The Katakari of India
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, 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 10,100 Katakari. They are located mainly in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Their language, Katkari, belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family. Little is known about their specific lifestyle.
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 subsistence farmers who barely grow enough to survive. Their farms are extremely small in size 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.
The state of Maharashtra, where many of the Katakari live, is home to a large number of different castes. However, not enough is known about the Katakari to accurately place them in the caste system. As a result, their particular lifestyle and culture cannot be adequately described. Further research is needed to clearly identify the Katakari so they can be reached with the Gospel message.
What are their beliefs?
The Katakari are virtually all Hindus 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 life 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 beliefs?
The Katakari do not have any Christian resources available in their own language, but there is one missions agency currently targeting them. Sadly, there are no known Katakari believers among them. A translation of the Bible and a production of the Jesus film in their own language are needed. Fervent intercession and pioneer missions efforts are essential for bringing the Katakari to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting the Katakari.
- Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Katakari.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Katakari through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Katakari who will boldly declare the message of the Cross.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Katakari bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Katakari by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Katakari
- Country: India
- Their language: Katkari
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 0%
- Church members: 0
- 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: 1,400 (14%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 8,700 (86%)
- 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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