Introduction / History
The Tharu have lived quiet, simple lives for four centuries. About two thirds live in Nepal and the rest live further south in India's Uttar Pradesh state.
What are their lives like?
They are a gentle people. They make almost everything they use themselves, with a touch of art in everything. They have their own gods and follow a Bharra (shaman). Besides the Bharra, who treats their diseases, the village headman, bhalamansa, and the Desi-Mahajan—an Indian moneylender—are important people within the village. They are becoming more aware of outside issues and fireside chat in the evenings is becoming more outward focused, reflecting changes in their culture.
What are their beliefs?
The Tharu people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India and Nepal. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.
Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
What are their needs?
The Tharu speak several languages and are spread over a wide area of Nepal.
Pray for the gentle Tharu people to be protected from those who would take advantage of them.
Pray they will be able to care adequately for their families.
There are a few Christians among the Tharu community. Pray they will become true disciples, moving beyond mere cultural identification with Christ. Pray for the gift of conviction of sin, and for zealous hearts to really know and follow Christ.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out loving ambassadors of Christ to this unreached community.
Text source: Joshua Project