Introduction / History
The Bhangi Lal Begi are a caste of street sweepers, scavengers and latrine cleaners. They live across north and central India. Since these activities are considered as polluting, the Lal Begi are marginalized in Indian society. Other castes see the Bhangi are Dalits, those outside of the Hindu caste system. The Lal Begi receive public jobs and special university admissions. Some Lal Begi have taken jobs as landless agricultural workers.
The main language of the Bhangi is Urdu. They also speak other regional languages. Many Christian resources are available in Urdu.
Where are they located?
This Muslim community is scattered throughout northern and central India.
What are their lives like?
How would you like to clean out clogged sewers for a living? That is the lot of many Lal Begi. Because of their distasteful jobs, they are excluded from many parts of Hindu and Muslim society. Many of their children do not attend school because of the roles their fathers perform. Not being able to read or write perpetuates the tragic condition of Bhangi lives. They are endogamous meaning that they marry within their own group. Few if any Indian Muslims would want their son or daughter to marry into a Bhangi family.
Due to their poverty, the Bhangi only eat meat on special occasions. As Muslims, they will not eat pork. Their main foods are rice, lentils and vegetables.
What are their beliefs?
Muslims in India are usually converts from Hinduism. They often have pre-Islamic beliefs mixed in with their devotion to Allah. The Bhangi people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, stealing, slander, and make idols.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
What are their needs?
The Bhangi have many needs. They need education for their children. They need to learn new job skills. They need access to modern medicine. Most of all, the Bhangi need to hear and respond to the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and give them hope for a better life.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Bhangi Lal Begi people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Bhangi Lal Begi families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for Bhangi Lal Begi families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness, and to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Bhangi Lal Begi family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.
ReferencesView Bhangi Lal Begi (Muslim traditions) in all countries.