Introduction / History
Within the caste system of India there are numerous communities which have a given task to benefit others. The Teli community is one of these. "A community which derives its name from the Sanskrit word talika or taila, used for the oil extracted from sesame and mustard, thus alluding to their traditional occupation... Mythological origin of the Teli is traced to Lord Shiva who created them to destroy five demons. However, their legend also says that the first Teli was created by Shiva to rub him with oil." (Singh, K. S., India's Communities, p. 3462)
Telis were traditionally considered one of the the Vaisya, or trading communities. That put them as part of the third highest of four caste clusters.
Where are they located?
Muslim Teli people live in Karnataka, India.
What are their lives like?
Teli communities once did the labor-intensive job of pressing and extracting oil, but now that job is usually done by mechanical means. For this reason, some have resorted to farming or animal husbandry. A good many of these are landless, and some have applied to be considered "Other backward castes" so they can receive special treatment from the Indian government. A smaller number of them are businessmen or hotel managers, metal workers, cart pullers, or common laborers. Many work in government jobs, and they are active in po
Teli people are endogamous, meaning that they only marry within their own community. Family heads and elders arrange their marriages, and the dowry is paid with cash and valuable goods. In today's world, Teli people live mainly in nuclear families.
Like all other South Asian communities, women have lower status and power than men; however, women take a leading role in social and religious activities. Women also help with the family income through embroidery and other money-making activities.
What are their beliefs?
Though most Telis are Hindu, there are some who are Muslim. They believe that Mohammed is the final prophet, and the spokesman for Allah, the God of creation. They believe in praying towards Mecca five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, going on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms to the poor.
What are their needs?
The Teli people are not usually poor, but they need better access to higher education and good job opportunities. They also need the chance to meet and serve the Risen Savior.
Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Muslim Ganiga Teli community in India.
Pray for the Teli people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Teli disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Ganiga Teli communities.
ReferencesView Teli Ganiga (Muslim traditions) in all countries.