The Pahari Mandeali of India
The Pahari Mandeali are a sub-group of a larger group of mountain dwelling peoples collectively referred to as the Pahari. Although they all speak the Pahari language, they do not regard themselves as a single ethnic group because they speak in many different dialects. Mandiali is one of the dialects of Pahari and is spoken in the western part of the Pahari region, in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Some of the Mandiali speakers are fluent in the Hindi language as well. Altogether, there may be as many as 17 million Pahari speakers, but the Pahari Mandeali number only about 11,000.
The Pahari live on the outer fringes of the Himalayan Mountains. The mountains of the area are sharp and jagged, and the valleys are small and narrow. Landslides are frequent, and erosion is severe. Winters are cold, with light snow or rain. Heavy rainfall occurs during the late summer monsoons, resulting in a rich, bountiful harvest each year.
What are their lives like?
Like nearly all other Hindus of India, the Pahari Mandeali are divided into many hereditary social groups called castes. Members of a particular caste usually share the same occupation, and the castes are ranked according to the prestige of the occupation. Members of more prestigious castes avoid contact with lower castes in order to avoid the ritual pollution brought about by associating with them.
Pahari economy is based on farming, with most households growing only enough food to feed themselves. Wheat, barley, millet, corn, rice, lentils, and vegetables are all common crops. Fields are fertilized through the extensive use of manure from cattle and water buffalo, both of which also provide milk. Goats and sheep are also kept, with sheep being raised for their wool.
Most of the Pahari live alongside other people groups in small villages of fewer than 500 people. These villages are situated near pastures, forests, and reliable water sources. The hillsides are terraced for farming, and the terraces are irrigated by a series of canals and artificial water channels. Village homes usually have at least two stories and are built of stone or adobe. Most of the time, the family lives on the top floor of the home, and livestock is kept on the bottom floor. Doors and window frames are often ornately carved and painted.
In sharp contrast to the women of most people groups in India, Pahari women have a high position in their society. They are allowed to participate in nearly all activities. Instead of paying an expensive dowry to the groom, the bride's family receives a bride-price. Pahari women are free to divorce and remarry, and widows are allowed to remarryŚcustoms that are non-existent among most Indian peoples.
What are their beliefs?
Practically all the Pahari Mandeali follow the Hindu religion. Most aspects of Pahari Hinduism are similar to those of mainstream Hinduism; however, unlike other Hindus, the Pahari practice animal sacrifice to honor their gods. Like other Hindus, the Pahari believe in reincarnation (the belief that a person's soul is reborn into another body after the present body dies). This process is thought to continue indefinitely until a soul has performed enough good deeds to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. At that point, the soul is believed to enter a higher level of existence called moksha.
What are their needs?
The Pahari Mandeali have many physical needs. Education remains inadequate; only a few children, mostly from the higher castes, attend school. Health care, however, has improved in recent years, and clinics and hospitals are now more common. Despite this progress, most "medical care" is still rendered by witch doctors.
In addition to their physical needs, the Pahari have great spiritual needs. Most people have had little or no contact with the Gospel, and very few of them have become Christians. Intercession is the key to seeing the spiritual eyes of the Pahari opened to the Truth.
- Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into India to minister to the Pahari Mandeali.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting them.
- Pray that the Bible and the Jesus film will be made available to the Pahari Mandeali.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Pahari Mandeali through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Pahari Mandeali who will boldly proclaim the Gospel.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Pahari Mandeali bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer warriors who will intercede for the Pahari Mandeali.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Pahari Mandeali by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Pahari Mandeali
- Country: India
- Their language: Mandiali
- Largest religion:
- Christian: <1%
- Church members: 5
- Scriptures in their own language: Portions
- 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: 2,400 (23%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 8,300 (77%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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