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South Asian, Bengali-speaking in Myanmar (Burma)

South Asian, Bengali-speaking

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
284,000 Bengali Islam 0.40 % 0.13 %   

South Asian, Bengali-speaking in Myanmar (Burma)

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Introduction / History
The Bengali are considered to be the original inhabitants of the Bengal region of southwest Asia. This territory is divided politically between Bangladesh and West Bengal, a state in India. Bengali is the native language spoken by most of the groups in this region. While the vast majority of Bengalis live in Bangladesh and northeast India, there are significant communities in a number of other countries and other parts of India as well.

Although the Bengalis are primarily classified according to language, their culture remains very diversified. It is made up of various castes, such as the Brahmin, Kayastha, Vaidya, Namasudra, Gandha Banik, Saadgop, Napit, Mahisya, Kanaani, and Subarnabanik. Their assortment of occupations and religious preferences has created other cultural distinctions as well.

In general, the Bengalis are a proud people, highly ambitious, and always striving for excellence. Although outside influences are being incorporated into their culture, the Bengalis remain very proud of their cultural heritage.

What are their lives like?
The majority of the Bengali in India and Bangladesh are involved in some type of farming. Wet rice is their primary crop, and wheat and potatoes have also recently been added. Some families with private ponds may engage in small-scale fishing, but extensive fishing is an occupational specialty of one of the castes.

Most of the Bengalis live in villages containing between 100 and 1000 people. There are approximately 100,000 villages across the Bengal region. Peasant homesteads usually consist of extended families. These families are broken down into households of independent landowners and consumers.

The Bengalis typically live in adobe (mud) brick homes. Since monsoon rains cause frequent flooding in the delta region, the homes there are usually elevated. Many of the Bengalis living in Calcutta have extremely low-incomes. They live in slums, on the streets, or anywhere they can find a place.

As is common throughout southern Asia, the division of labor is clearly marked among the Bengalis. Regardless of a family's occupational specialty, all of the men's activities take place outside of the home. The women, on the other hand, are limited to duties that can be performed inside the home. Land has always been individually owned. Small family farms, which are usually about a single hectare (2.5 acres) in size, are often sub-divided among family members.

Most marriages in Bengali society are arranged. However, there are marked differences between the Hindu and Muslim wedding ceremonies. When mates are being chosen, caste and social rank are very important considerations. Within rural areas, married couples almost always live near or with their parents. Inheritance is governed by the dayabhaga system of customary law. Under such a system, a man has sole rites in all ancestral property. Before he dies, he may then pass it on to his survivors any way he chooses.

India is a land of extreme contrasts. Sadly, while many of the Bengalis are in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty, there are also those that are remarkably wealthy. It is generally only those of the higher castes that have been able to migrate to other countries. Once there, they have been able to find work or establish their own small businesses. Nevertheless, in spite of various degrees of Westernization, most Bengalis have retained strong cultural ties.

What are their beliefs?
The majority of Bengalis are Muslims, while the rest are Hindu or Hinduized animists. The Bengali of Bangladesh are the largest group and are nearly all Muslim. In Islam, recruitment of clergy is voluntary. Any man who has a desire to study the Qur'an may do so. Then, he may eventually become the mullah (one highly trained in doctrine and holding a position in the local mosque) if chosen by the congregation.

Bengali Hindu worship many gods, some of which are animals. Cows are sacred, but they revere monkeys, snakes, and other animals as well. They teach such things as yoga and reincarnation (a continual cycle of death and rebirth). They believe that the soul may be reincarnated, or reborn, as an animal or as a human. The law of karma states that every action influences how the soul will be born in the next life. If a person lives a good life, his soul will be born into a higher state. Whereas, if he leads an evil life, his soul will be born into a lower state, perhaps even as a worm! The cycle continues until spiritual perfection is achieved. Then the soul enters moksha, a new level of existence, from which it never returns.

Hindu shrines contain sculptured images of their gods. Everyday priests wash and dress the images and bring them food. This is not considered idol worship since they believe the gods are actually present in the images.

What are their needs?
The Bengali are one of the most significant people groups in South Asia. Although there have been reports of real progress among the Muslims in Bangladesh, a determined effort must be sustained in order to reach the Bengali with the Gospel. The city of Calcutta, home to many Bengalis, is a city of massive oppression, disease, and poverty.

Prayer Points
* Pray for an opening of spiritual understanding among all Bengalis.
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to the Bengal region and share Christ with the Bengalis.
* Pray that the small number of Bengali Christians will be a light for the Gospel in this area.
* Ask God to raise up Christian medical teams, businessmen, and teachers to take the Gospel into this region.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of these Hindus and Muslims towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches in the Bengal region.

View South Asian, Bengali-speaking in all countries.

Prayer Links
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Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:18 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: South Asian, Bengali-speaking
People Name General: South Asian, Bengali-speaking
Alternate People Names:
Bangla-BhasaBengali, Muslims
Hinduसाउत एशियन, बिंगाली-स्पीकिंग
ROP3 Code: 101254
Joshua Project People ID: 10790
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 284,000
Population all Countries: 1,901,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
People Name General: South Asian, Bengali-speaking
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Bengali (284,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ben    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Siripuria
Dialect Code:7966
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Sub-division:Sunni
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.40 %(Evangelical: 0.13 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism21.60 % 
Islam70.00 % 
Non-Religious8.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican10.00 %
Independent5.00 %
Protestant45.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic40.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1800-1980
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1832-2016
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament - Bangla Version (F ...
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament - Mussolmani Versio ...
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament- Common Version (FC ...
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories in Bengali
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / VideoGod's Love Story
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Bengali
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoRivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / VideoThe Prophets' Story
Film / VideoThe Savior 3 - Woman at the Well
Film / VideoThe Savior 8 - Jesus is Risen
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
GeneralWalk with the Prophets and meet the Mess ...
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file fro ...
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version (SuperBible)
Text / Printed MatterBible: Mussulmani-Bangla, Kitabul Mukkad ...
Text / Printed MatterBible: Standard Bangla Common Language
Text / Printed MatterBible: কিতাবুল মোক ...
Text / Printed MatterChrist for the Nations
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterOneHope resources for children and youth
Text / Printed MatterOnline Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed MatterOnline New Testament (Bibles India)
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path (Bengali)
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

South Asian, Bengali-speaking in Myanmar (Burma)

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Muslim - other     Asia, Southeast    
      South Asian, Bengali-speaking Myanmar (Burma)    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            South Asian, Bengali-speaking in Myanmar (Burma)          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Bengali  
    All Religions                              

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