Introduction / History
The 89,000 Dandasi people live mainly in India's Orissa state. Thus, they speak the state language of Oriya. Traditionally they have been village watchmen who carried sticks and swords to protect the village. The name Dandasi means, "worthy of punishment." Today most of them no longer work in this occupation; instead they are usually either agricultural or industrial laborers. As a general rule, their wives work at home, but those who do agricultural work rely on their wives for some of the labor—collecting firewood and taking care of livestock.
The Dandasi people practice cross-cousin marriages that are arranged through family negotiations. The wedding ceremony takes place at the bride's home, but it is consummated at the groom's home.
What are their beliefs?
This is a Hindu people group that worships many Hindu gods along with local deities. They believe in supernatural elements and ancestral spirits that they hope will benefit them.
What are their needs?
They would like to have formal education for their children, but they have few educational opportunities due to their poor economic situation. Thus they have a low literacy rate. Unfortunately, they are dependent on money-lenders which puts them in a vulnerable situation economically. Money lenders in India are noted for charging usury.
Pray that the Dandasi people will take the initiative to seek and find Christ, the only one who can give them life to the full. Pray that many of their headmen and community leaders will put their trust in Jesus.