Introduction / History
Because of their tribal background and lack of literacy skills, people know very little about the history of the Paharias. The Paharias live mainly in the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. There are also scattered groups of them in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha. They have two subgroups.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Paharias are one of India’s poorest tribes. The Indian government labels them a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. If they didn’t have government welfare programs, many would starve. They used to have access to bamboo, which they used for weaving baskets, but today they need to walk for two days to find a good source of this resource. The Indian government is trying to find ways for them to earn a living by offering a couple of jobs, but ultimately, the Pardhis will need education and training.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Pahari are all Hindu and follow the basic Hindu customs and traditions. "Hinduism" has no founder, no prophet, and no instructional system. It is a way of living much more than a theology; it is a philosophy more than a religion. Contrary to popular belief in the West, Hinduism is not an ancient, fixed set of beliefs. Rather, it is a body of customs, practices, and beliefs that go through major changes every few hundred years.
What Are Their Needs?
The majority, though not all, of Hindus believe in a supreme being. Some respect all life and eat only vegetables, while others will gladly eat meat from sacrifices in the temple. To some, their religion is highly personal; to others, it is impersonal. While most Hindus worship Brahman (the creator), Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and the goddess Shaktri, they also worship a pantheon of other minor gods, their incarnations, spouses, or offspring. A belief in reincarnation (continual cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.
Most Hindu groups also have their own unique beliefs and deities, and the Pardhis are no exception. They worship their elders. Their three gods are Dharti, Gorasi and Gosai.
The Paharias cannot continue to live as they have in the past. Believers with marketable skills can teach the youth ways to earn a living in the modern world.
Pray that God will send culturally sensitive missionaries who will show the Paharia community the way to the cross.
Pray for a Christ-ward movement to flourish among the Paharia people in the 2020s.
Pray for the Paharia people to be blessed with peace, joy and spiritual prosperity as they follow Jesus Christ.
Pray for their leaders to have dreams and visions that will open their hearts to Jesus Christ and his ambassadors.
Scripture Prayers for the Paharia in India.