Introduction / History
Before the Yadav were called Ahir. The name Ahir is derived from 'Abhira' which is a immigrant tribe found in the inscriptions and Hindu sacred books. The Abhira appear to have been one of the immigrant tribes from Central Asia. They are spoken of as robbers and foreigners. They claim connection to god Krishna since he was a herdsman. In most places they don't use the name Ahir anymore and the most common name is Yadav or Yadava.
It's easy to find out who a Yadav is. Just ask them their name and they will tell you their first name followed by their title what is always Yadav.
The Yadav are a caste comprising of milkmen, cowherds, cattle breeders and laborers. Their traditional occupation is animal husbandry and selling its products. The Yadav consist of both landowning and landless people. Some Yadav are businessmen, teachers, doctors, engineers and political leaders. Especially in the last 3 decennia they have become politically powerful in the states Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They are very influential and are a major challenge to the political supremacy of the Brahmans.
Where are they located?
They are living almost all over India and in South-Nepal. The highest concentration is in the states Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (North-India) but also in east, west and south India there are many Yadavs living.
Those living in the North of India speak languages of the Indo-Aryan family. The Yadav of the South speak Dravidian languages. 23 languages have more than one hundred thousand speakers. 7 languages have even more than one million speaker (24 million Yadav people have Hindi as their primary language).
What are their lives like?
The Yadav live in joint families. Most of them are vegetarian but many start eating fish, mutton, chicken and sometimes pork, but not beef. Child labor is common among them.
What are their beliefs?
The Yadav participate in the local traditional and socio-religious festivals. They have expertise in oral traditions and group singing in praise of the god Vishnu, Krishna or one of the many other gods that they worship. Similarly, they are good in musical dance, wrestling and mock-fighting with swords. Boys are favored for formal education. They are known to have more faith in astrology and talismans rather than in the services of a doctor. They often pray to Singaji for the protection of their cattle from disease and often give thank offerings of butter, unripe mangoes and sugar.
What are their needs?
They are in need to hear about the way of salvation. Most of the Yadav die never hearing the Name of Jesus once in a lifetime!
But also life, lifestyle and living standard are changing all over the nation. The next generation will need to get other kinds of jobs. To get those jobs they need education but proper education is missing in many places (especially in the villages)
More than 12 million Yadav live in Bihar (more than 10 % of the population). Every year Bihar knows major floods, killing hundreds of people, leaving millions homeless… They are badly in need for Christian relief workers who can give them more than food, clothes and medicines.
* For the salvation of the Yadav people.
* Pray for short and long term workers / teams to come and pioneer new ministries among the Yadav.
* For new focused evangelism and church planting ministries.
* For literacy and community development work.
* For Christian social workers eradicating alcoholism and superstitious beliefs.
* Christian workers to meet their spiritual and physical needs.
* For the practice of child labor to end among the Yadav people.
* For education to be made available to girls as well to the boys.