Kharia in India

Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kharia
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 898,000
World Population: 921,000
Primary Language: Kharia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 31.38 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kharia (Lewa Kunbi) people live in the Western Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. They have gotras such as Shendilya, Kashyap and Bharadwaj. They are known as Lewa Patil.

They speak the Marathi and Telegu languages and use the Devanagari script. A few of them also speak Hindi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The incidence of color-blindness is reported in 5 percent of the Kharia population.

The economy of the Lewa Kunbi is mainly based on agriculture. They either cultivate their own land or work for others on a share-cropping basis. They participate in the local weekly markets. The Kharia men are non-vegetarian but their women are vegetarian. Jowar is their staple cereal and they eat rice occasionally.

The Kharia generally follow monogamy, meaning one man and one woman. The women contribute to the family economy as wage earners and take part in socio-religious activities. In a marriage a series of rituals are performed simultaneously at the bride and groom's residences. Marriage rituals include the thread wearing ceremony, the exchange of garlands and circumambulating the sacred fire seven times.

The Kharia have an association, which looks after the socio-economic development of the community. They cremate the dead and observe death pollution for ten days.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kharia worship both family and village deities. The Brahmin officiates as a priest at their rituals. Ancestor worship is also prevalent among them. Diwali is the main festival celebrated by the Lewa Kunbi.

What Are Their Needs?

Alcoholism is prevalent among the men. They need to lead their families in a constructive way.

Prayer Points

Pray for the salvation of the Kharia people and that God may send several Christian workers to work among them and meet their spiritual and physical needs.
Pray that the LKharia people may be freed from alcoholism, ancestors' worship, color-blindness and be able to accept all the communities without caste prejudice.

Text Source:   Joshua Project