India
Republic of India
May 31-June 16
Asia


click to enlarge

GEOGRAPHY

Area 3,166,000 sq.km. A further 121,000 sq.km. of Kashmir is administered by Pakistan and China. Geographically and politically India dominates south Asia and the Indian Ocean. There are 29 Union States and 6 Union Territories. Note: more detailed statistics given under individual states.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 1,013,661,777 +1.66% 320 per sq. km.
2010 1,152,163,518 +1.16% 364 per sq. km.
2025 1,330,448,707 +0.90% 420 per sq. km.

Capital Delhi 11.3 million. Other cities: 31 over one million; nearly 400 over 100,000. Largest city: Mumbai (Bombay) 17.55 mill. Urbanites 40% in 2001.

PEOPLES

The racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity together with the caste system complicates any analysis of the population. A 1991 survey identified 4,635 distinct people groups. More detail is given under the individual states. People Groups based on culture and caste rather than language are the more important for understanding India's complexity. The Indo-Aryan invasion and conquest of India three millennia ago led to the marginalization of the original inhabitants (many of the tribal peoples of today), subjugation of much of the Dravidian population and the emergence of multiple mixed race groups (now backward castes). The caste system established Brahmin control over the majority. Fundamental to Hinduism, it pervades all religious and social structures in India. Caste discrimination is forbidden by the constitution, but is socially important for over 80% of the population. There are an estimated 6,400 castes. Each functions as a separate group because of the social barriers that separate them.

Castes

Forward castes (FC) 15.4%. Brahmin (the pre-eminent priestly caste) 33.7m; Rajput 40m; Mahratta (many also OBC) 28.5m; Kayastha 12.3m; Jat (also OBC) 12m; Nayar 6.2m; Bhumihar Brahmin 4.1m; Arora 3.8m; Samon 3.7m; Vania 1.2m.

Backward castes (OBC) 56.6%. Yadava 31.6m; Kurmi 25.7m; Ahir 25.4m; Shaikh (Mus) 24.3m; Teli 23m; Kunbi 19.6m; Vanniyar 18.1m; Lingayat 17.8m; Nai 14.7m; Garia 13.1m; Pathan (Mus) 12.4m; Viswakarma 12.3m; Koiri 10.6m; Vakkaliga 9.9m; Telaga 9.1m; Mappila (Mus) 8.9m; Gujar 8.5m; Barhai 8.4m; Kamma 7.1m; Sonar 7.1m; Ilavar 6.9m; Kapu 6.6m; Chotra Bansi 6.4m; Kalwar 6.0m; Kuruba 5.7m.

Scheduled castes or Dalit (SC) 18.1%. Generally deprived, often landless, subjugated and exploited. Also known in past as outcastes, untouchables, Harijan. Chamar 47.3m; Mahisyada 11.4m; Pasi 7.2m; Madiga 7.1m; Mala 5.4m; Dhobi 5.3m; Dusadh 5.2m; Mahar 4.3m; Namasudra 4.1m; Rajbanshi 4.1m; Bahna 3.5m; Bhambi 3.4m; Bagdi 3.5m; Balmiki 3.3m; Pod 2.8m; Bhangi 2.3m; Dom 1.9m.

Tribal or Adivasi (ST) (580) 9.5%. Gond 10.5m; Bhil 10.1m; Santal 5.9m; Koli (Kori) 3.5m; Banjara (Lambada) 3.1m; Bhil Mina 2.9m; Oraon 2.6m; Naikda 2.2m; Munda 1.9m; Bhuiya 1.6m; Khond 1.4m; Naga 1.2m; Koli Mahadev 1.1m; Boro (Bodo) 1.1m; Tipera 1.0m; Khasi 940,000; Rabari 919,000.

Other 0.4% (not considered part of the caste system). Syrian (Christian) 2.5m. Refugees: Iranians 60,000; Afghans 50,000.

Races and Languages

Indo-Aryan 75.3%. 94 main languages, mainly north and central India. Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati, Oriya, Panjabi, Sindhi, Rajasthani/Mawari, Assamese, Nepali, Kashmiri, Badaga, Konkani, etc.

Dravidian 22.5%; 23 main languages, mainly south India. Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Oraon.

Austro-Asiatic 1.13%. 16 main languages scattered over central, south and northeast India. Bhil, Gond, Santal Kui, Munda, etc.

Sino-Tibetan 0.97%. 80 main languages. Tibetan, Manipuri, Naga, Tripuri, Garo, Mizo, Kuki-Chin, etc.

Other 0.1%. Arabic, etc.

Literacy 62% (44% in 1981). Functional literacy much lower. No longer the world's least literate country. Official languages Hindi (language of Union, 66% speak it); English (legislative and judicial language and language of wider communication, 19% speak it). Scheduled languages 18. All languages 1,652 (1971 census). The SIL Ethnologue lists 407 living languages.

Language Sub-languages Population Peo. Gr.
Hindi 49 407.9m 800+
Bengali 5 84.2m 159
Telugu 3 79.8m 355
Marathi 2 75.5m 170
Tamil 4 64.1m 247
Urdu 2 52.5m 163
Gujarati 4 49.2m 199
Kannada 3 39.6m 174
Malayalam 3 36.4m 129
Oriya 6 33.9m 200
Panjabi 5 28.1m 84
Assamese 2 15.9m 38
Sindhi 3 2.5m 9
Nepali 2 2.5m 24
Konkani 3 2.1m 55
Manipuri 2 1.5m 1
Kashmiri 3 68,000 47
Sanskrit 2 59,000 1

Languages with Scriptures 53Bi 42NT 40por 68w.i.p.

ECONOMY

Predominantly agricultural with 64% of the labour force, but rapid industrialization and urbanization is taking place. India is now a nuclear power and has a space industry. It is one of the world leaders in computer software production. Economic growth accelerated in the 1990s but has been offset by high birth rate, illiteracy, prejudice, widespread corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency. The 250 million middle class would benefit most from the market reforms and liberalization being instituted. Over 600 million live in deep poverty, and 300 million live below the bread-line. India's widespread use of English gives the country a major advantage as its economy opens up to the world. HDI 0.545; 132nd/174. Public debt 22% of GNP. Income/person $370 (1.2% of USA).

POLITICS

Independent from Britain in 1947. The world's largest functioning democracy. The RSS and the VHP (Hindu extreme nationalist movements) have grown in strength and influence with their nationalist Hindutva ideology, and with effective populist propaganda have infiltrated most of the power structures in India. On the strength of this, the Hindu nationalist BJP party have gained political power, but cannot tame the fascist-inspired forces that facilitated this. Many fear the undermining of democracy and the emergence of an intolerant Hindu dictatorship.

