Banjara Rathod (Hindu traditions) in India

The Banjara Rathod (Hindu traditions) have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The Hindu Banjara, who are known by 53 different names, primarily speak Lambadi or Lamani and Banjara.

They are the largest nomadic group in India and are known as the root Romani of the earth. The Romani began traveling from India to different regions of Europe hundreds of years ago, and differing dialects evolved in the regions in which each group settled. The Banjara's name is derived from the word bajika, which means trade or business, and from banji, meaning peddlers pack. Many consider them descended from Jews who were exiled to Egypt, as they came to India from Egypt and Persia. Some believe they were expelled from their homeland by Muslim invaders. They are now located in over fifty percent of the districts of India.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Although we usually associate Banjara groups with bands of fortune tellers traveling in colorful caravans from place to place, this is no longer the case. Historically they were nomadic and kept cattle, traded salt and transported goods. Now, most of them have settled down to farming and raising cattle or grain. Others still trade in salt and other commodities. In some regions, a few hold white collar positions or work as government servants. They also sew intricately embroidered colorful clothes with shining discs and beads. They make ornaments and ornate jewelry, which the women also wear.

Not only do the Banjara Rathod usually have more than one occupation, they also use additional skills to supplement their incomes, depending on the societies needs at the time. Some specialize in making items such as broomsticks, iron tools and needles. They may also repair tools or work with stone. Others believe that one does not have to work for a living and gain income by "religious begging." They sing and wear special make-up while begging in the name of a specific deity. The Bhanjra Banjara love music, playing folk instruments and dancing. The Bhanjra Banjar are also acrobats, magicians, tricksters, story-tellers, and fortune-tellers.

Because they are poor, they eat what they have grown in their gardens along with dairy products. Many live in grass huts, often with extended families. Banjara Rathod families are closely knit, having minimal relationships with other castes. The role of leader of the community is passed down to the leader's son. All biological sons get an equal share from parental property. Marriages may be arranged, especially to avoid the union of relatives to three generations back. In some groups, however, cousins are allowed to marry. Married women wear ivory armbands.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Banjara Rathod are Hindu; some have combined Hindu practices with their own animistic beliefs. Other groups follow Islam; yet others are Sikh. Romani often follow folk beliefs and mixed with these religious beliefs are many taboos (things one must never do.) One Hindu taboo is that a woman's hair must not be combed or let down long in the presence of men. Another is that a woman should not pass in front of a man who is sitting, but rather behind him. Even though Romani are unreserved in speech, many have high moral standards. For example, chastity is very important. In the past, some girls who were involved in prostitution were buried alive. Unmarried girls are still discouraged from going into the cities, and they usually wear veils over their hands and feet while sitting with strangers.


What Are Their Needs?

Many Banjara Rathod live in poverty. Often the only clothes they own are on their backs. An unsanitary lifestyle has created many physical needs among them.

Most children do not attend schools because their families are always on the move. The Banjara do not have a written language, so depending on whatever state of India they are in, if they read, it must be in that states' script.


Prayer Points

Pray for the Bhanjra Banjar to understand and respond to Christ.

Pray God will have mercy on the Bhanjra Banjar doing whatever it takes to place them in a position to receive him.

Ask God to open the hearts of the Bhanjra Banjar to the gospel.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.


Scripture Prayers for the Banjara Rathod (Hindu traditions) in India.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Banjara Rathod (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Banjara Rathod (Hindu traditions)
Population this Country 498,000
Population all Countries 498,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 10
Alternate Names बंजारा रातोर (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
People ID 21098
ROP3 Code 117921
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 14
Largest States
Karnataka
149,000
Maharashtra
115,000
Telangana
100,000
Uttar Pradesh
45,000
Madhya Pradesh
33,000
Rajasthan
22,000
Andhra Pradesh
18,000
Chhattisgarh
4,500
Tamil Nadu
3,600
Delhi
2,200
Gujarat
900
Uttarakhand
900
Odisha
500
Haryana
90
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 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 14
  Karnataka 149,000
  Maharashtra 115,000
  Telangana 100,000
  Uttar Pradesh 45,000
  Madhya Pradesh 33,000
  Rajasthan 22,000
  Andhra Pradesh 18,000
  Chhattisgarh 4,500
  Tamil Nadu 3,600
  Delhi 2,200
  Gujarat 900
  Uttarakhand 900
  Odisha 500
  Haryana 90
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Lambadi (201,000 speakers)
Language Code lmn   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 19
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
127,000
Telugu
42,000
Kannada
28,000
Marathi
13,000
Marwari
6,300
Awadhi
2,200
Bagri
1,500
Kanauji
1,300
Malvi
1,000
Dhundari
1,000
Shekhawati
900
Chhattisgarhi
600
Mewari
500
Ahirani
500
Gujarati
400
Primary Language Lambadi (201,000 speakers)
Language Code lmn   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 19
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi 127,000
  Telugu 42,000
  Kannada 28,000
  Marathi 13,000
  Marwari 6,300
  Awadhi 2,200
  Bagri 1,500
  Kanauji 1,300
  Malvi 1,000
  Dhundari 1,000
  Shekhawati 900
  Chhattisgarhi 600
  Mewari 500
  Ahirani 500
  Gujarati 400
People Groups Speaking Lambadi

Primary Language:  Lambadi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1963-1977)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1999-2018)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Lambadi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Transformation Create International
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter Children and youth resources One Hope
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book General / Other
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.08 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
1.12 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
98.78 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.02 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more