Introduction / History
The 26,000 Chanal people are scattered throughout India's northern, mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. They are almost all rural dwellers who farm for a living. Under the nautor scheme, landless peoples like the Chanals were given land to farm, but the yield was so poor in this mountainous region that it wasn't sufficient for their needs. So they have to make ends meet by working for others or doing petty business. Many of their children have to work. Traditionally they were sharecroppers and agricultural laborers for the powerful Rajputs. They had a patron-client relationship with them then, and they still do today.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Chanal people have benefitted from development projects in the last couple of decades. Projects have brought them electricity, drinking water, roads, post offices, banks, health care facilities and schools. Unfortunately, these Dalits still suffer from a low literacy rate, and many are not aware of health care methods.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most of the Chanal people are Hindu. Operation World tells us that there are only about one in 1,000 who follow Christ in Himachal Pradesh. The mountainous terrain makes it especially difficult for them to hear new ideas from outside. The Chanal people also speak their own dialect, which isolates them even further. They are among the most difficult people group to reach with the gospel.
* Pray that the Lord will somehow send His gospel message to the Chanal people in Himachal Pradesh.