Banjar in Indonesia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The southern and eastern coast of Kalimantan is home to the Banjar people, who live along the rivers from the interior rainforest to the coastal cities. The majority of Banjar live in Southern Kalimantan, but there are also significant Banjar populations in East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, Malaysia and Riau Province. The Banjar language and speech is difficult for other Indonesians to understand. However, a person can quickly learn the marketplace language because it is always used in daily life in Southern and Eastern Kalimantan. Although they are devout Muslims and known for their strong and proud Muslim identity, the Banjar proudly trace their origins to a Hindu kingdom, the Nagara Dipa. Contemporary ethnic cultural traditions developed from a combination of Java, Malay and Dayak cultures. Buddhism, then Hinduism and finally Islam were introduced from Java into South Kalimantan. In 1526, Banjar Prince Samudera accepted Islam and took the name of Sultan Suriansyah as a condition of receiving help from a Javanese army in overthrowing his uncle.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan, is located 22 kilometers from the Java Sea. Since portions of the city are below sea level, the city rises and falls with the tides. Lanting (houses on stilts) line the multiple waterways, which crisscross the city. Taking a small klotok (motorized boat) around the rivers and canals shows a wide variety of activity: people bathing, washing laundry, gossiping and buying fruit, vegetables and fish from female vendors in small canoes. The Banjar people seldom move to other areas of Indonesia. They tend to marry and settle near their parents or other relatives in Kalimantan. Most find their livelihood through farming or plantation work near the rivers. Trade, transport and mining are also prominent occupations. Many Banjar work in traditional manual sawmills, but are reluctant to work in plywood factories because of the unhealthy conditions.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The pervasiveness of Islam in Banjar society influences every aspect of individual and family life. Religion is the primary force in controlling crime, such as thievery and gambling. Banjar identity is inseparable from the Islamic religion. At the same time, traditional animistic beliefs prevail. These beliefs teach that certain supernatural powers reside in objects such as stones, trees and mountains. The Islamic celebrations and month-long fast of Ramadan are rigorously observed. The most famous building in Banjarmasin is the Agung Sabilal Muthadin Mosque, located in the center of the city. Since the period of Dutch colonialism, the Banjar have looked suspiciously on government schools as attempting to secularize their children. Modern Islamic schools claiming identity as government schools have been developed since independence.

What Are Their Needs?

The Banjar do not look positively on modern methods and technologies nor do they mix much with other groups. This isolation has limited their development of education, health care and water purification. In the interior, villages have a limited infrastructure for distribution of crops and goods. The proliferation of coal, diamond and gold mines has also created tension throughout Kalimantan.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Expanded PDF Profile

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-07-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-06-05
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-06-24
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People Name General Banjar
People Name in Country Banjar
Population in Indonesia 4,470,000
World Population 5,742,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Banjar Malay, Banjar Melau, Banjarese, Banjay Malay, Batinese
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Banjar of Kalimantan
People Name General Banjar
Ethnic Code MSY44k
People ID 10658
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Around Banjarmasin south and east; East Kalimantan, coastal regions of Pulau Laut, Kutai and Pasir; Central Kalimantan as far as Sampit.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Banjar (4,470,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Banjar 4,470,000
For Primary Language: Banjar

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Banjara Lambadi Language Film Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Banjar Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.99 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
100.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Create International   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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