By Claus-Dieter Brauns, Lorenz G. Loffler, D. Wagner-Glenn
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Dr. Kari Palonen ist Professor am division of Political technology der Universität Jyväskylä, Finnland.
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Extra resources for Mru: Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh
If there is anywhere on earth where one can find within an area of a few square miles several different ethnic groups exhibiting distinctly different cultures, then it is in certain regions of the southern Chittagong Hill Tracts. Here, within one and the same mouza, one may find four groups speaking completely different languages, building different types of houses, wearing different clothing, and following different customs and different religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Animism).
Those people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts standing culturally closest to the Lushai are the Pangkhua and the Bawm. Linguistically, the Pangkhua are probably to be grouped with the so-called Old Kuki; ethnographically, however, very little is known about them. By absorbing parts of other tribes, the Bawm came into being during the I 8th C. under the leadership of a "Shendu" aristocracy. ) The aristocratic dynasty which united the Bawm had already died out by the beginning of this century, and the social hierarchy weakened.
Mtu", as the people call themselves, denotes 'men' in general; in otder to set themselves apart from others, "Mru-tsa" ("childten of man") may also be used. They inhabit a relatively closed area in the southern part of the Hili Ttacts, an atea to which, according to theit own tradition, they immigtated from Arakan several hundred years ago. Perhaps more than half of the Mru still live thete today. The Arakan chtonicles mention them as early as the fitst millennium and speak even of a Mru tulet of Atakan.