INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BANGLADESH
by Kabirul Islam
Bangladesh has been the dwelling place of different ethnic groups.In fact,35 smaller groups of indegenous people covering about 2 percent of the total population have been livingin different pockets of the hilly zones & small areas of the plain lands of the country.their historical background,economic activities,social structure,religious beliefs & festivals make them distinctive.
Mro are one of the famous tribes of aborigines of Arakan & two Mru kings ruled Arakan in the 10th century AD.
Mru live in Lama,Ruma,Alikadam & Thanchi upazilas near Chimbuk Mountain of bandarban district.In 1991,the Mru population in Bangladesh was 22,178 & constituted the forth largest tribe in the Chittagong Hill tracts.Mru are patriarchal.Sons inherit the property.They have different clans & many sub-clans.Most Mru are now a days converted.In general,however ,they are still animists & they worship nature.They revere Tharai as the creator of this universe.They have many superstitions.They believe in signs & omens & their immediate undertakings are affected by these beliefs.Sungteung is another deity Mru pay homage to,although this puja has little importance in soceity.Before the harvest,the Mru observe a pujacalled Kumlang,in which they ceremonially kill a cow in winter time - which is called the"Cow Killing Festival" . To celebrate & making more funny on this day they do many arrangements like drinking rice wine,dancing & coloring the faces etc.The belief says, long time ago once God called on a ceremony to give religious books or scripture to the every community leader, on that beautiful day every leader attended except the Mru leader - beacuse as the Mru are hard working all day long from dawn to dask so unfortunately no one from the Mru couldn't go in that ceremony, so later God was sending some scripture by a cow that was written on a banana leaf, but on the way the when the cow was hungry, so it eat finished the leaf with whole scripture & many years later this situation was dreamt by a Mru man several nights & he informed his leader.The leader called on other Mru leader & decided the give punish the cow, so on this day they put a cow in a tiny-tiny cage & slowly attack by sharp spear while day dance & drink around it."
The main profession of Mru is Jhum cultivation & lumbering wood from the jungle.The women work harder then the men.Mru love songs & dance.They use homemade musical instruments,which are made of bamboo.They eat the tiger,dog,goat,pig,cow & many other animals.
Mru men wear length & women wear wanglai.These are all locally made.Mru build houses on machangs on hilltops.Their houses are bigger than the other tribes.Mru burn the body after dead.