Introduction / History The Mallah of Uttar Pradesh often go by the name of Nishad, which refers to a character from the Hindu myth the Ramayana. Nishad was a boatman in Prayag (Allahabad UP) who ferried Ram, Sita and Laskman across the river. From this tale, the Nishad consider their occupation as boatmen along the holy Ganga river carrying Hindu devotees as a high calling or holy occupation. They take pride in their heritage. Mallah are the traditional fishermen and boatmen of India and neighboring countries.
Where are they located? Most Mallah individuals live in India, but there are also sizable communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
What are their lives like? Mallah people are usually poor and often illiterate. They are involved in boating and some fishing and sometimes in farming. They are strict about marrying within their own caste. The women are not often seen in public, although at times in Hindu pilgrimage areas such as Allahabad or Benares, you will see children and women of this caste selling flowers and incense for river worship purposes.
What are their beliefs? Though most Mallah are Hindu, there are many who are Muslim. There is no founder for Hinduism as there is for Buddhism, Islam or Christianity. There is often a thin line between what is Hindu and what is traditional animistic religion. There are millions of deities that Hindus might worship; they tend to focus on those they believe will benefit them the most. For this reason, it is safe to say that Hindu Mallah people worship Hindu gods that they believe will provide safety and prosperity.
What are their needs? They have lacks in literacy, education, health, family planning, and economic advancement. All Mallah people need the chance to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to become part of His holy family.
Prayer Points Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Mallah families and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to raise up workers who will be led to nurture disciple making movement within Mallah communities througout South Asia.
Pray that soon Mallah people will have joy and faith that will be contagious; giving their neighbors a desire to follow Christ.