Barua in Bangladesh


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Identity

Several thousand people belonging to the Barua ethnic group live in the north-east India state of Tripura. They live intermingled in villages with people from other ethnicities, in the Sadar Subdivision of the West Tripura District (also known as Agartala) and the Udaipur Subdivision of the South Tripura District. K S Singh notes, 'Though their total population is not known, it is said that the number of Barua families in Tripura would not exceed 150'.

The name Barua is derived from two words, bara meaning 'renowned', and ua meaning 'ruler'. In ancient times, the most highly ranked military ruler of Chattagram under the king of Arakan was a man called Barua.


History

The Barua are unique among all the peoples of India in that they are Buddhists who speak a derivative of the Bengali language. Those living in Bangladesh as well as in parts of India speak Chatgaiyan (i.e. Chittagonian), a dialect of Bengali which has a similarity to Burmese, Assamese and Bengali, in vocabulary, phonology as well as enunciation. Although almost all Bengalis are Hindus or Muslims, for historical reasons that are not clear the Barua have survived as a Buddhist enclave in the midst of the two giants of Islam and Hinduism.


Customs

After Barua women marry they wear vermilion and conch-shell bangles as marriage symbols and as a sign of their unavailability to men. 'Residence after marriage is patrilocal. Although either spouse can seek divorce, its incidence is rare. Nowadays, the practice of paying bride-price in cash is being replaced by that of dowry.'

Traditionally the Barua earned their livelihood through farming, fishing and hunting. As waves of migrants have entered Tripura the number of wild animals has diminished, making hunting a fruitless exercise unless the participants are willing to trek deep into the forests. The Barua raise goats and chickens today as their main sources of protein.

In the past 20 years, as education levels among them have improved, a number of Barua men and women have obtained jobs as office workers, teachers and administrators in the towns of Tripura.


Religion

Perhaps the most fascinating mystery concerning the Barua people is their belief in Theravada Buddhism. The nearest Buddhist communities to them are probably the Chakma and other Theravada Buddhist peoples in the Chittagong Hill tracts of Bangladesh. Just how the Barua came to believe in Buddhism, and equally how they have managed to preserve their faith under pressure from all sides, is difficult to ascertain because they have no written history. 'The Barua are Buddhist. The families linked with a Buddhist temple are brought under their traditional association, which is headed by a marubbi. They worship at the family level and participate in traditional festivals.'

As the Barua have slowly lost their culture, their Buddhist beliefs have gradually become mixed with Hinduism. The Barua are now allowed to marry people from non-Buddhist communities such as the Brahmin, Kayastha and Magh, which means that Buddhism may become extinct in the next generation of Barua. There are no known Christians among this interesting and unique unreached people group.


Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Barua in Bangladesh.


Profile Source:   Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Barua
People Name in Country Barua
World Population 12,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names बरुआ
People ID 16382
ROP3 Code 111524
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 4
Largest States
Chittagong
11,000
Rangpur
500
Dhaka
100
Khulna
60
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 4
  Chittagong 11,000
  Rangpur 500
  Dhaka 100
  Khulna 60
Website South Asia Peoples

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Ethnologue Language Map
Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Chittagonian (8,600 speakers)
Language Code ctg   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Bengali
1,200
Primary Language Chittagonian (8,600 speakers)
Language Code ctg   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Bengali 1,200
People Groups Speaking Chittagonian

Primary Language:  Chittagonian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes
Bible-New Testament Yes
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 Oral Bible stories in Chittagonian
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Chittagonian
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video The Savior 3 - Woman at the Well
Film / Video The Savior 5 - The Good Samaritan
Film / Video The Savior 8 - Jesus is Risen
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
94.25 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
5.75 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Profile Source Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Bangladesh census data.  Current values may differ.