Introduction / History
The Zamral are a relatively small group of people who make their home primarily in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. They consider themselves Shudra. Shudra is the lowest and fourth Varna, or division in the formal Hindu caste system. They are not, however, part of the very lowest communities, the untouchables or Dalits.
What Are Their Lives Like?
They are typically farmers, craftsmen and day laborers. Many have migratory jobs. Other than that, they are engaged in making baskets and, to a lesser degree, roofs from bamboo. They sell mats and baskets in the markets. The role of women is very important in the production of baskets as well as in other parts of society. They marry only within their group but not within their clan. They eat millet and wheat as their primary cereals. They eat meat except for beef. They speak the Nimari or Nimadi language at home and Hindi for communication outside of the group.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Zamral practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Shankar, Parvati and Hanuman are their patron deities. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain "moksha" or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Zamral visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Zamral people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Zamral are Shudra or the working caste.
What Are Their Needs?
There is a need for literacy training among them as the vast majority cannot read or write. They could make use of development programs having to do with education, electricity, medical, family welfare, communication and even grants from the government which benefit their basket-making industry. Most of all the Zamral need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Zamral (Hindu traditions) in India.
Ask God to give the Zamral a spiritual hunger that will lead them to find out more about Jesus. Pray for a disciple making movement that will bless the Zamral people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out workers to the Zamral people to help meet their spiritual and physical needs.