Chak in India

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Chak
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 400
World Population: 8,900
Primary Language: Bengali
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Chak people are one of the least known Buddhist people groups in the world. There has been very little research done on them. The Ethnologue lists the Chak people, but it does not identify what linguistic family the Chak language belongs to. It is most likely part of the Tibeto-Burman family, related to other small languages in the area such as Dainet and Thet. The Chak are not the same as the large Chakma Buddhist group of Bangladesh, who speak a language from the Indo-European family.

Several small Buddhist ethnic groups live near the temple ruins of Mrauk-U in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Mrauk-U was once the center for one of Myanmar's most powerful kingdoms. Founded by the Rakhine king Minzawmun in 1433, Mrauk-U grew in influence throughout central Myanmar and the Indian subcontinent, becoming a center of wealth and commerce. The kings of the dynasty even hired Japanese samurai as bodyguards to quell the threat of assassination. The splendor of the Mrauk-U dynasty started to fade in the 1780s, but during its 352 years Buddhism made an impact on all people groups in this area—as a cultural way of life as much as a religious one. Small tribes such as the Chak, Dainet and Thet have remained strong Buddhists to this day.

Where Are they Located?

Most of the Buddhist Chak people live either in Myanmar or Bangladesh, but a few live in India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Chak people are agricultural-based and are self-sustained by their own resources from food to residences. Although they are a very small in population size, the Chak livelihood is very colorful and traditional especially in celebrating festivals and observing rituals related to marriage, childbirth, death and funeral. They celebrate many religious and folk festivals throughout the year. Their society is patriarchal; only the sons inherit the family property.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Chaks often worship Hindu gods and goddesses like Luxmi or Waigya, although they are Buddhist. They celebrate many religious and folk festivals throughout the year. The majority Chak people in India practice Buddhism, the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha which teaches one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. To most Buddhists, however, these things have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion. In additional to various of forms of worship, the Chak also has very unique compositions and practices for ceremonial performances of songs seeking divine blessings for maintaining class harmony and welfare for a newborn baby.

What Are Their Needs?

Being a small and close knit ethnic group, their rich traditional culture is permeates into all spheres of life. This uniqueness gives them a separate identity and strong inter-class harmony. It also posts challenges to bring in new ideas into the community.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Chak family and community leaders in India to seek His face.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to see a disciple making movement among the Chak people.
Pray for Chak leaders to embrace the blessings that their community can enjoy by being part of Christ's kingdom.

Text Source:   Keith Carey