Introduction / History
The Bhathiara are a Hindu people who live in northeast India. Their name comes from a word for "boiled rice." The Bhathiara claim to be descendants of the last Pathan ruler of the Suri Empire of the 16th century. The traditional occupation of the Bhathiara was that of innkeeper. They would house and feed travelers along the trade routes of north India. The Bhathiara would provide a mat and a place to sleep for a modest price. They would provide rice, curry, kabobs and water for travelers.
Where Are they Located?
The job of being innkeepers has declined among the Bhathiara in modern times.
Now they work in agriculture, factories and in small businesses. Some Bhathiara have taken advantage of Indian's educational system and become professionals in medicine, law, engineering and computer science.
Lack of education is a problem among the Bhathiara. The literacy rate among their women is only 62%.
The primary language of the Hindu Bhathiara is Odia. They also speak other regional languages.
The vast majority of the Hindu Bhathiara lives in the Indian state of Odisha. A smaller group lives in Gujarat. There is a much larger group of Muslim Bhathiara who live in north India and in Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Bhathiara often live in their own sections of the cities and villages in Odisha. They are strictly endogamous, that is, they marry within their caste and clan. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Sons inherit their father's property. Newly married couples frequently live with or near the groom's parents. Brahmin priests officiate at important life events like births, weddings and funerals. The Bhathiara cremate their dead.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Bhathiara are not vegetarians. They eat meat except for beef. Their main foods are wheat, rice, lentils, vegetables and dairy products.
Caste councils promote their interests and settle legal disputes.
The Hindu Bhathiara worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hinduism is the ancient religion of India. The Bhathiara visit Hindu temples and offer flowers, food, prayers and incense to their gods. They believe that by performing rituals and good deeds that they achieve moksha or freedom, and can escape the endless cycle or birth, dead and rebirth.
What Are Their Needs?
The Bhathiara participate in the yearly Hindu holidays of Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.
The Bhathiara need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. They need to see that only Jesus can forgive them for their sins. The would benefit by seeing the love and mercy of Christ lived out before them by Christian workers. The Bhathiara need help in educating their children and in gaining job skills.
* Pray for Bhathiara families to be drawn to Jesus and to the Bible to find out more about this man, Jesus.
* Pray for Bhathiara families and communities to discover and embrace the free gift of life found by trusting Christ and his finished work.
* Pray that the Bhathiara would be open to the gospel and that the Lord would raise up Bible-believing churches among them.