Introduction / History
The Sribastab Teli community is considered lower middle class in India's caste-based society. The Telis are an occupational caste, traditionally in the business of oil-pressing and in the manufacture and trade of oil and similar oil-based products. The Sribastab is one of their subgroups. They look to Shiva, the destroyer god, for their origins. The Teli live in many states across North India. Due to inter-state immigration in India and rapid urbanization, they have now spread all across the entire nation. The primary language of the Sribastab is Hindi.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally the job of the Teli was laboring in pressing and extraction of oils from nuts and seeds for cooking purposes. Since the introduction of modern industrial manufacturing, the Teli have had to look for new occupations. Today many work for the government, in teaching, running small businesses and in agriculture.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Sribastab practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Shiva and Vishnu are their patron gods. 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 Teli visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Teli 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. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Teli fit into the working caste.
What Are Their Needs?
The Sribastab need to learn new job skills and to obtain university educations. More important is that the Teli need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Teli Sribastab in India.
Pray for increased occupational and educational opportunities for the Teli. Pray that the gospel might penetrate Sribastab hearts thus breaking any spiritual stronghold that prevents them from enjoying life to the full. Pray for workers to go to the Teli to share the gospel. Pray for a disciple making movement to Christ among the Teli this decade.