in West Bengal (141 people) and Meghalaya (103 people).


History

The Chakma have inhabited the Chittagong Hill Tracts since long before the region became part of the Mughal empire in 1666. Buddhism flourished in Bangladesh from the 5th to 12th centuries. Since the 13th century, Buddhism has been confined to the Chittagong area. The Chakma 'continued to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Arakanese king until 1784'. They have long found themselves at odds with the predominantly Muslim Bengalis. The construction of the Kaptai Dam in the 1960s caused 18,000 Chakma people to lose their homes, and this is believed to be the origin of the present problems. Since the mid-1970s the Chakma have been involved in a secretive guerilla war against Bangladeshi soldiers. The fighting stems from the influx of large numbers of Bengali settlers, who have moved into the Chittagong area and taken over Chakma land by force. The government does little to stop the illegal settlers, and the Chakma have fought back out of frustration as they see their lives being rapidly decimated. In 1987, Amnesty International reported 'arbitrary arrests, torture and unlawful killings' of tribe members by security forces. Thousands of Chakma have been killed, hundreds of women and girls raped, and Buddhist temples smashed and looted. Tens of thousands of Chakma refugees have fled across the border into India.


Religion

According to K S Singh, 'The Chakma are Buddhists and worship Lord Buddha. At the family level they worship deities like Lakshmi and Ganga. The monk, who may be from another Buddhist community, acts as a religious teacher and performs various rites.'

The 1981 census in India recorded 97.62 per cent of the Chakma in Tripura as followers of Buddhism, 2.32 per cent as Hindus and the rest as Christians and Muslims. The 1961 census had returned a higher figure of 99.44 per cent as Buddhists. In Mizoram, 98.83 per cent of Chakma are Buddhists.


Christianity

According to the India Missions Association, 7,275 Chakma in India are Christians. In Bangladesh, the Christian presence among the Chakma is scarcer, although there are small pockets of believers in scattered villages. Overall, the troubled Chakma people remain an unreached and unevangelized people group. Experiencing turmoil and an uncertain future, they need the inner peace and hope that only faith in Christ can bring.


Profile Source:   Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Chakma
People Name in Country Chakma
Population in India 217,000
World Population 686,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 4
Alternate Names Chakama, Chawngma, Daingnet, Doingnak, Thet, Tsak, चागमा
People ID 11293
ROP3 Code 101976
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 8
Largest States
Mizoram
97,000
Tripura
93,000
Assam
18,000
Arunachal Pradesh
7,000
Meghalaya
1,000
West Bengal
600
Delhi
100
Nagaland
100
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 8
  Mizoram 97,000
  Tripura 93,000
  Assam 18,000
  Arunachal Pradesh 7,000
  Meghalaya 1,000
  West Bengal 600
  Delhi 100
  Nagaland 100
Website South Asia Peoples

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Chakma (124,000 speakers)
Language Code ccp   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 45
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Bengali
49,000
Kok Borok
23,000
Darlong
8,500
Assamese
5,900
Mizo
3,000
Khasi
600
Chin, Paite
400
Chin, Mara: Lakher
300
Hindi
200
Chin, Hakha
200
Garo
200
Santhali
100
Naga, Konyak
100
Nepali
90
Magahi
80
Primary Language Chakma (124,000 speakers)
Language Code ccp   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 45
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Bengali 49,000
  Kok Borok 23,000
  Darlong 8,500
  Assamese 5,900
  Mizo 3,000
  Khasi 600
  Chin, Paite 400
  Chin, Mara: Lakher 300
  Hindi 200
  Chin, Hakha 200
  Garo 200
  Santhali 100
  Naga, Konyak 100
  Nepali 90
  Magahi 80
People Groups Speaking Chakma

Primary Language:  Chakma

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1924-1955)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1926-1991)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Chakma
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
83.35 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
4.82 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
11.33 %
Islam
0.14 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.15 %
Unknown
0.22 %
Profile Source Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.


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