Introduction / History
The Hasalaru or Hasala are a tribal people who live in the south Indian state of Karnataka. In the past they were hunters and gatherers of forest products. When tea and coffee plantations developed in southern India, the Hasala moved to work on the plantations. They have a very low literacy rate and are classified as a Scheduled Tribe. They receive special benefits from the government for their low status. The main language of the Hasala is Tulu. Many also speak Kannada. The New Testament is available in Tulu. Many Christian resources are available in Kannada.
Where Are they Located?
This Hindu community lives on plantations and in villages in Karnataka, a state of south India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Hasala are almost exclusively landless agricultural workers. They labor on land that grows coffee, tea, areca and betel nuts, rice and palm products. They are not vegetarian but as Hindus will not eat beef. Their staple food is rice. The Hasala ferment rice, jackfruit and palm sap to make alcoholic drinks. They supplement their diet with wild birds and game. They collect honey and sell it to buy things they cannot make for themselves. Men smoke cigarettes, which they roll themselves. Both men and women chew betel nut.
What Are Their Beliefs?
When a dispute occurs in the Hasala community, village elders decide the case and impose fines on the guilty party. Children frequently do not attend school and work with their parents in the fields.
The Hasalaru people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is actually a catch-all phrase for all the indigenous practices of this part of the world. Therefore, there are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods whom they believe will give them favor and protection. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians so. These Hindus believe that in a long run, by performing rituals and good works, they have the chance to attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
What Are Their Needs?
Tribal groups like the Hasala also mix animism with their Hinduism. They believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as trees, rivers, mountains, and rocks. These spirits must be appeased with prayer, rituals and offerings or they might bring disaster upon the Hasala community.
As an impoverished tribal people, the Hasala have many needs. Their children need an education to improve their place in Indian society. The Hasala need access to modern medical care. The adults need to be able to read the Bible and other written material. The adults need to learn new job skills. Most of all, the Hasala need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.
* Scripture Prayers for the Hasalaru in India.
Pray for workers to go to the Hasalaru people, and for their hearts to be ready to receive the Savior.
Pray for networks of believing Hasalaru families and fellowships that will throw the doors open for others to follow Jesus.
Pray for the Lord to bless the families among the Hasalaru people with His presence and mercy.
Pray for believers among this people group to disciple others who will disciple still others.
Pray for Bible believing fellowships and churches among the Hasalaru people.