Religion is the New Ethnic Marker: A Segmented Ethnic Community Muslim Monipuri
This study investigated how a greater ethnic community segmented by religious identity. Nowadays identity is getting more and more importance for all levels such as person, community, group, country. Within a greater identity some factors construct another identity. In greater Monipuri ethnic community religion plays a vital role for segmenting them and giving another identity to the segmented group. The data was collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data was collected by three months fieldwork during the period of January to April 2005. Secondary data was collected from related literatures. Monipuri is one of the ethnic identities among 35 ethnic groups in Bangladesh. Muslim Monipuri was found to be a separate segment of the whole Monipuri community. The task and priorities of this study are to explore the cultural variations and differentiations of the Monipuri community, lived in the North Eastern part of Bangladesh. It was tried to observe the community, their origin, cosmic world, and the factors those are relevant to realize their identity continuance existing in two greater traditions; Muslim (religious identity) and Monipuri (ethnic identity). Moreover, it is well known to most of the readers of anthropology that ethnic groups are enclosed by some factors like cultural and psychological fence, but recently it has been seen that ethnic groups are constructing themselves in a new position through different ‘Ethnic Markers’ like religion.
Keywords: Ethnicity, Religion, Segmentation, Muslim, Monipuri
Md. Aminul Islam Sumon
Chonbuk National University