Introduction / History
Their name reflects two words, "livelihood" and "water," because they made their living as fishermen. Though many still fish for a living, they aren't all professional fishermen.
Where are they located?
Most live either in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh or neighboring Orissa. These two groups are entirely different from one another.
What are their lives like?
The Katia people are mainly fishermen, though some worker as farm laborers. Others sell fish in the marketplace. Educated Katia women work as teachers or in office jobs. Katia people live in both extended and nuclear families.
What are their beliefs?
The Katia people are Hindu. But as Dalits, they have such low status in the Hindu pecking order that they are running into trouble. In the last several years, latent hatred and distrust for the Dalits, or "untouchables," has escalated in Orissa. An Indian high court ruling in Orissa allowed Dalit people like the Katias to enter the Jagannath Temple, defying an age-old ban. History has proven that change comes with a high price, and in Orissa, many Dalits like the Katias have paid the price with their lives.
Some Dalits have not only entered temples, but performed rituals under police protection. Unfortunately this protection does not extend to outside the temple. Local villagers beat four Dalit women who were trying to enter the temple. Some priests have stopped the rituals and locked the temple's main gate. Many upper caste landowners have stopped giving work to people Dalits who attempt to defy their ancient ways.
The Katia worship Budima as their village deity, and the goddess Laxmi as their family deity. They also worship Ganesh, Shiva, and Kali.
What are their needs?
The Katia people live in a part of India where there are few opportunities to hear the gospel.
Pray that the Katia people will have the opportunity to hear of and respond to Jesus Christ. Pray that they will worship Him alone and abandon their Hindu gods.