RELIGION

India's constitution provides for full religious freedom of worship and witness for all religions. The rise of Hindutva extremism resulted in a hate campaign against Muslims in the early 1990s and against Christians in the late 1990s as being followers of 'foreign' religions. Anti-conversion legislation and imposing legal restrictions on Christian activities has been strongly demanded. Some states have enacted such legislation and condoned a rising wave of violence and even murder of Christian workers. Many are concerned at the practical erosion of guaranteed religious freedoms. In the present climate of persecution, for Christians, statistics below are not given in full, but are representative of what God is doing. Persecution index 29th in the world.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Hindu/other 79.83 792,075,313 +1.6%
Muslim 12.50 126,707,722 +2.1%
Christian 2.40 25 million* n.a.
Sikh 1.92 19,462,306 +1.7%
Traditional ethnic 1.40 14,191,265 +1.0%
Buddhist 0.80 8,109,294 +3.0%
Jain 0.35 3,500,000 +2.0%
non-Religious 0.55 5,575,000 +1.7%
Baha'i 0.23 2,331,422 +3.1%
Parsee 0.02 150,000 +2.2%

*The religion figures for 2000 are largely derived from the 1991 census which, for many reasons, seriously under-enumerated Christians at 2.34%. Official 1991 census figures are used in the coverage of the individual states.

Christians Denom. % of Chris. Ann.Gr.
Protestant 309 39.0 +4.5%
Independent 1,700 27.6 +6.8%
Catholic 3 29.2 +1.1%
Orthodox 6 3.8 +1.2%
Marginal 15 0.4 +7.7%

Note: The percentage figure given is of the total number of Christians only.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 17,178 6,424,581 11,500,000
Ch of South India (CSI) P 15,765 1,387,324 2,955,000
Council of Bap Ch of NEI P 5,400 760,000 2,000,000
Malankara Orth Syrian O 1,346 1,143,713 1,910,000
United Ev LuthChs in I P 13,000 608,108 1,350,000
Ch of North India (CNI) P 4,382 714,286 1,300,000
Samavesam of Telu. Bapt P 893 475,639 1,110,000
Mar Thoma Syrian I 1,547 508,982 850,000
Assemblies of God [2] P 3,600 350,000 800,000
Presby Ch of NE I [4] P 2,896 389,385 797,932
Indian Pente Ch of God I 4,000 320,000 750,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 1,056 289,417 445,000
Chr Assemblies of India P 1,900 130,000 433,000
Evang Church of India P 1,152 363,390 431,000
Believers Church (GFA) I 5,000 100,000 400,000
Baptist Conv of N Circars P 280 185,400 371,000
Indian Evang Team I 2,893 200,000 340,000
Baptist Convention P 2,700 165,000 330,000
Mennonite S. S. P 2,000 80,000 310,000
Salvation Army P 2,300 230,000 300,000
9 Garo Baptist Assocs P 2,100 185,000 270,000
Assembs -Jeh Shammah I 760 80,000 250,000
United Pentecostal [2] P 2,100 140,000 220,000
Ch of God (Cleveland) P 1,020 95,000 190,000
Baptist U of Mizoram P 391 70,000 180,000
Chs of Christ [6] P 3,700 75,000 160,000
New Life Fellowship I 1,500 80,000 160,000
N Bank Baptist Assoc P 800 60,000 110,000
St Thomas Evangelical I 700 65,868 110,000
Denoms listed here [39]   122,000 15,870,000

30,620,000

There are a further 2,000 or so smaller, mostly indigenous denominations or networks with over 200,000 churches not listed or enumerated here.

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.

Evangelical

1.8

18,458

+5.3%

Charismatic

1.2

12,541

+4.9%

  Pentecostal

0.4

3,891

+7.5%

Missionaries from India
P,I,A over 44,000 in 440 agencies of which 60% are working cross-culturally in India, 440 in foreign countries.

Expatriates to India
P,I,A approx. 1,000 in 184 agencies. C 5,000.


click for legend

Answers to Prayer

1 Praise God for Christianity's two millennia in India since the arrival of the Apostle Thomas. In the past 20 years the Christian presence representing all the world's main Christian traditions is at last beginning to be visible as an indigenous component of the mainstream of Indian life.

2 The 200 years since William Carey, the great Baptist pioneer, have been remarkable. The Holy Spirit has used countless thousands of Indian and expatriate workers to affect India for good in education, health, challenging social wrongs, and to plant over 300,000 churches. There have been periodic revivals in the Panjab and in South India, in Nagaland in 1976 and Mizoram in the 1980s.

3 Praise for continued freedom for Indian Christians to proclaim the gospel despite efforts to limit this through intimidation and persecution.

4 Persecution in the 1990s has refined the Church, focused its vision and brought a greater unity of purpose than ever before. It has pushed the person of Jesus and the existence of the Church to centre stage, and has also not shown extremist Hinduism in a favourable light.

5 Praise for the flowering of Indian Christian leadership – with world-renowned Christian apologists, theologians, preachers, writers and mission leaders during the last two decades.

6 The dynamic growth surge of Indian mission agencies and church-based mission initiatives from south and northeast India and elsewhere. From small beginnings in the 1960s the movement has burgeoned and matured to over 44,000 workers in nearly 500 agencies with over half in cross-cultural fields in India and beyond.

7 The increase in effective grass-roots research during the 1990s. A Research Teams Network has linked the efforts of IMA, CONS, GFA, The Bible League, CGAI, YWAM and others to analyse each state, city, people and ministry. Never before has there been such clarity about the bounds of the unfinished task! Pray for the ongoing research programme and its effectiveness in helping churches to obey the Great Commission.

Challenges for Prayer

1 India has more (and larger) people groups with no Christians, churches or workers than any other part of the world. Pray that the Church world-wide might rise to complete this task.

2 The leaders of the nation and its constituent states need prayer:

a) That they might continue to uphold the constitution by maintaining religious freedom and protecting religious and ethnic minorities. Some state governments have had a bad record for abuse of human rights and discrimination against Christians, Muslims and Dalits. The Internet is rapidly becoming a powerful means of exposing corruption and forcing governments to be more accountable to the people.

b) That they may resist growing pressures to pass discriminatory 'anti-conversion' laws, legalize and favour extremist Hindu organizations, restrict foreign funds and buildings for minorities, and limit press freedoms for those who protest.

c) That they may be more committed to tackle the serious ills of society – in a culture of corruption at every level of government, find ways to free up the economy to reduce poverty, improve the national infrastructure, deal with widespread use of child labour, female infanticide, the rapid spread of AIDS and serious environmental degradation.

