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Birhor in India

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
24,000 Birhor Hinduism 5.63 % Unknown No No   

Birhor in India

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Introduction / History
The name "Birhor" suggests, "men of the forest." Their lives revolve entirely around forests. These dark-skinned, short-statured, long-headed, wavy-haired and broad-nosed people belong to the Mundari group of tribes.

Where are they located?
They are found mainly in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Birhor population in all three states put together is relatively small and is declining with disappearing forests.

What are their lives like?
Originally hunters, the Birhors, also known as Mankidias, live entirely on forest produce. They love to eat monkey meat and are extremely skilled in trapping any animal. Trapping rabbits, weaving ropes, selling a few baskets when they can, the Birhors seem to live in a different age.

It is only recently that they have started rope-making as their main economic activity. Their need for rice is met through buying it from others in the area, in exchange for forest products.

The government made huge efforts to settle them, but except for one or two settlements, other Birhors are always on the move.

What are their beliefs?
They are nomadic, moving from one place in the forest to another, setting up their places of worship as they go to a new place. The Birhor follow a mixture of animism and Hinduism. The sun god and ancestral family spirits rank very high in their religion. Due to contacts with Hindu neighbours, they have added some more gods into their list.

Birhors believe that the whole universe is created and presided over by Sing Bonga, the sun god and his wife. Christian ministry has been difficult due to their nomadic nature. Yet there are a few Birhor settlements where there are a few Christians.

What are their needs?
Their birth rate is low and their death rate is high, dwindling their population as the years go by. Most of them are addicted to alcohol. They would like to send their children to school, but cannot afford it. Malnutrition is written across their faces, especially among children.

The Birhor literacy rate is very low and as a result, they fall an easy prey to those who exploit them. Literacy initiatives, hand in hand with Bible translation can bring about a transformation in their lives. They need God's Word in the language that speak to their hearts so that they can understand the love of the Almighty God.

Prayer Points
Pray for God to break the spiritual and physical bondages that keep the Birhors in poverty, superstitions, ill health etc.
Pray for the Birhors who have received the light of the gospel to share effectively with other Birhors.
Pray for God to raise up Christian ministers to work among the Birhor in a culturally appropriate way.
Pray for a mother tongue translation team to be trained well and translate the Scripture into Birhor.

View Birhor in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-10-11
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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:10 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:24,000
Largest States:
Jharkhand (13,000)Assam (3,700)
Chhattisgarh (3,300)West Bengal (2,700)
Odisha (1,000)Bihar (500)
Maharashtra (300)Madhya Pradesh (200)
Tripura (60)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Birhor
People Name General: Birhor
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 111625
Joshua Project People ID: 16461
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 24,000
Population all Countries: 25,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Birhor
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Birhor (7,300 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): biy    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Hindi (3,500)Assamese (2,100)
Bengali (1,900)Santhali (1,800)
Mundari (800)Chhattisgarhi (600)
Ho (600)Sadri (400)
Oriya, Adivasi (400)Odia (300)
Note: Only 10 largest secondary languages listed
Total Languages: 27
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.09 % 
Christianity5.63 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism83.59 % 
Islam0.42 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.16 % 
Unknown10.11 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have only a very small representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 4   Greater than or equal to 2% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Birhor in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, South    
      Birhor India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Birhor in India          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Birhor  
    All Religions                              

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