Shafiqul Islam


The Rakhains are an ethnic group of diasporic peoples currently living in different parts of Bangladesh. Following their exodus in 1784, they have formed enclave-like settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong Hill-tracts, Noakhali, Patuakhali and Barguna. In this paper, we have scrutinized of how cultural assimilation has impacted on the lifestyles of the diasporic Rakhain communities living in Patuakhali, a district in the Southern parts of Bangladesh, and have demonstrated how this assimilation has brought in internal cultural changes among the Rakhain peoples. Methods of analyses of this research include conducting interviews of Rakhain headsmen, conducting library based research and analyzing news articles and relevant audio-visual discourses. Results of data and analyses show that the Rakhain peoples have faced difficulties in retaining cultural integrity despite their deliberate attempts and undergone a degree of cultural changes in the recent decades. This paper finds that unwelcoming neighborhoods, lack of education, financial insolvency and disproportionately low representation in the local government are the principal reasons behind these changes.

Keywords: Rakhain peoples; cultural assimilation; cultural and ethnic study; Diaspora study; Bangladeshi tribal community.

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