Rathia Bhil in India

The Rathia Bhil have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

There are two divisions of Bhil: the Central or "pure" Bhil, and the Eastern or part-Rajput Bhil. The Central Bhil live in the mountain regions of India, particularly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. They are known as the connecting link between the Gujarati and the Rajasthani. They speak Bhili, which is an Indo-Aryan language.

Many years ago, Bhil rajas (kings) permitted immigrants from the plains to settle in the hill regions. To safeguard their independence and rule, the Bhil fought against the Moghals, the Maratha and the British Raj.

The Rathia Bhil people have always been experts in handling bows and arrows. In fact, the name "Bhil" was derived from the word billee, which means "bow." For years, the bow has been a characteristic weapon of the tribe, and the men usually carry their bows and arrows with them. They are known for their rugged independence, but also for their banditry.


Where Are they Located?

The Rathia Bhil live in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Many Bhil are being threatened by the Sardar Saravor Dam Project, which when completed will flood the land where many Bhil currently live. Though re-settlement plans have been discussed, they remain incomplete.

Today, the Rathia Bhil primarily work as farmers, field laborers and village watchmen. With a growth in population, most of their land holdings are small and generally non-productive. The women wear brightly colored clothes. The city boys are distinctive from other Hindus because they tie rags around their heads, wear earrings, and carry swords or guns.

The Rathia Bhil are usually shy and love their independence. Festivals, dance, drama, and music are a large part of their culture. The length and enthusiasm for these events is usually directly proportional to the amount of alcohol that is consumed.

The Rathia Bhil usually marry within their own classes. If they do marry someone of another class, the person of the lower class must convert to the higher, leaving behind all family ties. This custom is strictly enforced among the Bhil tribes.

Each Rathia Bhil village is led by a head man who deals with disputes. Respect among family members is strong, and there is a great sense of connection between the living and the dead. Property is shared equally by the male descendants. Bhil villages are rather widely scattered. The houses are located in fields where they grow millet, maize, wheat, and barley. Bhil highlanders live in tidy houses made with walls of sticks intertwined with small branches. The roofs (shaped like bee-hives), are usually made of clay tiles, but are sometimes made of straw and leaves.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of the Rathia Bhil practice ethnic religions that have been highly influenced by Hinduism. They consider Shiva to be the supreme god. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors) is also popular. They call upon shamans (priests) to offer sacrifices to their many gods and mud idols.


What Are Their Needs?

Much intercession is needed to see Rathia Bhil eyes opened to the truth.


Prayer Points

Pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done among the Rathia Bhil people.
Pray for a movement of Rathia Bhil households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Rathia Bhil people to the arms of Jesus.
Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Rathia Bhil people.


Scripture Prayers for the Bhil Rathia in India.


References

https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/16414/IN
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bhil
http://www.ecoindia.com/tribes/bhils.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhil_people
http://www.indianmirror.com/tribes/bhiltribe.html


Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

People Name General Bhil Rathia
People Name in Country Bhil Rathia
Natural Name Rathia Bhil
Alternate Names भील रतिया
Population this Country 100,000
Population all Countries 100,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
People ID 21020
ROP3 Code 117872
ROP25 Code 301152
ROP25 Name Bhil
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
Gujarat
72,000
Madhya Pradesh
20,000
Rajasthan
7,700
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  Gujarat 72,000
  Madhya Pradesh 20,000
  Rajasthan 7,700
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.39 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.48 %
Islam
0.08 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.01 %
Unknown
0.04 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Gujarati (56,000 speakers)
Language Code guj   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 12
Secondary Languages
Bhili
16,000
Hindi
5,000
Marwari (India)
3,100
Nimadi
1,400
Bareli, Rathwi
900
Punjabi, Eastern
200
Marathi
200
Bagri
100
Korwa
100
Garasia, Adiwasi
80
Wagdi
40
Primary Language Gujarati (56,000 speakers)
Language Code guj   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 12
Secondary Languages
  Bhili 16,000
  Hindi 5,000
  Marwari (India) 3,100
  Nimadi 1,400
  Bareli, Rathwi 900
  Punjabi, Eastern 200
  Marathi 200
  Bagri 100
  Korwa 100
  Garasia, Adiwasi 80
  Wagdi 40
People Groups Speaking Gujarati

Primary Language:  Gujarati

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1809-1965)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1820-1985)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1823-2021)
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Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Keith Carey 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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