Introduction / History
The Rabaris have 133 subcastes. They believe they were created by Pavarti, the consort of Lord Shiva, who created a camel that kept escaping. To keep the camel, Parvati created the first Rabari to mind it. Since that time animal herding has been a sacred task for them. The Rabari view themselves as stewards rather than owners. The ancestors of the Rabari people probably migrated from Central Asia about a thousand years ago. They were traditionally nomadic, but this is changing in both India and Pakistan. They live mainly in north India though a small number live in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Rabari means "outsider" describes how nomadic people are perceived in much of the world.
What Are Their Lives Like?
They are livestock herders who are noted for their fine artwork, usually done by the women. This artwork consists of whitewashed mud sculptures and weaved goods. The women also weave things for practical use like clothes, blankets and bags. The Rabari people often live on the outskirts of cities and towns. Most of the Rabari are vegetarian while some are non-vegetarian; their everyday diet consists of homemade bread of millet or wheat and jowar. Child marriage is common among them. However, they usually have adult marriages that are negotiated through the families. They allow for remarriage for both the widow and widower. The Rabari live in joint families. Children work with their parents.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Rabari regard Durga and Shiva as their supreme deities. Shiva, Krishna, Durga and Amba are their clan deities. Rama, Ganesh, Shiva, Durgadevi and Hanuman are also worshipped as village deities. Every year they hold a three-day festival at Asthal Bohar. Because of their origin myth, the Rabari people have a special relationship with Parvati, whom they consult for big decisions. Because of their special relationship with Parvati, whom they regard as a Mother Goddess, their society is matriarchal, with women conducting most of their business affairs and managing their villages while the men keep charge of the livestock.
What Are Their Needs?
The Rabari people in Pakistan need to find new ways to earn a living. There is less and less room for herdsmen in this part of the world.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Rabari people in India and Pakistan. Pray for the Rabari people to have a spiritual hunger that will drive them into the loving arms of Jesus. Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will stay with the Rabari people until they have the chance to form their own church planting movement.
Scripture Prayers for the Rabari (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan.