Introduction / History
The Julaha of India live in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Jammu, Kashmir and Delhi. Julaha comes from the Persian word "julah", meaning a ball of thread. They weave cloth. They are a Scheduled Caste. This gains them some government work and other government benefits such as parliamentary seats.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Julaha speak the languages of the states they live in. For example they speak Kangri and Chambali in Himachal Pradesh. In Haryana they speak Haryanvi. In Delhi they speak Hindi, Rajasthani or Haryanvi. They read and write in Devanagari. In Chandigarh though they speak Punjabi and read and write in Gurumukhi. They belong to the Shudra caste which is the fourth lowest of the Hindu castes. The higher castes do not accept food and water from them and the Julaha do not have food from people they look at as lower than themselves.
Though many of the Julaha now look for other work, some weave at the present time making rougher cloth for bedspreads and rugs on the floor. They have cooperatives to help them sell cloth at local markets. Some work as skilled or unskilled laborers and some have businesses such as shops. In Himachal Pradesh they build roads and do forestry work. Some work on farms. Many of them are not landowners. They do other kinds of work too. The Julaha children work also. Some work on looms. Others work in roadside restaurants and factories for example, when their families are poor.
The Julaha have a low level of literacy (so they probably need the gospel message to be in oral form too). They do family planning and they use local and modern medicines. They have electricity and water. They have been given land for cultivating in Himachal Pradesh.
The Julaha are endogamous (they only marry in their own community). They are exogamous at clan level, choosing partners from a clan other than their own. Adult marriages are taking the place of child marriages but not completely as yet. Families arrange the marriages. Monogamy is the most favored way. A dowry is paid by the parents of the bride to the family of the bridegroom. Divorce is disliked and does not happen very often but is allowed in certain cases for example for adultery, cruelty and being non compatible. Divorcees and the bereaved can marry again. Some live in smaller families with children and parents while others live in larger families with other relatives. Inheritance is given only to sons. The women do housework and do weaving and raising cattle. They are involved in religious and social activities. The Julaha are good at performing comedy. (Maybe Christians with a good sense of humor could give the gospel to them). The Julaha have Panchayats, which are community councils at village and regional level and they judge local issues.
The Julaha are Hindus or Sikhs. The Hindus worship Hindu gods and goddesses and celebrate Hindu festivals. They have fasts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays each week. Brahmin priests do the rituals but in Himachal Pradesh they have a local priest called a Purohit. The deceased are cremated and the Ganges at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh is the favorite place for this. They worship ancestors. They believe in witchcraft and look to sorcerers to cure diseases.
The Sikh Julaha in Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi follow their ten gurus and their religious book called the Guru Granth Sahib. They believe in the creator of the universe (an opportunity to explain about Jesus Christ) and they believe in equality. The priest is called a Giani. They have Sikh festivals.