3 Hinduism is the world's third largest religious system. At its widest, a Hindu is one who lives in or identifies with India and its culture. As a religion, it is a pluralistic network of religious beliefs and systems ranging from the philosophical (self-realization), to Vedic (rituals and good works) to village Hinduism (idolatry, occultism, animism). It absorbs elements of any religion it encounters, and is widely perceived as a religion of tolerance and peace. Its global influence is significant through such movements as Hare Krishna, New Age, etc. Many concepts of Hinduism have become part of 21st century post-modern culture – yoga, gurus, karma, reincarnation and transcendental meditation. How can we pray?

a) Hinduism has emotional appeal, yet in their search after fulfilment and purpose Hindus still long for a true communion with the Creator that only Jesus can give. Pray that Christians may so demonstrate true spirituality and the life of Christ indwelling that many will find their desires met in Him.

b) The Hindu caste system is a major unresolved issue. Constitutional equality and the legal banning of discrimination together with affirmative action favouring the underprivileged in education and government jobs have only partly addressed the problems. The rising demands by Dalits for their constitutional rights and a share in the land and wealth of the country, and by tribals for protection of their ancestral lands are often met by obstruction, intimidation and repression. Pray that:

i) the government may handle wisely the realities of casteism and the impoverishment of a large percentage of the population.

ii) the Christian response may be both biblical and Christ-like. Over 70% of all Christians are of Dalit and tribal communities, and the average Hindu associates the gospel with the underclasses of their society.

iii) the churches in their outreach may be sensitive to the caste networks and facilitate people movements to Christ but in their fellowship may work towards the elimination of the dividing walls of society.

c) Hindutva extremism has become a major issue and cast a baleful shadow over India. Militant Hindus of the RSS, VHP and Sangh Parivar have worked for years to infiltrate their members into every influential part of society, and have now gained a measure of political power and patronage. They are attempting to re-write history, institutionalize discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities and control the media. The Hindutva ideology of “India is Hindu only” has been shamelessly used to gain political power. A rapid increase in intimidation and violence against Muslims and then Christians was evident in the 1990s, stigmatizing them as 'foreign'. Their model is more European fascism than ancient Hinduism. Pray that:

i) the worst of the instigators of communal violence may repent of their evil and find forgiveness in Christ.

ii) the lies, bigotry, barrenness and destructiveness of this extremism to India's social cohesion and unity might be exposed and lead many to consider the claims of Christ. The martyrdom of Graham Staines and his two sons in 1999, and ensuing publicity, caused widespread embarrassment to most Hindus.

iii) Christians might be united and courageous in the face of widespread and localized persecution. The number of attacks on Christians has rapidly increased – from 1964-1996 there were 38 recorded incidents. In the subsequent three years there were over 300. By 2001 there was, on average, an incident every 36 hours. Though these are still relatively few in a country of India's size, they have had a deep effect on the Christian population.

iv) The 're-conversion' programme by Hindu extremists might prove an expensive failure, and that threatened Dalit and Tribal Christians may stand firm in Christ whatever the cost.

v) Christians may show the love and forgiveness of Christ to their persecutors.

4 The Church in India is, at the same time, both vital and growing, and nominal and in decline.

a) Much of organized Christianity is based on people movements over the past 400 years and in many denominations Western forms, liberal theology, universalism and a growing nominalism has dried up the rivers of the Spirit to the millions of non-Christians around them. Many congregations have no first-generation Christians from a non-Christian background. Disputes over personalities, power and property have led to many divisions, court cases, a widespread disillusionment and a steady loss of young people to secularism and nominal Hinduism. Pray that present pressures and the work of the Holy Spirit might bring new life to traditional streams of Christianity.

b) The need for change in the Church has never been greater. Pray for:

i) Unity. The All India Christian Council was formed in 1998 to protect and serve Christians from all denominations. Over 2,000 denominations and associations are participating in the AICC. There is greater unity than ever known before, because of the more hostile national environment. The past has been characterised by a spirit of divisiveness. Pray for this unity to mature and develop and to be made visible to the watching world. There also needs to be a greater cooperation and accountability between local churches and sending agencies.

ii) Indigeneity in music, worship and culture – for too long churches have appeared foreign.

iii) Greater reliance on cell/house churches of an Indian model than on Western-style buildings.

iv) More effective discipling of the many being touched or stirred by multiple evangelistic programmes. Pray for a greater integrity of life, earnestness and commitment to the Lord among those evangelizing.

v) More effective outreach through personal evangelism rather than mass rallies.

vi) More relevance to impact the mainstream of national life. The Church is seen to be linked to the marginalized, deprived sections of society. Business, politics, arts, culture, the middle and upper classes have been neglected.

c) Biblical Christianity is thriving:

i) Evangelical pastors in mainline denominations are increasing.

ii) A multiplicity of dynamic, newer Pentecostal and charismatic fellowships have sprung up and spread to many areas.

iii) The number of evangelical denominations has increased and congregations multiplied. There are several key networks linking many denominations – the Pentecostal Fellowship of India (linking all major Pentecostal denominations), the Baptist Evangelical Alliance and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (linking over 100 denominations and agencies). These have been used of God in maturing, stabilizing and mobilizing believers through prayer, conventions, pastors' retreats, coordinating training, literature production, mission and outreach.

iv) The Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church began in 1972 and has spread to nearly every Catholic church. It has had a profound impact, brought many to new life, and stimulated outreach.

d) The growth of the Church during the 1990s was significant but hard to measure. Many networks for intercession for the evangelization of the country, involving millions of Christians, have flourished, such as the Arpana Prayer Network (in 100 cities linking thousands of Christian women) and Quiet Corner Ministries. Millions have become responsive through widely heard radio programmes, massive distributions of Christian literature, extensive use of Christian videos, films and cassettes. Many have come into the Kingdom through multiple efforts to start new congregations. Pray that no attack of the enemy from outside or inside the Church may stunt this growth.

