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Original Articles

Safeguarding linguistic and ethnic diversities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: A study on state policies and initiatives

Author:

Arafat Rahaman

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj-8100, BD
About Arafat
Department of International Relations
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Abstract

Indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh have distinct mother tongues differentiating each of the eleven indigenous ethnic groups from one another with exclusive features and cultural traits. However, the increasing dominance of the Bengalis in the CHT appears to pose a substantial threat to the linguistic and cultural diversities of the indigenous peoples. The Constitution of Bangladesh and several national policy documents, on the other hand, explicitly mention the state’s obligation to protect and promote indigenous languages and cultures. Therefore, this study aims to explore the initiatives, with a special focus on providing primary education in the mother tongue, that have been implemented by the state to provide safeguards to the native languages and discuss the probable consequences of practicing the Bangla language on indigenous languages and cultures. Twenty-one in-depth qualitative interviews and two focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in this regard. This article illustrates how indigenous peoples struggle to maintain their indigeneity because of the ethnolinguistic and cultural hegemony of the Bengalis as well as deeply ingrained inequalities within the state mechanism.
How to Cite: Rahaman, A. (2021). Safeguarding linguistic and ethnic diversities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: A study on state policies and initiatives. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Review, 5(3), 146–167. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jsshr.v5i3.45
Published on 20 Jul 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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