Introduction / History
The Nagarchi are a people who live in northeast India. Their name comes from a word for kettledrum, "nagara." The Nagarchi make these drums and play them at both Hindu and Muslim festivals and significant family events. Another use of these drums was as a type of clock. The Nagarchi would beat the drums at sunrise and sunset. Still another use of the kettledrums was at the entrance of palaces and forts at the coming and going of dignitaries. Nagarchi women often served in villages as midwives for the poorer castes.
Where Are they Located?
The Nagarchi fall into the Scheduled Caste classification. They are eligible for special consideration for public jobs and university admissions. Many of the Nagarchi are illiterate, a problem which the Indian government and many nongovernmental organizations are trying to alleviate.
The two primary languages of the Nagarchi are Hindi and Chhattisgarhi.
The Nagarchi live in the northeastern Indian states of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
What Are Their Lives Like?
While the Nagarchi's traditional occupation was as drummers, today most Nagarchi work in agriculture and raising animals. They reside in villages with other castes. The Nagarchi marry within their group but not within the same clan. Sons inherit an equal share of their father's property. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. The newly married couple lives with or near the groom's parents.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Nagarchi are not vegetarians but as Hindus will not eat beef. If they live with or near Muslims, they will not eat pork so as to not offend they neighbors.
The Nagarchi practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Some Hindus see them are nominal Hindus because they will play their drums at Muslim events.
What Are Their Needs?
The Nagarchi 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 Nagarchi visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
The main yearly holidays of the Nagarchi people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
The Nagarchi need to hear and to respond to the message of Jesus Christ. They need help in educating their children. They need help in learning job skills to they can escape the poverty in which many of them live. Medical workers can bring to them the benefits of modern medicine. Many of their villages do not have access to clean water and electricity.
Pray that the tiny number of Nagarchi who are believers would be established in the faith and share the good news with their brothers and sisters.
Ask God to deliver families and communities within the Nagarchi people from fears that hinder them from embracing His blessings.
Pray that the Nagarchi begin to play their drums for the one, true God of the Bible.
Scripture Prayers for the Nagarchi (Hindu traditions) in India.