Introduction / History
The Tamboli are a people of South Asia traditionally associated with the production and distribution of the betel leaf and areca nut. Millions of people of South Asia and the Pacific chew areca or betel nut as a mild stimulant much like Westerners drink coffee or tea. In fact, the name Tamboli comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "betel leaf." Most Tamboli speak Hindi and another regional language. Many resources are available in Hindi including a complete Bible, the JESUS Film and radio programs.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Though the vast majority of Hindu Tamboli are in India, a smaller number of Tamboli lives in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia.
Entire Tamboli families work in the betel nut industry. Children often quit school at the age of nine or ten to help their family business. Women and girls frequently have only minimal level of education. The betel vine must have moist, fertilized soil or the plant will not flourish. Chewing betel leaves is a common practice in social occasions in South Asia.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Thought betel nut has been their traditional work, some urban Tamboli haven obtained college educations and work in government jobs and in medicine and engineering.
The Tamboli are usually monogamous, which means being married to one person. They marry within their community. Only males can inherit property. A council of elder men rules and dispenses justice within a Tamboli village.
The Tamboli eat fish, chicken, mutton but refrain from beef and pork. Most of their diet consists of rice, wheat, lentils, vegetables, dairy products, and fruit.
The Tamboli are Hindus. They worship gods and goddesses like Krishna, Shiva, Rama, Ganesh, Lakshmi, and Hanuman. Hinduism is the ancient religion of South Asia. 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 as Christians do. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.
What Are Their Needs?
The Tamboli observe the main Hindu holidays of Holi and Diwali. Some Tamboli cremate their dead while others bury the dead. Rural Tamboli will probably seek the help of a shaman for their health problems before visiting a modern medical professional.
Long term chewing of betel nut and leaf is destructive to one's health. The side effects include cancers of the mouth and esophagus, kidney, liver and heart disease and psychiatric disorders. The Tamboli need other business opportunities and job skills. Most of all, the Tamboli need to hear and understand the good news about Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray that Pakistani believers would reach out and befriend the Tamboli.
Pray that God would lead loving workers to help them in their business, health, educational, and spiritual needs.
Pray the Tamboli would develop a hunger for the gospel and word of God.
Pray that the Lord would lead the Tamboli to obtain and read the Bibles that are currently available.
Scripture Prayers for the Tamboli (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan.