Kaibartta in Bhutan

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Matt Hahnewald - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Kaibartta
Country: Bhutan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,200
World Population: 1,906,200
Primary Language: Assamese
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Dalit - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kaibartta probably migrated from Burma and China to their current locations in India and Bangladesh around 2000 B.C. From earliest days the Kaibartta have been known as fishermen. Even their name may have come from "Ka" (meaning water) and "vrit" (exist) or varta (livelihood).

Where Are they Located?

These are a people found throughout West Bengal, Bangladesh and a few live in Bhutan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The literacy rate of these Hindu fishermen is very low. They chew betel nuts, smoke beedis and cigarettes. Women do not participate in socio-religious or political activities. When there is a dispute, elderly men meet in the community hall to settle the matter.
Most of them fish for a living. They have low status in Hindu communities, but the caste system is weaker in Bhutan where there is a much stronger Buddhist influence.

Kaibartta enjoy festive dances. The Chaiti Ghoda Naacha dance is a dance honoring Vasuli Devi, their primary Hindu god. It is the people's most favorite and famous dance. One male and one female dress in colorful attire and sing and dance around a wooden or bamboo horse, which is an idol of Vasuli Devi.

Another dance that is near to the affections of the Kaibartta is the Chaiti Parva, a dance that worships boats. The Kaibartta enjoy this dance so much because it does not require the presence of a Brahmin priest to perform.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kaibartta are a Hindu people. They recognize the existence of the Hindu gods, and even lay claim to one - Vasuli Devi - as their primary Hindu god, paying their homage to him every April in a dance called "Chaiti Ghoda Naacha." Yet, underneath the veneer of Hinduism, the Kaibartta also believe in the existence of spirits, and therefore, are rightly considered by some to be animists.

The Kaibartta are more fervent for animism than for Hinduism, and therefore, are not orthodox Hindus. Yet, their fervency for Vasuli Devi as well as other spirits ought to suggest, again, that the presentation of the gospel ought to begin with a recognition of spirits and an introduction to the Supreme God over these spirits.

Kaibartta folklore tells of a story about how the supreme god made man out of the dirt of his ear; man is subsequently saved by this god from a gigantic fish. Afterwards, the Kaibartta were given a goddess horse to be the primary deity, and the horse died! Only through worshiping this goddess do the Kaibartta believe they can receive salvation.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kaibartta in Bhutan struggle with illiteracy and a need for more community solidity. The majority of the Kaibartta are illiterate.

Prayer Points

Ask the God of the Universe to reveal himself to the Kaibartta fishermen.
Pray for this fishing community to see the value of worshipping only the one true God.
Ask the Holy Spirit to dispel the darkness of unbelief in this fishing community.
Pray for a disciple-making movement to flourish among them.

Text Source:   Keith Carey