The Harauti of India
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.
The 550,800 Harauti are located mainly in the Kota area of Rajasthan and in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Their language is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family. Little is known about their specific way of life.
What are their lives like?
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 Harauti to accurately place them within the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle cannot be adequately described.
Many Harauti live in the state of Rajasthan. An important section of society there are the rajputs (Indian nobility). During the era of princes and maharajahs, rajput aristocracy dominated the Rajasthan scene for several centuries. Rajasthan is also home to the Bhil tribe, the second largest "scheduled" tribe in India.
What are their beliefs?
The Hindu Harauti 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 (continuous cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.
What are their needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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