Chakma men at work
Chakma women at work
A young Chakma girl with her sibling
A young Chakma boy: A burden too heavy?
A Chakma woman selling home-made "rice cake" at market
At a local market in a Chakma village
Fetching water from river
A bamboo raft as mode of travel
A Jhum: traditional and chief occupation of Chakma tribals
Going to catch fish in the river
A note from the author: Through the above pictures, I have tried to capture the lives and struggles of the Chakma tribals who are very simple people with simple minds and ambitions. All they want are basic facilities which still elude them. These pictures have been captured by me from different Chakma villages/places in Mizoram. Copywrite of these pictures belong to me (Paritosh Chakma). Hence, they can only be used by others after obtaining prior permission.
The Chakmas have their distinct culture, tradition and script. In Mizoram, they live mostly in the Southern part (Chakma Autonomous District Council) and in the western belt, along the India-Bangladesh borders.
Mostly, they live on the river banks. Hence, rivers are crucial for their livelihood, culture and survival. Various modes of transportation are used by Chakma villagers to sail in the rivers – to visit relatives in other villages, to go to market and to go to Jhums (as seen in the pictures above). The only other mode of travel is on foot.
The Chakma tribals are peace-loving souls and they toil really hard in the hills. Their villages are secluded and serene, where time still moves slowly. They are cut off from the hustle and bustle of life. But they are economically very poor and their habitations lacked development. This makes them vulnerable to diseases, illiteracy etc and makes them less relevant to the fast changing times. As their traditional means of livelihood, Jhum, is rapidly dwindling, they fear for their future.