Introduction / History
The Ravalia or Raval are a people group of Hindu Dalits who live in west India. Their traditional occupation was transporting goods on camels or on ox carts. Modern trains and trucks have taken away their livelihood. Now they work at any job they kind find such as street sweepers, weavers, village shamans and priests and landless farm workers. The Ravalia are classified as a Scheduled Caste, which means they are eligible are special consideration in obtaining public job and university admissions. Illiteracy is a problem for the Ravalia. In a recent survey only 62% of the men and 42% of the women could read and right. If the Ravalia are to improve their place in Indian society, they will have to increase their literacy rate.
Where Are they Located?
The primary language of the Ravalia is Gujarati. Many of them also speak Hindi and other regional languages.
The vast majority of the Ravalia live in the Indian state of Gujarat. Smaller groups live in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The lives of the Ravalia are very difficult due to their Dalit status and lack of education. Simply getting enough food for their families is a daily struggle. Even though they are Hindus, they are denied entrance into Hindu temples and the services of Brahmin priests. The Ravalia must build their own shrines to their gods and function as their own priests.
What Are Their Needs?
They mostly live in rural villages without the modern conveniences of electricity and indoor plumbing.
The Ravalia marry within their group. Monogamy is the general rule with families arranging marriages. Girls are often married in their middle teens. Sons inherit what little property a father possesses. Widows are allowed to remarry.
The Ravalia are not vegetarians. They do not eat beef. Meat is often reserved for feast days. The main foods of the Ravalia are wheat, rice, lentils and seasonal vegetables.
The needs of this Dalit community are huge. Most of all they need to turn from their Hindu gods to the true God of the Bible. The Ravalia need training in job skills and in educating their children. They need the services of modern medical care. Access to clean water would decrease the many diseases that plague the Ravalia.
* Scripture Prayers for the Ravalia in India.
Pray that the Lord sends Christian workers to help meet the spiritual and physical needs of the Ravalia.
Pray God opens their hearts to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to the Ravalia people.