Swangla in India

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
International Mission Board-SBC - Chris Woodall  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Swangla
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 12,000
World Population: 12,000
Primary Language: Tinani
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Swangla are a small Hindu tribal group of people who live in north India in the foothills of the Himalayas. Their main occupations are agriculture and animal husbandry. For much of their history they have been isolated in the high valleys and hills where they live. The main language of the Swangla is Tinani. This is an endangered language with only 12,000 known speakers. A New Testament became available in Tinani in 2017. Illiteracy is a big problem for this small community.

Where Are they Located?

The Swangla community lives in the state of Himachal Pradesh in north central India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Swangla live in the harsh, cold and beautiful foothills of the Himalayas. They raise goats, sheep and yaks for their meat, milk and hides. In the short mountain summers they grow barley, potatoes, maize, and vegetables. The Swangla trade animals and their products for things that they cannot make for themselves such as cell phones, solar panels and tools.

Avalanches are a constant concern for the Swangla. Mountains of snow coming down from the hills can bury people, animals and villages. Most Swangla live at the subsistence level. A bad harvest or a disease can bring starvation.

Marriage to one spouse is the regular practice for the Swangla. Sons receive an equal inheritance from their father. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Only a basic, primary education is available for the Swangla children. They must often quit school early to help support their families.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Swangla people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians. The Swangla also believe in evil spirits and ghosts. These spirits must be appeased by rituals, offerings and prayers.

What Are Their Needs?

As a small, isolated mountain community, the Swangla have many needs. They need adequate education for their children. They need access to modern medicine. Solar panels can supply electricity for cell phones and appliances. Most of all, the Swangla need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. He can deliver them form their fear of evil spirits forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Swangla people.
Pray for the Swangla people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Swangla people to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Swangla disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Swangla communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey