Introduction / History
Their name comes from the Hindi word, Tant, which means loom. The Tanti are said to have originated as the weavers, providers of cloth, back in history as far as ancient Bengal. They were known for great skill in weaving and the ability to produce both fine linens as well as more common everyday fabrics. Not too long ago, virtually every Tanti home would have had a loom and cloth present.
Where Are they Located?
The Tanti people tend to live in villages outside of major metropolitan areas. They are slightly less concentrated than some groups because their designation started with their occupation rather than a particular tribe or group. They tend to be mixed with other lower caste groups that are also spread throughout the region. This makes it difficult to identify any one area as specifically "tanti". There are, however, villages that have been found to be primarily Tanti scattered throughout the areas mentioned, again with concentrations occurring mostly in Bihar.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The greatest concentration is believed to be in India's state of Bihar. There are also some to the west in Uttar Pradesh, and east in West Bengal, as well as Bangladesh. Finally, they have also been documented south into Orissa. A small number have moved north to Bhutan and Nepal.
Today, much of their trade has been taken over by factory production and imported goods. Many are now doing subsistence level work either of weaving or other manual labor within villages. They often do not have clean water or steady food supply.
What Are Their Beliefs?
In relation to the rest of Hindu society, they are seen as being part of the backward castes or the scheduled classes ("Dalit"). Evidence has been seen of both designations. Regardless of which is exactly right, they are definitely considered among the lower castes in Hindu society. A few have moved into cities and achieved an education and greater roles in society. This is still, however, limited to a small percentage of the overall people group.
Even those who live in Tibetan Buddhist Bhutan are Hindu. None of them have put their faith in Jesus Christ, so they remain an unreached people group.
What Are Their Needs?
They have a great need for clean water help with sanitation issues. Since so much of this group is found in rural India, they do not have ready access either to sanitation or medical facilities. Some groups are trying to help this situation by providing funds for water wells.
Pray that the Tanti people will find and embrace the Lord, who will accept them no matter what mankind thinks of them.
Pray for believers to reach out to these people.
Pray for a strong disciple making movement among the Tanti people in India and Bhutan.
Scripture Prayers for the Tanti (Hindu traditions) in Bhutan.