Tanchangya people

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Tanchangya women.jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts)
India (Tripura and Mizoram)
Myanmar (Rakhine state)
Theravada Buddhism

The Tanchangya people or Tanchangyas (/ˈtɒnɒŋɛ/) are an indigenous ethnic group living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, Indian states of Tripura and Mizoram, and Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Geographical location[edit]

Tanchangya people live in Rangamati District (Rangamati Sadar, Kaptai, Bilaichari, Rajasthali, Kawkhali, Jurachari), Bandarban (Bandarban Sadar, Rowangchari, Alikadam, Lama, Nakhyangchari), Chittagong district (Roisyabili & Sadhikyabili ), Ukhia and Teknaf (Cox's Bazaar district) areas of Bangladesh. Tanchangyas also live in North-east Indian states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, and in Myanmar's Rakhine State as Daignet people. Most of Tanchangyas live in reserve forest areas of CHT. On 10 April 2000, the Government of Bangladesh declared a new forest law named "Forest (Amendment) Act, 2000", a law that made it illegal to cultivate on reserve forest land. This poses problems for Tanchangyas and other indigenous communities, as they live on the cultivation of reserve forest lands.

It is difficult to form a consensus on the exact numbers of Tanchangyas. According to the 2001 census, there are 31,164 Tanchangyas in CHT.[2] According to a report by Daily Prothom-alo the number of Tanchangya is 51,773 in CHT (Published on 3 February 2012).

Language and alphabets[edit]

Tanchangyas has own Language and Alphabets.

Dress and ornaments[edit]

Traditionally, a Tanchangya woman wears colorful dresses and ornaments. The full dress of a Tanchangya woman is collectively known as "Paiet kapor", which literarily translates to "five parts." These five parts are

  • (1) "Pinon", which is in seven colours with stripes
  • (2) "Fadhuri", which is used as belt
  • (3) "Mada-kobong" which is worn on the head
  • (4) "Khadi", which is used as a scarf,
  • (5) "Shaloom", which is a blouse.

Tanchangya women also wear various ornaments. These include "Rajjur & Jhanga" for the ears, "Baghor & Kuchikharu" for the wrists, "Tajjur" for the arms, "Chandrahar, Hochuli and Sikchara" for the neck. These ornaments are made mainly with silver. Tanchangya men traditionally wear loincloth and long sleeve shirts.

Musical instruments[edit]

Some of the Tanchangya musical instruments include the Bashi (flute), Kengkrong, Chobuk, and duduk.


Agriculture is the main occupation of the Tanchangyas. Even today most Tanchangyas do jhum cultivation. They cultivate paddy, ginger, garlic, bagurpada (e.g.coriander) etc. on hill slopes. Literacy among Tanchangyas is low. A few of them serve in government and non-government organizations. Today, Tanchangya is a developing ethnic community on the international level. Nowadays many Tanchangyas are service people and professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, etc. They also are trying hard to become retail traders.


Tanchangyas celebrate 'Bishu' as a main enjoyable festival on the end and beginning of the new year. "Pachon" is a special item for Bishu. "Pachon" is a mixed vegetable with dried fishes etc. Nowadays "Bishu mela" were organized in Tanchangyas localities. "Ghila kala", "Nahdeng kala", and "Gudhu kala" are the Tanchangyas Traditional sports.


Tanchangya peoples are religiously Buddhists and observe religious rites such they worshipping Gautama Buddha and listening Buddha sermons. Tanchangyas also maintains the kathino chivar dan, Buddha Purnima, maghi purnima etc. They have at least one Buddhist viharas in their own localities.

Funeral culture[edit]

Upon the death of an individual, the body is bathed and covered with a white cloth. People pray for the departed soul in the presence of monks. The eldest son or a close relative of the deceased then shift the body to the funeral pyre. The next day, they collect the burnt bones in a pot and cover it with a piece of cloth. Then they throw the burnt bones into a river.


The male children of a deceased Tanchangya father divide the property equally among themselves. The daughters cannot claim any share of the property except when they have no brothers. If the deceased father has no children, an adopted son inherits all the property. If a wife is separated when she is pregnant and if she gives birth to a male child, he will inherit her ex-husband's property. If someone dies as a bachelor or without any children, his property will go to his brothers.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Prothom Alo 3rd Feb, 2012 Newspaper
  2. ^ "The Tanchangya". www.ebbd.info. Retrieved 2017-10-11.

External links[edit]