Introduction / History
The name Gadaria means “one who tends sheep.” Taking care of and rearing sheep and goats has been the traditional occupation of the Gadaria people of north India. A sub-group of the larger Gadaria people who live in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is the Nikhad Gadaria. They speak the languages of the area where they live. Their main language is Hindi. A revised copy of the Hindi Bible became available in 2012. The Nikhad are a primarily oral culture so the gospel must be presented to them in audio and visual form.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Today most Nikhad Gadaria still follow the profession of their ancestors, the herding sheep and goats. They sell the animals, wool, hides, milk, and meat to purchase things that they cannot make for themselves. Women also weave woolen blankets to sell. Many Nikhad own small and medium size plots of land where they grow vegetables and fruit. Their women help the men with the animals and tend to the crops along with taking care of the children. Many Gadaria children quit school early to help their parents earn a living. Some of the Nikhad have left their traditional occupation and have become construction and factory workers. Some educated Gadaria work for the government and teach for a living. The Nikhad Gadaria marry within their group but not within the same village. Marriage to one spouse is the norm although a man may take another wife if his first wife is unable to have children. Sons inherit the property of their father. They use both modern and traditional medicines. Each village has a shaman or village priest who gives out medical remedies and helps protect the Nikhad from “evil spirits.”
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Nikhad Gadaria practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Their form of Hinduism is mixed with animism or the belief in spirits inhabiting the objects of nature. The Nikhad give special reverence to Vishnu and his avatars Krishna and Rama. 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 Nikhad visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Nikhad people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Nikhad Gadaria consider themselves to be Vaishyas but other Hindus see them as Shudra, the working caste.
What Are Their Needs?
Rural Nikhad need good schools for their children. The villages where the Nikhad live may not have access to clean water or electricity. Most of all, the Nikhad need to hear and understand a clear presentation of the gospel. Jesus is much more than another Hindu god or guru. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gadaria Nikhad in India.
*Ask the Lord to send workers to the Nikhad Gadaria to meet their spiritual and physical needs. *Pray that Nikhad parents are able to adequately provide for their children. *Pray for Nikhad families and communities to discover and embrace the free gift of life found by trusting Christ and His finished work. *Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Nikhad Gadaria in this decade.
https://peoplegroupsindia.com/profiles/gadaria/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadaria https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/now-gadaria-in-scheduled-caste-category-109862