Introduction / History
The Kuchbandia or Kuchbandiya are a sub caste of the larger Kanjar peoples. They are a tribal people so other Hindus consider them to be Dalits. The British classified the Kuchbandia as a petty criminal caste. The Kuchbandia led a nomadic lifestyle until the 1950s when they began to settle down to live in permanent villages. With this reputation for illegal activity, Indian society tends to look down on the Kuchbandia. A recent newspaper article pointed out that many of their children do not have birth certificates so they are unable to go beyond grade five in government schools. The Kuchbandia often do not have a legal address so obtaining official documents is a challenge for them. Illiteracy is a major issue for the Kuchbandia.
Where Are they Located?
The main language of the Kuchbandia is Hindi. They also speak regional languages where they live. Many Christian resources are available in Hindi including a complete Bible and the JESUS Film. The gospel will need to be presented to the Kuchbandia in oral and visual form.
The Hindu Kuchbandia people live throughout western and central India. A tiny number of them live in Nepal.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally, the Kuchbandia were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Now they often live in tents made of bamboo and reeds outside rural Indian villages. They gather reeds from which rope is made. Some men work with iron to make and fix tools. Many adults and children work as landless agricultural laborers. Most Kuchbandia do not have electricity, indoors plumbing or access to clean water or modern medicine. The life expectancy of the Kuchbandia people is far less than the average citizen of India.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Families arrange marriages. The Kuchbandia marry within their group. Newly married couples live with or near the groom parents. Sons inherit what little property their parents own. Since the Kuchbandia are Dalits, they must employ their own priests and shamans. Village elders decide legal disputes.
The Kuchbandia are not vegetarians but as Hindus they will not eat beef. Meat is often reserved for special occasions. Their diet consists of rice, vegetables, and edible plants they can gather from the forest.
The Kuchbandia people practice Hinduism, heavily influenced by folk religion. They pay special reverence for Shiva, the destroyer god, Surya, the sun god and Durga, the mother goddess. 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. They visit Hindu shrines 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 many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
What Are Their Needs?
As a poor tribal people, the Kuchbandia have many needs. They need help in educating their children. They need access to clean water and modern medicine. Solar panel could bring them electricity. They need to learn new job skills. Most of all, the Kuchbandia need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can free them from their spiritual poverty and forgive their sins.
* Scripture Prayers for the Kuchbandia in India.
Pray for the Kuchbandia culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Kuchbandia family and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple making movement among the Kuchbandia people.
Pray that soon the Kuchbandia people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.