Murong is an ancient ethnic group and indigenous people of Bangladesh. The word Murung is plural and the singular is “mro”. The word “mro” means human, human race, human being. In the Mro language the “Mro” call themselves “Mroch”. The language of the Murungs is oral, now they have their own written language since the discovery of the “Mroch Cha’ or Mro alphabet. The Mro are the oldest caste in Chittagong Hill Tracts and the second largest caste in Bandarban district. The original home of the Mrod is the Arakan state of Mynamar. Approximately 1430 AD i.e. about 592 years ago, the Mroras settled permanently in the areas of Lama, Alikadam, Thanchi and Naikshyongchari in Bandarban district. They are nature worshippers, but most are Buddhists. However, a few years ago, a new religion ‘Krama’ emerged among the Mrods, and now a section of the Mrods are followers of the Krama religion. Around the seventeenth century, the Murung tribes fled from Arkan and settled in different hill valleys of Alikadam. However, it is known that Murung tribal settlements still exist in Barmarakiab district.
There are two neighborhoods of this community in Chioni para and Amtali area, one and a half kilometres away from the upazila headquarters; moreover, they have settlements in the remote hilly areas of Tain Mouza, Mangu Mouza, Cheng Mouza, Chaispra Mouza, Tainfa Mouza, and Tain Khal area, and Matamuhuri adjacent hilly areas. However, they live on the banks of the Matamuhuri River and in the hills to a considerable extent in the Murung community.
The social system is patriarchal.
A section of the Murungs settled in the remote hilly areas of Alikadam by building their ‘Kim’ houses. The Murungs hang the heads of animals in their houses. There are several tribes among the Murungs: Arua, Prenju, Jala, Kanbok, Naijah, Tang, and Deng. Each neighbourhood has a leading one appointed as ‘Karbari’. Murung men and women are hard workers, so their health is good. Girls are equally proficient in mountain jumchas as men.
Murongs wear very short pants. Girls wear a short dress called “Wangkai”. Which lies from below the navel to the top of the knee. It is only 8 to 10 inches wide. Girls have “cock cans” (nupur) on their feet and “rakam” (bicha) around their waists. Men wear a modest garment called “Dong” (Lengti-Bidri). Along with Murung girls, boys also have long hair on their heads.
Men and women are also seen wearing a “churut” (comb) on their heads. Murung girls have different types of heads, ears, and hair.
“Pao” (mountain flower) keeps the goose. Boys also tie their hair in buns, and Morongs put a kind of coloured coating between their teeth. The iron is heated and applied to the raw bamboo, and the juice is applied to the teeth. A boy of the Murung community cannot marry a girl of the same tribe. There are three ways of marrying in Murung society. According to custom, 110 taka silver coins are to be paid for the body value of Murung boys and girls and 10 taka for the mother’s milk. These silver coins, however, are considered redeemable. Marriage within the same caste is religiously prohibited. The practice of divorce also exists between Murung couples if they are not of the same mind.
In the Murung dance, boys and girls apply colour to their cheeks, lips, and oreheads. Before the dance, 15 to 20 Murung youths stand facing each other and form a half moon. After that, the sound of the flute made by them and the rhythm of the music beat the atmosphere of death. Married girls are not allowed to participate in dancing and singing. The Murung community itself makes a flute called “Plong”. The flute is made from the dry shell of “Budum” (a type of mountain gourd) grown in the hills, along with 5 or more pieces of “kao’” (bamboo kanchi).
The Murung community knows only this world. According to them, there is nothing to say about the hereafter. There are no scriptures containing the religious prohibitions of the Murungs. The main festival in their religion is called ‘Chia-Chat-Plai’ i.e., cow-slaughter festival. Cow slaughter is observed as a religious ritual. The Murung community celebrates this festival with great fanfare every year before harvesting the jum crop. Besides, if someone is sick in the family of this community, they vow to observe “Chia-Chat-Plai” to get rid of the disease. They celebrate another festival called ‘Chaspua’. They celebrate this festival by cutting coconut leaves in the belief that the creator had written down their religious rules on coconuts. Many of this community also believes in another religion called ‘Krama’. When someone dies in the Murung community, the body is kept in the house for weeks. Pigs, goats, and roosters are slaughtered and served next to the deceased. The dead are cheered with music and dance until they are cremated on pyres along the river.
Murung men and women are very decorative. Most of their ornaments are specially made at the market. Although they are decorative, they are still very dependent in this regard. Girls like to decorate their bodies with different colors. Both boys and girls apply colour to their lips. Many times, they like to colour their cheeks, lips, and forehead red.
Murung tribe women are more hardworking than men in agriculture. They work tirelessly in economic development, including jum farming in the mountains, creating fruit orchards, and managing the house. Murung women work in just as many fields as men. They work tirelessly, from planting various vegetables and paddy to bringing them home. Talking to the Murung women, it is known that they have no problem working; even if it is difficult to stay on the hill for a long time to cut and collect paddy, they do not mind it. They work to help parents, husbands, and sons work together to meet the needs of the family. Murung women are engaged in laborious work such as jume cultivation so that men have the opportunity to do other household chores.