Introduction / History
The Bandi claim the status of sudras, the lowest of the four caste levels. However, many Indians treat them as being Dalits, people outside of the Hindu system. Traditionally they have worked as village servants and in agriculture on land owned by others.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The primary language of the Bandi is Tamil. They also speak other local languages. Many resources are available in Tamil including a complete Bible, the JESUS Film and radio programs. There are few if any Bandi believers.
They live in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka.
In past times, Bandi did a variety of odd village jobs from cleaning copper pots to pounding rice, to collecting firewood to cleaning floors. Today they are more likely to be involved in agricultural work or to work for the government. Few own land. Unfortunately, they can become dependent on moneylenders. That means that they are not likely to get out of debt or poverty. They do have electricity and well water in their villages. Some Bandi young people are moving to Indian cities in search of a better life. They often have to take menial, low paying jobs due to their lack of education and job skills.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Bandi marry within their group. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. They often have a large number of children. Many of their children quit school after a few years to help their family make a living. Sons inherit their father’s property. Sons have the responsibility of taking care of elderly relatives. Illiteracy is a problem especially for Bandi women and girls. Since Bandi are considered dalits, they have to have their own Hindu priests and shrines.
The Bandi people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They 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 like Christians or Jews. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.
What Are Their Needs?
Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like 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 Bandi must learn new job skills to succeed in the modern Indian society. They need good schools for their children. Like all other peoples of the world, this people group needs the blessings and guidance that only Jesus Christ can offer. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray that the Bandi people will soon encounter the good news of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Lord to send loving workers to the Bandi people of southern India.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Bandi people in this decade.
Pray for spiritual hunger and discernment among the Bandi people.
Scripture Prayers for the Bandi (Hindu traditions) in India.