Introduction / History
The Bhanumatis were traditionally magicians and tight-rope walkers. Through the years they lost the financial patronage from feudal chiefs.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Among their own community, they speak Malvi, but they use Hindi when communicating with outsiders. They have less contact with other communities than most Dalit groups.
Though they are from the Rajasthani people group cluster, most of them live either in Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh than in the state of Rajasthan.
Today they are engaged in both agricultural and non-agricultural work. Women often work as day laborers, but sadly, it is very common for unmarried Bhanumati girls to engage in prostitution. Though this line of "work" is socially approved in their communities, they pay a high price for it. Bhanumati prostitutes must live in separate houses with their illegitimate children. Only midwifes from their own community will deliver babies born to prostitutes, since women from other communities will not deliver an illegitimate child.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Bhanumati 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 Bhanumati people need to find the dignity and purpose of following Jesus Christ, the one who provides life to the full.
Their isolation from other communities may prove to be a challenge to taking the gospel to them. Pray for the Lord to make a way for Bhanumati people to find and embrace their true Savior.
Pray for the Bhanumati people to turn to Christ as a group and become an example of what Jesus can do for a people who submit to him.
Scripture Prayers for the Bhanumati in India.
The Scheduled Castes K. S. Singh, ed. Oxford University Press, USA (1994)