Online Santal Resource Page: the Santals identity, clans, living places, culture,rituals, customs, using of herbal medicine, education, traditions ...etc and present status.

The Santal Resource Page: these are all online published sources

Santal Gãota reaḱ onolko ńam lạgit́ SRP khon thoṛ̣a gõṛ̃o ńamoḱa mente ińaḱ pạtiạu ar kạṭić kurumuṭu...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009





Thursday, May 28, 2009

Promoting Tribal Languages in Education: A Case Study of Santali in Orissa

By Barbara lotz


Santali Language and Anthropology

The Santali language is part of the Austro-Asiatic family, distantly related to
Vietnamese and Khmer.The long history of the Satals may be traced from the
age of human migration that started from Africa.Lot of recent findings bring
the theory that human from Africa had started to migrate eastward that is in
Asia. A few of the Indian anthropologist also believe the fact that human first
came in India about 65000-55000 years ago. The earliest of them were Proto
Australoids followed by the Proto Dravidians. The Proto Australoids can be
identified with some facial characteristics such as low forehead, thick lips, wide
jaw and wavy hair .Historians believe that they were the ancestors of the tribal
community residing in the eastern part of India (excluding hilly portions).So
the Santals,Oraons ,Khols and Mundas may be the descendants of them.

But in those times they were mainly in the Neanderthal stage that is their
primary way of subsistence were hunting and food gathering. As many of
contemporaries in Africa and other parts of Asia . The agrarian way of living
was brought by the Aryans who came about in the 1500 B.C.The inhabitants
of the Mohenjo –Daro civilization that existed in the Pakistan and parts of
India were also may be originally Proto-Australoids as may be inferred from
their sculptures and statues of the dancing girl and others. How the Mohenjo-
Daro civilization annihilated is a big question whether there was an Aryan
invasion or a major environmental change that wiped them out is still under
research and every day new theories are coming out.

Coming back to the history of tribals, the Proto Australoids their earliest
ancestors started living in the forest in the eastern part of India .
The Santali script, or Ol Chiki, is alphabetic, and does not share any of the
syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts such as Devanagari. It uses 30
letters and five basic diacritics. It has 6 basic vowels and three additional
vowels, generated using the Gahla Tudag .
The Santal script is a relatively recent innovation. Santali did not have a
written language until the twentieth century. A distinct script was required to
accommodate the Santali language, combining features of both the Indic and
Roman scripts. The modern Ol Chiki script was devised by Pandit Raghunath
Murmu in 1925. He wrote over 150 books covering a wide spectrum of
subjects such as grammar, novels, drama, poetry, and short stories in Santali
using Ol Chiki as part of his extensive programme for uplifting the Santal
community. Darege Dhan, Sidhu-Kanhu, Bidu Chandan and Kherwal Bir are
among the most acclaimed of his works. Pandit Raghunath Murmu is popularly
known as Guru Gomke among the Santals, a title conferred on him by the
Mayurbhanj Adibasi Mahasabh.


Religion & Social Systems

Santal Myth

Santal Myth:
There is a belief among the Santal society about creation of world. They believe that primitive world was filled with only water and God had the problem in creating the land, where man can live. The land is normally considered opposite to water. He created all amphibian animals that can operate both land and water; therefore, he created seven animals -crab, crocodile, alligator, eel, Pawn, earthworm and tortoise. For creating land, God invited the kings of all these animals to solve help him out. Every one was coming one by one; they all had not got any success. Lastly, earthworm came and succeeded to create land. It is said that the King of earthworm after seven days and seven nights ate the bottom of water and excreted in on the back of tortoise who is swimming at the top. The tortoise anchored himself on the both side firmly and brought up the earth and thus earth was shaped. That is why there is a belief among Santals that earthquakes are result of movement of tortoise. In other words, when tortoise moves or shakes, earthquakes occur in earth. Santal myth about the creation of world is substantially different from myth associated with creation of world among the other indigenous peoples of India and in many sense it is unique that it ascribe the creation of earth with the help of amphibian animals, specially the earthworm and tortoise. This is all about the story of creation of earth.

There is another interesting myth about creation of human beings. Again here, this myth is substantially different from the many similar myths that are prevalent among the other peoples. Unlike others, Santal myth is more associated with natures, animals. Although, Santal do not strictly believe that they have descended from Animals, however, they assume that there is some connection between animal and human being. It reflects many other Santal beliefs and myth. According to the myth, God created two heavenly birds - Has and Hasil-out of his hair. Then these two birds started flying in the sky. These bird could survive early state of earth, where all earth was covered with water, as they could mediate the opposite elements heaven and earth. It is believed that they flew below the sun and above the earth thus making the contact between the both worlds. After flying several days, they built the nest on the earth and laid the eggs. They are cosmic eggs, out of which two creatures; human male and human female are born - Pilchu Haram and pilchu Burhi. Both these myths creation of world and mankind refer the birds and animal as ancestors. Thus Santal concept of life begins with animals. Therefore, clans' names are after the name of animals.

Totemism :
After creation of earth, Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Burhi gave birth to seven sons and seven daughters. In later stage they married among themselves thus forming a seven exogamous clans. With the passage of time, five more groups were formed. A total 12 clans is found among the Santals. They are Hansdak', Murmu, Hembrom, Soren, Kisku, Tudu, Marndi, Baske, Besra, Chonre, Puria and Bedea. A affiliation or sacred contact is believed to link these clans and their respective totems. Therefore, each of the names of clans are derived from either from the plants or animals species. There is a belief that is prevalent among the Santals that totems have some connection with the deeds or birth of ancestors of the clans. Hansdak' clan members claim to be of the highest status as they have derived from the name of their clan from first ancestors. The term Has designates wild goose while dak' in Santali means water. This clan is, therefore, linked to the original state of world and first ancestors. It is the most senior among the all clans of the Santals since it is related to myth of creation. Moreover, swan or goose is not just animal. It builds nest on earth, walks on earth and flies on sky.

Next in order are the Murmus who are represented by the Nilgai or the antelope. According to the myth of genesis of this clans, it is said that ancestors of this clan hunted the first the antelope as animal and in other words, it is this animal which was first sacrificed by Santals. Since this time, Santals started hunting and eating of animals and subsequently become fond of hunting and eating of flesh. The antelope being purely a land animal is responsible for the destruction of Santals among the Santals as opposed to swan who combines the four elements and stands for humanity and creation of human beings. The Hansdak' and the Murmu are the two superior clans of the Santals. As the story goes, Hansdak' are given the status of advisors and the Murmus are the priest.

The Kiskus have kingfishers bird as their totem and come third in the hierarchy. They are regarded as kings and are given the Royal status. Hembrom are fourth in order and have betel nut as their totem. It is believed that the ancestor of the Hembrom clan was born with a betel nut string around his waist. There are also those who believe that their ancestor was actually born under a betel nut tree, which is totally hard and solid.

Marndis are linked with grass or type of weed and are traders. The Sorens are soldiers or warriors and are linked to the constellation of stars. The Tudus are musicians and have accepted owl as their totem. Baskes are cooks and associated stale rice. They have believed to offered stale rice to the Gods and are thus prohibited from eating it. Bedeas have sheep as their totem and believed to have no personal own much like the animal they revere. They are not found in now days and believed to mixed with other clans. Lastly are the Paurias and Chonres who have pigeons and lizard respectively as their totems. It is found that in most of the cases that the only animals the clan members could hunt were made heir totem, which perhaps restricted them endangering the species.

So strong are their feelings towards these totemic species that they respect them as their won clan members. If any of the clan members sees a dead totem, he observes the death rituals. Eating or hunting the totem is prohibited. According to stories of about the restriction of marriages among the different clans. The reason lies in the nature of the totems and the elements they are connected with. In first place the marriage is forbidden between the water and land i.e. swan(Hansdak') and antelope(Murmu). It is restricted between "lower heaven" and "lower earth" i.e. Kingfisher and weed (Kisku and Marndi), also "upper heaven"(Hembrom) and "upper earth"(Soren). Secondly, marriage is prohibited between three heavenly birds (Owl, hawk and pigeon ). The totem also defined some relationship between consumed and consumer. The pigeon that is the prey of the hawk along with the lizard eats Rice and the owl also hunts this lizard. Therefore, initially the Chonres did not marry with Besras and Tudus. But presently this restriction is no longer followed and the marriages take place between all clan members.

