The Bagri of India
India is a nation of sharp contrasts and great diversity. The geography ranges from the breathtaking majesty of the Himalayan Mountains to the dense, steamy jungles of the northeast. In the west can be found hot, dry deserts, while in the central part of the country are rich, fertile plains. The people themselves range from wealthy entrepreneurs living in luxury to poor beggars struggling to find food.
The nearly two million Bagri live in western India, mainly in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh. They are an Indo-Aryan people, and their language is also called Bagri. It is spoken not only by the Bagri but also by the Bansphor, the Nat, the Bishnoi, the Jat, and the Lohar.
Although the Bagri are a friendly people by nature, a bad reputation has followed some of them. Many of their ancestors were known as bandits and criminals who roamed northern and central India.
What are their lives like?
The main occupation of the Bagri is raising livestock such as water buffalo, cattle, and goats. Through the government's rural development program, they have been able to purchase cattle and acquire a major source of income. They are also involved in family-based handicraft businesses. In addition, the Bagri frequently work as daily wage earners, and some are employed in government-related services.
Among the Bagri, favorite foods include wheat, lentils, and vegetables. They especially relish beef and pork. Their social lives are dominated by India's strict system of hereditary social classes, or "castes." Most castes have certain occupations that all its members follow. Some castes are considered to be higher and more honorable than others. Consequently, members of "high" castes seldom interact with and never marry people belonging to "low" castes. Since gaining its independence from Great Britain, the Indian government has attempted to abolish the caste system, but it is so deeply ingrained in the people that it has proved virtually impossible to eradicate.
The Bagri are divided into a number of exogamous clans. (Exogamous means that clan members marry those outside their own clan.) They also avoid marriages with members of their maternal uncle's clan. In the past, the Bagri arranged their children's marriages while the children were still very young. Today, however, marriages occur when the couples are older. When a young woman gets married, she puts on a toe ring as a symbol of marriage. After marriage, the couple will move in with the groom's family.
Monogamy is practiced by the Bagri, meaning that marriages consist of only one man and one woman. Unlike many other Indian people groups, the Bagri allow widows and divorced women to remarry. However, if a widow refuses her brother-in-law's proposal, she must pay compensation to him or his family.
What are their beliefs?
The Bagri are almost all ethnic religionists, practicing their ancient traditions and religions. In particular, they are animists, meaning that they believe that objects, plants, and animals have spirits. The Bagri have also been heavily influenced by Hinduism and believe in many of the Hindu gods and goddesses. One important aspect of Hinduism that they embrace is the belief in reincarnation. This doctrine teaches that after death, a person's soul is born into another body. They believe that the process of death and rebirth continues until a soul has accumulated enough merit to escape the cycle, at which time it enters a state of higher existence.
What are their needs?
The Bagri desperately need to hear the Gospel, but there are virtually no Christian resources available to them. No portion of the Bible has yet been translated into their language, and no missions agencies are currently working among them. As a result, there are only a few Christians in this very large people group. Prayer and intercession by dedicated Christians are necessary to tear down Satan's stronghold in their lives.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send full-time Christian workers to the Bagri of India.
- Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Bagri.
- Ask the Lord to raise up linguists to translate the Bible into the Bagri language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Bagri through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will use the Bagri believers to share Christ with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Bagri bound for many generations.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Bagri church for the glory of His name!
See also the following related group:
the Bagri of Pakistan.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Bagri
- Country: India
- Their language: Bagri
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 1,739
- 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: 0
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 227,800 (14%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 1,511,000 (86%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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