Raigar in India

Provided by Joshua Project
Raigar
Photo Source:  WestCoastMusketeer 
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Raigar
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 905,000
World Population: 905,000
Primary Language: Hindi
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - Other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Raigar or Regar are a Scheduled Caste who live in Rajastan, west India. Scheduled means they are eligible to receive special public jobs and university admissions. Raigar comes from the work meaning dyeing or tanning of leather. Since most Hindus consider that working with dead animals is distasteful, the Raigar are deemed Dalits or untouchables. Most Raigar are landless workers in the fields. Some have left their traditional occupation leatherworking and farming and become weavers of rugs, polishers of gems and makers of ornaments for trade. Unfortunately, many Raigar are illiterate.

A few Raigar have become educated and gone to cities to become professionals and
successful businesspersons.

The primary language of the Raigar is Hindi. They also speak Marwari and other regional languages.

Where Are they Located?

The vast majority of the Raigar live in the Indian state of Rajastan. A few also live in Punjab and Karnataka.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The lives of the Raigar, like all Scheduled castes, is difficult. It is a struggle to put enough food on the table for their families. They are shunned by upper caste Hindus and must live in rural villages in their own sections. Many of these villages lack access to clean water, indoors plumbing and electricity, things that westerners take for granted.

The Raigar marry within their castes but not within their particular clan. Families arrange marriages. Girls are often married off quite young. Sons inherit what little property a father may possess. The eldest son gets ownership of the family home and responsibility for his family.

The Raigar have their own priests and shrines because Brahmins will not help them. The Raigar are frequently denied entrance to Hindu temples by other Hindus.

Most Raigar are not vegetarians. As Hindus they will not eat beef. Meat is reserved for special occasions. Their main foods are wheat, rice, lentils and vegetables.

The Raigar have caste councils to promote their interests and settle legal disputes.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Raigar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. 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 Raigar visit their own village shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. The god Shiva, the destroyer, has a special place in Raigar worship.

The main yearly holidays of the Raigar people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.

What Are Their Needs?

The Raigar have many pressing needs. Most of all they need to hear and understand the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ workers could help the Raigar learn new job skills, obtain modern medicine and educate their children.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those Christians ministering to the Raigar people.
* Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring whole Raigar families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings.
* Pray that many of the Raigar people will come to love God with their whole being and will walk in His ways.

Text Source:   David Kugel