Chakma in Bangladesh


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

Chakma people inhabit Bangladesh and adjoining areas of northeast India. 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.

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.


What Are Their Lives Like?

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.


What Are Their Beliefs?

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.'


What Are Their Needs?

According to the India Missions Association, most Chakma people live in a part of India where there are believers nearby, and not just any believers, but people who follow Christ with all their hearts. In Bangladesh, the Christian presence among the Chakma is scarcer, although there are small pockets of believers in scattered villages. Experiencing turmoil and an uncertain future, they need the inner peace and hope that only faith in Christ can bring.


Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to thrust out strong Christian believers from India to reach the Chakma people in Bangladesh.
Pray for the Chakma people in Bangladesh to become Christ’s faithful ambassadors to others in that Muslim country.
Pray for the Chakma church to be defined by holiness, commitment to the ways of Christ, and a willingness to spread his name throughout South Asia.


Scripture Prayers for the Chakma in Bangladesh.


References

Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Chakma
People Name in Country Chakma
Pronunciation CHAHK-mah
Alternate Names Chakama; Chawngma; Daingnet; Doingnak; Thet; Tsak; चागमा
Population this Country 539,000
Population all Countries 830,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 11293
ROP3 Code 101976
ROP25 Code 301643
ROP25 Name Chakma
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country More than 430,000 Chakma people inhabit Bangladesh and adjoining areas of northeast India. Approximately 300,000 live in the Chittagong Hills area of southeast Bangladesh, including Chittagong City.   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States on file 7
Largest States
Chittagong
512,000
Sylhet
11,000
Dhaka
8,400
Rangpur
1,400
Rajshahi
500
Khulna
400
Barisal
200
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country More than 430,000 Chakma people inhabit Bangladesh and adjoining areas of northeast India. Approximately 300,000 live in the Chittagong Hills area of southeast Bangladesh, including Chittagong City..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States 7
  Chittagong 512,000
  Sylhet 11,000
  Dhaka 8,400
  Rangpur 1,400
  Rajshahi 500
  Khulna 400
  Barisal 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
86.25 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
7.47 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
6.10 %
Islam
0.13 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.05 %
* From latest Bangladesh census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Chakma (527,000 speakers)
Language Code ccp   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
Chittagonian
6,200
Sylheti
1,000
Primary Language Chakma (527,000 speakers)
Language Code ccp   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
  Chittagonian 6,200
  Sylheti 1,000
People Groups Speaking Chakma
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Anonymous  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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