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Khampti in India


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Map source: Omid / Joshua Project
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
17,000 Adi Buddhism 0.89 % Unknown No   

Khampti in India

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More than 80,000 Khamti people live in the area where the three countries of Myanmar, India and China meet. The name Khamti means 'a land full of gold' (kham means 'gold' and ti means 'place'). Most Khamti—approximately 70,000—live in Kachin State of north-western Myanmar, having first settled along the Chinwin River in the 12th century AD. They formed 'three small Khamti Long Thai States and developed a highly advanced civilization. Those who escaped enslavement by the Burmese settled in their present location in the fertile triangle of northern Myanmar, between the Mali and Nmai rivers.' An additional 8,000 or more Khamti people live across the border in northeast India's states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, where they are recognized as a 'scheduled' (official) tribe. In Arunachal Pradesh they inhabit the plains of Lohit, Changlang, Lower Subansiri and Tirup districts, as well as the Dibang Valley. Additional numbers of Khamti inhabit Assam State, especially the Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh and Cachar districts of Assam State.

Historians say that the Khamti migrated to India from the Irrawaddy valley, Myanmar, in 1751. They settled along the Tangapani river. They later moved and now inhabit the 'lower regions drained by the Tangapani and Noa-Dihing rivers.... Their territory is surrounded by dense forests of the tropical moist deciduous type.'

The Khamti are one of only a few Tai-speaking people groups found within India's borders. Their language is related to Shan, but after centuries of geographical separation Khamti has developed its own characteristics. They have their own script, called Lik-Tai, which resembles the script used by the Mon in southern Myanmar.

Due to the almost complete lack of ethnographic material available in Myanmar, most of what is known about the Khamti comes from India. One researcher there found that 'though the Khamti are Buddhists, they eat a variety of fish. They consume the meat of fowls, pigs, goats, bears, deer and tigers. Beef is a taboo.' Khamti society is hierarchical, with the village chief at the top, followed by the Buddhist monks, the common people and the former slaves at the bottom.

When a Khamti couple gets married, 'a mediator accompanies the groom's relatives (barring his parents) to the bride's house in a procession. The groom's party offers a basket of dried fish and rice beer to the bride's parents. When the entertainment is over the mediator negotiates with the bride's father, whereupon he hands over his daughter to the groom's party. On its way back with the bride, the groom's party is stopped by the boys and girls of the village demanding a price for the bride.'

Theravada Buddhism is the religion of almost every Khamti person. Each village has its own monastery, where proud parents send their sons to study the teachings of Buddha. In India, out of the 6,181 Khamti people surveyed in the 1981 census, 6,143 stated that they were Buddhist, 28 Hindu, two Muslim and two Christian, while six people did not state their religion.

Few Khamti have any awareness of the Son of God who died that they may have eternal life.

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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:10 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:17,000
Largest States:
Arunachal Pradesh (16,000)Assam (1,400)
Manipur (300)Meghalaya (30)
West Bengal (20)Mizoram (10)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Khampti
People Name General: Khampti
Alternate People Names:
Kam TiKham-Tai
KhamtiKhamti Shan
KmajangMoonglair Khampti
PhakialTai Kam Ti
ROP3 Code: 104896
Joshua Project People ID: 12650
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 17,000
Population all Countries: 26,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Khampti
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Adi (9,800 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): adi    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Khamti (7,100)Assamese (600)
Naga, Tangshang: Tangsa (60)Bengali (50)
Chin, Hakha (Unknown)Nyishi (Unknown)
Naga, Wancho (Unknown)Anal (Unknown)
Total Languages: 9
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism92.10 % 
Christianity0.89 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism6.01 % 
Islam0.26 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.32 % 
Unknown0.42 % 
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 5   Greater than or equal to 5% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1932-1986
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 2005-2009
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Adi
Text / Printed MatterBible: Adi
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Khampti in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Buddhist     Asia, South    
      Khampti India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Khampti in India          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Adi  
    All Religions                              

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