The Hindi of India
"Hindi" is a collective term that is primarily used to describe those who speak the Hindi language. Hindi speakers can be found throughout northern India, especially in the Ganges River region and in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The Hindi are not a single ethnic group, but rather a collection of ethnic and social groups that have been united by a common language and religion, Hinduism.
Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India. It is an Indo-Aryan language that developed from the Khari Boli dialect. Hindi borrows many words from Sanskrit, and uses the Devanagari script. Most Hindi speak either the Chaltu dialect or the Baghelkhandi dialect. Speakers of Hindi-related languages have lived in India for thousands of years. Many Hindi speakers descended from the Aryans who conquered northern India in 1500 B.C. The Hindu were ruled by the Moguls until the 1700's, then by the British until 1947.
What are their lives like?
From their homes in the rich flood plains of the Ganges River valley to the urban centers of Delhi, the Hindi-speaking Indians can be found in every level of society. They are among the poor and uneducated, as well as the priests and scholars.
The Hindi are divided into a number of social classes, or castes. The Hindus, who constitute the largest group, are divided into four main castes. In order of rank, these hereditary groups are: Brahmans (priests and scholars), Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors), Vaisyas (merchants and professionals), and Sudras (laborers and servants). These four castes are further divided into an endless number of sub-groups. Members of a higher caste usually attempt to separate themselves from members of a lower caste.
Today, the Hindi are becoming more and more westernized. Although their religion forbids them to do so, many now drink wine and eat most kinds of meat. Also, a Hindi woman now has the right to divorce, or to remarry after her husband's death, though she would have formerly been forbidden to do so. Many of the Hindi now wear western clothes. However, some of the men still wear dhotis (simple white garments wrapped between the legs or worn loosely like a skirt). Likewise, the women still sometimes wear saris (straight pieces of cloth draped around the body like a dress), especially on formal occasions.
The poorest Hindi live in mud huts, while the most affluent live in luxurious apartment buildings or houses. The farmers who live in the wetter regions raise maize, millet, and lentils. Wheat, rice, and potatoes are grown in the drier areas.
A favorite Hindi dish, mulligatunny, is a soup made of peppers boiled in water and added to boiled rice and fried onions. They eat this with hot curry sauce. Typically, peasants do not own forks and table knives, but eat with their right hands.
What are their beliefs?
Ninety-five percent of the Hindi speakers are Hindus, worshipping millions of gods and goddesses. Hinduism teaches that when the body dies, the soul is reborn. They believe that if a person lives a good life, his soul will be born into a higher state, perhaps into the body of a Brahman. However, if he leads an evil life, his soul will be born into a lower state, perhaps into the body of an animal or insect. After having lived innumerable lives, the soul supposedly reaches spiritual perfection and is freed from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Like multitudes of other Hindus, the Hindi make ritual pilgrimages to the Ganges River to bathe in it. They believe that the sacred water purifies their souls.
What are their needs?
The Hindi have both the Bible and the Jesus film available in their language. However, they must first be set free from bondage to millions of false gods so that they can put their trust in Jesus. Six missions agencies are currently working among the Hindi, and they have made some progress. There are more than 460,000 Hindi-speaking Christians. Unfortunately, this number represents less than 1% of the Hindi-speaking population.
- Pray that God will send added laborers to live and work among the Hindi of India.
- Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently targeting the Hindi tribes.
- Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film and other Christian resources among the Hindi.
- Pray that the Hindi Christians will have opportunities to share the Gospel with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Hindi bound for many generations.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask God to reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Hindi by the year 2000.
The Diaspora Hindi.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Hindi
- Country: India
- Their language: Hindi
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 463,231
- Scriptures in their own language: Bible
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 6
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 53,022,100 (59%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 36,060,800 (41%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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