Chamar, Hindu traditions in Nepal






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Chamar people live primarily in India's western states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar. They are considered untouchable, and most of them know nothing else their entire lives. With a population of over 50 million, they are among the largest untouchable, or Dalit communities in the Hindu world.

The Chamar people are also known as Bhambi, Asadaru, Khalpa, Machigar, Lingayat, Mochi and Rohit.

They are regarded as untouchables or Sudras. To be untouchable, according to Indian-Hindu tradition, is to be undesirable, or unworthy of any sort of consideration or provision by society. This translates into frequent joblessness, lack of education and lifelong poverty. Traditional upper caste members will even avoid an untouchable's shadow.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Chamar use the Devanagari script and speak Kannada, Gujarati and Hindi along with regional languages. Their main occupation is manufacturing shoes and chappals from finished leather. Besides this, they are engaged in daily-wage labour and petty business. Day labor and petty business are also main sources of income, along with the manufacture of shoes and chappal, an Indian sandal. The origins of the name "chamar" come from their leather work. You can imagine how working with the remains of dead cows can be viewed in Hindu cultures where the cow is sacred. Women are also involved in agricultural work, animal husbandry and various economic activities. The Bhambi Khalpa community repairs musical instruments like dhol and nagara which are played in the temples during worship.

Their staple cereals are rice and jowar. Men occasionally drink alcohol. The Chamar regard themselves higher than the Mangs and the Mahars.

The Chamar practice monogamy in marriage. Dowry is largely prevalent and is paid in cash and kind. Remarriage is allowed for widowers but not for the widows. The dead body of a bachelor is buried lying on its back with the head facing the south, whereas others are cremated and their mortal remains are immersed in sacred water. Rice balls are offered to the dead and to ancestors on the tenth day after death.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Chamar are Hindu. They belong to the Shiva and Bhagvat sects. Their deities are Bahiroba, Janai, Kandova of Jejori and Bhawani of Tuljapur. They follow the spiritual teachings of Ravidas. They recite mythological tales and sing songs from the religious epics. They celebrate the festivals such as Diwali, Panchami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Kartik, Holi and Hannami.

There is a slightly higher degree of responsiveness to the gospel among the Chamars than among other Dalits. There is a church planting movement underway among Chamars in several districts across India.

Prayer Points

* For the salvation of the Chamar people and that God may send several Christian workers among them and meet their spiritual and physical needs.
* For the Chamar people to break through the caste barrier; be accepted and accept other communities.
* Pray that these Chamar believers will be salt and light to Chamar communities throughout India.
* Pray that church planting will grow across all Chamar communities.
* Pray for more workers to enter the Chamar harvest.

Profile Source:   India Missions Assoc - Edited by Philipose Vaidyar / Keith Carey  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-03
People Name General Chamar, Hindu traditions
People Name in Country Chamar, Hindu traditions
Population in Nepal 331,000
World Population 54,607,000
Countries 4
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Ahirwar, Arya, Asadaro, Asodi, Bagri, Bhambi, Bola, Budhan, Chamadollu, Chamana, Chambada, Chambhar. Moci, Chamehar, Chamling, Changar, Chanial, Charmakar Rishi, Chembadi, Chemidi, Chitrakar, Das, Dhakaro, Dhekaru, Dohar, Gangaputrulu, Golia, Haralayya, Harijan, Jata Chamar, Jatav, Jatia, Jatia Chamar, Khalpa, Laskaria Raigar, Lingayat, Machigar, Mehtar, Mochi, Moci, Mocia, Muchia, Muci, Natarlu, Parvatharaja kulam, Raidasi, Raigar, Raighar, Ram, Ramdasi, Raudari, Ravidasi, Regar, Rehgar, Rohit, Ruidas, Sindhi Jatia
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Name General Chamar, Hindu traditions
Ethnic Code CNN25r
People ID 16561
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States on file:  12  (up to 20 largest shown)
Narayani (84,000) Janakpur (78,000) Lumbini (77,000) Sagarmatha (63,000)
Kosi (13,000) Bheri (13,000) Bagmati (1,200) Rapti (900)
Seti (400) Mahakali (400) Gandaki (300) Mechi (10)
Total States on file:  12  (up to 20 largest shown)
Narayani (84,000) Janakpur (78,000)
Lumbini (77,000) Sagarmatha (63,000)
Kosi (13,000) Bheri (13,000)
Bagmati (1,200) Rapti (900)
Seti (400) Mahakali (400)
Gandaki (300) Mechi (10)
Languages & Dialects on file:  10  (up to 20 largest shown)
Maithili (183,000) Bhojpuri (112,000) Awadhi (36,000) Hindi (2,000)
Nepali (1,300) Angika (700) Magahi (400) Bengali (80)
Dotyali (60) Sonha
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Maithili 183,000 Bhojpuri 112,000
Awadhi 36,000 Hindi 2,000
Nepali 1,300 Angika 700
Magahi 400 Bengali 80
Dotyali 60 Sonha
For Primary Language: Maithili

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (2010)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: jivən səndesh Text / Printed Matter
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Maithili Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online Bible (Bibles India) Text / Printed Matter
Online Bible text (Scripture Earth) Text / Printed Matter
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Oral Bible stories in Maithili Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.41 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.08 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.51 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: India Missions Assoc - Edited by Philipose Vaidyar / Keith Carey  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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