Mahar (Hindu traditions) in India


Population
10,296,000
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Mahar people were historically a part of the Untouchables 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 and the labeling of them as Untouchables. While this has helped the situation of those formerly in the Untouchables 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.


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.


Profile Source:   Levi Boxell  

People Name General Mahar (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Mahar (Hindu traditions)
Population in India 10,296,000
World Population 10,307,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1 to 2
Progress Scale 1
GSEC 5  (per PeopleGroups.org)
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)
People ID 17405
ROP3 Code 112805
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 30
Largest States
(only 15 largest shown)
Maharashtra
(8,832,000)
Madhya Pradesh
(885,000)
Chhattisgarh
(305,000)
Karnataka
(87,000)
West Bengal
(47,000)
Gujarat
(36,000)
Odisha
(33,000)
Telangana
(33,000)
Goa
(17,000)
Rajasthan
(6,600)
Tripura
(3,700)
Tamil Nadu
(3,200)
Delhi
(2,900)
Uttar Pradesh
(1,500)
Kerala
(1,100)
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 30  (only 20 largest shown)
  Maharashtra (8,832,000)
  Madhya Pradesh (885,000)
  Chhattisgarh (305,000)
  Karnataka (87,000)
  West Bengal (47,000)
  Gujarat (36,000)
  Odisha (33,000)
  Telangana (33,000)
  Goa (17,000)
  Rajasthan (6,600)
  Tripura (3,700)
  Tamil Nadu (3,200)
  Delhi (2,900)
  Uttar Pradesh (1,500)
  Kerala (1,100)
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Marathi (8,517,000 speakers)
Language Code mar   Ethnologue Listing
Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 19
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
(724,000)
Chhattisgarhi
(161,000)
Konkani
(147,000)
Konkani, Goan
(111,000)
Ahirani
(99,000)
Khandesi
(85,000)
Bengali
(48,000)
Odia
(23,000)
Gujarati
(9,200)
Nimadi
(8,800)
English
(3,200)
Sindhi
(2,500)
Telugu
(2,100)
Kannada
(1,700)
Malvi
(1,400)
People Groups Speaking Marathi
Primary Language Marathi (8,517,000 speakers)
Language Code mar   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 19
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi (724,000)
  Chhattisgarhi (161,000)
  Konkani (147,000)
  Konkani, Goan (111,000)
  Ahirani (99,000)
  Khandesi (85,000)
  Bengali (48,000)
  Odia (23,000)
  Gujarati (9,200)
  Nimadi (8,800)
  English (3,200)
  Sindhi (2,500)
  Telugu (2,100)
  Kannada (1,700)
  Malvi (1,400)
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   (1821-2002)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Bible
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Marathi
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Marathi
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gods Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Bible-in-Your-Language
Text / Printed Matter Bibles, Bible League
Text / Printed Matter EasyBibles
Text / Printed Matter Fathers Love Letter
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.12 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.88 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Isudas   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source Levi Boxell  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Religion Values * From India census data.  Current values may differ.


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