5 The training of Christian workers is fundamental for the health and growth of the Church. Poor discipling and lack of teaching have made nominalism, syncretism and losses to Hinduism a problem for Catholics, Protestants and Independents. There are about 100,000 full-time workers in India; about half are pastoring local churches. There is, on average, one pastor for every six congregations. Pray for:

a) Degree-level seminaries, of which there are over 40. A minority are theologically evangelical. Several for special mention – Union Biblical Seminary in Pune, with 225 students from 50 evangelical denominations and agencies, Asia Biblical Seminary in Tiruvalla, Kerala with 400 students from 31 denominations, Hindustan Bible Institute, etc. Pray for a stream of warm-hearted workers, anointed by the Spirit, to move out from these institutions to India and beyond.

b) Bible schools which now number over 300, having doubled in 10 years. Evangelical institutions are full. Bible schools need to change from merely teaching theology to giving practical skills in church planting.

c) Training centres for indigenous workers, largely for church planters are playing a significant role (FMPB, IEM, etc.). GFA has set up 50 such, with 5,000 in a 3-year programme in 2000.

d) New, creative ways for multiplying leaders must be sought and, in some cases, are being attempted. Many residential institutions are locked into a Western maintenance model which leads to minimal impact on the non-Christian majority and cannot produce the hundreds of thousands of workers needed now.

e) The House/Cell Church Movement is rapidly spreading in many parts of the country. One such is Operation Agapé in the north and AoG in the south. It is proving culturally appropriate, affordable, biblically authentic and very effective.

6 The growth of the number, size and maturity of Indian cross-cultural outreach agencies is remarkable. In 1973 there were 420 missionaries; in 1983 – 3,017; in 1993 – 12,000 in 200 agencies. By 2000 this had risen to 44,000 in 440+ Protestant/ independent agencies. During the 1990s significant progress was made in upgrading training, improving the quality of ministry, planning strategically, setting goals, initializing research and partnering with others. Pray for:

a) Indian mission agency networking structures play a key role in furthering cooperation, goal-setting and fellowship; major ones being the India Missions Association (132 evangelical agencies representing 21,000 missionaries), CONS, North India Harvest Network.

b) The Asian Theological Association-India and the Indian Institute of Missiology accredit, facilitate and network missions training. There are over 100 schools providing such; almost all started since 1980; IET started 27.

c) The mission agencies themselves, for their leadership to be strategic, for provision of pastoral care and support to their workers, for fruitfulness in ministry and for spiritual unity. The largest agencies: GFA (10,795), CCCI (2,604), IET (1,876), Brethren (1,140), OM (1,000), Mizo Presbyterians (800), New Life (690), IEM (470), EHC (450), FMPB (400). There are 45 Pentecostal missions with over 4,000 workers.

d) Indian missionaries serving in other lands – around 440. Costs for them are much higher. Pray for provision of their finances, etc.

e) OM graduates. The impact of OM on implanting missions vision has been significant. The Association of OM Graduates links together 12,000 full-time Christian workers. Many of these lead some of the most effective agencies in India today.

f) Indian missionaries serving in India face heightened and organized opposition and even persecution. A number of those serving in literature distribution, showing evangelistic films, and in discipling young Christians have been martyred in recent years.

g) A widening of ministry to other needy sections of the population. Hitherto half the cross-cultural missionaries have gone to tribal groups and many of the rest to the downtrodden, marginalized or needy sections of the population. Few are working among the urban middle class, the higher castes, etc. – this needs to be increased, but most existing workers feel inadequately prepared for this challenge.

h) Better and closer relationships between local churches and sending agencies. Many missions are supported by multi-congregational informal prayer networks. There needs to be more accountability between workers and churches.

i) Expatriates serving in India who now number only around 1,000. Tentmaking is one way of entry for new workers, and there are many roles that could be filled by expatriates in support of existing Indian ministries and pioneering contacts in sections of the population not easily reached by indigenous workers. Many international advocates are needed to adopt peoples and areas and raise prayer for barriers to be broken down.

7 The least evangelized areas of India – no other part of the world has such a concentration of unevangelized people. Pray for:

a) The North India Ganges plains with their teeming millions in the Hindi-speaking heartland. In the 5 states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with 360 million people, live 650,000 Christians, but active committed believers may be no more than 120,000. Christians in India are unequally spread – 70% in the south, 25% in the northeast and only 5% in the more populated north and west.

b) The great cities with their rapid growth and mix of great wealth and abject poverty. Chennai (12% Christian) and Mumbai (5%) are in contrast to Kolkata, Delhi, Varanasi, etc., where Christian witness is very small. Twenty-six percent of the urban population live in slums, many being newcomers to the cities. There are 41 million Indians without a home.

8 The least reached mega people groups of India which are resident in many different states.

a) The Brahmin are the highest and priestly caste in the Hindu world. They number 40 million but there may be only 18,000 who openly profess Christianity.

b) Other Forward Castes – the Rajput (40m), Mahratta (28m), Jat (12m), Bhumihar (4m), Arora (3.8m), Samon (3.7m), etc., may have no more than 5,000 Christians. The forward castes have a very negative view of Christian workers – Dalit, simple, cowardly, followers of the colonialists, rejectors of Indian culture and touting Western ideas. There is little effective ministry among them. These people groups will need a different and more sensitive, loving approach and adequate preparation of workers if the barriers to faith in Christ are to be breached.

c) Many Backward Caste peoples, such as the Yadava (31.5m), Kurmi (25.7m), Ahir (25.4m), Gujar (8.5m), Sonar (7.1m) have no known Christians at worst, or a few thousand at best.

d) Dalit groups have responded more, such as the 47m Chamar, with 500,000 Christians, but the 5.5m Dhobi and 7.2m Pasi have shown little response.

e) There are still numerous tribal peoples un- or under-evangelized.

i) The Banjara (Lambadi) are the people from whom the world's Roma (Gypsy) have come. Mahars have turned to Buddhism in large numbers, but are one of the most responsive groups in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The Banjara number 4.8 million, but only 1% are Christian.

ii) The 10 million Bhil and 10.5 million Gond are slower in committing their lives to Christ despite years of outreach.

f) The Sindhi – 36 million equally divided between Muslims (in Pakistan) and Hindu (in India). There are 300 Christians among them in India, and about double that globally.

g) There are 205 people groups with populations of over 10,000 that are still totally unreached.

