Bhantu in India

The Bhantu have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The Bhantu are a small population of Hindu people who live in north central India. They also known as Sahaisi or Sahasi, a word which means "brave." They were previously known as thieves. British colonialists listed them in their Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 as "criminal" caste. The stigma has stuck a century-and-a-half later – despite the Act's demise in 1952. Even though the Bhantu have found legal ways to make a living, their reputation are thieves continues today. They are found mostly in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. They speak own dialect with their families but are also conversant in Hindi which allows to communicate with those outside of their group. A tiny fraction of the Bhantu claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Today most Bhantu work in agriculture and animal husbandry. The Bhantu labor on land owned by higher castes. Some Bhantu work in low level government jobs and in the building trades. Some own small businesses. Men find a wife through family negotiations or by courtship. Commonly there is a bride-price, an amount of money given by the groom's family to compensate the bride's family for the loss of their daughter. As Hindus, the Bhantu will not eat beef.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of the Bhantu are Hindu. They observe all Hindu festivals and employ Brahmin priests to perform their religious rites. Shankar Bhagwan is their family deity and Sherawali Mata and Hanuman are village deities. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain "moksha" or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Bhantu visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Bhantu people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Bhantu fit into the working caste.


What Are Their Needs?

The level of literacy of the Bhantu is relatively high, but they struggle to find work due to their bad reputation. They need more access to higher and technical education. Bhantu who live in rural areas need access to modern medicine. They need good local schools for their children. Most of all the Bhantu must hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and make them part of His family.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to give the Bhantu a spiritual openness to examine the claims of Jesus Christ. Pray for a disciple making movement that will bless the Bhantu people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out workers to the Bhantu people to help them with their spiritual and physical needs.


Scripture Prayers for the Bhantu in India.


Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

People Name General Bhantu
People Name in Country Bhantu
Population this Country 15,000
Population all Countries 15,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bhatu; Sahaisi; Sahasi; भंतु
People ID 16427
ROP3 Code 111578
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 5
Largest States
Uttar Pradesh
14,000
Andaman and Nicobar
400
Maharashtra
300
Madhya Pradesh
60
Uttarakhand
40
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 5
  Uttar Pradesh 14,000
  Andaman and Nicobar 400
  Maharashtra 300
  Madhya Pradesh 60
  Uttarakhand 40
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Hindi (12,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
Awadhi
500
Kanauji
500
Kumaoni
40
Garhwali
Primary Language Hindi (12,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
  Awadhi 500
  Kanauji 500
  Kumaoni 40
  Garhwali 0
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  (1835-2019)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings DAVAR Partners recording, Old Testament DAVAR Partners International
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories One Story
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video A Beautiful Hope (EngSub) Create International
Film / Video Coconuts Create International
Film / Video Creation to Christ Create International
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hindi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.04 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.18 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.74 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.04 %
Unknown
0.00 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Arpan Indrekar 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more