Introduction / History
The Bahelia are said to have come from a Rajput status and Hindu Bahelia have been known to refer to themselves as Chhetri jati. Legend says that they were once of an honoured social status, but after a key defeat as many soldiers retreated to the jungle and resorted to killing and eating wild animals. Since that time the Bahelia have been considered as low in status. As Bahelia they are known as Scheduled Caste in the states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Today the Bahelia remain as a primarily a Hindu group, especially in India. They can be found in all types of wage labour jobs and in some areas still are involved in bird catching and selling. The Bahelia women in some parts of India have a tradition in the making of fans from the peacock feathers. Based on their low position they tend to have low literacy. In Nepal the Muslim Bahelia speak Bhojpuri and Urdu.
What Are Their Needs?
In India the Bahelia people have a reputation for working with government programmes for income generation and self-employment. Development projects have succeeded among some Bahelia that have improved the economy of the community. Pray that similar Christian projects could bring both economic and spiritual blessing to the Muslim Bahelia of Nepal as well. There are no known believers among the Muslim Bahelia in Nepal.