9 Specific communities requiring specialized ministry:

a) The increasingly affluent 250 million of the middle classes have virtually no meaningful contact with Christianity and they are the key sector of society in the 21st Century.

b) Students numbering over 10 million in 250 universities and 10,000 colleges. A high proportion use addictive drugs. Pray for the nation-wide ministries of YFC, ICCC, Intercollegiate Pentecostal Fellowship and the Union of Evangelical Students of India (UESI/IFES). The latter has groups and staff workers in most campuses, winning new Christians annually. Pray for a clear, vibrant witness to the thousands of non-Christian students. Pray for their growth and integration into local churches. There are no UESI staff workers in Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh.

c) Young people – the statistics are solemn: 100 million school drop-outs, 50% living below the poverty line, 24% severely malnourished. Many live in a moral and spiritual vacuum. Most churches do not have the resources or know-how to minister to them. YFC, Blessing Youth Ministry, CEF, SU, CCCI and others reach out to some.

d) Children in crisis – no country can rival India's need. Of India's nearly 400m under 18, 70m+ are child labourers, 10m are bonded labourers (a form of slavery to pay off family debts), 13m are homeless, 2m are street children without families. There is widespread child abuse, and there is a deficit of 40m girls because of female foeticide – over 20,000 ultrasound clinics thrive on this illegal practice. There are 575,000 child prostitutes and there is a massive trade in Bangladeshi and Nepali girls sold into prostitution. Pray that these desperate needs may be addressed through loving Christian ministries.

e) Leprosy sufferers number 1.5m, 63% of the world's total. Christian agencies, in particular TLM and their 2,000 workers in 50 centres, minister to them.

f) The blind. India's 10m blind represent over a quarter of the world's total. Few have learned the Braille script, nor are there many materials in Braille in Indian languages. The Torch Trust for the Blind is committed to producing the whole Bible in Braille in the 12 major languages of India. At present there are some books in nine languages, but none have the whole Bible. Other agencies with ministry to blind people are Mission to the Blind and India Fellowship for Physically Handicapped. Compass Braille is an agency specializing in producing Braille Scriptures in Indian languages by means of computer.

g) AIDS has spread rapidly and is worst in Mumbai (3% of population), Maharashtra and Karnataka (2.4%), Tamil Nadu (1.8%) and NE India. Many fear that by 2000 there will be 10m carrying the virus, or 1% of the population of India. By 2020 there could be 200m carrying HIV – if present trends continue unchecked. This could become a catastrophe for India and only now are the authorities and Christian churches and agencies beginning to address the need for effective preventive and care ministries and also the need to minister to drug addicts – a major source of infection. A massive mobilization is needed.

10 Minority religious communities:

a) Muslims may number 140 million making India the second largest Muslim country in the world. Once the rulers of much of India for over 600 years, but now a pressured minority, they are one of the world's most accessible Muslim communities. Sixty million speak Urdu/Dekkani and 80 million, other languages. Only a few hundred Christian workers are involved with them, but there is a rising interest and concern for Muslims. Several agencies are committed to ministry among them.

b) The Sikh community world-wide numbers around 24 million, but there is little understanding of Sikhism among Christians to be able to dialogue and bring them to a knowledge of Christ. In recent years many Sikhs have turned to Christ in Vancouver, Canada (72 churches) and more recently in Haryana state.

c) Buddhist Tibetans number about 130,000, of which 90,000 are refugees from China. Only 40-50 believers are known. Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh is the present HQ of the Dalai Lama. Pray for him and his followers.

d) The 3,500,000 Jains and 150,000 Parsees with their wealth, isolation from others, and their unique religions are extremely hard to reach, yet are very influential in society, industry and business.

11 Help Ministries play a vital part in the evangelization of millions who have no meaningful contacts with Christian churches. Pray for:

a) The Bible Society with its long and remarkable ministry and key role in distributing over 100 million portions of Scripture or Bibles annually. Other organizations are also supplying and distributing Scriptures – such as World Home Bible League, Bibles for the World, International Bible Society and Bharatiya Bible League. The Bible League has done much in research of India's states for all Christian agencies, as well as in effective Bible distribution and outreach to 70 unreached people groups.

b) Bible translation is a major challenge.

i) A new effort as great as that of William Carey 200 years ago should be mounted, or at the present rate of translation it will take 100 years to cover the languages of India!

ii) Indian missions are beginning to rise to the challenge of the 203 languages that still may require attention – 30 with a definite need. Over 100 languages spoken by more than 10,000 are without Scriptures.

iii) The United Bible Society has 74 translation projects in hand.

iv) Various Indian agencies are involved in Scripture translation projects – Indian Bible Translators (40), IEM (12), IET (5), FMPB, GFA, ORBIT (2).

v) The Indian Institute of Cross-Cultural Communication is one agency which provides training in linguistics for many agencies and helps to monitor progress in over 35 projects.

vi) There is a great need for modern, culturally appropriate translations in Urdu and many other languages.

c) Literature distribution. The prodigious growth of the writing, publishing and distributing of Christian literature has been a major factor in breaking down opposition to the gospel. EHC teams are in the process of giving literature out to most homes in India. By 2000, 500 million pieces of literature had been distributed with 6 million responses and the formation of 16,000 Christ Group fellowships. It is estimated that 300 million or more have been exposed to the gospel through teams distributing Scriptures. SGM dispatches around 5 million Scripture portions to India annually in 39 languages. GFA produces and distributes 50 million pieces of literature annually.

d) Christian publishing and bookstores. Publishers must contend with lack of local writing talent and high costs in a poor land, but many locally-produced books have been printed and sold in large numbers. The Evangelical Literature Fellowship of India is a major networking body for 23 agencies. Pray for the Gospel Literature Service in Mumbai (publishing books, tracts, etc.), the Evangelical Literature Service (CLC) with HQ in Chennai (40 full-time workers, 10 stores, 150 book titles in print), and OM Books (publishing and nation-wide distribution). Athmeeya Yatra of GFA has become one of the largest producers of literature in India. The Christian Booksellers Association was formed in 2000.

e) Bible Correspondence Courses sent out from over 70 centres. These have proved fruitful. The centre linked with TEAM has courses in 22 languages. The ICI (AoG) sends out courses in 11 languages, with two million having completed at least one course.

f) Cassette ministry is significant with over half the population functionally illiterate. GRN has increased their language recording range to 394 with at least 171 others targeted. World Cassette Outreach, People India and Hosanna as well as the Bible Society have large programmes for making audio-Scriptures available in all possible languages.

g) Christian medical work. The Christian Medical Association has oversight of 430 institutions with both Indian and expatriate medical workers. The Emmanuel Hospitals Association has responsibility for 22 hospitals originally started by foreign missions. Pray that the witness going out from these hospitals may lead many to seek the Saviour. Pray for the Evangelical Medical Fellowship of India and Evangelical Nurses Fellowship with groups in many hospitals. All over India the proportion of Christian medical workers is high; pray that many non-Christians may be won to Jesus through them.

