Introduction / History
The Kuchbandia or Kuchbandiya are a sub caste of the larger Kanjar peoples. They are a tribal people so other Hindus consider them to be Untouchables or Dalits. Traditionally, the Kuchbandia were nomadic hunter-gatherers. The British classified the Kuchbandia as a petty criminal caste. The Kuchbandia led a nomadic lifestyle until the 1950s when they began to settle down to live in permanent villages. With this reputation for illegal activity, Hindu society tends to look down on the Kuchbandia. A recent newspaper article pointed out that many of their children do not have birth certificates, so they are unable to go beyond grade five in government schools. The Kuchbandia often do not have a legal address so obtaining official documents is a challenge for them. Illiteracy is a major issue for the Kuchbandia. The Kuchbandia people in Nepal have a much smaller population than they do in India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Now they often live in tents made of bamboo and reeds outside rural villages in Nepal. They gather reeds from which rope is made. Some men work with iron to make and fix tools. Many adults and children work as landless agricultural laborers. Most Kuchbandia do not have electricity, indoors plumbing or access to clean water or modern medicine. The life expectancy of the Kuchbandia people is far less than the average citizen of Nepal. Families arrange marriages. The Kuchbandia marry within their group. Newly married couples live with or near the groom parents. Sons inherit what little property their parents own. Since the Kuchbandia are Dalits, they must employ their own priests and shamans. Village elders decide legal disputes. The Kuchbandia are not vegetarians but as Hindus they will not eat beef. Meat is often reserved for special occasions. Their diet consists of rice, vegetables, and edible plants they can gather from the forest.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Kuchbandia people in Nepal practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India and Nepal. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews.
What Are Their Needs?
Kuchbandia people need in Nepal more than anything else to know Almighty God who came to earth in the form of a man, who is Jesus Christ, and paid the price for their eternal life to set them free from the penalty of sin. Although the Bible, audio, and visual resources exist in their Awadhi language, they remain an unreached people group, living in darkness.
* Scripture Prayers for the Kuchbandia in Nepal.
Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send many brave, Holy Spirit anointed laborers into this Kuchbandia harvest field. Ask Lord Jesus to remove spiritual barriers in the lives, minds and hearts of Kuchbandia people. Pray for them to recognize and receive their savior. Pray that an unstoppable church planting movement will be established among them.