Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The Torgut are an ethnic subgroup of the Oirat, also known as the Kalmyk. The Oirat were acknowledged separately in the Chinese census, then officially included in the Mongolian nationality. The Torguts speak the same basic language as the Kalmyk-Oirat, but they view themselves as ethnically separate. The Torgut language is a variant of Kalmyk-Oirat, but speakers of the two groups can converse with relative ease.
Torgut history closely mirrors that of the Kalmyk-Oirat. They migrated from Xinjiang to Russia, where they lived until 1771 when Russian pressure forced most to flee back to China. Thousands died of starvation or were killed and plundered by bandits on the return journey to Xinjiang.
They still live mainly in Russia and China, but smaller populations are in Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
What are their lives like?
Folk dancing is a favorite pastime of the Kalmyk-Oirat. The bielgee, or "dance of the body," originated during the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty. Large public gatherings were outlawed because the Manchus feared a Mongol uprising. Traditional dances had to be performed privately inside the yurt where there was little leg room. The dancers expressed themselves by using their arms, legs, and other parts of their bodies in rhythmic movements.
What are their beliefs?
Although all Kalmyk-Oirat claim to be Tibetan Buddhists, many practice shamanism. The black magic and secret arts of the shamans have not been challenged for hundreds of years. As far as we know there are no Christian believers among the Kalmyk-Oirat in Kazakhstan.
What are their needs?
These people need to put their hope and identity in the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Pray for workers to go to the Kalmyk-Oirat people, and for their hearts to be ready to receive their Savior.
Pray for families of believers loving and serving others to grow reproducing churches.
Pray for a chain reaction of families reaching families that results in thousands of new believers who share their faith with others.
Pray for grace and truth expanding into their entire society as all believers learn to love others.
ReferencesView Kalmyk-Oirat in all countries.
Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission