Birhor in India







Largest Religion

Main Language


Profile Source: Anonymous

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.

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Country India
Continent Asia
Region South Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country
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People Name General Birhor
People Name in Country Birhor
ROP3 Code 111625
Joshua Project People ID 16461
Indigenous Yes
Population in India 21,000
Least-Reached No
Alternate Names for People Group Birhul, Burlur, Manki, Mankidi, Mankirdia,
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Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Birhor 7,281 Hindi 3,304 Santhali 2,714 Oriya 1,235
Bengali 1,183 Marathi 1,045 Assamese 854 Chhattisgarhi 647
Mundari 604 Ho 522 Gondi, Northern 375 Sadri 330
Munda 277 Bhili 99 Gujarati 86 Nepali 53
Kurux 45 Adi 32 Naga, Tase 31 Halbi 30
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Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Name General Birhor
Ethnic Code AUG04z
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Largest Religion Hinduism
7%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
Other / Small
Christian Segments
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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