Majhi in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

India is one of the most culturally, linguistically, and geographically diverse countries on the face of the earth. The nation's geography ranges from the lofty crags of the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan. Isolated, primeval jungles can be found in the northeast, and growing masses of people cover the plains in the central states.

With more than 1,000 million people, India ranks second only to China in the world's population. The Manjhi are only one of the many hundreds of ethnic groups living in India. They live mainly in the Gumla district in the eastern-central state of Bihar. Other Manjhi live spread throughout the plains of the states of Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam.

The Manjhi are a dark-complexioned people. They are said to be strong, loving, clever, and industrious. Their primary language is Manjhi, but they also speak Sadri and a little Bihari.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Life in India has been traditionally governed by the "caste" system, which is a strict and complex social class order. For the Hindu Indian, people are born into their caste. Each caste has its own specific profession, which nearly all its members follow. Members of a caste are expected to marry only within their own caste.

The word Manjhi means "ferryman." However, if the Manjhi once followed that profession, they no longer do so. Instead, they are now farmers who earn their livelihood by cultivating rice, wheat, and vegetables. Very few Manjhi own their own land; thus, most of them work as laborers on others' property. In addition to farming, many Manjhi also make bamboo baskets and sell them in the markets.

Manjhi houses are made of mud and are roofed with tiles or thatch. The men wear the common Indian lungis (colorful pieces of cloth wrapped as skirts) and kurtas (knee-length, collar-less shirts. Women wear saris (long pieces of cloth wrapped around their waists and draped over their shoulders) with petticoats and blouses.

Rice is the staple food for the Manjhi. Although their Hindu religion forbids the eating of meat, most of them are not very concerned with this restriction and enjoy meats of all kinds. For this reason, they still are not accepted by mainstream Hindu society and have been given the lowest rank in the caste system. They were traditionally considered "untouchables" and were avoided and abhorred by higher caste Hindus.

What Are Their Beliefs?

In the past, the Manjhi were animists. (Animists believe that animals, plants, and forces of nature all have spirits.) Today, even though they are shunned by other Hindus, they call themselves Hindus and follow most Hindu customs.

Hindus believe in millions of gods and goddesses, with the chief ones being Brahman (the creator of the universe), Vishnu (its preserver), Shiva (its destroyer), and Kali (Shiva's wife). According to the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation, a person's soul is reborn into another body after death. They believe that if a person has lived a good life, he will be reborn into a higher caste; but if he has led an evil life, he will be reborn into a lower caste or even as an animal. This process of birth and death supposedly continues until the soul achieves "spiritual perfection" and enters a higher dimension of existence.

What Are Their Needs?

The Manjhi are a poor people. Health care, sanitation, hygiene, education, transportation, and communication are all inadequate. Girls are not sent to school at all, and even men have a low literacy rate. In addition, the Manjhi have a strong addiction to haria, their native alcoholic beverage which is consumed during every special occasion.

More urgent than their physical needs are their spiritual ones. The Manjhi follow Hinduism and tradition. They need Christian laborers who are willing to share the Gospel with them in a clear and easily understood way.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send Christian doctors and teachers to minister the love of Jesus to the Manjhi of India.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Manjhi who will boldly declare the Gospel.
* Pray that God will give the Manjhi believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up an army of intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Manjhi.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Manjhi church for the glory of His name!

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Expanded PDF Profile

Video Links:
A Pilgrimage
People Name General Majhi
People Name in Country Majhi
Population in India 131,000
World Population 213,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Deshwali Majhi, Kewat, Maghi, Mallah, Manjhi, Nabik, Panjabi
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Punjabi
People Name General Majhi
Ethnic Code CNN25c
People ID 13231
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  8  (up to 20 largest shown)
Chhattisgarh (77,000) Madhya Pradesh (50,000) Odisha (900) West Bengal (800)
Bihar (500) Jharkhand (500) Sikkim (400) Uttar Pradesh (50)
Total States on file:  8  (up to 20 largest shown)
Chhattisgarh (77,000) Madhya Pradesh (50,000)
Odisha (900) West Bengal (800)
Bihar (500) Jharkhand (500)
Sikkim (400) Uttar Pradesh (50)
Languages & Dialects on file:  36  (up to 20 largest shown)
Hindi (82,000) Chhattisgarhi (31,000) Oriya (4,300) Santhali (3,400)
Bengali (1,100) Bundeli (1,000) Khandesi (500) Malvi (300)
Telugu (300) Kurux (200) Korwa (200) Nimadi (100)
Bagheli (100) Marathi (100) Majhi (100) Munda (100)
Maithili (70) Gondi, Northern (50) Gujarati (50) Panjabi, Eastern (50)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Hindi 82,000 Chhattisgarhi 31,000
Oriya 4,300 Santhali 3,400
Bengali 1,100 Bundeli 1,000
Khandesi 500 Malvi 300
Telugu 300 Kurux 200
Korwa 200 Nimadi 100
Bagheli 100 Marathi 100
Majhi 100 Munda 100
Maithili 70 Gondi, Northern 50
Gujarati 50 Panjabi, Eastern 50
For Primary Language: Hindi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1806-1962)
New Testament Yes   (1811-1998)
Complete Bible Yes   (1818-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Visuals General
Bible: Hindi Holy Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Hindi Holy Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Christ for the Nations Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Following Jesus (India, JF Project) Film / Video
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Hindi Bible Text / Printed Matter
Hindi Bible stories Audio Recordings
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Hindi Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online Bible (Bibles India) Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.16 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.19 %
0.01 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.02 %
0.61 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Surya Majhi  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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