Introduction / History
The Barnawar are a subgroup of the large Bania business caste who live in north India. The word Bania comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "merchant." The Bania are a caste of merchants and traders involved in business and industry. Some Bania also own land, which is frequently farmed by other castes.
Where Are they Located?
The Bania are generally well educated and encourage their children to get a college degree. The Bania work in both private industry and governmental jobs.
The Barnawar speak Hindi and Bengali as their main languages. As university graduates, they speak and write English. Speaking Hindi and English allows them to carry on business with the educated people of central and north India.
Most Bania Barnawar live in the north Indian states of Bihar, Jharkand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Bania have been a business and merchant caste of India for hundreds of years. They have exchanged goods and owned businesses to sell goods. Many have become wealthy businesspersons while others own small shops in the cities and villages of north India. They sell groceries, household goods and other items necessary to the Indian population.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Bania Barnawar marry within their group or with other Bania castes. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young couple. Important family occasions are officiated by Brahmin priests. Sons inherit property from their father. The eldest son becomes responsible for the well being of his family. Sons and daughters often work in the same business as their fathers. A caste council settle legal disputes and promotes their interests.
Some Bania are vegetarians while others eat meat except for beef. Their main foods are rice, wheat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products.
The Bania Barnawar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They pay special reverence for Vishnu, the preserver god. 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 Barnawar visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
What Are Their Needs?
The main yearly holidays of the Barnawar people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
The Bania Barnawar need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need to see that money and success will not bring them the joy and peace of mind they are seeking. The Barnawar must come to see that they are sinners in need of the Savior.
Pray that the veil of deception will be lifted from the eyes of the Barnawar and that they will see that the only true wealth is the spiritual riches gained through a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray that Christ's disciples will be called to work among them and share Christ in a culturally relevant way.
Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among every Bania community.
Scripture Prayers for the Bania Barnawar in India.