Each of these clans is further divided into several sub clans; Each one upholds a distinctive myth and set of customs that differentiates it from the others, including kinds of food taken, ornaments, worn and worship of the spirits or Gods (Bongas). Even the sacrifices vary during the rituals vary from one sub-clan to another. The names of the sub-clan are derived from plants and animals. Out of the 16 sub-clans that were available in the area, nine trace their origins to certain animals. For examples, Chilbinda hansdak' derived its name from the ancestor who killed an eagle, "Jihu hansdak" from Jihu or babbler bird. Sole-Hemborm do not eat eels as it is believed its ancestor had been saved by it while ferrying flooded river. The kahu-Besras are prohibited to kill crows. The totem exercises powerful influence on the habit of the Santals.

Santal Administration

Village administration:
The cultural analysis of the Santal village administration would pave the way for a clear understanding of the economic and political stratification and their history and evolution in ancient India. This indeed, will give an idea about the contribution of Santals towards modern social system. The Santal society is characterized by democratic equality. Wealth matters little in the day-to-day life. The clans are regarded as equal to another clans and there is no class distinction either in status or occupation. The village is generally multi clans and each clan has sub number. The Santal villages are social and political entities with great cohesion and continuity. Each village has well established political organization with a secular headman called Majhi who is a man of great prestige. The village council controls the entire social system of the Santals. The village council or Atu Mone Hor is consisted of Majhi (village headman), Jog Majhi (Deputy village Headman), Paranik (Assistant to village Headman), Goddet (secretary to village Headman), Jog Paranik(deputy Paranik), Naeke (head village priest) and Kudam Naeke (Assitant to village priest). All the villagers are member of the village council. Village council is the institution that settles all the disputes of the villages. Santal community as a whole maintains certain uniform customs and laws with relation to marriage, divorce, birth etc. Majhi presides over the village council meetings when they are held to discuss the matters related to village. In event of disputes arises with different village, he acts as representative of village. Paranik is the principal assistant to Majhi and representative of Majhi. If Majhi dies without any male issues or brothers, then paranik will get the office. and Goddet. No public sacrifice, no festival, no ceremony such as marriage can be done without Majhi taking initiative. Jog Majhi serves as the supernatant of the youth of the village and he is one the link between younger generation to older generation and he generally passing all the secrets to younger ones. In the absent of Jog Majhi, the Jog Paranik officiates. Equally important is the religious headman called Naeke and his assistant Kudam Naeke.

Santal, the original habitants of India

This is a some points whcih exculsively proved our traditonal thinking that Santal and as whole tribals are the original habitants of India. An international study led by Michale J. Bamshad of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Utah of caste origins has found (the findings have been reported in a recent issue of the journal Genome Research) that members of the upper castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, Western Eurasians to be specific, whereas the lower castes are more similar to Asians. This finding is in tune with the expectations based on historical reasoning and the prevalent views of many social historians. In exercising their superiority over native proto-Asian populations, the Aryans would have appointed themselves to higher rank castes. The 18-member research team includes scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Estonia. The collaborating Indian scientists were anthropologists Bhaskar Rao, J. Mastan Naidu and B. V. Ravi Prasad from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and P. Govinda Reddy from the University of Madras. Here is some articles

1. "Fundamental genomic unity of ethnic India is revealed by anal ysis of mitochondrial DNA" by P. P. Majumder Current Science, Vol 79, 10 November, 2000
.2. "Ethnic populations of India as seen from an evolutionary perspective" P. P. Majumder , Journal of Bioscience,Vol 26, No 4, Nov, 2001
3. "Ethical Challenges as we approach the end of the Human Genome Project" Editor: Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D.
4. "Genetic evidence on the origin of Indian caste populations" Michael Bamshad etl Genome Research, 2001

This web site contains all data related to regional language of India. You can have look at it.

The Adivasi (indigenous peoples) constitute the oldest and, often, the original inhabitants of this land. They constitute many different peoples with different languages. In the northern part of Bangladesh the Adivasis numbered 2.2 million in the late sixties but now have declined to 0.8 million. This decrease in their population is symptomatic of the continuing encroachment into their lands and their livelihood by the dominant Bengalis.


How did gender relations change, leading at some point to the establishment of patriarchy? Engels noted that the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male

On the deciphering of the Indus valley script and the solution of the brahui problem by Anans M Sharan . This is one the much needed support to find the missing link of Indus script and Santhal.

Santal Society

Santals has wonderful socio-cultural mosaic, which often we round of it in the present caste rifted Indian society. the following are the main socio-religious characteristics of the Santals:

  • Santals have separate religion and it is called "Sarna". Even Indian Constitution does treat Santals religion as separate one.
  • Offering during worship is made within the pictorial boundary known as khond as a mark of the mundane relationship of the supernatural power.
  • Image or idol worship is absent and there is no as such traditional temple that exists in Santal society.
  • Both burial and cremation are practiced. A chicken is dedicated to the dead body.
  • The society is devoid of caste hierarchy and therefore, the Santal's is a casteless society. By birth no person, family, clan group is superior or inferior. Santal women enjoys much more freedom than their counterparts in Indian Society.
  • Blood offering is prevalent in the community. Earlier practice of cow sacrifice is now restricted.
  • Priesthood is not appropriated by a particular clan group or a sect but is owned by the family members of the first settlers of the village. Occasionally selection of a successor of the old priest is held if he leaves no issue (male child). Mainly a divinated person makes such a selection and it is undisputed.

Santal's Social Life

Santal's Social life:
Santal social organization has very interesting characteristics. It contains flexibility in rigidity. Marriage is one of the important components in the dynamics of Santal society. It, indeed, have wonderful and interesting feature. Therefore, more details description is given here for Santal marriage to have understanding of Santal life, and their feeling and sentiments. It, to some extend, depicts the Santal way of life.

Santal Marriage:
The Santali name for marriage is called /Bapla/. In Santal society, marriage is one of sacred event of life and marriage adds up considerable respect in society. However, there are some traditions and customs need to be strictly followed in doing so. It is strictly forbidden for any Santal to marry within his or her own sept (Parish). He can marry into any other septs or sub-septs to which his/her mother belonged. There are some septs, which never intermarry with another in consequence of some ancient feuds between them. For example, A Hansdak' male or a female never marries a Murmu female or male respectively. Similarly, a Tudu male never marries a Besra female and vice versa. These customs are no longer in effective prevalent in day-to-day life of Santals. However, myths and tales associated with feud are still told among the Santals.

Girls are married as adults mostly to men of their own choice. In Santal marriage, there is no restriction of age. The bride may be younger, older or of equal age with bridegroom. There are two types of marriage practiced by Santals- the marriage arranged by Raibar (match maker) is the regular form of marriage. Couple themselves arranges the other forms of marriages.

Raibar Bapla:
This form of marriage is most commonly practiced in Santal society, where parents of both side select the bride and groom. Once they liked each other, then Raibar (match maker ) is appointed to negotiate between them. Generally, bride's father asks for bride price, which is generally divided among the bride's father, bride's mother, Mother's mother and father's mother. The brother of bride will get bull from groom. It is customs that not fix the marriage date in the month of birth.

Sanga bapla:
In this form of marriage the divorced women or widow is married with a widower. Here, bridegroom and bride settle the negotiation and mostly male takes the initiatives. In this marriage, bride price is very nominal. The binding ceremony of the Santal marriage is the Sindurdan; Which is here done by not applying the Sidur directly on the parting of the hair of bride by bridegroom, but instead he smears a dimbu flower with vermilion and fix it in the bride's coiffure.

Kudam Bapla:
If a girl becomes pregnant, the young man by whom she becomes so is bound to marry her. Generally young man informs the Jog Majhi (Assistant to head man) of his offence and the girl confesses it to wife of Jog Majhi. Then they inform to parents of bride and bridegroom. As usual, bridegroom pays bride price and bull. Bridegroom at the time of applying vermilion stands facing west and bride facing east.

Kiring Jawae:
If the couple belongs to the same sept, the headman calls for councils of village, and the decision would be always negative. Here boy's father has to bear the expenses of the marriage of the girl to another man. Then headman arranges the marriage for girl far away from village and name of boy is always secret.

Ghardi jawae:
When a man has minor sons and grown up daughter, he procures Ghardi-Jawae to get in his agricultural work. All expenses of marriage is borne by bride's father. At ordinary situation marriage the bridegroom 's friends are called Bariat; but in this it is the friends of bride that are called so. In this kind of marriage the bridegroom pays nothing for his bride but lives with father in-laws and work for him without wages for five years. When man procure a Ghardi Jawae to get help his agricultural works, in such cases, the girl's father sets aside a bit of land for this Ghardi Jawae and help him to get additional land Once five years of service is over, the Ghardi jawae is free to depart.

Tunki Dipil Bapla:
Poor men perform this type of marriage. As they have not sufficient money to bear the expenses of the regular marriage (Raibar Bapla), they resort this type of marriage. The bride is brought to the house of the bridegroom with small basket on her head; a few friends and relatives accompany her to her house. The bridegroom in the presence of these persons applies vermilion on her head and couple then lives as husband and wife.

Itut Bapla:
Forward young men who are not quite sure whether the girl fancy will accept them and take this means of compelling her to marry adopt this. This type of marriage is looked down up and rarely occurs. Generally double bride price is paid and the marriage is still legal. But if girl declines to live, then she must take divorced in full moon and cannot marry as spinster.

Nirbolok Bapla:
This form of marriage can said to be female variety of 'Itut" Bapla. A girl who cannot get a man whom she likes in the regular way, takes pot of rice beer and enters his house and insist upon staying there. They do not adopt any physical force to expel her from house. It is said to quite fair and usually effective to throw red peper on the fire, as by inhaling smoke she will be compelled to run away. If she passes this endurance test without leaving house, she is held to have own her husband and family is bound to recognize her as husband. This type of marriage also rarely occurs in Santal society.

Divorce is a common sequel to Santal marriage and is granted at the wish of either husband or wife. The following are the grounds for which the Santal men and women demand the divorce. The husband can demand the divorce if his wife is proved to a witch, or is sexually immortal ad she does not obey him or she lives always in her father's house. The wife can claim divorce, if husband cannot supply sufficient foods, clothing, ornaments etc. Sterility is another ground for divorce. In case husband seeks the divorce, he cannot claim the bride price and he has to pay certain amount of money as fine. If wife demands the divorce then her father has to refund the bride price. The divorce is effected in the presence of the assembled villagers in the following way; The husband is made to stand facing the sun on one leg. He has a cloth rounded his neck each end which is held in the hand along with three Sal leaves. Then taking the name of Sin -Bonga he tears the Sal leaves in the token separation and upset a brass pot full of water. Wife repeats this too. There is belief that if the Sal leaves are not fully torn or the lotta (Brass pot) are not wholly emptied then the couple must again come together.

Birth and naming ceremony:
When Santal women get pregnant, she and her husband observe certain taboos. The husband during his wife's pregnancy never kills any animal nor participates in any funeral ceremony and does not come in contact with any dead body. The pregnant woman during the evening very rarely comes out of the house. She does not weep when the death occurs of her relative. On the day of moon eclipse, she will not come out of room. She should not sit on courtyard with her hair or cloth hanging downward. After the birth of a child, the house is considered polluted. So the Santals performs the Janam Chatiar ceremony. Until it is done, no other activities can be undertaken like hinting etc. The usual day for the ceremony is fifth day for male and third day for female child. After ceremony, the men and women and children of the village who have assembled at the house each a leaf cup full of rice water with the leaves of Neem (Neem dak' Mandi). Generally it tastes sour. On the fifth day, the children are given the name. Should it happen to be son and then he takes the name of grandfather. Should it be second son born, he takes the name of maternal grandfather and thus third from paternal grandfather's brother and fourth from maternal grandfather's brother and so on. The same procedure is followed for girls the female relations being in the same order.

Chacho Chatiar:
It is very important ceremony of the Santals that enables the individual to take his place in Santal society and participate in its rights, rules and ceremonies. Without this no Santal can be married or cremated.

It means outcasting Santal from society. This outcast takes place by the order of assembly of villagers. It is resorted when a Santal women indulges in any physical relationships with either Diku (non-Santals) or with a person of name sept. It is worth noting that relatively free sex is prevalent among the Santal society. If it is proved, then the assembly gives the order of outcast and they proceed to carry out the day after annual hunting. A man in the market who carries a branch of sal tree with leaves announces the date of Bitlaha. The person in the market on seeing him understands the matter and counts the leaves that indicate the no of days.

The day of Bitlaha, all female members of village kept themselves away from village. In the early morning bachelors and other male members of the neighboring villages with flutes and drums, bows and arrows meet at the end of Village Street where culprit lives. Drumming is kept terribly high so that it can be heard from long distance. When crowd reaches the house of the offender they tie a short charred bit of firewood, worn out broom ad some used leaf plates on the pole of bamboo and fixed at the entrance of courtyard. Bachelors in undress do desecrate the rooms. The person who outcasted are not allowed to take food with others, and they cannot give their children marriage within the Santal community.

Jam jati:
By performing this ceremony, an outcasted Santal can be taken back in the society. The outcasted man and women go to the village street with twisted cloth rounded their necks and water in a lota. Before the headman and his assistance, the offenders acknowledge the offence and agreed to pay the fine for it. After taking water from lota and wash their mouth and pass it to all leading man who will repeat the same. After this they entered the village and the courtyard of the outcast who personally wash the feet of the leader of he people.



The History of Christian Contributions in Bengal

The History of Christian Contributions in Bengal

by Abanti Adhikari

The contribution of Christians in Bengal is a broad subject, and I would like to point out that the Europeans, who entered India as traders during the period of European colonialism, were mostly Christians. Their contribution may be divided into two parts – the administrators who affected far-reaching changes in India, and the Christian missionaries who helped to spread education in Bengal and other parts of India.

It was emperor Akbar who dreamt of creating a secular state in India, and accordingly he received the Christian missionaries with utmost honour in his court. A look at Akbar’s religious policy indicates that, he formulated the concept of Suhl-i-Kul, and created an Ibadaat Khanna, where different religious groups met together and discussed various precepts. This term has been at times translated as `hall of worship’; but it might be more accurately be rendered, `debating hall’. The Christian missionaries even thought that Akbar might be converted to Christianity, but Akbar created `Din-e-elahi’ instead.

In the attempt to penetrate the obscurity which at many points rests on the story of the first coming of Christianity in India, Stephen Neil in his book, The History of Christianity in India The Beginnings to ad 1707 , examines the contemporary developments in politics, literature and religion which form the background of the later penetration of the Indian world by the Christian gospel.

Don Francisco de Jassu Xavier, better known to the English-speaking world as Francis Xavier, was born on 7 April 1506 at the castle of Xavier. In 1525 he left his home to study at the University of Paris. Stephen Neill clearly understands the conditions under which Xavier went to India, who had been commissioned by the King of Portugal, who had a personal regard for Xavier. At all times he had access to the king, and was able to write to him on a number of occasions with considerable freedom. He had been appointed by the Pope as legate to all the countries of the east of the Cape of Good Hope.

