Dhimal in India

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

Most Dhimal people live in mountainous nation of Nepal. Some also live in the Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar. The Dhimal are an indigenous people whose former lifestyle involved hunting and gathering in the forests of the Indian subcontinent. Today most Dhimal work as landless, agricultural laborers. Most Dhimal live in poverty with little hope for the future. Illiteracy is a major problem for the Dhimal, especially among women. As a tribal people, the Dhimal are outside of the Hindu caste system. Many Hindus therefore will not associate with them.

The main language of the Dhimal depends upon where they live. They speak Rangpuri, Maithili, Dhimal and Hindi.

Where Are they Located?

The Dhimal live in villages in northeast India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Indian government has curtailed Dhimal's former livelihood of hunting and gathering. The Dhimal work long hours in fields owned by others. Besides working in the fields, Dhimal women weave baskets, mats and rugs for cash. If crops fail, the Dhimal face starvation. Dhimal children are often not welcomed at government schools so their cycle of poverty continues.
The main foods of the Dhimal are rice and grains. They are not vegetarians but as Hindus they will not consume beef. Meat is often reserved for special occasions.

The Dhimal marry within their group. Families arrange marriages. Sons inherit what little property their father owns.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Dhimal consider themselves Hindus but orthodox Hindus think they are more animists than members of their religion. The Dhimal worship and serve Chaitanya and Nityananda, Hindu mystics of the 16th century, as their patron deities. The Dhimal also worship other deities like Buda Thakur, Sadi Buri, and Kali, the goddess of sex and destruction.

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 Dhimal visit their Hindu shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
The main yearly holidays of the Dhimal people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
There are a few hundred believers among the Dhimal.

What Are Their Needs?

The Dhimal have huge needs. They need help in educating their children and in learning new job skills. They need access to electricity, indoor plumbing and modern medicine. Most of all, the Dhimal need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ who alone can forgive their sins and give them hope.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Dhimal people in India teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Dhimal families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Dhimal family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Scripture Prayers for the Dhimal in India.



Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

People Name General Dhimal
People Name in Country Dhimal
Pronunciation dee-MAHL
Alternate Names Agnia; Dhemal; Dhimar; Jharwa; Maulik; धिमल
Population this Country 6,100
Population all Countries 38,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 11544
ROP3 Code 102575
ROP25 Code 302069
ROP25 Name Dhimal
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 2
Largest States
West Bengal
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 2
  West Bengal 3,700
  Bihar 2,300
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
88.89 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
1.89 %
9.22 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Maithili (1,600 speakers)
Language Code mai   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Maithili (1,600 speakers)
Language Code mai   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
  Bengali 1,000
  Hindi 800
  Rajbanshi 800
  Dhimal 800
People Groups Speaking Maithili

Primary Language:  Maithili

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2010)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories One Story
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Maithili Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
General Zume Resources Zume Project
General Zume Training Zume Project
Mobile App Android Bible app: Maithili YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Maithili YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Children and youth resources One Hope
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book General / Other
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Maithili Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter The Ancient Path Live Global
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source Munal Chaudhary - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Keith Carey 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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