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Gara in India


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
900 Lohar, Lahul Buddhism 1.50 % Unknown No No   

Gara in India

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Introduction / History
Few sources have ever mentioned the Gara as a distinct ethnicity— making it even more surprising that the Indian authorities have granted them official status. Those few sources that do mention the Gara usually list them as a sub-group of the Ladakhi. While it is true that much of their culture mirrors Ladakhi culture, there are significant social differences between the two peoples. The main difference is a linguistic one. The Gara speak an Indo- European language, totally distinct from the Tibeto-Burman Ladakhi.

The Gara people live in Jammu & Kashmir and northern Himachal Pradesh.

What are their lives like?
The Gara people serve the Ladakhi as blacksmiths. They supply the Ladakhi with iron implements. In return, they usually receive a fixed amount of grain as payment.

Traditionally there was a clear distinction between the Ladakhi and smaller servant groups in the area such as the Gara. K S Singh notes, "The Ladakhis traditionally did not participate in the marriage and death rituals of the Gara, Mon and Beda. Secular attitudes have brought neighboring communities closer to each other socially." Today, even though the Gara live in ethnically mixed communities, the Ladakhi consider the Gara the lowest social class. The Gara are still not allowed to hold any position in the village or monastery administration.

Throughout the year the Gara youth hold ceremonies that help them find a spouse. Young women wear their best traditional clothing to these ceremonies, as a display of their needlework goes a long way to attracting a prospective suitor. Marriages are arranged "through negotiation, elopement, exchange, courtship, etc.... Bride price is paid both in cash and kind. The reasons for seeking divorce are adultery, barrenness, maladjustment, impotency, cruelty, and inability to meet the wife's expenses, and remarriage is permissible."

What are their beliefs?
Most Gara families follow Tibetan Buddhism, while a few are Hindus, especially among the Gara in Himachal Pradesh. One source notes, "They observe all the Buddhist festivals and celebrate Losae and Budh-Purnima." Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion, is obvious in their rituals and ceremonies Gara. Bon is basically a belief in spirit worship and demonism. They call upon powerful demonic forces for assistance and protection. Shamans wear gruesome masks, and occasionally the lamas go into a demonic trance during which they predict the future and give guidance to the community.

What are their needs?
The Gara people need to put their trust and identity in the hands of the loving God of Creation who sent his son to make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God.

Prayer Points
Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-08-03
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-09-08
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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:11 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:900
Largest States:
Ladakh (500)Himachal Pradesh (300)
Jammu and Kashmir (100)
Location in Country:Approximately 1,000 people belonging to the Gara ethnic group live in the Leh and Kargil districts of the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Gara
People Name General: Gara
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 112066
Joshua Project People ID: 16803
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 900
Population all Countries: 2,100
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Gara
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Lohar, Lahul (700 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): lhl    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Zangskari (80)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism60.14 % 
Christianity1.50 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism17.41 % 
Islam20.68 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.14 % 
Unknown0.14 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Gara in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, South    
      Gara India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Gara in India          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Lohar, Lahul  
    All Religions                              

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