Bhojpuri Bihari in Fiji

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Bihari of Fiji are immigrants from India. As a result of depressed social conditions in India during the late 19th and early 20th century, numerous Indian Hindus and Muslims signed five-year contracts to work as indentured servants in the Fiji Islands sugar cane fields.

However, the traumatic move pushed them into even greater economic turmoil in a strange land. Herded into a ship's cramped quarters, they were forced to eat, drink, and live next to people of every caste. Such close associations threatened their own caste identity. The plantation system in Fiji and the native Fijians, who looked on them with contempt, further added to the loss of their Indian value systems. When their contract was completed, many leased land and remained as peasant farmers, and as the years passed, most Bihari lost their ties with India. Today, most of Fiji is a mixture of groups with a variety of different social, ethnic, and religious origins.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The original tenant structure was supposed to be small enough so the tenant could farm the holding without outside help. Although it is possible for a farmer to grow most of the rice and vegetables his family needs, this rarely happens. Instead, farmers buy what they need and go into debt until the harvest brings in their yearly income. Bihari farmers commonly hire assistants to cut their share of cane.

Sugar cane and rice are the major crops, and these are counted on for economic survival. Today, most Bihari farmers still lease their land. Almost all cane farmers have either horses or bulls as work animals and all families have at least one milk cow for their own use.

The quality and materials making up the various farm buildings vary according to the owner's wealth. Structures may be only small thatched huts with dung-plastered floors or they may be larger, well-built iron-roofed houses.

Rural Bihari Indians generally live on isolated homesteads scattered throughout areas where land is available for lease. These homesteads make up a settlement (a geographic term that does not necessarily identify a single social community). A settlement headman is responsible for keeping order in the isolated rural areas and for reporting serious offenses to the district government (Fiji is part of the British Commonwealth).

A country store is usually nearby, and these are social centers as well as supply stations. The Bihari generally construct schools for their own children, who often surpass their Fijian counterparts. A small urban population, composed of shopkeepers, tailors, or other trades, has evolved among the Bihari.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Typical Hindu roles of caste and religion appear to be modified on Fiji. In India an individual is born into a particular caste associated with a trade or profession. These castes are ranked from high to low in terms of purity or pollution. One could marry only within one's caste and members of different castes usually have nothing to do with one another. On Fiji, however, marriage according to caste is no longer mandated.

Religious association is a definite barrier, and tension does exist between the Bihari Hindus and Muslims. Both cultures normally keep obvious religious prohibitions. For example, following Hindu belief, most Hindus are reluctant to sell cattle for slaughter. And although both Muslims and Hindus generally observe feasts, fasts, festivals, and holy days, they have less significance for the whole community.

What Are Their Needs?

Few of the Bihari are Christians. Hindus represent the majority and Muslims make up much of the remainder. Scriptures have been translated into Bihari, and the Jesus film is available in the Bihari language.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Bhojpuri Bihari in Fiji.

* Pray that God will strengthen and protect the small number of believers among the Bihari in Fiji.
* Pray that their lives will be a strong witness for the Gospel.
* Ask God to reveal Himself to the Bihari through the Christians among them.
* Ask God to create a hunger in the hearts of the Bihari and an openness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Bihari in Fiji.
* Pray for the effective use of the Jesus film.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Bihari Hindus and Muslims towards Christians so they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise strong local churches among the Bihari.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-06-09
People Name General Bhojpuri Bihari
People Name in Country Bhojpuri Bihari
Population this Country 27,000
Population all Countries 85,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Bihari; Deswali; Hindi; Indo-Mauritian; Indo-Mauritian Muslim; Marathi; Tamil; Telugu; Urdu; Urdu Speakers
People ID 10823
ROP3 Code 101368
Country Fiji
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Fiji
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Language Bhojpuri (27,000 speakers)
Language Code bho   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Bhojpuri (27,000 speakers)
Language Code bho   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Bhojpuri

Primary Language:  Bhojpuri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1911-1982)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1998-2006)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Bhojpuri
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Bhojpuri
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Gospel website in this language
General Gospel website in this language
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed Matter OneHope resources for children and youth
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
15.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
65.00 %
20.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
25.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
50.0 %
Roman Catholic
25.0 %
Photo Source COMIBAM / Sepal 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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