The Dhurwa of India
The Dhurwa (also known as the Parji) are a sub-group of the Gond, the largest tribal group in India. Historically, the Gond were the most important group of original Indian tribes. In the 1500's, several Gond dynasties were established, and their rajas, or kings, ruled like Hindu princes. The Gond were conquered by Muslim armies in 1592 and lost all of their leadership positions, but their tribes were not disturbed by the changes in administration.
Today, the Dhurwa inhabit the central eastern portion of the Bastar district and overflow into parts of the Orissa district, especially south of the Indrawati River. A large part of their territory consists of densely wooded forests and hills, with rivers and streams crossing the valleys. The Dhurwa have been so absorbed by the surrounding higher castes (social classes), such as the Bhatra, that many have adopted Bhatri as their mother tongue, forgetting their native language (Parji) altogether.
What are their lives like?
Most of the Dhurwa are farmers who use bulls to plow their fields of rice and other grains. Because they do not make their own farm equipment, the Dhurwa are dependent on nearby villages for supplies like earthenware, iron tools, and carts. Such items can be obtained in the weekly markets.
Dhurwa society consists of exogamous clan units, which means that they do not marry within the same clan. There are two types of marriage: the curca and the tika (union). In a curca marriage, a bride-price is paid. A tika takes place when a divorced or widowed person is wed or when a Dhurwa marries someone of a higher or lower ethnic group.
The Dhurwa live in small, windowless huts made with mud walls and thatched roofs. Some, though not all, of the villagers live together as extended family households. Each village consists of several huts that line a narrow, open space. In this area, people gather to chat, hold meetings, or perform certain rituals. No one is allowed to settle in the village without first receiving permission from the leading clan. The Dhurwa do not make their own clothes. Thus, all ornaments and items of dress are obtained from outside. Ordinarily, this would give them opportunities to interact with neighboring ethnic groups; however, such communication has been hindered by the government and private contractors.
What are their beliefs?
Although the Dhurwa are 100% Hindu, their beliefs vary from tribe to tribe. Many of their Hindu practices have been combined with animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits). Although they do not necessarily believe in the immortality of souls, they do believe in the transmigration of souls, or the passing of a soul from one body to another after death. Some believe that a person may be transmigrated into the body of an animal or a human, depending on whether he or she lived a good or evil life.
The Dhurwa believe that animals, birds, and trees possess souls. They call upon a spirit of rain/river water to bless them with good catches of fish and abundant crops. They live in fear of the spirit Rau, who marks its victims by shooting small, painful stone or clay pieces at their backs. Only a medicine man can extract the small pieces of stone, which remain invisible to the human eye. If not removed, these can lead to death.
The Dhurwa believe that there are three worlds. The earth is considered the "middle" world, inhabited by humans and supernatural beings. The sky, or "upper" world, is thought to be the home of the supreme spirit, or "high god." He is not represented by any symbol, but is believed to be the creator and to be supreme to all other gods. He is considered too remote to directly interact in the lives of people. The third is the "underworld," or place of the dead.
What are their needs?
The Dhurwa do not have any Christian resources available in their own language, and there are very few known believers among them. Sustained intercession, evangelistic tools, and continued missions efforts are essential for seeing them reached with the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to minister Life to the Dhurwa.
- Pray that the Jesus film and Christian broadcasts will soon be made available to the Dhurwa.
- Ask the Lord Jesus to begin revealing Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will place a hunger within the Dhurwa to have a personal relationship with their Creator.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Dhurwa who will boldly declare the Gospel.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Dhurwa bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin faithfully interceding for the Dhurwa.
- Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Dhurwa by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Dhurwa
- Country: India
- Their language: Parji (Dhruva)
- Largest religion:
- Christian: <1%
- Church members: 48
- 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: 15,500 (13%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 103,600 (87%)
- 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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