h) Christian films and video are important:

i) A 200 hour TV series on the life of Christ had 70 million viewers until restrictions limited this. From this was developed Karanamaidu, the Indian film on Jesus, available in 21 main languages. Over 300 film teams are showing this film to powerful effect to 2-3 million annually.

ii) The JESUS film is available in 55 languages; 100,000 view it daily as 500 film teams move around the country. These teams need wisdom and protection in today's India.

i) Christian radio and TV have won an enormous following among Christians and non-Christians. Pray for:

i) Programme producers – the pressure is great to make quality programmes and find talented, committed, native speakers. Some agencies involved: India Gospel Outreach, HBI, GFA, WEC-RW, Back to the Bible.

ii) Broadcasters – the major agencies: TWR (Irkutsk, Russia, Sri Lanka), FEBA (Seychelles) and FEBC (Manila) broadcast between them 200 hours/week in over 42 languages on both SW and MW frequencies, and increasingly on national and local radio too.

iii) The global inter-agency vision Radio by 2000 (see p.*) has gathered momentum for India: 5 languages have adequate programming, 17 need an increase in hours, 4 have an “urgent” and 14 a “probable” need for programming.

iv) The massive growth of the use of satellite TV and 75,000 Indian cable operators means TV is replacing radio. Pray that Christian agencies may adapt and exploit the possibilities of this expensive medium.

iv) Internet evangelism is becoming important as India rapidly 'wires-up'. There were 1.4 million Internet users in 1999, but this is increasingly massively.

12 Indians in other lands number 22 million. There are large numbers who have emigrated to the Americas (USA 2.1m; Canada 715,000; Trinidad 517,000; Suriname 140,000), Europe (UK 1m), Africa (South Africa 1.1m; Mauritius 763,000; Kenya 210,000; Malawi 30,000), Pacific (Fiji 357,000; Australia 90,000), Asia (Malaysia 1.6m; Sri Lanka Tamil 3.2m; Myanmar 750,000; Singapore 271,000). A further one million are migrant workers in the Middle East. In some of these communities many have become Christians (probably 250,000) – as in South Africa, USA and Mauritius; in others there has been relatively little response. Pray that expatriate Indian Christians may be called as witnesses to their land of origin. Visas are easier for them to obtain.

STATES OF INDIA

Most of these states are far larger than the majority of nations covered in this book, yet limitations of space allow only a brief description of each below. In December 2000, three new states were created – Jharkhand from South Bihar, Chhattisgarh from south-east Madya Pradesh and Uttaranchal from Uttar Pradesh. These are still handled as single units below because many issues were yet to be clarified as this book went to print. All specifics about ministries and agencies have been restricted for security reasons. Many of the Indian agencies already mentioned are active in outreaches and ministries alluded to below.

ANDHRA PRADESH

GEOGRAPHY

Area 275,000 sq.km. India's fifth largest state, in the south-east.

Population 79,710,000; 290 people/sq.km.

Capital Hyderabad 6.4m. Other major cities: Visakhapatanam 1.2m; Vijayawada 1,175,000.

PEOPLES

500. Major groups in their categories:

FC Brahmin 3.6m; Bania/Vaisya 3m; Sonar 1.1m.

OBC Telaga/Munnur/Mutrasi 9.8m; Ahir/Yadau/ Gowli 7.2m; Kapu/Kunbi/Reddi 6.7m; Deccani Muslim 5.1m; Dhobi/Agasa 3.3m; Viswakarma 2.3m; Andhra Coastal Muslim 1.7m; Boya 1.6m; Kalal/Idiga 1.5m; Nai 1.4m; Rayalseema Muslim 1.3m; Adi Andhra 1.0m.

SC/Dalit (60). Madiga 6m; Mala 5.1m; Adi Andhra 1.1m; Mala Sale 125,000; Arunthathiar 122,000.

ST (34): Banjara 2.1m; Koya 584,000; Yenadi 511,000; Yerukala 496,000; Gond 271,000; Konda Dhora 214,000; Jatapu 133,000; Savara 126,000.

Languages Telugu 85%; Urdu 8.3%; Hindi 2.8%; Tamil 1.1%.

RELIGION

Hindu 89.1%; Muslim 8.9%; Christian 1.9%; Other 0.1%.

1 The official percentage of Christians declined from 4.2% in 1971 to 1.8% in 1991 – the only state in India to show this. Yet in this state has occurred strong church growth with millions of new Christians. It was here that Protestant mission work in India began. There are 66,000 churches and many denominations, but nominalism has increased and Hindu efforts to 'reconvert' Dalits to Hinduism have been successful – with 30% losses in some areas. Pray for new life, revival and effective faith-sharing among and by Christians.

2 Hyderabad is the key centre for Islam in South India. Nearly 40% of the city is Muslim, and the hub of the 11 million south Indian Deccani Muslims. Islam in the state grew from 8.2% in 1971 to 8.9% in 1991. Although 150 Christian organizations are based in the city, very few Christian workers have ever focused on their spiritual need and Christians from this community are correspondingly few. Pray that this may be changed.

3 Christian outreach continues with numerous people coming to Christ. There are churches in every district, and there is steady growth among many of the tribal groups. There is a vigorous saturation church planting movement promoted by evangelical churches. The challenges:

a) Overall growth of the Christians to be resumed.

b) The evangelization of the forward castes.

c) Relatively few of the 26,600 villages have churches.

d) Of the 33 tribal groups, 16 are still unreached. There are significant breakthroughs only among the Savara, Koya, Konda and Chenchu (many Indian agencies, also Christian Outreach Uplifting New Tribes), though Indian missions have commenced work in 12 other tribes.

e) Of the 3,522 pincode areas 50% still had no workers resident in 1998.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

GEOGRAPHY

Area 84,000 sq.km. Mountainous north-eastern frontier state bordering Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The state was inaugurated in 1987 and largely closed to outsiders, and even Indians until 1995.

Population 1,070,000; 13 people/sq.km.

Capital Itanagar.

PEOPLES

Over 30 speaking 22 languages.

ST Nissi 81,000; Adi Galong 71,000; Wancho 58,100; Bangni 53,600; Tagin 45,800; Adi Minyong 34,000; Adi 41,100; Monpa 36,700; Nocte 33,300; Tanu 28,200; Ahom 21,600.

