Introduction / History
The Hindu Larias are a subgroup of the larger Beldar peoples. The name "Beldar" comes Sanskrit meaning "one who hoes." The Beldar are traditionally diggers and carriers of earth. They dig wells and prepare the ground for construction. They also make bricks, which are used for buildings and walls. Today some work as masons and in other construction jobs. Others work in agriculture on land owned by upper castes. The Beldar are a Scheduled Caste meaning that they are eligible for public jobs and special consideration for university admissions. Illiteracy is a large problem for the Beldar. Most of their women cannot read or write. Men often have only a primary education. This situation is slowly changing as more Beldar gain entrance into higher education. The main language of the Beldars in India is Hindi. They also speak other regional languages. Many Christian resources are available in Hindi.
Where Are they Located?
This people group is scattered throughout many parts of northern India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Beldar are classified as the lowest caste of the Hindu system. Most Beldar do manual labor either in construction or farming. Due to their lack of education, the Beldar have little opportunity to improve their standing in Indian society.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Families arrange marriages. Beldar marry within their group, often their own cousins. Girls are often wed at a young age and go to live with the groom's family upon reaching puberty. Sons inherit property upon the death of their father. Children frequently quit school at a young age to help support the family. A caste council decides legal disputes and promotes their interests.
The main foods of the Beldar are rice, wheat, lentils and vegetables. Most are not vegetarians but as Hindus they will not eat beef.
Though there are a few Muslims among them as well, most Laria Beldar people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. Their main deities are Shiva, the destroyer god, Mata Devi, the mother goddess, Hanuman the monkey god, and Kali the goddess of sex and death.
What Are Their Needs?
At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods whom they believe will give them favor and protection, much like a business transaction. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods.
As a lower caste people, the Beldar have many needs. They need good schools especially for their daughters. Adults need to learn new job skills. They need access to modern medicine. Most of all, the Beldar need to hear and respond to the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Laria Beldar people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Laria Beldar families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for Laria Beldar families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness, and to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Laria Beldar family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.
Scripture Prayers for the Beldar Laria (Hindu traditions) in India.