Kagate in India

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People Name: Kagate
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,800
World Population: 2,600
Primary Language: Syuba
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 3.35 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kagate are a small Buddhist people. The Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world, dominates the landscape of Sikkim. The highest peak in India, the third highest mountain in the world, lies in Sikkim. The British took over Sikkim in 1890 making it part of the Raj. When India gained its independence in 1947, Sikkim became a protectorate of India. In 1973 the Sikkim monarchy was deposed and the people of Sikkim voted to become the 22nd state of India in 1975.
The Kagate live in rural villages in Sikkim living much like their ancestors did. They speak the Kagate or Syruba language, which is in danger of disappearing. Young people prefer to speak Assamese, English or Hindi. Only Bible portions and gospel recordings are available in Kagate. The Kagate who live in Nepal have recently been classified as a “reached people ' with over two percent evangelical Christians.

Where Are they Located?

The Kagate people live in Sikkim, a small state in northeastern India and in the neighboring nation of Nepal. They live in the north and east provinces of Sikkim.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kagate make their living by animal husbandry and farming. They raise yaks, buffalos, goats, sheep, and chickens. They obtain dairy products, hides and meat from the yaks, buffalos and goats. In the short mountain summers, they grow barely, corn, wheat, potatoes, lentils, and vegetables. They trade dairy products and animals for rice, tools and other things they cannot provide for themselves. In the early summer the men take their animals up to the high pastures and return to the valleys in the fall. Avalanches are a constant danger for people and animals.

Tourism is becoming a big part of Sikkim's economy. Men can make much more money as tour guides and porters than they can as shepherds and herders. They use this money to buy solar panels, cell phones and secondary education for their families. If the men learn the rudiments of English, they can make more money.

The Kagate live in houses made of stone, wood and mud. A central fireplace dominates in the center of the main room and provides warmth and a place for cooking. Most Kagate do not have indoor plumbing or access to modern medicine.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kagate practice Buddhism, the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation.

Mahayana Buddhism, the one of the main branch of Buddhism, asserts that by following the six perfections that a Buddhist can move along the path to Enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism falls within the Mahayana school, but it also incorporates a strong element of shamanism. Tibetan Buddhism follows the teachings of the Dalai Lama. It is honor for a Kagate family to have a son to join one of the many Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim.

For the most part, Buddhists in the Himalayan Mountains like the Kagate people are much more concerned with protection from evil spirits than with the philosophical aspects of Buddhism.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kagate need access to modern medicine. They need help in improving the health of their animals. Their children need more than a primary education to succeed in modern India. Most of all, the Kagate need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.

Prayer Points

* Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring whole Kagate families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings.
* Pray that Kagate Christians in Nepal might reach out and share the good news with their brothers and sisters in Sikkim.
* Pray for the Kagate people to be delivered from their fear of Christendom and to embrace God's blessing through his Word for their families and communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey