Introduction / History
The Kirar or Kirad are an agricultural people who live in central India. They claim to be descendants of Rajputs but other Rajputs do not accept them as belonging to their caste. Their name comes from a village in Rajastan where they originally lived before migrating across India.
Where Are they Located?
The Kirar live near riverbanks where they cultivate cotton, sugar cane, the grain sorghum, lentils and other crops. They are considered a Backward Caste and are eligible for reserved places in public jobs and education. In a recent survey 80% of Kirar men were literate and only 50% of Kirar women. Some Kirar work their own land while others work as landless laborers.
While the majority of the Kirar follow their traditional occupation of farming, some educated Kirar have gained positions in public service, schools, engineering and business.
The primary language of the Kirar is Hindi. They also speak other regional Indian languages.
Most Kirar live in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Some also live in Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The lives of the Kirar are influenced by the monsoon wet/dry yearly cycles and the Hindu holidays. Their primary food is sorghum or white millet. Rice and wheat are only eaten on festival days. As a rule, they are vegetarians. Men are known to eat meat except for beef on feast days.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Brahmin priests are paid to perform important life rituals like birth, weddings and funerals. The Kirar are endogamous, that is they marry within their group. Families arrange marriages. A young person is not allowed to marry someone with the same surname or the surname of his or her mother's brother. Newly married couples live with or near the father of the groom. Sons inherit property with the eldest son receiving the parent's home. Dead marriage people are cremated while single people are buried.
The Kirar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion and culture of India. They worship and serve the many gods of the Hindu pantheon. They often visit Hindu temples where they offer food, flowers and incense to their deities. The Kirar pay special allegiance to Durga, the warrior-mother goddess and Nag Deo, the cobra god.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kirar participate in the annual Hindu holidays such as Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the nine-day celebration of autumn.
The Kirar need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They also need help in educating their children and in aiding them to obtain higher crop yields on their farms. The Kirar need to see that the rituals and good works of Hinduism will not make them right with a holy God.
Pray the Lord sends Christian workers to befriend the Kirar and share with them the gospel of Christ.
Pray God softens the hearts of the Kirar so they might be open to hearing the claims of Christ.
Pray for God to win many Kirar to Himself and that Bible-believing, growing churches are planted in their community.
Scripture Prayers for the Kirar in India.