Walang in India

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Walang
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 500
World Population: 7,600
Primary Language: Walungge
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
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 Walang are a Buddhist people who live in Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal and India. The fewest number of Walang reside in India near the Bhutan border. For centuries they made their living in trade between India and Tibet. The introduction of paved roads and trucks has seriously reduced the role of Walang as traders. They have had to find other livelihoods.

The Walang of India speak Walanggue as their primary language. Only Bible Recordings are available in Walanggue. There are few if any Walang believers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For generations the Walung dominated trade in this part of Himalayan region, earning their livelihoods as middlemen on the route between Tibet and India. Exports to Tibet include rice, cotton thread, sugar, cigarettes, matches and other such goods generally of Indian origin. In exchange the Walang received Tibetan wool, woolen carpets and salt. Yak and mules are used by traders as pack animals. When modern roads and trucks killed trade through the Walang area, many were left in turmoil as they had completely relied on trade as their source of income.

Walang people have been hit hard by the decline in Tibetan trade. Many have moved to cities looking for a better life and an education for their children. Some have taken up agriculture as a job. Their crops include barley, wheat, potatoes, and vegetables. Growing plants at the high altitude where the Walang live is a challenge as snow comes in early autumn and in late spring. Avalanches are a constant source of danger. Many Walang lack access to modern medicine.

The Walang build their houses with stone walls with wooden shingle roofs. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. Sons inherit property and take care of elderly relatives. Yaks provide milk, meat and hides. Some families also raise goats that can tolerate the high mountains and cold temperatures.

Important life ceremonies are led by Buddhist priests. The Walang celebrate Buddhist holidays and festivals.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Tibetan Buddhism is the religion of almost all Walang people. Their main village of Walungchung has a large monastery that was built more than 200 years ago. Monks from Tibet were often invited to live in the Walung area to teach at the monastery.

Buddhism is 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, one of the two main branches 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.

To most Buddhists, however, these teachings have far less importance than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with folk religion. The Walang blend Buddhist beliefs with the shamanistic Bon religion.

Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday in December or January which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.

What Are Their Needs?

The Walang are a needy, unreached people group. They would benefit by having the blessings of modern medicine. The Walang have no written Scripture or JESUS Film. Few have ever been exposed to the gospel in a meaningful way that would allow them to receive or reject Christ. The Walang need to hear the life-changing good news about Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Ask God to provide the Bible and Christian resources in the Walang's language.

Ask God to send loving, committed workers to the Walang of India in the near future.

Pray that Walang parents would be able to provide of their children.

Pray that the Walang would be able to gain new job skills.

Text Source:   Joshua Project