Tribes and Small Ethnic Groups in Bangladesh

 According to the Statistics Bureau, there are 27 tribal groups in Bangladesh. They are living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Sylhet , Rajshahi Division, and Mymensingh Division. According to the 2011 census, the country’s indigenous population numbers approximately 1,586,141, which represents 1.8% of the total population of the country.

What is the Difference Between Ethnic Group and Tribe?

Ethnic Group vs Tribe

Ethnic group is a set of social group having a common national or cultural tradition.

Tribe is a social division consisting of families or communities linked by blood ties with a common culture and dialect, having a recognized leader.


People belonging to one ethnic group can live in several geographical locations.

People belonging to a tribe usually live together.


Some Major (Tribal/Ethnic) group in Bangladesh:


Chakma Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

The Chakma is the largest tribal community in Bangladesh

Population: approximately living 444,748 in this country.

Origin: Mongoloid people who are the people of Southwestern Burma.

Religion: Buddhist.

Habitants: Chittagong Hilly Areas (Rangamati , Bandarban, and Khagrachhari) including Cox’s Bazar.

Food: rice, supplemented by millet, corn (maize), vegetables, and mustard.

Language: Arakanese –( Indo-European tongue) as well as Bengali.

Main festival: Bizu, Alphaloni, Buddha Purnima .



Marma Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

The Marma is the second largest tribal community in Bangladesh.

Also known as Moghs or Maghs. Another of Marma Tribe named Rakhaing Marma has come at the end of the 18th century from Arakan after conquering the kingdom by Burmese.

Population: Approximately, they are 210,000 in number..

Origin: Burmese (Myanmar) ancestry.

Religion: Animistic Buddhism.

Habitants: Especially in Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati Hill Districts, Cox’s Bazar and Patuakhali.

Food: Rice and boiled vegetables

Language: Arakanese dialect as well as Bengali

Main festival: Sangrai .



Tripura Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

The Tripura is the third largest tribal community in Bangladesh.

Population: Nearly 1 lac.

Religion: Tripuras now believe in Hinduism though they have their own God also.

Habitants: Chittagong hill area as well as Comilla, Noakhali, Chandpur as well as Moulavibazar

Food: Mui Borok is the traditional food of Tripura. Bangui rice and fish stews.

Language: Kokborok

Main festival: Garia Puja.



Shaotal Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

This tribe people are living from thousands of year ago. They are also mentioned as Santhal, Saonta, Saonthal, and Saunta

Population: nearly 3 lac according to the statistics of 2001.

Origin: The Santals believe that their origins are from the seven pairs of children of the first human the Peelchu Buro and the Peelchu Buri. That is why the Santals are divided into seven groups.

Religion: believe in different Gods. For example, Sari Dharam, Sarnaism, Hinduism, and Christianity.

Habitants: Rajshahi and Rangpur division.

Food: rice and meat.

Language: Santali (Austroasiatic/Munda) 

Main festival: Karam festival.



Garo Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

Population: estimated that over 100,000 people of the Garo tribes live in Bangladesh

Origin: The antecedent home of the Garo is located in the Xinjiang province, north-west of China

Religion: large part of the Garo community follow Christianity. traditional animist religion known as Songsarek

Habitants: Gazipur, Mymensingh, Netrokona.

Food: rich foods including hotchpotch, polao and biriani.

Language: Garo language which has come from Tibeto-Burman language family

Main festival: Wangala is the main religious festival of the Garo community.



Khasia Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

Population: The total number of Khasi people in Bangladesh is nearly 85,120.

Origin: the Cambodia region and the great plains of the Mekong river.

Religion: hinduism, christianity, and islam is very evident.

Habitants: Rangpur, Mymenshing, and Gazipur.

Food: Rice and fish are their major food items.

Language: They talk in Khasi language

Main festival: New Year festival "Khasi Seng Kut Snem"



Monipuri Ethnic Group of Bangladesh - Short Note

Population: According to the 1991 Population Census, there are about 25,000 Manipuris in Bangladesh.

Origin: The Manipuri people are of Mongolian descent.

Religion: hinduism,  islam .

Habitants: Maulvi Bazar, Habiganj  Sylhet division

Language: Meithei

Main festival:  Raslila, the largest religious cultural festival of the ethnic Manipuri community.


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