Security Perceptions and Practices of the Indigenous People of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh
This paper illustrates the insecurity perceptions and security practices of the Paharis, an indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. It adopts an interpretive ethnographic
approach in which it posits, based on fieldwork experiences, that the security perceptions of the CHT indigenous people are primarily formed by the experiences of marginalisation. Marginalisation has resulted mainly from the assimilationist nation-building policies and ill-conceived development projects pursued by first Pakistan and later Bangladesh, which have not only threatened the Paharis’ group identity but have also generated threats of violence in their everyday lives. The macro-level threat to identity and the micro-level threat of violence in everyday life operate in parallel and in an intertwined fashion. To cope with these threats, the Paharis have employed an array of different strategies at both macro and micro levels, which are analysed in this paper.