Tharu Khawas in Nepal

Tharu Khawas
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2021
Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Tharu Khawas
Country: Nepal
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,500
World Population: 1,500
Primary Language: Nepali
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 1.97 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The origin of Khawas Tharu people in Nepal is surrounded by myths and oral tradition. At one time they were bonded laborers. In 2000 bonded labor was classified as illegal in Nepal, however this people group still lack privileges that others enjoy.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Khawas Tharu people consider themselves people of the forest. They have lived in the forests for hundreds of years practicing a short fallow shifting cultivation. They plant rice, wheat, mustard, corn, and lentils, and collect forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, and materials to build their houses. They hunt deer, rabbits, and wild boar, and also fish in the rivers and lakes. They speak variants of Nepali. Khawas Tharu people traditionally lived in longhouses with big families of up to 31 members from four generations and between one and eight married couples. They pool their labor force, contribute their income, share the expenses, and use one kitchen. The eldest male person assumes responsibility for households. He assigns work to family members, is responsible for the family's social activities and must report income and expenses annually to the family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Khawas Tharu people in Nepal practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. 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 hoping to gain protection and benefits. They also practice animistic traditional beliefs, fearfully worshiping evil spirits that must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews.

What Are Their Needs?

Their most important need is to know the living God who has provided payment of the penalty of their sins, and who loves them infinitely. Who will tell them? Written, visual, and audio Bible resources exist in their spoken language of Nepali, however they remain an unreached people group. They need practical helps like medical, educational and environmental aid. These needs are also potential doors for the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray for Holy Spirit-led disciples to enter the field of harvest among these people for whom Christ died and rose again. Pray that Khawas Tharu leaders would not only hear, but embrace the love of Father God, and tell their families of the eternal provision made for them. Pray that existing Bible resources will flow freely among this needy people, and that true spiritual hunger will grow and spread among their families resulting in a church planting movement.

Text Source:   Joshua Project