Thakali in India

Thakali
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2021
Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Thakali
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,500
World Population: 12,500
Primary Language: Nepali
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 3.06 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Thakali people dominated the salt trade of western Nepal and northeast India for hundreds of years. They would deliver their salt to India, Nepal and Tibet. This made them one of the wealthier groups in northeast India. Today, the Thakali have had to get other jobs. Illiteracy is an issue for the Thakali especially for their women.

The two primary languages of the Thakali are Nepali and their own langue of Thakali. A complete Nepali Bible became available in 2004.

Where Are they Located?

The Thakali people live in Assam and Sikkim, states in northeastern India, and in Nepal.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Inexpensive, factory-scale production of salt has led to many Thakali to seek other types of employment. Many have entered the agriculture and animal husbandry business. They grow wheat, maize, vegetables, lentils, and fruit. Chickens provide eggs and meat. Goats and sheep provide meat, hides, wool, and milk.

The Thakali young men have an unusual way of getting a bride. Thakali men traditionally obtain their brides by abducting a girl when she is gathering wood in the forest or fetching water from a stream. She is taken back to the boy's home for several days, after which notification is sent to the girl's parents, bidding them to agree to the marriage.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The vast majority of Indian Thakali would call themselves Hindus. Their Hinduism is strongly influenced by Buddhism and animism. They Thakali believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as rocks, rivers, trees, and the sky. These spirits must be appeased by offerings and prayers or they can bring calamities upon the community.

What Are Their Needs?

The Thakali would benefit by learning to new job skills and access modern medicine. Solar panels can provide electricity for cell phones and appliances. The Thakali need good secondary schools to educate their children. Most of all, the Thakali must see that their Hinduism will not get them right with the one, true God. Jesus alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

* Pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done among the Thakali people.
* Pray for a movement of Thakali households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
* Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Thakali people to the arms of Jesus.
* Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Thakali people.

Text Source:   Keith Carey