Introduction / History
The Gadaria people were traditionally livestock breeders. They have two subgroups, the Dhangar and Nikhar. In the early 20th Century, they tried to appear to be higher on the caste pecking order by publishing two magazines and adding Kshatriya to their caste name. Now they are considered "Other Backward Castes," meaning they do not have either high or low status among Hindu communities. The vast majority live in India, but there are smaller populations of them in Bangladesh and Nepal.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Gadaria have virtually abandoned their traditional occupation of rearing sheep and goats. They are now mainly engaged as laborers in masonry work, while some are involved in animal husbandry. They engage Brahmins for birth, marriage and death rites and for imparting religious teachings.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Gadaria people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They 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 like Christians or Jews. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins. Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like 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.
What Are Their Needs?
Low literacy rates can be an obstacle to the gospel. If oral means of communication are effectively used, individuals can readily understand. Christian workers need to carry the message of Christ to the Gadaria community using stories from Scripture, as well as gospel recordings and films.
There may be no followers of Jesus among the Hindu Gadaria at the present time but pray for those the Lord will soon bring to himself. Pray He is preparing teachers and pastors for them and will also provide Scriptures and other study materials for them. Pray they will have teachable hearts. Pray for the Hindu Gadaria community to be able to care well for their families. Pray also for the widow and orphans among them, that they will be well cared for. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to this people group.
Scripture Prayers for the Gadaria (Hindu traditions) in Bangladesh.