Introduction / History
The Mankar Bhil are a scheduled tribe. They speak Bhili and Marathi and read and write in Devanagari. They live in Maharashtra and also live in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Many years ago, Bhil rajas (kings) permitted immigrants from the plains to settle in the hill regions. To safeguard their independence andrule, the Bhil fought against the Moghals, the Marathas, and the British. Many Bhil are being threatenedby the Sardar Saravor Dam project, which when completed will flood the land where many Bhil currentlylive. Though re-settlement plans have been discussed, they remain incomplete.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Mankar Bhil work in agriculture and as laborers. They also work in animal husbandry and they collectforest produce which they sell at markets. A local council looks after their needs and judges their disagreements. The divorced and bereaved can marry again. The dead are either cremated or buriedwhich is rare for Hindu communities. The Central Bhil are usually shy and love their independence. Festivals, dance, drama, and music are a large part of their culture. Each village is led by a head man who deals with disputes. Respect among family members is strong, and there is a great sense of connection between the living and the dead. Property is shared equally by the male descendants. Bhil villages are rather widely scattered. The houses are located in fields where they grow millet, maize, wheat, and barley. The highlanders live in tidy houses made with walls of sticks intertwined with small branches. The roofs (shaped like bee-hives), are usually made of clay tiles, but are sometimes made of straw and leaves.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Almost all of the Central Bhil practice ethnic religions that have been highly influenced by Hinduism. They worship Shiva as their supreme god. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors) is also quite popular. They call upon shamans to offer sacrifices to their many gods and mud idols.
What Are Their Needs?
There are three segregated classes:the Bhagat Bhil, the ordinary Bhil, and the lowest class - the Christian Bhil. To accept Christ is like becoming an outcast.
* Scripture Prayers for the Bhil Mankar in India.
Pray that the council leaders come to Jesus Christ and lead this community into a disciple making movement. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will lead them to the only savior. Pray for faithful workers who are filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.