Prayer Profile
The Braj Bhakha 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 Ghat 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.

The 16.4 million Braj Bhakha are located mainly in the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Their language, Braj Bhasha, is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family. Little is known about their specific lifestyle and culture.

What are their lives like?
About 73% of India's population lives in rural areas and is engaged in some form of agriculture. Many are farmers who barely grow enough to survive. 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.

Uttar Pradesh, where many Braj Bhakha live, contains four of the seven holy cities of Hinduism: Haridwar, Mathura, Varanasi, and Ayodhya. Ayodhya is believed by many Hindus to be the birthplace of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu ("preserver of the universe"). Other Braj Bhakha live in Bihar, an agricultural state in which the chief crops are barley, maize, rice, sugarcane, and wheat.

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, but there are 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 Braj Bhakha to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle cannot be adequately described.

What are their beliefs?
The Braj Bhakha are almost 95% 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 which go through major changes every few hundred years.

The majority 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?
Although one missions agency is currently targeting this people group, only 1% of the Braj Bhakha community have become Christian. The New Testament is already available in their language, but additional discipleship materials are needed to encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Intercession and continued missions efforts are necessities to seeing the Braj Bhakha reached with the Good News of the Gospel.

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to work among the Braj Bhakha of India.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting them.
  • Pray that the Jesus film and Christian radio broadcasts will soon be available to the Braj Bhakha.
  • Pray that God will supernaturally reveal Himself to the Braj Bhakha through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will use the Braj Bhakha believers to share the love of Christ with their own people. Ask God to raise up a mighty army of intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Braj Bhakha.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Braj Bhakha church for the glory of His name!

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Braj Bhakha
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Braj Bhasha
  • Population: (1990) 15,099,800
    (1995) 16,487,900
    (2000) 17,868,100
  • Largest religion: Hindu 94.8%
    Muslim 3%
    Nonreligious 1.5%
    Atheist <1%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 164,880
  • Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
  • 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: 5,111,200 (31%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 989,300 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 4,121,900 (25%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 11,376,700 (69%)
  • 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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