Mahar (Buddhist traditions) in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

The Mahar people were historically a part of a low caste, the lowest caste in the Hindu social system. This classification caused the Mahar people to face extreme discrimination and legal restrictions on day-to-day activities, out of the fear that they might contaminate higher caste Hindus. These restrictions included items such as when they were allowed to be in the city, whether they were allowed to spit on the ground, and how loudly they were allowed to talk. The Mahar people worked primarily as low-skilled laborers and speak the Marathi language.

Beginning around 1900, the Mahar people experienced a slow social revolution where they began to become aware of and fight for more rights due to British influence. This culminated in the conversion of close to 500,000 Mahar individuals to Buddhism in 1956 led by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Those that converted to Buddhism are typically not associated with the Mahar people group any longer.


Where Are they Located?

The Mahar people are primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, which is named after them. They can also be found in the surrounding Indian states. There are also small Mahar communities that can be found in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Originally, the Mahar people lived in primarily rural communities, but now are also common in urban areas.


What Are Their Lives Like?

In 1949, the Indian constitution outlawed discrimination against the lowest Hindu social class. While this has helped the situation of those formerly in the low class, such as the Mahar people, they still face frequent residual discrimination.

Around the same time as the revolution led by Ambedkar, the Mahar people began to migrate to cities in search of work. They are often employed in low skilled labor such as masons, railway workers, bus/truck drivers, etc. In the rural areas, some Mahar people farm, though the Mahar people have never been an agricultural people group, likely due to their restricted access to land ownership.


Deep seated belief in Hindu gods and a lack of fervent believers in their communities make it hard for the Mahar people to find their way to the cross and the empty grave.
What Are Their Beliefs?

The Mahar people are primarily Hindu. They believe in the numerous Hindu gods and the reincarnation cycle based upon their good works. The Mahar also have a small Muslim presence. There have been small successes in evangelizing to the Mahar people, particularly during the social revolution around 1960. This led to small population of Christians amongst the Mahar.


What Are Their Needs?

Due to their historical and continual discrimination, the Mahar people face an uphill battle in daily life. Many struggle to obtain all the necessities of life. The Mahar people need both economic and social justice, in order to thrive.

Additionally, they need a spiritual revival. The country of India and the Hindu religion are not very tolerant to Christianity and converts. Christian Mahars will often face even further persecution or discrimination than what they experienced previously as Hindus.


Prayer Points

Pray that God will begin restorative justice amongst the Mahar people, both socially and economically.
Pray that God will raise up missionaries that have a heart for the Mahar people.
Pray that God will soften the hearts of the Mahar people and that they will be responsive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will establish a thriving church amongst the Mahar people and will give the current Christians the strength to persevere and continue evangelizing.
Pray for protection for the Mahar Christians from persecution.


Scripture Prayers for the Mahar (Buddhist traditions) in India.


Profile Source:   Levi Boxell  

People Name General Mahar (Buddhist traditions)
People Name in Country Mahar (Buddhist traditions)
Pronunciation mah-HAR
Alternate Names Abne; Amadha; Anantkulia; Andvan; Antyaja; Atishudra; Atisudra; Autkamble; Bhumia; Bhumiputra; Bhuyal; Chokhamela; Chokhapur; Dahia; Deharia; Dharnicheput; Dhed; Dhegu Megu; Domb; Holar; Holiya; Hulsava; Jharia; Kathivale; Mahar; Maharani; Maheri; Mahir; Mahobia; Mahri; Mala; Mehra; Mhar; Mhetre; Mirasi; Nahria; Parvari; Potraj; Taral; Thorlegharche; Tigda; Veskar; Yesker; महार (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
Population this Country 11,391,000
Population all Countries 11,401,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 228
People ID 17405
ROP3 Code 112805
ROP25 Code 304933
ROP25 Name Mahar
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 30
Largest States
(only 15 largest shown)
Maharashtra
9,765,000
Madhya Pradesh
972,000
Chhattisgarh
289,000
Karnataka
78,000
West Bengal
44,000
Telangana
38,000
Gujarat
35,000
Odisha
25,000
Goa
16,000
Andhra Pradesh
5,200
Tripura
4,200
Tamil Nadu
3,700
Delhi
3,500
Rajasthan
2,400
Uttar Pradesh
1,800
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 30  (only 20 largest shown)
  Maharashtra 9,765,000
  Madhya Pradesh 972,000
  Chhattisgarh 289,000
  Karnataka 78,000
  West Bengal 44,000
  Telangana 38,000
  Gujarat 35,000
  Odisha 25,000
  Goa 16,000
  Andhra Pradesh 5,200
  Tripura 4,200
  Tamil Nadu 3,700
  Delhi 3,500
  Rajasthan 2,400
  Uttar Pradesh 1,800
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
63.57 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.13 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
36.24 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.06 %
Unknown
0.00 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Marathi (8,665,000 speakers)
Language Code mar   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 18
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
348,000
Konkani
126,000
Chhattisgarhi
123,000
Ahirani
76,000
Khandesi
54,000
Bengali
39,000
Konkani, Goan
35,000
Odia
16,000
Nimadi
8,600
Gujarati
4,500
Malvi
3,400
Telugu
3,300
English
2,000
Kannada
1,400
Sindhi
1,300
Primary Language Marathi (8,665,000 speakers)
Language Code mar   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 18
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi 348,000
  Konkani 126,000
  Chhattisgarhi 123,000
  Ahirani 76,000
  Khandesi 54,000
  Bengali 39,000
  Konkani, Goan 35,000
  Odia 16,000
  Nimadi 8,600
  Gujarati 4,500
  Malvi 3,400
  Telugu 3,300
  English 2,000
  Kannada 1,400
  Sindhi 1,300
People Groups Speaking Marathi

Primary Language:  Marathi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1807-1957)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1811-1982)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1821-2022)
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
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Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online Audio Scripture Talking Bibles
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Bible General / Other
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories One Story
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Marathi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rock International: King of Glory Rock International
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
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General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
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General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
General Zume Resources Zume Project
General Zume Training Zume Project
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Levi Boxell 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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