Introduction / History
The name of the Dholi people comes from the word "dhol", meaning a type of drum. This is not surprising since the Dholi have been drummers and musicians in India for centuries. They play drums during weddings and other festive occasions. The Dholi claim to have come from the powerful Rajput communities, but this is doubtful since they are currently a "scheduled caste." Scheduled castes receive special consideration for public jobs and university admissions. Like many Hindu communities, the Dholi perceive themselves as being higher on the Hindu social ranking order than others perceive them.
The primary language of the Dholi is Hindi. They also speak many other regional languages.
Where are they located?
Most of the 221,000 Dholi people live in rural parts of India's scenic Rajasthan state. Smaller groups also live in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Assam.
What are their lives like?
Most Dholi are now farmers, not professional musicians. Their children usually begin working in the fields by the time they are 15, so education is limited. However, they still send their sons, and sometimes their daughters, to school when they are young.
These Hindus listen to the radio and watch TV in Hindi. 38% of the Dholi are illiterate. Fortunately, many Christian resources are available in Hindi.
The Dholi are not vegetarian but as Hindus they do not eat beef. Their main foods are wheat, maize and vegetables.
The Dholi marry within their group but not in their clan. Marriage to one person is the general rule but polygamy is allowed. Newly married couples live with or near the groom's parents. The right of divorce belongs only to men. Caste councils promote their interests and settle legal disputes.
What are their beliefs?
The Dholi are almost 100% Hindu, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works they will attain freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They visit Hindu temples 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 Dholi are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
Only a tiny number of Dholi are believers in Christ.
What are their needs?
The Dholi Hindu need to hear the message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They must see that Jesus is not just another avatar of a Hindu god like Rama or Krishna, but He is the unique Son of the one true God of the Bible. The Dholi need to see Christianity lived out before them in practical ways.
* Pray for the Lord to send workers to the Dholi people to tell them of Jesus.
* Pray that Christian materials in Hindi and Marwari will become abundantly available to the Dholi.
* Pray for the Lord to send them literacy teachers.
* Pray for spiritual hunger for the Dholi so that they will desire the Word of God.
ReferencesView Dholi (Hindu traditions) in all countries.