Introduction / History
The word mina means fish. The Meena tribe is believed to be a mixture of more than one tribe. It seems the fisher men community called Meenavar eventually became Meena, who are notoriously known as thieves and robbers. The Mina Bhil are a scheduled tribe which means they have low status in Hindu society. They have a low literacy level, so the gospel will need to be given in oral forms. They live in a swarth of land from Rajasthan in the west to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in central India. The Mina Bhil in Rajasthan speak Vagri and Bhil. Some of them can speak Hindi.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Meenas like to stay scattered. Most of the hills have not more than two or three houses. Each of these houses will have a single room and a single entrance. Since there are no windows, a door is the only source for light to creep in. This is ideal in a land of extreme climates. In summer when there is no agricultural activity, many of the men will be involved in making tiles. They bake hand-made clay tiles in fire. Ladies kill time by making brooms and mats from palm branches. To beat boredom some will be distilling liquor. Country liquor made from the mova flower is the common and favorite hot drink in the season. In summer, water is very scarce. In some places they even use sand to wash vessels! Water is precious in most places and fetching them is harder. Women walk quite a long away with several pots on head; this is a common scene in Rajasthan. Lack of education, illiteracy and lack of access to proper facilities keep the Meena under the clutches of several sicknesses. Tuberculosis and death during delivery is common in the villages. Though pastures are scanty, several of them are also involved in tending cattle, trying to make a living by the sale of milk products. They do not intermarry with other tribes. The younger brother of a deceased can marry his widow. It is told that a married man has freedom and access to his older brother's wife and wife's younger sister. Drums and dances are usual in weddings and other festivals. As the drum beats tightens, dresses loosen, and the dance can become indecent.
What Are Their Beliefs?
They are officially Hindu, but many of their beliefs are unique to them. In the empty slopes of a hill among the cactus were found stones installed and wooden poles stood with flags. These are places of offerings and chants. Meena in Udaipur area, worship spirits and the chief among them is 'Magarababji '. Meena believe in life after death and rebirth. Those who do well in this life are supposed to be born as stars in the next birth.
What Are Their Needs?
The Mina Bhil people need to put Jesus Christ first in their lives so He can give them the abundant life He offers those who call Him lord.
Pray that the council leaders come to Jesus Christ and lead others to Him. Pray that gospel recordings will lead them to salvation. Pray for spiritual discernment and a hunger for truth.
Scripture Prayers for the Bhil Mina in India.