Introduction / History
The name Gadaria means “one who tends sheep.” Taking care of and rearing sheep and goats has been the traditional occupation of the Gadaria people of north India for hundreds of years. A sub-group of the larger Gadaria peoples are the Dhingar Gadaria who live in Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states. Their primary language is Hindi. They also speak the languages of the areas where they live. A revised copy of the Hindi Bible became available in 2012. The Dhingar are a mostly oral culture so the gospel must be presented to them in audio and visual form.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Today most Dhingar Gadaria still follow the profession of their ancestors, the herding sheep and goats. They sell the animals, wool, hides, milk, and meat to purchase things that they cannot make for themselves. Women also weave woolen blankets to sell. Many Dhingar own small or medium size plots of land where they grow vegetables and fruit. Their women help the men with the animals and grow the crops along with taking care of the children. Many Gadaria children quit school early to help their parents earn a living. Some of the Dhingar have left their traditional occupation and have become construction and factory workers. Some educated Gadaria work for the government and teach for a living. The Dhingar Gadaria marry within their group but not within the same village. Marriage to one spouse is the norm although a man may take another wife if his first wife is unable to have children. Sons inherit the property of their father. They use both modern and traditional medicines. Each village has a shaman or village priest who gives out medical remedies and helps protect the Dhingar from “evil spirits.”
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Dhingar Gadaria practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. The Hinduism of the Dhingar is mixed with animism or the belief in spirits inhabiting the objects of nature. The Dhingar give special reverence to Vishnu and his avatars Krishna and Rama. 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 Dhingar visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Dhingar 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 Dhingar Gadaria consider themselves to be Vaishyas but other Hindus see them as Shudras, the working caste.
What Are Their Needs?
Rural Dhingar need good schools for their children. The villages where the Dhingar live may not have access to modern medicine clean water or electricity. Most of all, the Dhingar need to hear and understand the gospel. Jesus is much more than another Hindu god or guru. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gadaria Dhingar in India.
*Ask the Lord to send workers to the Dhingar Gadaria to meet their spiritual and physical needs. *Pray that Dhingar parents are able to adequately provide for their children. *Pray for Dhingar families and communities to discover and embrace the free gift of life found by trusting Christ and His finished work. *Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Dhingar Gadaria in this decade.
https://peoplegroupsindia.com/profiles/gadaria/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadaria https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/now-gadaria-in-scheduled-caste-category-109862