Profile Source: Hasmukh Barot / Keith Carey
Introduction / History
The Mahyavanshi people are found in many parts of India but are mainly located in South Gujarat and north Maharashtra. The Mahyavanshi were originally residents south Gujarat, but upper castes took their land and persecuted them. Many of the Mahyavanshi went to Mumbai to work for the British as butlers, cooks, drivers, etc. Now the Mahyavanshi community is well educated by self development and also with the help of goverment.
What are Their Lives Like?
The Mahyavanshi mother sat stone-faced before her grown children. She said, "Before your father died my needs as your mother were always met. Now you children are arguing over the inheritance. Remember our custom, that the inheritance is to be equally divided by the sons and unmarried daughters, and sometimes," she paused and swallowed hard, "the widow is also given a share. I need that share, since there is no one to care for me."
Among the Mahyavanshi communities of Mumbai, widow re-marriage is not allowed. Most of their practices are Animistic, though they call themselves Hindu. Like many Hindu communities in this materialistic city, the Mahyavanshis have a special devotion to Ganesh, the Hindu god whom they believe helps them overcome obstacles and achieve prosperity.
As one of the Dalit communities, they have a certain number of jobs reserved for them in government offices. They are a diligent people who have a high literacy rate, two factors that make them desirable employees. Most of them speak Gujarati and either Marathi or Hindu, all of which are important languages in Mumbai.
What are Their Beliefs?
The Mahyavanshi are Hindu in religion. They are proud to be Hindu and have not changed their religion even though there have been aggressive attacks of Islam.
Legend says Yug Purush (Man of an age) Mahya (because of his name the caste became known as Mahyavanshi) was born in Patan of north Gujarat. His parent's names were King Karnadev and Minal Solanki. Because of an unfavorable forecast by state astrologers, King Karnadev abandoned his son in the desert. Yug Purush was found by an untouchable man named Dharamsinh who called the boy Mahyo. Dharmsinh raised and trained Mahyo. Mahyo sacrificed himself for the life of people, animals and birds.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will soften hearts as Christian workers use the JESUS Film, gospel cassettes and Christian radio to reach them, showing them Jesus, the only One Who can give true prosperity in this life and the life to come.
* Pray that God will use Mahyavanshi people to lead other Dalit groups to the Savior.