Thet or Daingnet people or Chakma

DNChakma language (Changma Vaj or Changma Kodha) is an Indo-European language spoken by the Chackma and Daingnet people or THETS of Myanmar.

The Chakma and Daingnet people now speak what may be considered divergent dialects of Bengali. However, this is due to language shift from a Tibeto-Burman language; that medieval language may have been related to Sak[5] or Chairel (Voegelin 1977)

Daingnet people do not call themselves Daingnet, they call themselves Changma just like the nearby Chakma people of Bangladesh and North East India. Daingnet is an exonym given to them by the Rakhine people. In the Rakhine language

Originally speaking a language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family, some of the Chakmas have been influenced by neighbouring Chittagonian, an Eastern Indo-Aryan language closely related to Assamese. Many linguists now consider the modern Chakma language (known as Changma Vaj or Changma Hodha) part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan language. Changma Vaj is written in its own script, the Chakma script, also known as Ojhopath. Chakma is written in an alphabet which allowing for its cursive form, is almost identical with the Khmer and the Lanna (Chiangmai) characters, which was formerly in use in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and southern parts of Burma.

According of the Chakma oral history, Chakma or Sakya, they originaally were spoken Magadhian Language which the Buddha taught his teaching. The Chakma language is very close to ancient Sanskrit and Pali or Tanti Bhasa. Though some of the scholar assumed the Chakma were originated from Burma which is baseless. Originally Chakma or Sakya used to lived in Magadha, at Champak Nagar. After a tragedy, they left Champak Nagar and compelled them to changes their title from Sakya to Changma. Later farther changed into Chakma.

THET or Daingnet people (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Daingnet people live in the northern Rakhine State of Burma. According to their own internal census in 1995 they numbered about 60,000. In 2011, the number is estimated to be around 80,000. From appearance they are indistinguishable from the Rakhine people. But Daingnet people have a distinct language and culture. Ethnically they are closely related to the Chakma people of Bangladesh and North Eastern India. The languages of the Daingnet and Chakma people are mutually intelligible. Daingnet people are one of 135 ethnic groups officially recognized by the Myanmar government as indigenous to Myanmar. Daingnets are one of the Tibeto-Burman tribes. Genetically they are closely related to the Tibetans and Burmans.


Daingnet people do not call themselves Daingnet, they call themselves Changma just like the nearby Chakma people of Bangladesh and North East India. Daingnet is an exonym given to them by the Rakhine people. In the Rakhine language Daingnet means shielded or armored warriors. Centuries ago the Rakhine kings hired the Daingnets as soldiers and they showed their mastery with shield and sword. The Daingnets no longer fight with shield and sword, but the name Daingnet stuck.


Daingnets are indigenous to Rakhine State. They were among the first people who settled in northern Rakhine State. During the British rule the Daingnets were classified as Sak people. Sak is a generic term used by the Burmese and Rakhine people to denote the Chakma people. To the British the Daingnets were known as honest, hard working and reliable people.

In the spring of 1798, British explorer Francis Buchanan visited Chittagong Hill Tracts, he asked a Chakma man if they were the same as Sak people in Rakhine State. The man replied, the Saks of Rakhine State were Moishang Saks.[1] In the Rakhine language Moishang means primary or superior. What the man meant was, the Saks of Rakhine State retained the original Chakma language. Though Francis Buchanan did not visit Rakhine State he was aware of the Sak people from his earlier visit to Cox’s Bazaar. He might have heard about them from the East India Company officials or the Rakhine refugees who were pouring into Cox’s Bazaar to flee Burma-Rakhine conflict.

According to Burma historian Gordon Luce, the Saks or ancestors of the Daingnets attained higher cultural level than any other minority peoples in Arakan. They were the smelters of iron, the distillers of spirits, the makers of earthen vessels, manufacturers of salt, builders of boats etc.[2]


The Daingnet people are found in and around Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Kyauktaw and Mrauk-U. Many Daingnets also live in the Arakan Yoma mountains close to the Chin state and Chittagong Hill Tracts.


Culturally the Daingnets are very similar to the Chakma people in Bangladesh and North East India. Rice, fish and vegetables are their favorite foods. They prefer hot food. Daingnet people consider cow as a sacred animal and as such they do not eat beef. Men sport lungi and women sport sarong like dress thami. Usually men do the agricultural work and women look after children and cook for the family. They usually like to settle near rivers. Some of them also live in mountains whose livelihood is slash and burn cultivation. Daingnet people usually marry early, but never before the age of 17.

Their original language was Tibeto-Burman. Due to prolonged interaction to Bengali–Assamese language speaking peoples, their language gradually became a mix of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman. Majority of the Daingnets are multi-lingual. Apart from their own Chakma language, they can speak Rakhine, Burmese and Chittagonian (a dialect of Bengali).


Daingnets are followers of Theravada Buddhism and for centuries the Daingnets have strictly adhered to the teachings of Theravada Buddhism.[3] Almost every village has a Buddhist temple. A Daingnet male at least once in his lifetime becomes a Buddhist monk. However most of them do not remain Buddhist monks for life. Wedding and funeral ceremonies are performed by Buddhist monks. Besides wedding and funeral, the Daingnet people flock to the Buddhist temple on major Buddhist festivals which usually fall into full moon days.


Majority of the Daingnets are farmers. Some of them are traders. Their economy is highly dependent on agriculture and hence vulnerable to weather pattern. However due to lack of economic development there is widespread poverty among the Daingnets.[4] Religious conviction of Buddhism forbids them to work as fishermen or butchers. There are 2 kinds of farmers among the Daingnets, those who farm land on permanent basis and those who farm hills and mountains by slash and burn or shifting cultivation technique.


  1. Jump up ^ Buchanan, Francis (1992). Francis Buchanan in Southeast Bengal. Dhaka University Press. p. 108. ISBN 984-05-1192-0.
  2. Jump up ^ Gutman, Pamela (1976). Ancient Arakan. Australian National University Press. p. 13.
  3. Jump up ^ Hattaway, Paul (2004). Peoples of the Buddhist World. United Kingdom: Authentic Media. p. 42. ISBN 1-903689-90-2.
  4. Jump up ^ Diran, Richard K. (1997). Vanishing Tribes of Burma. Amphoto Books-Random House. ISBN 0-8174-5559-0.

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