RELIGION

Hindu 37%; Ethnic religions 35.6%; Buddhist 13%; Christian 13%; Muslim 1.4%.

1 The Church has grown dramatically from 0.8% of the population in 1971 to 13% today. Much of the pioneer work was done by Indian missionaries from Nagaland and N.E. India. Almost 90% of the nearly 1,000 churches are Baptists, but independent and other churches are increasing in number. There are numerous churches among the Adi, Nissi and Tangsa and, more recently, the Apatani and Nocte. Praise God for this, but pray for greater cooperation between them.

2 Persecution was severe in the 1970s and '80s. Heavy-handed efforts to Hinduize the indigenous Doino-Polo religion, hinder evangelism and stop church growth have broken down and pressures diminished but anti-Christian legislation has not been withdrawn. Pray that constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom may be granted to Christians.

3 The unfinished task. Arunachal Christians have the vision that every people in the state be reached. Some prayer targets:

a) The Buddhist peoples of the west adjoining Bhutan have had little opportunity to hear the gospel. There are no churches and only a handful of believers.

b) The animist peoples of the centre and west – the Miri, Sulung, Tangam, Tagin, Mishmi and Wanchoo.

c) The newcomer peoples – the Deori, Chakma and Hajong.

4 Radio ministry in Adi is having an impact (GFA).

ASSAM

GEOGRAPHY

Area 78,400 sq.km. Noted for the tropical forests (60% of state) and the Brahmaputra River. Main exports: tea, oil and forest products.

Population 26,866,000; 342 people/sq.km. Large-scale immigration from Bangladesh and Nepal.

Capital Dispur.

PEOPLES

People groups 60+.

FC 10.1% Brahmin 1.4m; Bania 1.3m.

OBC (9) 69.7%. Bengali Muslims (9) 5.8m; Assamese Muslims 2.5m; Tea Garden coolie (of origin) 5.8m, most are of tribal and Dalit origin from Bihar, Orissa, MP.

SC (15) 7.4%. Namasudra 626,000; Kaibartta/Jalia 665,000.

ST (22) 12.8%. Bodo 1.6m; Kachari 350,000; Miri 515,000; Rabha 399,000; Tiwa/Lalung 211,000; Arleng/Karbi 83,000; Dimasa 56,600; Deori 34,800; Barman 30,000.

RELIGION

Hindu 65%; Muslim 31%; Christian 3.1%; Buddhist 0.3%; Other 0.6%.

1 Assam is the major spiritual challenge in N.E. India. After two centuries of Christian work, professing Christians are a marginalized and shrinking percentage of the population (6.4% in 1961, 3% in 2000). Pray for a reversal of this trend and for revival, vision and impact on society to characterize the many lukewarm traditional congregations. Major denominations are Baptist (4), Lutheran (2), CNI and Catholic.

2 The Evangelical witness is confined to several Baptist associations and some newer independent and charismatic groups and Indian (mainly Mizo and Naga) mission agencies. Through them there is continuing growth among the tribal peoples with a significant minority of their populations now Christian. Lack of evangelists, church planters, Bible teachers and translators and lack of cooperation between the newer and older Christian bodies blunts further growth.

3 The less evangelized for which prayer is needed:

a) The 15 million Assamese are mostly Hindu and there are only around 1,000 active Christians among them; Christians are only 0.07% of the population. They are one of the least evangelized major Hindu peoples in India.

b) Bengalis are largely Muslim and comprise 80% of all Muslims. Many have immigrated from poor, overpopulated Bangladesh with considerable hostility generated among Assamese. Muslims are a majority in 6 of Assam's 23 districts. There is virtually no Christian witness to or among the 8 million Muslims and only a few Bengali Christians are known.

c) Assam tea estate workers number 6 million. Many are migrant Santal, Munda, Kharia, Orang and other tribal minorities from other states. Only 3% are Christian. They are open to the gospel, but few are there to share it.

d) Evangelization of the tribal peoples is incomplete. The Rajbongsi, Deori, Mising, Mikir and Kachari are all less than 5% Christian.

e) Of Assam's 564 pincode areas, 58% had no resident Christian workers in 1998.

BIHAR & JHARKHAND

GEOGRAPHY

Area 99,000 sq.km. Ganges alluvial plain. Jharkhand 75,000 sq.km. Wooded mineral-bearing hills to the south of Bihar.

Population BI – 75,834,000; 766 people/sq.km. JH – 27,500,000; 366 people/sq.km. Largely agricultural.

Capitals BI – Patna 2,100,000; JH – Ranchi 615,000. Other major city: Jamshedpur 1,000,000.

PEOPLES

261.

FC Brahmin/Bhumihar 7.2m; Rajput (Hindu) 4.3m.

OBC Bihari Muslim 16.6m; Ahir/Yadav 11.1m; Koiri/Kushwaha 4.9m; Kurmi 4.28m; Teli 2.9m; Ansari (Muslim) 2.7m; Kahar 1.8m; Tanti/Tatwa 1.7m; Dhanuk 1.7m; Kandu/Kanu 1.6m.

SC (22) Chamar 4.7m; Dosadh 4.2m; Musahar 2m; Bhuiya 1.3m; Dhobi 822,000; Pasi 680,000.

ST (31) Santal/Hor 3.1m; Oraon 1.6m; Munda 1.3m; Ho 800,000; Kharwar 322,000; Lohara 245,000; Kharia 211,000; Bhumij 203,000; Bedia 173,000; Gond 144,000; Mahli/Mhali 137,000; Malto 118,000.

Languages 75. Hindi 44%; Hindi dialects (Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi) 33%; Tribal languages 10%; Urdu 9%; Bengali 2.5%.

RELIGION

Hindu 77%; Muslim 14.5%; Ethnic religions 5%; Christian 1% (unofficially 1.5-2%). Both Buddhism and Jainism were founded in Bihar, but few adherents remain today.

1 Bihar has had a disastrous post-independence history. It has become a byword for corruption, mafia-style politics, a breakdown of law and order, communal tensions, oppression of minorities and underdevelopment. In 1950 it was India's third richest state; it is now one of its poorest. The formation of Jharkhand has had economic and spiritual implications for the politically dominant but economically poorer north. Pray for a resumption of true democratic government and the raising up of righteous leaders who will restore the fortunes of the two states.

