- Daignet people
Daignet 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. Ethnically they are indistinguishable from the Rakhine people. But Daignet people have a distinct language and culture. Ethnically they are closely reltated to the Chakma people of India and Bangladesh. The languages of the Daignet and Chakma people are mutually intelligible.
Daignets are indigenous to Rakhine state. They were among the first people who settled in the northern Rakhine state. Daignet people do not call themselves 'Daignet', they call themselves 'Changma' just like the Chakmas of India and Bangladesh. 'Daignet' is an exonym given to them by the Rakhine people. In Rakhine language 'Daignet' means shielded or armored warriors. Centuries ago the Rakhine kings hired the Daignets as soldiers and they showed their mastery with shield and sword. The Daignets no longer fight with shield and sword, but the name 'Daignet' stuck.
Culturally the Daignets are very similar to their Chakma cousins in India and Bangladesh. Rice, fish and vegetables are their favorite foods. They prefer hot food. 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.
Daignets are followers of Theravada Buddhism and for centuries the Daignets have strictly adhered to the teachings of Theravada Buddhism . Almost every village has a Buddhist temple. A Daignet male atleast once in his life time 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 Daignet people flock to the Buddhist temple on major Buddhist festivals which usually fall into full moon days.
Majority of the Daignets are farmers. Some of the them are traders. Their economy is highly dependent on agriculture and hence vulnerable to weather pattern.
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