Introduction / History
The Lohar are a people whose traditional occupation was forging and making iron tools. There are Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Lohar who live in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In former times, the Lohar would travel from village to village selling and repairing iron tools. With the coming of modern factories that make steel implements, the Lohar’s economic level has declined. They have had to seek other kinds of employment. The Lohar speak the language of where they live. The primary language of the Lohar in Nepal is Maithlili. Many Lohar men also speak Hindi which allows them to communicate with most peoples in north India and Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Nepal is a small landlocked country of the Himalayas, the highest mountain chain in the world. A series of recent earthquakes have hurt the already precarious Nepalese economy. Tourism and agriculture are Nepal’s two main sources of wealth. Most Lohar live in poverty. Their fortunes have declined as inexpensive steel manufactured tools became available. They have gone into other jobs such as agriculture, construction and factory work. The Lohar area primarily oral culture. More men are able to read and write than women. Children often quit school early to help their parents earn a living. The nomadic lifestyle also makes education difficult for Lohar children to attend school. Other people sometimes see the Lohar as thieves due to their traveling from place to place. The Lohar are frequently seen a Dalits, those outside the Hindu caste system. As a result the Lohar face discrimination. Families arrange marriages. Lohar marry within their group and religion but not from their own clan. Sons inherit the property of their fathers. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. The Lohar eat meat except for beef. Most of their diet consists of vegetables and rice due to their impoverished economic level.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Lohar are Hindus although some are Muslims and Sikhs. Hindu Lohar pay special reverence to Rama, the god of moral virtue and Kali, the goddess of death and time. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Lohar visit Hindu shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Lohar people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.
What Are Their Needs?
The Lohar need help in educating their children. Rural Lohar need access to modern medicine and clean water. The Lohar would benefit from learning new job skills. Most of all, the Lohar must hear the lifechanging message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Lohar (Hindu traditions) in Nepal.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the Nepalese Lohar to tell them about Jesus. Pray that Lohar parents are able to provide adequately for their children and send them to school. Pray that visual and oral Christian resources would become available and are able to reach the Nepalese Lohar. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Lohar of Nepal in this decade.