The Bhim 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 Ghat Mountains. Because of numerous geographical features, climatic conditions are also diversified on both a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.
In the midst of this complexity can be found the 23,800 Bhim. They are located mainly in the eastern state of Tripura. Their language is unclassified, and 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 agricultural activity. Many are farmers barely growing enough to survive. 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 agricultural 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 secular society. The word "caste" basically means breed, race, or kind. Indian society is divided into hierarchical castes that are usually endogamous (marriage only within the caste). Castes may be defined by occupation or by kinship and lineage, although 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 Bhim to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their specific lifestyle and culture cannot be adequately described. Further research is needed to clearly identify their needs and to develop strategies for reaching them with the Gospel.
What Are Their Belief?
The Bhim are predominantly ethnic religionists (80%), following their ancient traditions and religions. Their religion is primarily animistic; that is, they believe that living things
and inanimate objects have a soul or spirit. Many of the Bhim are also involved in ancestor worship. They believe that the spirits of deceased ancestors are alive and need to be fed and tended. These spirits must be properly appeased, or else they will become hungry and dissatisfied and turn into evil spirits.
The influence of Hinduism is very strong among the Bhim, and many of their religious practices have become mixed with Hindu beliefs. The majority of Hindus, but not all, 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?
Like most other animistic peoples, the Bhim live in fear and bondage to their many gods. Few have ever heard a clear presentation of the Gospel message, and still fewer have made a decision for Christ. Christian resources in their own language are lacking, and no missions agencies are currently working among them. Full-time missionaries, Bible translators, Christian media personnel, and fervent intercessors are all necessary if the Bhim are to have a chance to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth missionaries to live and work among the Bhim.
- Pray that the Bible and Christian media such as the Jesus film will be made available to the Bhim.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Bhim so they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Bhim through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Bhim who will openly proclaim that Jesus is Lord.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept Bhim bound for many generations.
- 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 planted among the Bhim by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Bhim
- Country: India
- Their language: Bhim
- Largest religion:
- Christian: 1%
- Church members: 238
- 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: 4,300 (18%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 19,500 (82%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 8
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
This profile may be copied and distributed without obtaining permission
as long as it is not altered, bound, published
or used for profit purposes.