Birhor in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The name "Birhor" suggests, "men of the forest." Their lives revolve entirely around forests.

These dark-skinned, short-statured, long-headed, wavy-haired and broad-nosed people belong to the Mundari group of tribes.

Where Are they Located?

They are found mainly in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Birhor population in all three states put together is relatively small and is declining with disappearing forests.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Originally hunters, the Birhors, also known as Mankidias, live entirely on forest produce. They love to eat monkey meat and are extremely skilled in trapping any animal. Trapping rabbits, weaving ropes, selling a few baskets when they can, the Birhors seem to live in a different age.

It is only recently that they have started rope-making as their main economic activity. Their need for rice is met through buying it from others in the area, in exchange for forest products.

The Government made huge efforts to settle them, but except for one or two settlements, other Birhors are always on the move.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are nomadic, moving from one place in the forest to another, setting up their places of worship as they go to a new place. The Birhor follow a mixture of animism and Hinduism. The sun god and ancestral family spirits rank very high in their religion. Due to contacts with Hindu neighbours, they have added some more gods into their list.

Birhors believe that the whole universe is created and presided over by Sing Bonga, the sun god and his wife. Christian ministry has been difficult due to their nomadic nature. Yet there are a few Birhor settlements where there are a few Christians.

What Are Their Needs?

Their birth rate is low and their death rate is high, dwindling their population as the years go by. Most of them are addicted to alcohol. They would like to send their children to school, but cannot afford it. Malnutrition is written across their faces, especially among children.

The Birhor literacy rate is very low and as a result, they fall an easy prey to those who exploit them. Literacy initiatives, hand in hand with Bible translation can bring about a transformation in their lives. They need God's Word in the language that speak to their hearts so that they can understand the love of the Almighty God.

Prayer Points

* Pray for God to break the spiritual and physical bondages that keep the Birhors in poverty, superstitions, ill health etc.
* Pray for the Birhors who have received the light of the gospel to share effectively with other Birhors.
* Pray for God to raise up Christian ministers to work among the Birhor in a culturally appropriate way.
* Pray for A mother tongue translation team to be trained well and translate the Scripture into Birhor.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

Expanded PDF Profile

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-10-11
People Name General Birhor
People Name in Country Birhor
Population in India 22,000
World Population 23,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 2.1
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Birhul, Burlur, Manki, Mankidi, Mankirdia
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Name General Birhor
Ethnic Code AUG04z
People ID 16461
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:  9  (up to 20 largest shown)
Jharkhand (12,000) Chhattisgarh (2,300) Assam (1,600) Maharashtra (1,500)
Odisha (1,500) West Bengal (1,400) Madhya Pradesh (1,100) Bihar (90)
Tripura (40)
Total States on file:  9  (up to 20 largest shown)
Jharkhand (12,000) Chhattisgarh (2,300)
Assam (1,600) Maharashtra (1,500)
Odisha (1,500) West Bengal (1,400)
Madhya Pradesh (1,100) Bihar (90)
Tripura (40)

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  37  (up to 20 largest shown)
Birhor (7,300) Hindi (3,300) Santhali (2,700) Oriya (1,200)
Bengali (1,200) Marathi (1,000) Assamese (900) Chhattisgarhi (600)
Mundari (600) Ho (500) Gondi, Northern (400) Sadri (300)
Munda (300) Bhili (100) Gujarati (90) Nepali (50)
Kurux (50) Adi (30) Naga, Tase (30) Halbi (30)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Birhor 7,300 Hindi 3,300
Santhali 2,700 Oriya 1,200
Bengali 1,200 Marathi 1,000
Assamese 900 Chhattisgarhi 600
Mundari 600 Ho 500
Gondi, Northern 400 Sadri 300
Munda 300 Bhili 100
Gujarati 90 Nepali 50
Kurux 50 Adi 30
Naga, Tase 30 Halbi 30
For Primary Language: Birhor

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.18 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
7.37 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
87.81 %
0.07 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
4.57 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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