Rajbansi, Tajpuri in Nepal

Population

123,000

Christian

1.0%

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: GAAPNet: Updated original Bethany people profile


Introduction / History

The Rajbansi are one of about 110 different ethnic groups who live in the small, mountainous country of Nepal. Their almost forgotten, rugged land lies sheltered at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains, sandwiched between India to the south and Tibet to the north. Most live in India and the eastern section of the Jhapa District and in the adjoining Morang District of Nepal.

The Rajbansi are a dark-skinned people of medium height who have been described as "tough." Their language is also called Rajbansi and is similar to that of the Bengali of West Bengal. Many of the younger generation are bilingual in Nepali, Nepal's official language, but older Rajbansi only speak their native language.

The Rajbansi migrated to Nepal about 250 years ago, and although their origins are unclear, they may be related to the Koche of India. One legend says they are the descendents of the children of a Bengali man and an Arakan woman. Other legends declare them to be an ancient people descended from the Dravidian race who lived in southern India.


What are Their Lives Like?

Most Rajbansi are farmers who survive on the produce of their own labor. Although they raise some livestock, they do not seem to consider the animals as a primary source of income. Instead, animal products are used as items to sell to purchase necessities that they can't make or grow themselves. A shortage of suitable arable land, overpopulation, and poor farming methods all contribute to a subsistence level of food production. They are excellent weavers, and some have begun to earn money by their weaving. Others work for the government or find employment in the private sector. As a whole, they live impoverished lives. The Rajbansi are hesitant to change their lifestyle, and they struggle in their adaptation to different types of work.

Houses made of wood, bamboo, thatch, and mud are clustered in villages ranging from ten to one hundred buildings. As in all patriarchal societies, the father is the undisputed head of the household. Most homes are composed of a basic family unit (parents and their children) until the oldest son marries. He and his wife then live with his parents until the second son marries. When the family head dies, all authority and responsibilities are transferred to the eldest son. Most marriages are arranged, and weddings are conducted according to traditional Hindu rites and rituals.

The Rajbansi dress very simply. Men wear knee length dhotis and langautis (loincloths), and women wear paetanis (pieces of cloth wrapped around their bodies that provide a covering down to their knees). Western style clothing is slowly becoming more common.


What are Their Beliefs?

The Rajbansi are Hindus who worship millions of gods and goddesses. Every village has a separate hut dedicated to the worship of the creation goddess, Kali. Festivals are called Pawni. Though they celebrate the Hindu festivals of Dasai and Tihar, the Rajbansi do not observe them the same way Hindus do in India.


What are Their Needs?

Christians were not officially allowed to live in Nepal before 1960. Although since that time religious freedom has increased, it is still very limited. The government is fiercely opposed to any form of evangelism and has implemented severe restrictions. During the 1990's, a number of Christians were arrested, imprisoned, and even killed for preaching the Gospel. This repressive conduct is being influenced by militant Hindus in India. Their goal is to drive out all Christians from the country. Much prayer is needed for full religious freedom to be both guaranteed in the constitution and upheld by the authorities.

The "Jesus Film" is available, and Christian audio recordings are useful evangelistic tools. However, cassette players are not widely available.

The Rajbansi have had limited chances of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their isolation also makes it difficult for outsiders to reach them. In addition, people like the Rajbansi who practice pantheism (the worship of many gods) find it very difficult to lay aside such beliefs and put all of their faith in one God.


Prayer Points

* Pray that God will strengthen and protect the small number of believers among the Rajbansi in Nepal.
* Pray that God would bless plans to begin church planting among the Rajbansi.
* Pray that God will touch the hearts of Nepal's government leaders so the restrictive anti-evangelism laws will be lifted.



Profile Source: GAAPNet: Updated original Bethany people profile Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
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Country Nepal
Continent Asia
Region South Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country
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People Name General Rajbansi, Tajpuri
People Name in Country Rajbansi, Tajpuri
ROP3 Code 108268
Joshua Project People ID 14513
Indigenous Yes
Population in Nepal 123,000
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Bahey, Desi, Kocch, Koch, Konch, Paliya, Raghubansi, Rajbansim, Tajpuri,
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Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Rajbanshi 113,055 Maithili 6,749 Nepali 2,484 Bengali 1,432
Bantawa 1,280 Koch 912 Newar 290 Magar, Eastern 290
Hindi 240 Angika 220 Bhojpuri 60 Awadhi 40
Bodo 37 Yakkha 21 Puma 15
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Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Bengali
People Name General Rajbansi, Tajpuri
Ethnic Code CNN25b
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Largest Religion Hinduism
Buddhism
0.05%
Christianity
1.0%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
0.00%
Hinduism
84.56%
Islam
0.00%
Non-Religious
0.00%
Other / Small
2.87%
Unknown
11.49%
Christian Segments
Anglican
0.00%
Independent
0.00%
Protestant
0.00%
Orthodox
0.00%
Other Christian
0.00%
Roman Catholic
0.00%
Photo Source: Gerald Roberts
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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