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Tangchanghya in Bangladesh


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Tangchanghya in Bangladesh map

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
67,000 Tangchangya Buddhism 13.35 % Unknown No No   

Tangchanghya in Bangladesh

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Introduction / History
The Tangchangya live in the Chittagong Hills Tract district of southeastern Bangladesh. Tropical hills and mountains in this area sharply contrast the low plains of the rest of the country. The Tangchangya are a tribal people closely related to the Chakma; so closely that they are often considered a branch of the Chakma.

The Tangchangya speak an Indo-Aryan language, also called Tangchangya, that is related to Bengali. Because the Tangchangya are more assimilated into mainstream Bangladeshi culture than many other tribal groups, many of them speak Bengali as a second language.

The Tangchangya have been governed by several powers over the last century. They were controlled by Britain until 1947, then by Pakistan until 1971. Today, they are an independent nation. A flood of Bengali immigrants from the severely overcrowded plains means that the Tangchangya are rapidly becoming a minority in their own land.

What are their lives like?
The Tangchangya are primarily farmers. Traditionally, they practiced the slash and burn method, which was generally used in the highest parts of the hills. A small tract of forest would be cut down, the debris burned, and a variety of crops planted. The Bangladeshi government has long discouraged slash and burn agriculture; therefore, many Tangchangya now use irrigation and plow cultivation in the low hills and lowland areas.

Rice is the primary crop, although cotton, cucumbers, pumpkins, yams, maize, and a wide variety of tropical fruits are also grown. The main agricultural tool is the dao, which is a long knife similar to a machete. The dao is used in nearly every aspect of life, from building houses to harvesting crops. Common livestock includes cattle, water buffalo, pigs, goats, and sheep. Nearly all Tangchangya keep dogs.

Tangchangya homes are built on wooden or bamboo poles that reach about six feet above the ground. Bamboo is used to make the walls and is also used in the construction of the roofs. Only a few homes have tin roofs.

The Tangchangya men work in the fields while the women cook, care for children, clean house, draw water, weave, and wash clothes. The women also help the men in the fields and the men assist in caring for children.

The basic family unit among the Tangchangya is the nuclear family. Although polygamy (multiple spouses) is accepted, it seldom occurs. Marriages are usually arranged by the parents, but the opinions of the young man and woman are taken into consideration. Most of the tribes living in the hills forbid endogamy, which is marrying within one's own family or clan.

What are their beliefs?
Like most of the tribal peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the Tangchangya are Buddhist. They follow the Theravada branch of Buddhism, but elements of Hinduism and animism (belief that non-living objects have spirits) can be found in their religious practices. The Tangchangya believe that there are many spirit beings, which are either helpful or harmful to humans. Exorcists and priests (shamans), called baidyo, are believed to mediate between people and the spirit world through incantations, charms, and spirit possession.

What are their needs?
Bangladesh is an impoverished nation. Like most Bangladeshi, the Tangchangya are mostly illiterate and suffer from poor health care. The average income is less than $200 per year. In addition, the Tangchangya are being forced from their land by an influx of Bengali settlers.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Bangladesh to minister life to the Tangchangya.
Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Tangchangya.
Pray for the distribution of the Bible, the Jesus film, and radio broadcasts in Bengali.
Pray that God will give Tangchangya believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Bangladesh through worship and intercession.
Ask the Lord to bring forth a vigorous Tangchangya church for the glory of His name!

View Tangchanghya in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-10-12
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Country: Bangladesh
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:30 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:67,000
Largest Provinces:
Chittagong (65,000)Barisal (20)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Tangchanghya
People Name General: Tangchanghya
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 109815
Joshua Project People ID: 15249
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 67,000
Population all Countries: 69,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Tangchanghya
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tangchangya (62,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tnv    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Chittagonian (4,900)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism86.29 % 
Christianity13.35 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.36 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have only a very small representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
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: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Tangchanghya in Bangladesh

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Buddhist     Asia, South    
      Tangchanghya Bangladesh    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tangchanghya in Bangladesh          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Tangchangya  
    All Religions                              

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