Bhil in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Subgroups: 104 (10 largest shown)  Show all

Subgroup Name Population
Valvi 54,000
Mama 27,000
Ninama 14,000
Son 14,000
Gopal 13,000
Lengutia 12,000
Mali 7,500
Konkane 7,400
Maji Rana 6,100
Mungia 6,100

Introduction / History

There are two divisions of Bhil: the Central or "pure" Bhil, and the Eastern or part-Rajput Bhil. The Central Bhil live in the mountain regions of India, particularly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. They are known as the connecting link between the Gujarati and the Rajasthani. They speak Bhili, which is an Indo-Aryan language.

Many years ago, Bhil rajas (kings) permitted immigrants from the plains to settle in the hill regions. To safeguard their independence and rule, the Bhil fought against the Moghals, the Maratha, and the British.

Many Bhil are being threatened by the Sardar Saravor Dam project, which when completed will flood the land where many Bhil currently live. Though re-settlement plans have been discussed, they remain incomplete.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Today, the Bhil primarily work as peasant farmers, field laborers, and village watchmen. With a growth in population, most of their land holdings are small and generally non-productive. The people are experts in handling bows and arrows. In fact, the name "Bhil" was derived from the word billee, which means "bow." For years, the bow has been a characteristic weapon of the tribe, and the men usually carry their bows and arrows with them. The women wear brightly colored clothes. The city boys are distinctive from other Hindus because they tie rags around their heads, wear earrings, and carry swords or guns.

The Central Bhil are usually shy and love their independence. Festivals, dance, drama, and music are a large part of their culture. The length and enthusiasm for these events is usually directly proportional to the amount of alcohol that is consumed.

The Bhil usually marry within their own classes. If they do marry someone of another class, the person of the lower class must convert to the higher, leaving behind all family ties. This custom is strictly enforced among the tribes.

Each village is led by a head man who deals with disputes. Respect among family members is strong, and there is a great sense of connection between the living and the dead. Property is shared equally by the male descendants. Bhil villages are rather widely scattered. The houses are located in fields where millet, maize, wheat, and barley are grown. The highlanders live in tidy houses made with walls of sticks intertwined with small branches. The roofs (shaped like bee-hives), are usually made of clay tiles, but are sometimes made of straw and leaves.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of the Central Bhil practice ethnic religions that have been highly influenced by Hinduism. Shiva is considered the supreme god. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors) is also quite popular. Shamans (priests) are also called upon to offer sacrifices to the many gods and mud idols.

In spite of their traditional beliefs, there have been interesting manifestations of God's Spirit among the upper caste Bhagat gurus. They now worship light and "the Word," singing prophecies of the future, such as the coming sinless incarnation. At the turn of the century, one guru warned his disciples that there would be a great famine, after which they should look for teachers from the North and West who would teach them the true way of salvation from a book, free of cost. They would teach about the true God, and about a sinless Incarnation who was born of a virgin. The guru also said that they should worship this sinless, invisible God, turn away from stones and idols, and live blameless lives. A famine occurred in 1899-1900, soon after the guru's death.


What Are Their Needs?

There are three segregated classes: the Bhagat Bhil, the ordinary Bhil, and the lowest class-the Christian Bhil. To accept Christ is like becoming an outcast.

Much intercession is needed to see their eyes opened to the Truth.


Prayer Points

* Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go and share Christ with the Bhil.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among them.
* Ask God to provide open doors for Bhil believers to share the Gospel with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-09-31
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-09-16
People Name General Bhil
People Name in Country Bhil
Population in India 16,868,000
World Population 17,325,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 337
Alternate Names Arejo, Arijo, Bhil Garasia, Bhilala, Bhim, Bilalla, Billava, Billavaor, Billawa, Dholi Bhil, Dugri Garasia, Dungra Bhil, Dungri Girasia, Garasia, Pacima, Pascima, Pujari, Tulu Bhillava, भील
People ID 16414
ROP3 Code 111565
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Bhil
People Group Bhil
Ethnic Code AUG06a
Total Subgroups 104 (only 15 largest shown)
  Valvi 54,000
  Mama 27,000
  Ninama 14,000
  Son 14,000
  Gopal 13,000
  Lengutia 12,000
  Mali 7,500
  Konkane 7,400
  Maji Rana 6,100
  Mungia 6,100
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 23
Largest States
(only 15 largest shown)
Madhya Pradesh
5,959,000
Gujarat
4,207,000
Rajasthan
4,082,000
Maharashtra
2,590,000
Dadra and Nagar Have
12,000
Karnataka
6,300
Delhi
3,200
Tripura
3,100
Odisha
1,300
Chhattisgarh
1,000
Telangana
700
Jharkhand
600
Uttar Pradesh
500
Jammu and Kashmir
300
Uttarakhand
200
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 23  (only 20 largest shown)
  Madhya Pradesh 5,959,000
  Gujarat 4,207,000
  Rajasthan 4,082,000
  Maharashtra 2,590,000
  Dadra and Nagar Have 12,000
  Karnataka 6,300
  Delhi 3,200
  Tripura 3,100
  Odisha 1,300
  Chhattisgarh 1,000
  Telangana 700
  Jharkhand 600
  Uttar Pradesh 500
  Jammu and Kashmir 300
  Uttarakhand 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Hindi (3,882,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 86
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Gujarati
3,467,000
Bhili
2,780,000
Wagdi
1,692,000
Marathi
1,026,000
Vasavi
973,000
Nimadi
769,000
Dhanki
406,000
Marwari
318,000
Bareli, Pauri
310,000
Mewari
240,000
Khandesi
187,000
Mawchi
152,000
Dungra Bhil
139,000
Bareli, Rathwi
106,000
Malvi
93,000
Other People Groups Speaking Hindi
Primary Language Hindi (3,882,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 86
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Gujarati 3,467,000
  Bhili 2,780,000
  Wagdi 1,692,000
  Marathi 1,026,000
  Vasavi 973,000
  Nimadi 769,000
  Dhanki 406,000
  Marwari 318,000
  Bareli, Pauri 310,000
  Mewari 240,000
  Khandesi 187,000
  Mawchi 152,000
  Dungra Bhil 139,000
  Bareli, Rathwi 106,000
  Malvi 93,000
People Groups Speaking Hindi

Primary Language:  Hindi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1806-1962)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1811-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1818-2000)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video A Beautiful Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video A Pilgrimage (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Aasha - Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Coconuts (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Creation to Christ (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Father's Love Letter
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Haqeeqat Episode 6 (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hindi
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video Ten Virgins (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video The Final Prodigal (Indigitube.tv)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.02 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.76 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
98.37 %
Islam
0.53 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.02 %
Unknown
0.30 %
Photo Source Ben Piven  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.


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