Chakma - History and Cultural Relations

Scholars differ on the origin and history of Chakma. One popular view among the Chakma is that their ancestors once lived in Champoknagar, although opinions differ as to its location. It is also guessed that the Chakma derived their name from Champoknagar. According to oral history the Chakma left Champoknagar for Arakan in Burma where they lived for about 100 years. They had to leave Arakan for Bangladesh in or around sixteenth century, when Bangladesh was governed by Muslim rulers, before the arrival of the British. Even if we do not believe the story of their origin in Champoknagar, we have reason to believe the Chakma lived in Arakan before they migrated to Bangladesh. They were then nomadic shifting cultivators. On their arrival in Bangladesh the Chakma chiefs made a business contract with the Muslim rulers, promising to pay revenue or tax in cotton. In return they were allowed to live in the hill region and engage in trade with the larger society. By the late eighteenth century, British authorities had established themselves in the southeastern districts of Bangladesh. The British formally recognized a definite territory of the Chakma raja (the paramount chief). In 1776, Sherdoulat Khan became the Chakma raja. He fought unsuccessfully against the British. Further fighting between the Chakma and the British took place between 1783 and 1785. In 1787, Raja Janbux Khan, son of Sherdoulat Khan, made a peace treaty with the British government, promising to pay the latter 500 maunds of cotton. The British recognized the office of Chakma raja throughout the rest of their rule. Different Chakma rajas maintained good relations with the authorities of central administration and the Chakma increasingly came in contact with the Bengali people and culture.

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Binod Bihary Chakma
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Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:23 pm
It is very unfortunate to write something about our community that we the Chakma people have been losing everything like culture , history, language, religion, custom etc we being the Chakma have to deserve that we are a large ethnic group residing all over the world without knowing each other . where were we, where are we and where will be? Many scholars says that our ancestor were diligent , socialist , helpful and religious whereas now a days we the Chakmas kill and suppress the poor one which is in BPL and do not want to help the needy and don't want to participate in the religious ceremony by denying the truth one. why we the Chakma people are like that? why we don't want to come in oneness to preserve our original heritage? my dear brothers and sisters and the coming generation please try to develop oneness to bring peace and prosperity among the Chakmas people. . . PATTURU TURU. .
Carmell Waters
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Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:11 am
I found a Bangladesh travel brochure years ago which I have kept all these years because of two beautiful photos of dancers. I loved their clothing and adornment and their dance poses which reminded me of the Burmese dance I was learning from a Burmese friend. I am an American woman of European extraction; I live in Missouri and am now 72 years old. Some years ago, I came to the conclusion that the dancers were Chakma. Today while searching for information about them on the internet, I am thrilled to find out the dancers in the brochure are indeed Chakma. I searched for photos of Chakma dance and found them. I want to find out more about their culture; I am fascinated by the beauty of their clothing, adornment and dance and after posting this comment, I am going to You Tube to find videos of their dance. By the way, in the photos which I have kept for all these years, the dancers are wearing a black blouse, a black trimmed-with-a-red-border- wrapped-around skirt and a red piece of cloth wrapped around their upper body. They have a red flower or something in their hair and are wearing lovely silver jewelry--I would love to wear such a lovely ensemble. I am writing just to let you are Chakma know of my enthusiam to learn about your lovely culture.

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