Mech in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
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

The Mech settled centuries ago in the sub-Himalayan regions of Assam and West Bengal. They are members of the Mongoloid race, who moved from the north into southwestern China. Most eventually migrated into Burma and Indonesia, but a branch of the tribe remained in India. Today, the Mech build their villages in the forests and hills of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch-Behar districts. Related to the Bodo and Kachari, they speak Bodo, a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

While living under Brahmin influence, the Mech embraced Hinduism and took Hindu surnames for themselves. An ancient tradition claims that the Mech are descendants of the god Shiva ("the destroyer"). Although they have mixed with other peoples, they have retained social class divisions, or septs. These include classes of priests, warriors, and farmers. The divisions are not to be mistaken for castes, as there is no prohibition against intermarriage or eating together.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Mech are very hospitable, friendly people. They are amiable, intelligent, and honest. Although they have an ancient history of being headhunters, they are free from arrogance, revenge, and cruelty. The Mech marry within their own tribe and within any of their septs. Women are forbidden to engage in any premarital sexual activity, and any sexual offenses are heavily punished. Husbands generally have great respect for their wives, who have absolute control over the household affairs and are consulted in all family and social matters. Most households consist of extended families, as the sons bring their wives home after marriage. Fathers are responsible for training their sons in economic skills, and mothers train their daughters in household duties.

In the early 1900s, the Mech were nomadic people, practicing swidden (slash and burn) agriculture. There were few people and much land; thus, this type of erratic agriculture did not affect the country at all. Now, however, with growing populations in the region, they have become permanent farmers, using bulls and plows in their cultivation of the soil. Rice is their principal cash crop, but they are experts in growing the areaca nut and betel leaves, two powerful stimulants. Recently, they have begun to grow maize as an additional food supplement.

The Mech have a close affinity with the earth, referring to it as the "human mother." Harvests cannot be fruitful, they believe, without first worshiping the Great Mother through offering an animal sacrifice and performing the ritual dance.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Mech religious beliefs are a blend of animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits) and Hinduism. Like many tribes, their idea of gods developed from the concept of "dynamism" or "power." Anything that appeared to possess superhuman power was regarded as an object of worship. The Mech worshipped-and still worship-the rivers, forests, celestial bodies, snakes, and certain plants. Tree-worship is an important custom, for every tree is a symbol of life. The Mech believe that trees have souls like their own and that the tree-soul is capable of being transferred to humans and animals. The great god of the Mech-the Bathou (the Euphorbia plant)-is worshipped in every Mech household. Most of the ancient Mech gods now have Vedic names but have retained the old, animistic qualities.

Except for the use of lumps of dirt in the worship of the earth, the Mech traditionally have no idols. However, the influence of Hindu culture has caused some of the Mech to begin making idols of gods in recent years.


What Are Their Needs?

As in most animistic cultures, the Mech live in fear of the spirits of nature. Only through appeasement can they have peace or success in life, but no one is sure when or if the spirits are appeased. The Mech need liberation from such oppressive beliefs. Their culture is also in great transition economically. A large percentage of Mech have encumbered unmanageable debt, and may face lives of poverty in the near future.


Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord will set the Mech free from fear of their gods.
Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies that are focusing on the Mech.
Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio in their area.
Pray that the Lord will raise up long term workers to join the few who have already responded.
Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work begun in the hearts of the Mech believers.


Scripture Prayers for the Mech in India.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

People Name General Mech
People Name in Country Mech
Alternate Names Bodo Kacari; Boro; Kachari; Kachari Mech; Mec; Meche; मेच
Population this Country 65,000
Population all Countries 72,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 6  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 17526
ROP3 Code 112946
ROP25 Code 303448
ROP25 Name Kachari
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 7
Largest States
West Bengal
49,000
Assam
12,000
Arunachal Pradesh
1,600
Meghalaya
1,200
Andaman and Nicobar
100
Manipur
70
Tripura
50
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 7
  West Bengal 49,000
  Assam 12,000
  Arunachal Pradesh 1,600
  Meghalaya 1,200
  Andaman and Nicobar 100
  Manipur 70
  Tripura 50
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.31 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
27.22 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
72.06 %
Islam
0.24 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.03 %
Unknown
0.14 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Boro (India) (40,000 speakers)
Language Code brx   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 38
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Assamese
9,600
Bengali
2,500
Sadri
300
Gujarati
300
Nepali
200
Hindi
200
Rajbanshi
200
Santhali
200
Koda
100
Kachari
100
Kurux
80
Marathi
30
Tulu
20
Rabha
20
Bhojpuri
20
Primary Language Boro (India) (40,000 speakers)
Language Code brx   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 38
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Assamese 9,600
  Bengali 2,500
  Sadri 300
  Gujarati 300
  Nepali 200
  Hindi 200
  Rajbanshi 200
  Santhali 200
  Koda 100
  Kachari 100
  Kurux 80
  Marathi 30
  Tulu 20
  Rabha 20
  Bhojpuri 20
People Groups Speaking Boro (India)
Photo Source Siddharthdhodapkar - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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