Purik in China

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
People Name: Purik
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 800
World Population: 46,800
Primary Language: Purig
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
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 Purik are one of the ancient peoples of northern India. They are a rare example of Tibetan Buddhists who recanted from their faith and embraced another religion—in this case, Islam.

Few sources list the existence of the small Purik people group in China. It is not known what nationality, if any, they have been classified under by the government. The people of Ladakh and Baltistan gave the name Purig-Pa [Purik] to the inhabitants of the Kargil area in Jammu and Kashmir. Purig-Pa means, "Of Tibetan Origin."

The Purik language, called Purig-Skad, is a hybrid of Ladakh Tibetan and the Balti language. "Since their conversion to Islam, their language has been influenced by Balti. All the religious sermons, hymns (Qasidas), and cultic mourning (Natam) are sung in Balti or Persian. In its original form, Purik was a Western Tibetan language related to Ladakhi and the Lahuli varieties.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Before their conversion to Islam, the Purik people held Tibetan Buddhism as their main religion. Food and fodder were plentiful because they kept a check on population through such practices as polyandry (one wife with numerous husbands) and sending boys and girls to the monastery. With the introduction of Islam, the people started practicing polygamy, Muta (temporary concubinage) and division of the land among the children. As a result there has been a big increase in their population.

What Are Their Beliefs?

With the exception of half a dozen villages, all the Purik population in India are Shia Muslims. It is uncertain if the small number of Purik in Tibet have reconverted to Tibetan Buddhism or if they are practicing Muslims.

The only outreach to focus on the Purik in India was undertaken by the Central Asian Mission, which worked in Kargil from the early 1900s until 1956. In addition to operating an orphanage and a medical clinic, missionary Daniel Berger translated the New Testament into Purik in 1950. Other laborers included the Mazzoni family, Nina Drew, and Betty Hall. Presently there are only three known Purik Christians in India; all live outside Kargil. There are no known Purik believers in Tibet. The Purik are considered extremely resistant to the gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

The Purik people need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers in John 10:10.

Prayer Points

Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray that the Purik people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project