The society was very new. The constitution of the society was not clearly drawn up until 1555, and Xavier had already been dead before these rules reached India. But organization was not his greatest talent, and it is at least possible that the stability of Jesuit work in the East would have been greater, if he had spent more time at headquarters and less on his bold wanderings about the western world. To a considerable extent, the shape of Xavier’s missionary work was determined by this kind of authority. Personally the most modest of men, his imagination was fired by the progress of Portuguese discovery and Portuguese discovery and by the thought of lands and empires to be brought within the kingdom of Christ. He had not gone out to be the supervisor of a handful of Jesuits in a small corner of India. There was an element of charity in his restless temperament, which led him to contain within a single glance India and the Moluccas, and, even beyond Japan, China. The works of the Chinese missionaries in different areas of the Far east, and particularly in China, is a very significant chapter, and the trade relation between China and India, through Britain, has raised much controversy among historians.

Voyages from Lisbon to India at that time were always terrible. That on which Xavier sailed was worse than most; it was not till 6 May 1542 that he finally landed at Goa. The voyage gave him and his companions every opportunity to manifest themselves as true servants of the Christ in their ceaseless care for the sick and the dying. According to Neill, it is easy both to sympathise with the first enthusiasm of Xavier and to admit that he had to learn in many respects his first impression had been mistaken. Even in the city of Goa itself, there were many Hindus and Muslims. And he was to learn that the level of Christian life among both the Portuguese and recent converts was very low.

Xavier spent the greater part of the years 1549 to 1552 in Japan. Before setting out on the last voyage, which led to his death in the island of Sinican, he had one further brief period of residence in Goa. In the year 1552 Xavier left Goa on his last eastern journey, accompanied by a small number of companions – Balthasar Gogo, who gave many years of service in Japan; Alvaro Ferreira, a Jesuit postulant not yet ordained; an excellent Chinese Christian who had studied for eight years at the college of St Paul; and Christopher, a Christian from Malabar, who was Xavier’s personal servant. Neill points out that, everyone who came in contact with Xavier seems to have agreed that he was a saint.

The Christians came to India mainly as merchants, as officers working in the English East India Company. However, they first made their presence felt in different coastal areas of Gujarat, west and south India, and Bengal. They circumscribed Africa and entered Indian coasts as traders, and often they went into some trading relations with the Mughal emperors and received `Farman ‘s as trading rights. The `Farman ‘ of emperor Farrukh Shiyar has a distinct place in Indian history, as well as the history of Bengal. The English East India Company also received the Dewani in 1765, so that they may enjoy some special privileges in the Bengal `subah’. However, the most important contribution of the English East India Company, was the Permanent Settlement of 1793, that has been much criticized by Dr. Ranajit Guha in his book, A Rule of Property for Bengal: An essay on the Idea of Permanent Settlement.

Christianity came to Bengal initially with the Portuguese again in the 16th century A.D.

The Jesuits remained in Bengal until their suppression by the Pope in the late 18th century. For over 450 years Jesuit priests and brothers have lived an amazing story serving the Church in new and unexpected ways. Men and women on the move to Bengal, were ready to change place, occupation, method.

But it was the Augustinians who were responsible for the major part of Christian activity.

The Portuguese had been able to settle at Chittagong in the 16th century under the auspices of the King of Arakan. The Augustinians established themselves there in 1621, and baptized thousands who had been captured in the piratical raids in the Ganges delta area. Later in the 17th century Nagari became an important center, following the conversion of about 20,000 mainly low-caste Hindus by Antonio de Rozario, son of the raja of Bhushna (Jessore), who himself was converted to Christianity. By the 1690s there were 13 Augustinian Churches in Bengal, but the majority of Christians received only rudimentary instruction and tended to migrate to new centers as they rose in importance – including the English settlement at Kolkata from 1690, where the Augustinians built a chapel. In 1696 the French appointed a Jesuit to serve the Christians at Chandannagar.

The works of the officers of the English east India Company, the Governor General and others, led to a total transformation of the revenue system in Bengal. Before 1793, they tried to experiment with the different land revenue systems, such as, the Decennial system in Bengal and the ryotwari or Mahalwari systems outside Bengal. The old zamindari system, was totally abolished and a new-born educated `babu’ class came into existence, who owed their allegiance to the British. The Permanent Settlement, according to Dr. Ranajit Guha, was modeled in accordance with the British laws, and it was thrust upon the Bengal rural society, where it was said that the revenue had to be paid within a scheduled date and time. The sunset law was obeyed by the comprador class in Bengal, the allies of the British rulers. The Permanent Settlement left a definite mark in the history of Bengal, and it was no doubt a crucial work of the British.

Apart from textbooks, the Serampore Baptists made other contributions to the development of the Bengali language. These included a dictionary and grammar; a translation of the BIBLE , subsequently improved upon by others; and the periodicals Digdarshan and Samachar Darpan , which represent the beginnings of the Bangla press. They also founded The Friend of India , ancestor of The Statesman .Another area in which William Carey made a lasting contribution was botany and agriculture. He created a botanical garden at Serampore, obtained seeds from abroad and acclimatized new plants. He also took a leading part in the establishment (1820) of what became the Agri-Horticultural Society of India. The Serampore Baptists also sought to influence public opinion and government against the cruel practices which existed in contemporary Hinduism, such as infanticide at Sagar island and `sati’, on which they undertook a survey which indicated its frequency.

Other Protestant missionary societies followed the Baptist Missionary Society to Bengal after 1813, notably the London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society and the Church of Scottland. The Christian Missionary Society, an Anglican society, provided the initial support, from 1821, for Mary Anne Cooke, a pioneer in the establishment of girls’ schools. Then in 1830 the Church of Scotland missionary Alexander Duff arrived in Kolkata and proceeded to set a new standard for Christian education. He founded a school, that achieved a rapid and lasting success, developing eventually into Scottish Church College. Duff stressed the vital role of the teacher in evoking the interest and understanding of the pupil. He also believed in developing the whole person and made provisions for exercises and games. His insistence on English as the medium of instruction left a more debatable legacy. His example was one factor in causing the government in 1835 to decide to devote its funds to western education through the medium of English.

So far as the thought-process is concerned, the Christians left a definite mark on the young Derozians in the nineteenth century, and they transformed the religious culture of the English-educated Bengali intelligentsia. It is a well-known story that Krishna Kumar Mitra greeted Godess Kali as, `Good Morning madam’. Ramtanu Lahiri o Tatkalin Bangashamaj , written by Shibnath Shastri, gives the story of the forsaking of sacred thread by a `Brahmin’. Therefore, the Christian influence on the Bengali youth had a definite landmark in the conservative Bengali society.

The missionaries’ linguistic and educational work represents their main contribution to the development of modern Bengal. Other than the missionaries, the British administrators in the colonial rulers were successful bureaucrats, one of whose major work was the foundation of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, by William Jones. When the Asiatic Society was established on 15 January 1784, its founder Sir William Jones(1786 – 94), began his work with a dream, that visualized a center for Asian studies, including almost everything concerning man and nature within the geographical limits of the continent. Most of the mysteries of this vast land, like its old inscriptions in Brahmi, were still undeciphered.

Sir William Jones, an outstanding scholar from Oxford, arrived in Calcutta on 25 September 1738 as a Puisne Judge of the Old Supreme Court. He prepared a memorandum detailing his plan of study. A history of Asiatic Society points out that, while others were thinking in terms of individual study and research, Sir William Jones was the first man to think in terms of a permanent organization for Oriental Studiesand researches on a grand scalein this country. He took the initiative and in January 1784 sent out a circular letter to selected persons of the elite, with a view to establishing a society for this purpose..

The impact of the old and new ideas gave birth to an awakening among the people, which paved the way for a Renaissance in Bengal. In the opinion of Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar, (History of Bengal volume ii), “It was truly a Renaissance, wider, deeper, and more revolutionary than that of Europe”. The missionaries in Bengal played a significant role in preparing the background of this Renaissance, and according to Professor Kanti Prasanna Sengupta, The Christian Missionaries in Bengal (1783 – 1833), were deeply connected with it in the beginning.

Source :

Bangladesh: A brief glance at the history of the Luteran Santal Mission

Bangladesh: A brief glance at the history of the Luteran Santal Mission


Taken from "Silent forests" of Tone Bleie

The establishment of the Santal Mission in 1860 and the rapid growth testify to the intellectual vitality, colossal energy and organizational abilities of its founders, Lars Olson Skrefsrud (1840-1910) and Hans Peter Borresen (1825-1901). The coincidences which led first Skrefsrud and later his heir Paul Olav Bodding (1865-1938) to use their unusual intellectual gifts in a lifelong service to the Mission at a particular historical juncture in both the colonial history of India and the history of the Santals resulted in these two Norwegian missionaries coming to exert a unique and enduring impact on all succeeding Santali generations cultural media (especially language), collective memory and ultimately survival as an indigenous minority.

Skrefsrud contributed substantially to the development of a Santali phonetic alphabet (with diacritical signs), a work Bodding advanced. Skrefsrud produced the first really comprehensive grammar, which is still in use. He compiled the first comprehensive Santali-English lexicon and he stalled the laborious translation of parts of the Old and New Testaments. Bodding in his early days (in the 1890s) assisted Skrefsrud in his translation work. Later, Bodding took it over and completed it, fraught as it was with interpretative and linguistic difficulties. Bodding also prepared the exhaustive Santali Dictionary, still the standard reference work. He collected throughout most of his life detailed and systematic ethnographic descriptive accounts of Santali knowledge traditions covering nearly every religious, medical, social and practical domain. Bodding was able to build up a huge collection of Santali material culture; most of the collection is currently in the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Oslo. Some of it is owned by other European Museums.

Skrefsrud also managed in his younger years to collect and publish the rich collection The Traditions and Institutions of the Santals. This brief listing in no way completes Skrefsrud and Bodding's scholarly output, which is truly extraordinary in scope, volume and scientific quality.

The pioneers were completely dependent on Santali helpers as storytellers, healers and fluent language speakers. Some of these Santals seem to have played a longstanding role as key informants and as assistants in a fuller sense. Bodding, for example, writes this about his most central collaborators on the extremely trying and complicated translation of the bible into Santali:

The best Man we have had in this work was Biram, and besides him Sido, who had gifts at least at the level of the other, yet lacked his 20 years of experience. Biram could not be moved, if he was convinced about something, one would hear of it. It happened so that Skrefsrud and it happened with me, that he would say: You are a Saheb, and I cannot hinder your writing what you like, but we never say like that. Such independent helpers are invaluable. They have respect for themselves and they are anxious that

somebody could blame them for having endorsed something which was incorrect.

We would welcome future research by Santal scholars and others who could bring into proper light the role and significance of Santals like Biram and Sido.

Skrofsrud and Borresen first entered India as missionaries for the German Gossner Mission in the early 1860s. They broke with their home mission in 1865 and started to collaborate with an English Baptist missionary, E.C. Johnson. Johnson had recently started to work among the nearly "unreached" Santals in Birbhum District. Skrefsrud and Borresen did not become missionaries of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) but were supported in their early work, which was rapidly gaining momentum. In 1869 they started an, independent Indian Home Mission to the Santals (IHM). The missionary society had at its inception already 7000 members. In the early years, committees in England and Scotland collected much of the new Mission's funds. Only after the final break with the BMS in 1877 did Skrefsrud and Borresen put every effort into securing future support from a Scandinavian support base.

The Indian Home Mission was thus a Baptist mission and it took decades before the Lutheran confession, church regulations, and, liturgies became a living reality.

Over the least 3 decades of the 19th century the Mission came to take up new missionary fields. This was partly the result of the Missionaries own efforts, such as Skrefsrud's effort to secure a large area of land in Assam for Santali immigrants (the so-called Assam Colony), and partly a result of another massive migration movement of Santals and other displaced adibasi (notably Mundas and Oraons) into the flat, marshy country on the eastern side of the Ganges. While this land was not unknown to the Santals, most Santals had preferred, as long as outside intruders, to settle in the cooler, forest covered areas of north Orissa and Bihar (Chota Nagpur and Raj Mahal).

The Mission came partly to use its own designations for its expanded missionary domain. Santal Parganas, was referred to as the "Old country". Assam, which was also an administrative designation, was a massive immigration of impoverished and displaced Santals from the older core areas of Chota Nagpur and elsewhere. Only after the Santal Rebellion in 1855-57 the British declared the area a Non-Regulation District, named it Santal Parganas and appointed Santal chiefs as the only intermediary authority, allowing them also judicial powers. Slavery, which had been the bitter experience of many adibasis, was also banned

in the new domain. "The Middle Country" (Mellomlandet) referred to the Bengali delta country east of Santal Parganas and of the Ganges and south of Assam.

The early mission in Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Malda

We have in earlier chapters described how political subjugation, ruthless exploitation of the adibasis and erosion of the social structure led to the massive displacement and rapid immigration of Santals into Dinaipur, Malda. and Rajshahi. Many of the immigrated adibasi were converted Christians. It was the Baptist William Carey who started missionary work in Bengal from the first mission station in Mudnaputi (previously under Dinajpur, later under Malda). Mission headquarters were later moved to Serampore north of Calcutta. It was a Santal, Jalpa Soren, who took up missionary work among the Santals with support from the Indian Home Mission. The work of Soren however not welcomed by the Baptist Missionary Society, which saw these districts as their exclusive missionary domain. In the following years, considerable energy was expended by both missions on this conflict; only in 1921 did BMS "concede" Malda to SMNC. Despite these conflicts, the evangelical work and institution-building efforts led by Soren were successful. Around Naryanpur, west of Hilli in West Dinajpur, an active congregation grew up. The circle had 8 primary schools and 14 teachers. In 1920 the school at Naryanpur was upgraded to a Middle English School. Khorbari, in Malda, became another centre of several congregations. The priest engaged 13 evangelists and 3 female workers, and 4 schools were established. Pipra was a 3rd centre for northern Rajhshai and south­ eastern Malda. There, I priest and 9 evangelists were engaged. The circle built and ran 5 primary schools. In this first period it was the local Ebenezer Missionary Society which was the main supporter of this new mission field; only in the 1930s did the Mission take over this responsibility.

The establishment of a separate mission in East Pakistan

Independence in 1947, which resulted in the partition of Bengal, also split "Mellornlandet" into two. About half of the 49 congregations were situated within the new East Pakistan. The responsible missionaries met severe new problems in coordinating and running Serampore was a Danish Colony from 1755 to 1845. The colony had two Norwegian Governors, first Ole Bie (1733-1805) and later Jacob Krefting (1757­1805). Their work from the Indian side was difficult due to visa and currency regulations. The Home Board was requested to formally approve the placing of a missionary in East Pakistan. The Home Board, however, for various reasons, postponed a decision until the 1954 Conference.

In 1956, the regulations for a new Nordic East Pakistan Mission was endorsed by representatives from the 3 member countries. A Missionary Conference should be responsible for all operations in East Pakistan and directly responsible to the Home Boards. It was first decided that the Norwegian Mission should sent the first missionary as Norwegians could travel to Pakistan without a visa. As it later turned out, the first missionary to enter East Pakistani soil was the Norwegian-American John Ottesen and his wife. About 4 years later, the Norwegian Santal Mission send another missionary couple, the Ivelands, who got Dinajpur as a mission field. The Ivelands built Auliapur Mission Station on the outskirts of Dinajpur District Town. Church, missionary bungalows, a girl's school and a boarding were built in the early 1960s. Some years later, another missionary couple, the Overbyes, built a second major centre at Amnura in Rajshahi. A hostel for bible students and a health clinic were built in addition to residential quarters and a church. In the 1960s Danish missionaries also arrived. Especially in the late 1960s, the number of missionaries tripled from 5 to 15. Two new mission stations were built in Uzirpur and Chapai Nawabganj.

Until 1968 the mission formally shared its supreme leader with its Indian mother church, NELC. At a church meeting in Auliapur it was decided to establish a fully independent church, the Pakistan Evangelical Lutheran Church. At that moment the new church had 44 congregations with a total of 1490 members.

Until 1980 there was a joint Bangladesh Lutheran Mission (BLM) which consisted of the Norwegian, Danish, American and Finish Santal Missions. This joint mission was dissolved in 1980 due to strong and longstanding disagreements about strategies and priorities.

In 1993 the Norwegian Santal Mission had 27 missionaries in Bangladesh. The number was reduced to 16 by the beginning of 97.


Christianity in Bangladesh

Christianity in Bangladesh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christianity arrived in what is now Bangladesh during the late sixteenth to early seventeenth century CE, through the Portuguese traders and missionaries. Christians account for less than 1% of the total population. The total Christian population is around 370,000, out of which 221,000 are Roman Catholics, the rest being Orthodox and non-denominational.

1 History
1.1 Early history
1.2 Timeline
1.3 Roman Catholics
1.4 Protestant Denominations
2 Contributions
3 Prominent Bangladesh Christians


Early history
Renowned Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope of South Africa in 1498 and landed at Calicut (present Kozikode of India) by discovering the sea-route to India. From 1500 onwards, the Portuguese established their power first in Cranganore, then to Cochin and Goa. With these traders and commercial opportunists, also came Franciscan, Dominican order, Augustinian, and Jesuit missionaries to bring Indian heathens to Christianity. From 1517 onwards, Portuguese traders from Goa were traversing the sea-route to Bengal but were not successful in establishing trading posts in this part of India. Only in 1537, were they allowed to settle and open customs houses at Satgaon (near present-day Hooghly) of West Bengal (India) and Chittagong of present-day Bangladesh. In 1577, Mughal emperor Akbar permitted the Portuguese to build permanent settlements and churches in Bengal. The first Christians in Bengal were the Portuguese themselves. After their intermarriage with local women, their descendants became the first indigenous Christians. Then came the local converts to Christianity from both Hinduism and Islam.

The Portuguese traders brought Christianity to this country through the port of Chittagong, called the Porto Grande or the great port, in the 16th century, but the first church in Bangladesh was built in 1599 at Chandecan (also called Iswaripur or old Jessore) near Kaliganj in the Sunderbans of present Satkhira district.

1599: Jesuit Father Francisco Fernandez went to Chandecan in October, and with permission of King Pratapadittya built a church and a rectory there. This new church, called the "Holy Name of Jesus", was officially dedicated on January 1, 1600, when the King himself was present in the ceremony.
1600: The second church, called "St. John the Baptist Church", was built in Chittagong on June 24 by Jesuit Fathers Francisco Fernandez and Andre Boves with financial assistance from the King of Arakan (presently in western Myanmar or Burma).
1601: At the invitation of the Portuguese merchants, Dominican Fathers Gaspar da Assumpsao and Melchior da Luz went to Diang (Dianga), south-east of Chittagong on the Karnaphully River, and built the third church (chapel) there. When the Arakanese attacked the place, the chapel was burnt down and missionaries were manhandled. After this, the Dominicans left the place forever.
1602: Jesuit Father Francisco Fernandez tried to save some Portuguese children from the Arakanese who had made them slaves. The Arakanese were so enraged that they captured Fr. Fernandez, beat him and placed him in chains in a dark prison. He died there on November 14, 1602 becoming the first Christian martyr in the territory comprising present Bangladesh.
1608: Islam Khan, the Mughal Subedar of Bengal, made Dhaka—previously a mere military outpost—the capital of Bengal. This was followed by progress and prosperity in business attracting Portuguese, Dutch, French and English merchants.
1612: Portuguese Augustinian missionaries introduced Christianity in Dhaka.
1628: The same missionaries established a church, called the "Church of the Assumption", in the Narinda area of the city.
1695: The church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino was constructed at Nagori, 25 kilometres north-east of Dhaka.
1764: Portuguese missionaries built a church at Padrishibpur in Barisal district. Another Portuguese church was built at Hashnabad, 30 kilometres south-west of Dhaka, in 1777.

Roman Catholics
In 1682, there were 14,120 Roman Catholics in the Bangladesh territory. As the Bangladeshi Muslims have Arabic and Persian surnames, so do the Portuguese-converted Catholics have Portuguese surnames, such as Gomes, Rozario, Cruze, Dores, D’ Silva, D’ Souza, and so forth. To recognize Catholics by names, the missionaries used to give one Christian name and one of their surnames to the newly-baptized person. The later Catholic missionaries from France, USA, Canada, and Italy did not follow the Portuguese in naming the new Christians. They gave one Christian name but did not change the surname of the newly convert. Presently, the Catholic Church has six dioceses—Dhaka, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Khulna, Mymensngh, and Rajshahi—with a Catholic population of about 221,000, more than 70 parish churches, 200 priests, 50 Brothers, 700 nuns, 1,000 catechists, and many educational, healthcare, and welfare institutions and organizations.

Protestant Denominations
William Carey was a Protestant missionary who arrived at Serampore in West Bengal in 1793. This Englishman heralded the new missionary era in Bengal. Many Protestant organizations have since established themselves in the country:

1793: Baptist Missionary Society (British)
1805: Church Missionary Society (British)
1862: Council for World Mission (British Presbyterian)
1882: Australian Baptist Mission
1886: New Zealand Baptist Mission
1895: Oxford Mission (British Anglican)
1905: Churches of God (American)
1919: Seventh-day Adventists
1945: Assemblies of God
1956: Santal Mission (Lutheran)
1957: Bangladesh Mission of the Southern Baptist Convention American
1958: Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (American)
After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, there was a new influx of Protestant missionary societies into Bangladesh. Besides evangelism, these societies have also established and run various educational, healthcare, and welfare institutions. At present, the number of Protestants in Bangladesh is estimated to be around 150,000.

Christians contributed immensely in the field of Bengali literature. Portuguese missionary Fr. Manuel da Assumpsao wrote Kripar Shastrer Orthobhed, which was printed in 1743 in Lisbon, Portugal, in the Roman alphabet. It was a catechism in the question-answer form. He also wrote a 40-page Bengali grammar book and a 529-page Bengali-Portuguese and Portuguese-Bengali dictionary, called Vocabulario em Idioma Bengulla-e-Portuguez, divided em duas Partes. Dom Antonio da Rozario, a local Hindu prince converted by the Portuguese, was successful in making mass conversions (20,000 to 30,000) among low-caste Hindus in the region north of Dhaka. He wrote Brahman-Roman Catholic Sambad, where a Roman Catholic dialogues with a Hindu Brahmin (priest) and tries to show the superiority of Christianity over Hinduism.

Baptist missionary William Carey translated and printed the Bible in Bengali, wrote many other books and a dictionary, called A Dictionary of the Bengali Language. He also helped develop Bengali type faces for printing and established Serampore Mission and College besides publishing newspapers and periodicals. His colleagues Dr. John Thomas, William Ward, Felix Carey (his son), John Pearson, and others also left their contributions in Bengali literature. Carey also developed the Bengal school system. Recently, two Catholic Italian Xaverian missionaries—Fathers Marino Rigon and Silvano Garello—have been translating many works of 1913 Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Jasimuddin and others into Italian. Their books have created an increasing intrerest of the Italians for Bengali literature and Bangladesh.

The Churches in Bangladesh have worked in the fields of merciful activities such as education and medicare for all mainly the poor, underprivileged, and helpless. In a country where almost 85% of the people are Muslims, running such educational and welfare institutions and organizations under a Christian banner remains difficult.

After the Bangladesh Liberation War, the missionaries controlled by Mother Teresa were the first organizations to enter Bangladesh after 1971 to help the victims. Many of these missionaries have established offices in Bangladesh and still operate independently. These missionaries along with many other contribute actively during flood and various cyclones in the coastal region.

Prominent Bangladesh Christians
Though small in number, Bangladeshi Christians have made a significant contribution to Bangladesh since independence in 1971.

