Introduction / History
For most of their history the Vaddar (aka Bovi or Od) people wandered the subcontinent looking for jobs to support their families. The word Bhovi means "earth-digger". During the Partition of 1947, the Muslim Vaddars tended to move to Pakistan while the Hindu Vaddars went to live in India. The large majority of the Vaddars (aka Bhovi or Od) are Hindus but there are also a sizable number of Muslims and a small group of Sikhs.
Where are they located?
The Vaddar people live throughout the nation of Pakistan but mostly reside in the south of the country. The most Muslim Vaddars of Pakistan live in the states of Punjab and Sindh.
What are their lives like?
The traditional occupations of the Vaddars have been as stonecutters, diggers of wells and canals and as transporters of earth and stones. Many Vaddars now have settled in villages and work as farm laborers on others' land. Only about 50% of the Vaddars can read and write. The primary language of the Muslim Vaddars in Pakistan is Oadki (aka Odki). Many also speak Punjabi and Urdu, which allow them to speak with others outside their group.
The Vaddars of Pakistan are endogamous, that is they marry within their own community. The Vaddar women have a role in the economic, social and religious spheres of their community and contribute to the family income. Caste councils promote their interests and settle legal disputes.
What are their beliefs?
Though the Vaddar people of Pakistan are Muslims, they retain certain aspects of the Hindu worldview such as belief in evil spirits. The Vaddar people in Pakistan are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They attempt 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. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime.
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. Presently there are no known believers among the Vaddars of Pakistan.
What are their needs?
The Muslim Vaddars need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. The Vaddars need help in educating their children and learning new job skills. They need the benefits of modern medicine. They need to see the love of Christ lived out before them in practical ways.
A few Vaddar (Bovi, Od) indicated interest in becoming Christ-followers in the 1970s but it is unknown what has happened to them due to persecution.
Pray for Holy Spirit to send anointed believers to serve among the Vaddars.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Vaddar disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a spiritual hunger for the truth and Word of God among the Vaddar.
Pray for a "book of Acts" type of movement among Pakistan's Vaddar community.
Text source: Keith Carey