Prayer Profile
The Gawari of India

[IMAGE] India is a complex mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and social groupings. Because of this diversity, it is extremely difficult to adequately describe any single people group. Ranking second only to China among the world's most populous countries, India has a population of more than 935,000,000. The overall population density is about 762 people per square mile.

India may be divided into four main regions: the Himalayas, the northern river-plains region, the Deccan Plateau, and the Eastern and Western Ghats Mountains. Because of its numerous geographical features, climatic conditions are also widely diversified on both a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.

In the midst of this complexity can be found the 34,700 Gawari. They are located mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra states. Commonly classified as Bihari, they speak an Indo-Aryan language. Little is known about their specific way of life.

What are their lives like?
About 73% of India's population lives in rural areas and is engaged in some form of agricultural activity. Many are farmers who barely grow enough to survive. Their farms are extremely small and often very fragmented. The raising of livestock, particularly horned cattle, buffalo, horses, and mules, is a central feature of the economy. Because of Hindu influence, however, these animals are used almost exclusively as beasts of burden rather than sources of meat.

Indian culture is primarily Hindu-oriented. Many Hindu institutions, including the rigid caste (social class) system, have wide-ranging effects on Indian society. The word "caste" basically means breed, race, or kind. Indian society is divided into hierarchical castes which are usually endogamous (marriage only within the caste). Castes may be defined by occupation or by kinship and lineage, although there are some exceptions. Nevertheless, caste is so fundamental to the social organization of India that it prevails in all parts, except some of the tribal populations.

Not enough is known about the Gawari to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle and culture cannot be adequately described. What is known, however, is that many of the Gawari live in the agricultural state of Bihar, where barley, maize, rice, sugarcane, and wheat are grown. It is assumed that they live much like the other peoples of this region. Further research is needed to clearly identify the Gawari so that they can be reached with the Gospel.

What are their beliefs?
The Gawari are 99.9% Hindu and follow the basic Hindu customs and traditions. The term "Hinduism" came into use about A.D.1200, but clearly identifying what Hindus believe is difficult. The religion has no founder, no prophet, and no instructional structure. It is a way of living much more than a theology; it is a philosophy more than a religion. Contrary to popular belief in the West, Hinduism is not an ancient, fixed set of beliefs. Rather, it is a body of customs, practices, and beliefs that go through major changes every few hundred years.

The majority, though not all, of Hindus believe in a supreme being. Some respect all life and eat only vegetables, while others will gladly eat meat from sacrifices in the temple. To some, their religion is highly personal; to others, it is impersonal. While most Hindus worship Brahman (the creator), Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and the goddess Shaktri, they also worship a pantheon of other minor gods, their incarnations, spouses, or offspring. A belief in reincarnation (continual cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.

What are their needs?
The Gawari do not have any Christian resources available in their own language, but there is a single missions agency currently targeting them. The few Christian believers need materials to encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Fervent intercession and increased missions efforts are essential to seeing the Gawari reached with the Good News of the Gospel.

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to send additional missionaries to join the few who are already working among the Gawari.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting the Gawari.
  • Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Gawari.
  • Pray that the Gawari will hunger to know Jesus and that God will reveal Himself to them.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen, embolden, and protect the few Gawari believers.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Gawari bound.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors to intercede for the Gawari.
  • Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Gawari by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Gawari
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Gawari
  • Population: (1990) 31,600
    (1995) 34,700
    (2000) 37,900
  • Largest religion: Hindu 99.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 7
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 1
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 3,100 (9%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 1,000 (2.9%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 2,100 (6.1%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 31,600 (91%)
  • Country: India
  • Population: (1990) 850,638,100
    (1995) 935,744,300
    (2000) 1,022,021,300
  • Major peoples in size order: Hindi (High Hindi) 9.5%
    Telegu 7.8%
    Maratha 7.4%
    Bengali 6.4%
    Hindi (Bazaar, Popular) 5.5%
  • Major religions: Hindus 78.2%
    Muslims 12%
    Christians 4.3%
  • Number of denominations: 163

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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