Myanmar (Burma)

Chin, Khumi

The Khumi people live in communities that span Myanmar, India and Bangladesh, along the mountainous and rocky paths of South Asia’s rainforests. Because of the terrain, transportation is unavailable, making travel between villages difficult.

Those who live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Southeast Bangladesh build their homes of wood, bamboo, straw or tin. As subsistance famers they practice the agricultural form of jhum farming (slash-and-burn rotating garden plots or fields.) In these gardens the Khumi grow cotton and tobacco, turmeric and ginger, and many varieties of vegetables.

The Khumi are primarily an oral society, communicating with one another in the language of their local community. Many speak Marma, the language of wider use in Southeast Bangladesh, and some may speak Chittagongian, the local language, or select languages of neighboring communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The majority of Khumi self-identify as Christian. The Bible was translated into the Khumi language years ago. However, because it was printed in Roman script rather than in Begali script, and as the people are an oral society, few are able to read it.

Language Data

  • Alternate names: Common Khumi, Kaladan Khumi, Khami, Khimi, Khumi, Khweymi, Yangpan; Also, in Bangladesh: Khami, Khuni, Khweymi; in India: Kami, Khami, Khumi, Khuni, Khweymi, Kumi
  • Dialects: Eastern Kaladan, Kaladan, Khami, Khimi, Pi Chaung, Southern Paletwa, Yindi, Yindu
  • Scriptures published:
    • New Testament (1959 — 1999)
    • Portions (1935 — 1950)
  • Literacy: Some community literacy classes. Literacy rate in second language(s): 60%. Also use Rakhine [rki]
    Second Language: No information available.
  • Primary country: Myanmar (Burma)
  • Region: Chin State, Paletwa township, Kaladan river area; Rakhine State, Kyauktaw township, a few villages
  • Also used in: Bangladesh, India,
  • Religion: Christian, Buddhist, traditional religion
  • Livelihood: Agriculturalists
  • Number of users: 62,090 (60,000; 2,090 in Bangladesh; )
  • Vitality: Developing

(data from Ethnologue and other sources)