Introduction / History
The Bedias have an uncertain origin. They are known by other names in India such as; 'wandering Kurmi ', Berai, Beria and Bedia Kudmi. The name Bedia is said to have come from the word behara meaning 'jungle '. Older anthropological descriptions have equated the Bedia as a South Asia form of the European Romani. Most of the Bedias are Hindus, but there are many that are Muslims and very much unreached in Bangladesh, Nepal and India.
What are their lives like?
The traditional occupation of many Bedias was agriculture. In more recent years in north India and Nepal they have taken up wage labour jobs, rickshaw-pulling and some clans have been involved in the oldest of occupations, as well as women dancers (mujra) and singers. The Bedias are not vegetarian and generally prefer to eat rice, maize, mandua and gondli. Because many live in rural communities education is not a priority and consequently literacy is low.
What are their needs?
There has been a reported response to the Gospel among the Hindu Bedias in Bangladesh but among the Muslim Bedis there is no known believers. In central India poorer Bedias have been assisted with tracts of land which has raised their standard of living in recent years. Pray that the church might respond with workers and initiatives like land-ownership along with the Gospel message to bring a new hope to the Bedia Muslim people.
Text source: Anonymous