Introduction / History
The Rajwar are a Dalit or untouchable caste in northeast India. They are a recognized Scheduled Caste, which means the Rajwar are eligible for special public jobs and college admissions. Since the Middle Ages, the Rajwar have served as soldiers in the armies of the northeast India.
Where Are they Located?
Today, most Rajwar work as landless farm laborers. Illiteracy is a major problem for them. Without a basic education there is little hope they can move beyond the mere subsistence level. Some educated young Rajwar have moved to the cities and taken jobs in factories and in public service. Unfortunately, many Rajwar still live in primitive conditions in rural villages without electricity or indoor plumbing.
The primary languages of Rajwar are Hindi, Bengali and Magahi. They also speak other regional languages.
The large majority of the Rajwar live in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and
What Are Their Lives Like?
West Bengal. Smaller groups of Rajwar live in other areas of India and in Bangladesh.
Poverty is a huge problem for the Dalit Rajwar people. Much of this issue has to do with their lack of education and Hindu religion. The Dalits or Untouchable castes "deserve" their low status due their sins in their previous lives according to the tenets of Hinduism. Even though they are Hindus, they are often denied entrance into Hindu temples and the services of Brahmin priests.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Rajwar live in villages without the blessings of modern life. They are endogamous, that is, they marry within their own group. Families arrange marriages, which are officiated by their priests not Brahmins. Sons inherit what little property a father may possess.
The Rajwar are not vegetarians. However, due to their economic condition, meat is reserved for special days. As Hindus, they will not eat beef. Their main foods are rice, wheat and vegetables.
The Rajwar cremate adults who die and buy dead children.
The Rajwar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Since they cannot enter Hindu temples, they building their own shrines to their gods. The Rajwar offer food, flowers, prayers and incense to their gods. They believe that by performing rituals and living a good life, they can attain a better life in their next reincarnation. They also engage in folk religion to ward off evil spirits.
What Are Their Needs?
The Rajwar participate in the yearly Hindu holidays of Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the nine-day celebration of autumn.
The needs of the Rajwar people are great. Most of all they need to hear and believe the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. They need help in the education of adults and children. They need job training so they are break out of the cycle of poverty. They need to see that there is hope in Jesus.
* Pray that Indian Christians would be moved to reach out and share the gospel with the gospel with the Rajwar.
* Pray that the Rajwar will turn away from Hinduism and embrace the hope that only the God of the Bible can offer.
* Pray that Bible-believing churches would begin in the Rajwar community.