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Population, Ethnic Groups

Garos, Marmas, largest minority group, Indo-European languages, partition

More than 98 percent of Bangladesh’s inhabitants are Bengalis, who are largely descended from Indo-Aryans (speakers of the parent language of the Indo-European languages). The Indo-Aryans began to migrate into the Bengal region from the west thousands of years ago and mixed within Bengal with various indigenous groups. The remainder of the population includes Biharis, non-Bengali Muslims who migrated from India (principally from the state of Bihar) after the 1947 partition, and various indigenous ethnic groups (locally known as tribal groups). Although Biharis constitute the largest minority group, a large proportion of their original population repatriated to Pakistan after 1971. The Chakmas, who live in the southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts District, constitute the largest tribal group in Bangladesh. Other tribal groups include the Marmas and Tripuras, who also live in the Chittagong region; the Garos and Khasis, whose populations in northeastern Bangladesh are the southernmost extensions of tribal groups living in adjacent Indian states; and the Santals, who also live in northeastern Bangladesh and form, with Santals living elsewhere, South Asia’s largest tribal group.

Article key phrases:

Garos, Marmas, largest minority group, Indo-European languages, partition, Pakistan, speakers, Bengalis, populations, large proportion, form, remainder


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