The music director Samar Das, led the creation of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra ("Free Bengal Radio") during the Bangladesh Liberation War and orchestrated and notated the National Anthem of the new country, Tagore's "Amar Sonar Bangla", enabling it to be recorded and played by orchestras around the world.
Human rights activist Rosaline Costa has played a strong role in raising awareness of minority and gender issues and has been recognized internationally.
Adv Cyril Shikder was a former ambassador to Bhutan.
Pramod Mankin is currently the only Christian Member of Parliament, from the Awami League Party.
Michael Madhusudan Dutt (also written Datta or Dutta),(1824-1873), born Madhusudan Dutt, was a famous 19th century Bengali poet and dramatist. He was born in the village Sagardari, Jessore District, Bengal (now in Bangladesh). Madhusudan was the father of Bangla Sonnet. Poet Madhusudan converted to Christianity, taking the Christian name of Michael.
Michael Sushil Adhikari (1924-97) was a social worker, poet, former President of the Bangladesh Baptist Sangha, and former advisor to the Government of Bangladesh during the presidency of General Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Nirmal Rozario is Secretary General of the Bangladesh Christian Association and one of the most prominent Bangladeshi Catholic leaders
Andrew Kishore is a popular singer of modern songs and has had many hits as a playback artist in Bangladesh movies
Alfred Khokon is a famous folk singer

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Languages in Bangladesh

132,219,000 (1995); population density 2,026 per square mile. 531,000 speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages, 125,000 speakers of Austro-Asiatic languages (1991 J. Matisoff). People's Republic of Bangladesh. GaNa Prajãtantrï Bangladesh. Formerly East Pakistan. Literacy rate 24% to 25%. Also includes Hindi 346,000, Oriya 13,299 (1961), Eastern Panjabi 9,677 (1961), Urdu 600,000. Information mainly from A. Hale 1982, Voegelin and Voegelin 1977, SIL 1982. Data accuracy estimate: B. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Blind population 1,085. Deaf institutions: 14. The number of languages listed for Bangladesh is 35.

ARAKANESE (MARMA, MORMA, MAGHI, MOGH, MAGH, YAKHAIN, RAKHAIN, MASH) [MHV] 185,000 in Bangladesh (1993 Johnstone), .1% of the population; 22,870 in India (1994 IMA); 1,875,000 in Myanmar (1993); 2,0083,000 in all countries. 76,000 refugees recently came from Myanmar (1992). Southeast, Chittagong Hills area. Some possibly in China. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Burmese-Lolo, Burmish, Southern. A form of Burmese. Educated speakers know and read standard Burmese. Many men can speak Bengali. People were brought to Bangladesh in the 1800's. Typology: SOV. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Buddhist, Muslim, Christian. Bible portions 1914.

ASSAMESE (ASAMBE, ASAMI) [ASM] 14,604,000 or more in all countries; a few in Bangladesh (1991 D. Barrett SB); 14,604,000 in Assam, India (1994 IMA). Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Bible 1833, in press (1995). NT 1819-1898. Bible portions 1822-1974.

BENGALI (BANGA-BHASA, BANGALA, BANGLA) [BNG] 100,000,000 in Bangladesh (1994 UBS), 98% of the population (1990 WA); 68,000,000 in India (1991 IMA); 70,000 in United Arab Emirates (1986); 15,000 in Saudi Arabia; 600 in Singapore (1987); 189,000,000 in all countries; 196,000,000 including second language users (1995 WA). Western. Also in USA, United Kingdom. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Languages or dialects in the Bengali group according to Grierson: Central (Standard) Bengali, Western Bengali (Kharia Thar, Mal Paharia, Saraki), Southwestern Bengali, Northern Bengali (Koch, Siripuria), Rajbangsi, Bahe, Eastern Bengali (East Central, including Sylhetti), Haijong, Southeastern Bengali (Chakma), Ganda, Vanga, Chittagonian (possible dialect of Southeastern Bengali). Bengali used in schools. Bengali script used. National language. Muslim. Braille Bible portions. Braille Scripture in progress. Bible 1809, in press (1994). NT 1801-1982. Bible portions 1800-1980.

BURMESE (BAMA, BAMACHAKA, MYEN) [BMS] 231,000 in Bangladesh (1993 Johnstone); 21,553,000 in Myanmar (1986); 1,581 in USA (1970); 22,000,000 in all countries (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Area bordering Myanmar. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Burmese-Lolo, Burmish, Southern. Dialect: BOMANG. People in Bangladesh speak Bomang, not Standard Burmese. Buddhist. Bible 1835, in press (1995). NT 1832-1987. Bible portions 1815-1985.

CHAK [CKH] 909 in Bangladesh (1981 census). Chittagong Hills. Most in Arakan Blue Mts., Myanmar. Unclassified. Distinct from Chakma. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion.

CHAKMA (TAKAM) [CCP] 260,577 in Bangladesh (1991 UBS); 300,000 in India (1987 ABWE); 560,000 in all countries. Southeast, Chittagong Hills area, and Chittagong City. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Educated speakers know Bengali. Many men can speak Bengali. A more assimilated hill people. 6 dialects. Tropical forest. Hills. Agriculturalists: paddy rice; fishermen. Buddhist, Christian. NT 1926-1991. Bible portions 1924-1955.

CHIN, ASHO (SHO, SHOA, KHYANG, KHYENG, QIN) [CSH] 1,422 in Bangladesh (1981 census); 10,000 in Myanmar (1991 UBS); 11,500 or more in all countries. Arakan Hills, Myanmar. Not in China. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Southern, Sho. Dialects: CHITTAGONG, LEMYO, MINBU, SANDOWAY, THAYETMYO. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. NT 1954. Bible portions 1921-1986.

CHIN, BAWM (BAWNG, BAWN, BOM, BAWM) [BGR] 5,773 in Bangladesh (1981 census); 9,000 in all countries (1990 UBS). Chittagong Hills. Also in India and Myanmar. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Central, Unclassified. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Bible 1989. NT 1977. Bible portions 1961.

CHIN, FALAM (HALLAM CHIN, HALAM, FALLAM, FALAM) [HBH] 125,370 or more in all countries; 100,000 in Myanmar; 25,367 in India (1994 IMA). Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Old Kuki, Western, Southern. Dialects: CHOREI, ZANNIAT. Typology: SOV. Bible 1991. NT 1951-1973. Bible portions 1933-1964.

CHIN, HAKA (HAKA, BAUNGSHE) [CNH] 100,000 in Myanmar (1991 UBS); 977 in Bangladesh; 101,000 in all countries. Also in India. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Central, Haka. Dialects: LAI, KLANGKLANG (THLANTLANG), ZOKHUA, SHONSHE. Shonshe may be a separate language. Bible 1978. NT 1940, in press (1995). Bible portions 1920-1959.

CHIN, KHUMI (KHUMI, KHAMI, KHIMI, KHWEYMI, KHUNI) [CKM] 1,188 in Bangladesh (1981 census); 76,700 in Myanmar (1983); 78,000 or more in all countries. Also in India. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Southern, Khami. Dialects: KHIMI, KHAMI, YINDU (YINDI), MATU, NGALA. Khami and Ngala may be separate languages. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. NT 1959. Bible portions 1935-1950.

DARLONG [DLN] 14,000 in all countries (1993 UBS); 5,000 in India (1994 UBS). Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Central, Unclassified. NT in press (1996).

GARO (GARROW, MANDE) [GRT] 102,000 in Bangladesh (1993); 547,433 in India (1994 IMA); 650,000 in all countries. Northeastern, Mymensingh plains. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Konyak-Bodo-Garo, Bodo-Garo, Garo. Dialects: ABENG, ACHIK. The Achik dialect predominates among several inherently intelligible dialects. The Abeng dialect is in Bangladesh. Closest to Koch. Bible 1924-1994. NT 1894-1987. Bible portions 1887-1904.

HAJONG (HAIJONG) [HAJ] (23,978 in India; 1971 census). Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese.

HO (LANKA KOL) [HOC] (1,026,000 in India; 1994 IMA). Austro-Asiatic, Munda, North Munda, Kherwari, Mundari. Distinct from Ho (Hani) of Myanmar, China, Viet Nam, Laos. NT in press (1996). Bible portions 1915-1987.

INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE [INS] (1,500,000 or more users in India; 1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Extends into some parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mainly in India. Deaf sign language. Not related to French, Spanish, American sign languages, or their group. Some influence from British Sign Language in the fingerspelling system and a few other signs, but most signs are unrelated to European sign systems. It developed indigenously in India. The Indian manual English system is hardly intelligible to American Signed English.

KHASI (KAHASI, KHASIYAS, KHUCHIA, KYI, COSSYAH, KHASSEE, KHASIE) [KHI] 85,088 in Bangladesh (1961 census); 824,000 in India (1994 IMA); 909,000 in all countries. Northern. Austro-Asiatic, Mon-Khmer, Northern Mon-Khmer, Khasian. Dialects: KHASI (CHERRAPUNJI), LYNGNGAM (LNGNGAM), WAR. Bible 1891. NT 1831-1991. Bible portions 1816-1891.

KOCH (KOC, KOCCH, KOCE, KOCHBOLI, KONCH) [KDQ] 35,000 in all countries (1973 MARC); 21,870 in India (1994 IMA). Also Assam, Tripura, India. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Konyak-Bodo-Garo, Bodo-Garo, Garo. Dialects: BANAI, HARIGAYA, SATPARIYA, TINTEKIYA, WANANG. Dialect or separate language: Atong. Closest to Garo. Distinct from Koch of Bengali-Assamese group in West Bengal. Survey needed.

KOK BOROK (TRIPURI, TRIPURA, TIPURA, MRUNG, USIPI) [TRP] 78,000 in Bangladesh (1993 Johnstone); 658,000 in India (1994 IMA); 736,000 in all countries. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Konyak-Bodo-Garo, Bodo-Garo, Bodo. Dialects: JAMATIA, NOATIA, RIANG (TIPRA), HALAM, DEBBARMA. Bible in press (1995). NT 1976. Bible portions 1959-1983.

KURUX (KURUKH, URAON, ORAOAN) [KVN] 2,000,000 in all countries (1991 WA); 1,747,000 in India (1994 IMA). Primarily in India. Dravidian, Northern. Distinct from Nepali Kurux. NT 1950, in press (1989). Bible portions 1895.

LUSHAI (LUSHEI, LUSAI, SAILAU, HUALNGO, WHELNGO, LE) [LSH] 1,041 in Bangladesh (1981 census); 12,500 in Myanmar; 503,732 in India (1994 IMA); 517,200 in all countries. Mizo Hills. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Central, Mizo. Dialects: RALTE, DULIEN, NGENTE, MIZO. Related to Zahao, Hmar, Pankhu, Paang. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Bible 1959-1995. NT 1916-1986. Bible portions 1898-1956.

MEGAM (MIGAM) [MEF] Northeastern. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Konyak-Bodo-Garo, Bodo-Garo, Garo. Called a dialect of Garo, but may be a separate language. Survey needed.

MEITHEI (MEITHE, MITEI, MANIPURI, KATHE, KATHI, PONNA) [MNR] 92,800 in Bangladesh (1982); 1,252,000 in India (1994 IMA); 6,000 in Myanmar (1931); 1,351,000 in all countries. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Mikir-Meithei. Hindu, traditional religion, Muslim, Christian. Bible 1984. NT 1827, in press (1995). Bible portions 1820-1956.

MRU (MRO, MURUNG, NIOPRENG, MRUNG) [MRO] 17,811 in Bangladesh (1981 census); 34,100 in Myanmar; 14,584 in India; 66,500 in all countries. Southeastern, Chittagong Hills; 200 villages. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Mru. A more accessible hill tribe. Typology: SOV. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion with some Buddhist elements. Bible portions 1934. Work in progress.

MUNDARI (MUNDA, MANDARI, MUNARI, HORO, MONDARI, COLH) [MUW] (1,467,515 In India (1994 IMA); 5,700 in Nepal; 1993). Austro-Asiatic, Munda, North Munda, Kherwari, Mundari. Dialects: HASADA', LATAR, NAGURI, KERA'. Bible 1910-1932. NT 1895, in press (1996). Bible portions 1876-1965.

PANKHU (PANKHO, PANKO) [PKH] 2,278 (1981 census). Falam area, Chin Hills. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Central, Mizo. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists.

RAJBANGSI (RAJBANSI, TAJPURI) [RJB] (94,000 in Nepal; 1993). Districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar. Also in India. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Dialect: BAHE.

RIANG (REANG, KAU BRU) [RIA] 1,011 in Bangladesh; 132,600 in India (1994 IMA); 133,600 in all countries. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Konyak-Bodo-Garo, Bodo-Garo, Bodo. Not the same as Riang of Myanmar, a Mon Khmer language. NT 1990. Bible portions 1959-1982.

SADRI [SDR] 84,000 to 200,000 (1994). Throughout Rajshahi Division; in Chittagong Division, Moulvibazar and Hobigani districts; and Khulna Division, Jhenaidah District (Jhenaidah Thana, Moheshpur Thana), Kushtia District (Mirpur Thana), Magura District (Magura Thana). Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bihari. Dialects: BORAIL SADRI, NURPUR SADRI, UCHAI SADRI, MOKKAN TILA SADRI. The Oraon people came from India over 100 years ago. Sometime in the past some Oraon shifted from Kurukh, a Dravidian language, to Sadri, which is Indo-Aryan. Some Oraon people still speak Kurukh. The dialects listed may need separate literature. Lexical similarity of 14 Sadri varieties with Borail Sadri ranges from 88% to 97%. Inherent intelligibility of 7 Sadri varieties on Borail ranges from 70% to 93%; of 8 varieties on Nurpur from 78% to 94%. Speakers' bilingual proficiency in Bengali is limited. Vernacular language use is vigorous. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion, Hindu. Work in progress.

SANTALI (HOR, SATAR, SANTHALI, SANDAL, SANGTAL, SANTAL, HAR, SONTHAL) [SNT] 157,000 in Bangladesh (1993 Johnstone); 5,675,000 in India (1994 IMA); 40,000 in Nepal (1985); 5,872,000 in all countries. Austro-Asiatic, Munda, North Munda, Kherwari, Santali. Dialects: KARMALI (KHOLE), KAMARI-SANTALI, LOHARI-SANTALI, MAHALI (MAHLE), MANJHI, PAHARIA. Bible 1914-1992. NT 1887-1962. Bible portions 1868-1989.

SHENDU (KHYEN, KHYENG, KHIENG, SHANDU, SANDU) [SHL] 1,000 in Bangladesh (1980 UBS). Also India. Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Baric, Kuki-Naga, Kuki-Chin, Southern, Sho. Close to Mara Shin (Lakher). Also related to Sho, Khyang, Thayetmo, Minbu, Chinbon, Lemyo.

SYLHETTI (SYLHETI, SYLHETTI BANGLA) [SYL] 5,000,000 in Bangladesh; 100,000 in United Kingdom (1987 D. Spratt); 5,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). District of Sylhet, about 100 miles north of Dacca. Also possibly in India. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Educated speakers can read Bengali. Few women are educated. Approximately 70% lexical similarity with Bengali. Muslim. Bible portions 1993. Work in progress.

TANGCHANGYA (TANCHANGYA) [TNV] 17,695 (1981 census). Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Closely related to Chakma. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists.

TIPPERA (TIPPERA-BENGALI, TIPPERAH, TIPRA, TIPURA, TRIPERAH, TIPPURAH, TRIPURA) [TPE] 105,000 (1993 Johnstone). Chittagong Hills. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Unclassified. Many men can speak Bengali. 36 dialects. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion with Hindu elements. NT 1995. Bible portions 1990.

USUI (UNSHOI, UNSUIY, USHOI) [USI] 4,010 (1981 census). Chittagong Hills. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Unclassified. Closely related to Tippera. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists. Hindu, traditional religion. Survey needed.

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