The Nepalese of Bangladesh
Although once part of the vast Indian Empire, Bangladesh separated in 1947 to become an independent nation. It is a poor country, and its citizens lead simple lives. Overpopulation is perhaps the most serious problem. The country's official language is Bengali, but the Nepalese population speaks Khas Kura, a form of Nepali.
Like other Hindus, the Nepalese belong to a "caste" structure which has only two categories: upper class landowners and lower class servants. Although they have always worked as farmers, the Nepalese have recently begun encouraging their children to leave the crowded rural areas for more secure jobs in the cities.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Many of the Nepalese have now moved into the cities. Unfortunately, most of the urban population live in run-down houses with very poor sanitation and no modern conveniences. They usually work in local businesses, as merchants, or for the government.
Nepalese children are treated well. Breast-feeding may continue until a child is three years old. There are many rites of passage for children such as the first rice feeding and the first haircut. Also, girls go through puberty rites and boys go through initiations known as "sacred thread ceremonies." When they are about eight years old, the children begin doing domestic chores. Girls help care for the younger children, carry food for the animals, and haul water. The boys usually tend to the animals.
Typically, women do the bulk of the work in the field. They till the soil, plant, weed, and harvest the crops. They also dry, separate, and often husk the grain. The main responsibilities for men include plowing, fixing the terraces, and irrigating the crops. Sometimes they help the women with their work in the fields.
During religious festivals or village fairs, the Nepalese women wear brightly colored clothes, heavy silver nose-rings and earrings, and colorful head scarves.
What Are Their Beliefs?
It is said that the Hindus worship more than 300 million gods. Though other supernatural beings are also worshipped, the gods and goddesses are considered as the most powerful.
Hindus believe that while the deities appear in separate forms, these forms are part of one universal spirit called "Brahman." The most important deities are Brahma, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer. In Hindu thought, man is not a separate entity, but is actually a part of Brahman.
What Are Their Needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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