Bankariya in Nepal

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Bankariya
Country: Nepal
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 600
World Population: 600
Primary Language: Awadhi
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 80.00 %
Evangelicals: 75.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Bankariya are a small group of tribal people who live in an isolated region of central Nepal. They were traditionally hunter-gatherers of the forest. A number of years ago a Nepali journalist took an interest in the Bankariya. He visited them and had the government give them land where they could build villages. Most Bankariya preferred the settled life in a village to their old nomadic ways. Even today, Bankariya villages are inaccessible by cars, buses, planes or boats.

Medical researchers have come to the Bankariya and studied their use of herbs and plants in traditional medicine. The government and NGOs have provided schools for their children and loans so they can start businesses.

Some anthropologists fear than if many of the Bankariya young people move away or if a deadly epidemic comes to them that the culture and language of the Bankariya may disappear forever. The Bankariya speak a distinct dialect of a language called Awadhi. Some Bankariya are able to speak Nepali so they can communicate with outsiders.

Where Are they Located?

The Bankariya live in the Bheri and Narayani districts of central Nepal.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Since the Bankariya have come to live in villages, their standard of living has improved. They received loans so they were able to purchase pigs, chickens, ducks and cattle. Agricultural experts taught them how to grow maize, rice and seasonal vegetables. Once the Bankariya were settled, the government opened elementary schools for their children. Since the Awadhi dialect they speak has not been written down, the children began learning to read and write Nepali.

The Bankariya have an elaborate marriage ceremony, which lasts several days. They marry within their group. They have their priests and shamans perform important life ceremonies and rituals.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bankariya have been nominal Hindus, but there is now (2021) a substantial number of followers of Jesus among them. They are heavily influenced by folk religion. They have animistic beliefs in evil spirits who inhabit natural objects. They must be appease these evil spirits by sacrifices, gifts and rituals. Like many tribal peoples, most Bankariya worship and venerate their ancestors. The Bankariya live in such remote areas that they are unable to visit Hindu temples or obtain the services of Brahmin priests.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bankariya have immense physical and spiritual needs. They need the benefits of modern medicine. They need help in developing their farms and in raising their animals.

Most of all, the Bankariya need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ who alone can forgive their sins and give them abundant life.

Prayer Points

Pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done among the Bankariya people.
Pray for a movement of Bankariya households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ. Thank the Lord that this has recently (2021) been occurring.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Bankariya 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 Bankariya people.

Text Source:   Keith Carey