Birhor in India


Population
22,000
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The name "Birhor" suggests, "men of the forest." Their lives revolve entirely around forests.

These dark-skinned, short-statured, long-headed, wavy-haired and broad-nosed people belong to the Mundari group of tribes.


Where Are they Located?

They are found mainly in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Birhor population in all three states put together is relatively small and is declining with disappearing forests.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Originally hunters, the Birhors, also known as Mankidias, live entirely on forest produce. They love to eat monkey meat and are extremely skilled in trapping any animal. Trapping rabbits, weaving ropes, selling a few baskets when they can, the Birhors seem to live in a different age.

It is only recently that they have started rope-making as their main economic activity. Their need for rice is met through buying it from others in the area, in exchange for forest products.

The Government made huge efforts to settle them, but except for one or two settlements, other Birhors are always on the move.


What Are Their Beliefs?

They are nomadic, moving from one place in the forest to another, setting up their places of worship as they go to a new place. The Birhor follow a mixture of animism and Hinduism. The sun god and ancestral family spirits rank very high in their religion. Due to contacts with Hindu neighbours, they have added some more gods into their list.

Birhors believe that the whole universe is created and presided over by Sing Bonga, the sun god and his wife. Christian ministry has been difficult due to their nomadic nature. Yet there are a few Birhor settlements where there are a few Christians.


What Are Their Needs?

Their birth rate is low and their death rate is high, dwindling their population as the years go by. Most of them are addicted to alcohol. They would like to send their children to school, but cannot afford it. Malnutrition is written across their faces, especially among children.

The Birhor literacy rate is very low and as a result, they fall an easy prey to those who exploit them. Literacy initiatives, hand in hand with Bible translation can bring about a transformation in their lives. They need God's Word in the language that speak to their hearts so that they can understand the love of the Almighty God.


Prayer Points

* Pray for God to break the spiritual and physical bondages that keep the Birhors in poverty, superstitions, ill health etc.
* Pray for the Birhors who have received the light of the gospel to share effectively with other Birhors.
* Pray for God to raise up Christian ministers to work among the Birhor in a culturally appropriate way.
* Pray for A mother tongue translation team to be trained well and translate the Scripture into Birhor.


Profile Source:   Anonymous  
Expanded PDF Profile

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-10-11
People Name General Birhor
People Name in Country Birhor
Population in India 22,000
World Population 22,700
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Unreached No
Progress Scale 2
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Birhul, Burlur, Manki, Mankidi, Mankirdia, बिरहोर
People ID 16461
ROP3 Code 111625
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 9
Largest States
Jharkhand
(13,000)
Assam
(3,300)
Chhattisgarh
(2,400)
West Bengal
(1,400)
Odisha
(1,000)
Bihar
(500)
Maharashtra
(300)
Madhya Pradesh
(200)
Tripura
(40)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 9
  Jharkhand (13,000)
  Assam (3,300)
  Chhattisgarh (2,400)
  West Bengal (1,400)
  Odisha (1,000)
  Bihar (500)
  Maharashtra (300)
  Madhya Pradesh (200)
  Tripura (40)
Website South Asia Peoples

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.


Ethnologue Language Map
Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Birhor (7,700 speakers)
Language Code biy   Ethnologue Listing
Written Unknown
Total Languages 35
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
(2,900)
Santhali
(2,700)
Assamese
(2,100)
Bengali
(1,300)
Odia
(800)
Mundari
(600)
Chhattisgarhi
(500)
Sadri
(500)
Ho
(500)
Munda
(300)
Marathi
(200)
Bhili
(70)
Kurux
(60)
Nepali
(50)
Gujarati
(40)
People Groups Speaking Birhor
Primary Language Birhor (7,700 speakers)
Language Code biy   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 35
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi (2,900)
  Santhali (2,700)
  Assamese (2,100)
  Bengali (1,300)
  Odia (800)
  Mundari (600)
  Chhattisgarhi (500)
  Sadri (500)
  Ho (500)
  Munda (300)
  Marathi (200)
  Bhili (70)
  Kurux (60)
  Nepali (50)
  Gujarati (40)
People Groups Speaking Birhor

Primary Language:  Birhor

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions No
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.18 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
7.37 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
87.81 %
Islam
0.07 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
4.57 %
Profile Source Anonymous  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Religion Values * From India census data.  Current values may differ.


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