Abstract—Mizoram is situated on the North-East end of India. The Chakmas are one of the important
tribe in the region. They are known differently to different people. They have a culture very much
different from the other tribes of the region. Their language, custom, tradition, costume, and religion is
different. They are Buddhist unlike others who are Christians. The area for the present study is
confined to Mizoram state. The objective of the study is to study the culture. It is hypothised that the
Chakmas have a glorious culture. In the present thesis secondary data is given more importance and
hence the methodology adopted is descriptive.
Keywords—Mizoram, Chakma, culture, religion, tradition
Mizoram is situated on the North-East end of India, lying between 21.58 to 24.35 degree north latitude and
92.15 to 93.29 degree east longitude. Mizoram was known as Lushai Hill District during the British period. In 1971,
the Mizo Hill District was abolished and upgraded to Union Territory on 1st January during the following year. The
Mizo people did not satisfied with it and ultimately Mizoram came up a full-fledge statehood of the union of India
on 2nd February, 1987.
II. THE CHAKMA ETHNIC TRIBE
The Chakmas are one of the important tribe in Indo-Bangla subcontinent residing mostly in Chittagong Hill
Tracts in Bangladesh; Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India and Burma. They professed
Buddhism since long and speak a dialect belong to the Indo-Arayan family. But on the basis of their physiognomical
features and anthropologists, it appears that they belong to the Tibeto-Burman group of Mongolian race. They are
known differently to different people. For example, Thek, Tsek, Chek or Kyoorcha by the Burmese; Tuithek
(pronounced Tuichek) by the Kukis; Takam (pronounced Chakam) by the modern Mizos (S.P.Talukdar:1988). Capt.
T.H. Lewin in his book „The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein‟ called them Chukma. The origin of
the Chakmas is shrouded in mystery.
The Chakmas inhabited areas in western part of Mizoram were previously within the boundary of the Chakma
Kingdom of Chittagong Hill Tracts (Chadigang). It was only in 1895, the area was sliced out of the Chittagong Hill
Tracts of Bengal to the Lushai Hill District of Assam for administrative convenience by the British. This is well
attested with the Government proclamation No.1697-E, dated the 6th September, 1895.
III. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Research on culture and society has always been an interesting area for the people and when it comes to a
tribal community it gives great satisfaction to scholars and researchers because of new things that they would come
to interact after going through the paper. As is felt the research would be significant firstly to the Chakma ethnic
group in particular and secondly to the common people and tribes of north east India in general.
IV. AREA OF THE STUDY
The area for the present study is confined to Mizoram state. At present, as is said in the introduction, the
Chakmas are the second largest tribal community in the state. The Chakma tribe is also found in Myanmar,
Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) in Bangladesh and in some states of Indian Union bordering especially Bangladesh.
Since the Chakmas are bestowed with a council i.e. autonomy in Mizoram, it is felt that the study would be
interesting to many and it is confined to Mizoram state only.
V. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To highlight the social organization and family system of the Chakmas.
2. To study the social gathering of the Chakmas.
Society and culture of the Chakma ethnic tribe reflects that they had an advanced culture in the past.
VII. METHODLOLGY ADOPTED IN THE STUDY AREA
A study of a researcher undoubtedly involves method or techniques that are used for conduction of research. In
the present thesis secondary data is given more importance. Materials in the form of books, published and
unpublished thesis or dissertation, journals, souvenir, newspaper clips, pamphlets, etc will be collected. Descriptive
method of research will be used in the present study.
VIII. SOCIAL SET UP
Anokya Chakmas are the main group of the Chakmas living in Chittagong of Bangladesh, Mizoram, Arunachal
Pradesh, Tripura and Assam of India.
Tongchongya Chakmas are the second group of the Chakmas living in Bangladesh, Arakan, Tripura and
Mizoram.1 Doinakya Chakmas are third group of the Chakmas living in Arakan and Chittagong Hill tracts.2
However, there is another group of Chakmas found in Arakan in the Roang province. They are known as Roangya
Chakmas according to the name of their dwelling place.
IX. FAMILY SYSTEM
The family of the Chakmas is patriarchal where the male is the head. But there are some families where the
widow leads the family if the male members are still minor. The family of the Chakmas consists of parents, children
and grand parents. It is said that the joint family system was prevalent in the Chakma society during the early days,
but now a days, the families are mostly nuclear. This is mainly due to the separation of the children from the parents
after marriage. However, several cases have also been traced where the married children are still living with their
parents. The succession of head of the family is restricted mainly to male members.3
X. MARRIAGE SYSTEM AMONG THE CHAKMAS
The average age of marriage among the Chakmas is 20-24 years for male and 16-20 years for female.
Previously, there was no limitation of age for marriage, however, the groom must attain puberty but child marriage is
not prevalent in the Chakma society. Capt. T.H.Lewin in his book „Wild Races of South-Eastern India‟ state – “Child
marriage among the Chukmas, or indeed among the hill people in general are unknown, there is no fixed time for
getting married. Some of the young men indeed do not marry until they reach the age of 24 or 25; after that age;
however, it is rare to see a man unmarried. Marriage is after fashion”. 4
The Chakmas practice Jhum cultivation. Therefore, they do not have much leisure time to display their
traditional games and sports, dance and music and other pastime. The people also spend their leisure time not in
their traditional attire but in some other modern ways and as such the traditional pattern of recreation and activities
are rapidly waning off from the society. The Chakmas have very interesting traditional games and sports of their
own. Polla Polli Khara, Ijibiji Khara, Mala Khara etc are the games played by the community in groups. They catch
fishes and hunt animals for their own consumption during the leisure time. Hengarang, Dhuduk, Dhul (Drum) etc
are some of the musical instrument used by the Chakmas to amuse themselve.5
In the study it is found that the Chakma ethnic tribe had a remarkable tradition and is totally different from the
co-tribes of the region. It is also found that the tradition of the Chakma tribe is advance in comparison to other tribes
of Mizoram. The family system and society generally reflects the culture of a tribe and in the study it is found that
the Chakmas had a patriarchal family and the marriage system is notable though the age at marriage is quite low.
Some references of games and sports of the tribe with their pastime is also studied and it is found that since they are
traditionally cultivators they do not have enough time to spare for all this activities. However, they generally fish out
time for the mentioned games also at some time of the year. The study proves the hypothesis that the culture of the
Chakma ethnic tribe is remarkable.
 Group of the Chakmas by L.B.Chakma, p.6.
 Dewan, Biraj Mohan., Chakma Jatir Itibritta (The History Of Chakma Tribe), 1969, Saroj Art Press, Rangamati, p.60.
 Information collected after field investigation.
 Lewin. T.H., Wild Races Of South-Eastern India, 1870 W.M.H. Allen & Co, London, p.94.
 Information collected after field investigation.