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The Chakma people (Chakma: 𑄌𑄋𑄴𑄟𑄳𑄦), are an ethnic group from the eastern-most regions of the Indian subcontinent. They are the largest ethnic group in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of southeastern Bangladesh, and the second-largest in Mizoram, India (Chakma Autonomous District). Significant Chakma populations are found in the northeast Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Assam.
|≈ 850,000 (2011–2021)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Bangladesh, India and Myanmar|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Daingnet, Tanchangya, Rakhine, Bamar|
The Chakma possess strong ethnic affinities to Tibeto-Burman groups in Northeast India. Because of a language shift in the past to consolidate power among the tribes, they adopted an Indo-Aryan language, Chakma, which is closely related to the Chittagonian dialect of Bengali, predominant near the areas in which they live. Most modern Chakma people practice Theravada Buddhism, due to 19th-century reforms and institutionalisation by Queen regnant Rani Kalindi. In Myanmar, Chakma people are known as Daingnet and are one of the 135 officially recognised ethnic groups there.
The Chakmas are divided into 31 clans or gozas. The community is headed by the Chakma Raja, whose status as a tribal head has been historically recognised by the Government of British India and the Government of Bangladesh.
The relationships between Chakmas and their neighbours are complex. On one hand, many Chakmas are well-integrated in mainstream middle-class Bangladeshi and Indian society and are particularly notable for their service as officers and ambassadors in Bangladesh's military and diplomatic corps. Chakma politicians have served as ministers in the national ministry of Bangladesh and the state ministry of Tripura. However, the persecution of the indigenous tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, of which the Chakma are the predominant ethnicity, has been described as genocidal, but since the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, violence in the area has been greatly reduced.
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