Introduction / History
The Hindu Varli are a tribal people who live in primarily west India but also south Pakistan. The word Varli means, "a field or piece of land."
The Varli are known for their painting of murals, mostly on the walls of their earthen huts. Dark red ochre serves as the background for the murals. They use white paint exclusively, made from rice paste and gum. The paintings depict male and female gods, elements of nature and village life. Patterns are often repeated which give the paintings a geometric appearance. Murals painted on canvas now serve as a source of income for the Varli. Only 50% of the Varli population can read.
Where are they located?
Varli people live mostly in the Nashik region and the Thane region of south Pakistan. Others live in Pakistan.
What are their lives like?
The Varli people of Pakistan work in agriculture, often on land owned by others. Rice, millet, wheat, vegetables, and fruit are their principal crops and food. As Hindus, they will not eat beef.
The Varli of Pakistan speak Sindhi. Some Varli also speak Hindi and Urdu. These languages allow the Varli to communicate and do business with outsiders.
Most Varli lives today in villages without electricity, indoor plumbing and access to clean water. As a result, the death of Varli children before the age of five is a too common occurrence.
What are their beliefs?
The Varli people in Pakistan are officially Hindu. They frequently mix folk religion with their Hinduism. Varli utilize their own priests and shamans, not Brahmans, as do most Hindu communities. The Varli worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Varli visit their shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
The main yearly holidays of the Varli people are Holi, the festival of colors; Diwali, the festival of lights; Navratri, the celebration of autumn; and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
What are their needs?
The Varli need to hear the life-changing message about Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need help in educating their children and in gaining new job skills. They would greatly benefit by access to clean water and electricity. Workers need to reach out to the Varli people with oral Bible resources and the JESUS Film due to their high rate of illiteracy.
* Pray the day will come when Pakistan's Varli people celebrate Jesus Christ with enthusiasm and disciple others in His ways.
* Pray that spiritual barriers will be broken, and that the Varli will allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in their lives.
* Pray that workers will make long-lasting, intentional contact with Varli people that will result in many disciples who reach their own people.
Text source: Keith Carey