2 North Bihar is one of the least evangelized mega-populations in the world. It has been long known as a graveyard of missions. Years of effort have yielded little fruit among the Hindu and Muslim people of the plains.

a) The 14 million forward caste Hindus have had exposure to the gospel, but the message has not been socially acceptable. Only 3,000 call themselves Christian (0.03% of total).

b) The 33 million of the backward castes are marginally more evangelized; about 0.5% are Christian in 42 of the castes, but in at least 36 others there are no known Christians.

c) The 15 million Muslims are unreached and gradually increasing as a percentage of the population. No ongoing effort is being made to reach them, and only a handful of converts to Christ are known. As a community they are insecure and subject to Hindu mob violence.

d) The 14 million Dalit are 0.7% Christian, but only three of the 30 castes have more than 1% Christian. People movements earlier in the 20th Century fizzled out. Pray that these abused, despised, illiterate peoples in grinding poverty might find liberty in Christ.

3 Christian churches are in great need. Lethargy, nominalism, and lack of outreach are commonplace. Through the impact of pioneer Lutheran, Catholic and Anglican missionaries, today 75% of all Christians are tribal and 24% are from Dalit and backward castes, almost all of whom live in Jharkhand. They have huge social and psychological barriers to overcome in order to witness to the politically powerful, but spiritually needy, middle and higher caste peoples. Pray that there may be revival and a miraculous change.

4 Significant investment of personnel has begun to bear fruit through the ministries of such agencies as FMPB, GEMS, Vishwa Vani, GFA and IMS:

a) Excellent research and analysis which has highlighted the needs.

b) A renewed focus on prayer, holistic evangelism and church planting – 500 new churches formed in the first six years.

c) The Bihar Outreach Network (BORN) was formed in 1992 and a number of churches and agencies are working together.

d) Goals set for training and mobilizing new workers – Indian mission agencies have increased from 40 to 60, major ones being Gospel Echoing Missionary Society, GFA (with 3 training centres and 400 workers), FMPB, AoG, IET, etc., and over 10 new Bible schools have been launched.

e) Outreach challenges:

i) 50 unreached language groups – only 40 known believers among the 12 million Magahi speakers; 10 tribal groups with no effective witness.

ii) Of the 200 larger people groups, 20 are reached, 100 are being reached and 80 are yet untouched by sustained outreach.

iii) Of Bihar's 1,853 pincode areas, 81% have no resident Christian workers.

DELHI

GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,483 sq.km. The National Capital Territory.

Population 11,300,000; 7,619 people/sq.km. India's capital city and centre of power, wealth and industry. A trend-setting city with significant communities from nearly every ethnic and caste group in India.

PEOPLES

FC 32.5%,OBC 48.4%; SC(39) 19.1%.

RELIGION

Hindu 84%; Muslim 14.5%; Christian 0.9%.

1 Delhi is a city in crisis – with 500,000 immigrants annually; over half of the population living in slums, massive pollution and related diseases and a crime wave. Pray that in this turmoil many might seek after the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Christians number around 100,000, but only 15-20,000 are regular church-goers. About 150 denominations and agencies have a base in the city, and there are 400 congregations. Pray for revival, new life and effective outreach by those who claim to be followers of Christ. Major denominations are: Pentecostal (60+ churches), CNI (21), ECI (17), Methodist (12), Baptist (11), Delhi Bible Fellowship (8) and others. Many churches are successfully moving to a cell church mode of operation.

3 Many India-wide Christian organizations have headquarters in Delhi – notably Evangelical Fellowship of India, All India Prayer Fellowship, Emmanuel Hospital Association, IET, TWR-India. Pray that life and blessing may flow from Delhi to the whole country.

4 Specific outreach challenges for prayer:

a) The millions of slum-dwellers need far more input in holistic ministry and discipling programmes. Mode of Deliverance Mission and GFA have a successful ministry among them.

b) Ethnic communities among whom churches are being planted – Muslim and Hindu Bengali (2m), Nepali (50,000 – 12 churches), etc. There are new believers among the Balmiki, Sindhi, Panjabi and middle class Hindi. IET has planted 16 churches in 9 people groups.

c) Refugee communities – Tibetans, Iranians, Afghans among whom little churches are being planted.

GOA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 3,700 sq.km. Portuguese colony 1510-1961. Full statehood in 1987.

Population 1,370,000; 319 people/sq.km.

PEOPLES

Peoples/languages Konkani 60%, Marathi 25%; Gujarati 7%; Kannada 3.2%.

RELIGION

Religion Hindu 64.5%; Christian 31.2% (almost entirely Catholic); Muslim 4%; Other 0.3%.

1 Traditional Catholicism is the legacy of Portuguese rule. Hindu beliefs and customs are interwoven with Christianity. Goa is a centre for drug trafficking and child prostitution. New life in Christ and a clear understanding of biblical Christianity are both needs. There is a strong Catholic charismatic presence, but Protestants are only around 1,000 in number and churches very few.

2 Workers able to communicate in Konkani are a great need. There are few labourers to reach nominal Catholics, Hindus or Muslims.

3 Christian literature in Konkani is also a great need. The Goanese Konkani NT is being re-translated; the old being little understood today.

GUJARAT

GEOGRAPHY

Area 196,000 sq.km. Coastal state adjoining Pakistan. Desert in NW, fertile in SW; wealth through oil, industry and agriculture. Much devastation caused in the 2001 earthquake.

Population 50,100,000; 250 people/sq.km.

Capital Ahmadabad 4,100,000. Other major cities: Surat 2,200,000; Vadodara 1,200,000.

PEOPLES

FC 14.5%. Rajput (Hindu) 2.2m; Brahmin 1.8m; Bania 1.7m.

OBC 63.2%. Kunbi 6.3m; Koli 6.2m; Gujarati Muslims 4.5m; Mahratta-Kunbi 3.8m; Bharwad/ Dhangar 1.2m; Sindhi Hindu 1.1m.

SC (31) 7.4%. Mahyavanshi 1.5m; Chamar 983,000; Bhangi 800,000; Dhodia 664,000; Meghwal 197,000.

ST (28) 14.9%. Bhil 3m; Dubla 579,000; Rathawa 477,000; Kokna 400,000;Gamit 349,000; Dhanka 217,000; Varli 199,000; Koli Dhor 106,000; Koli Mahadev 76,000; Patelia 103,000.

Languages Gujarati 91%; Hindi 2.9%; Sindhi 1.7%; Marathi 1.4%; Urdu 1.3% (Tribals 14%).

RELIGION

Religion Hindu 89.5%; Muslim 8.7%; Jain 1.2%; Christian 0.5% (Catholic 0.13%; Protestant 0.37%).

1 Gujarat is a focal point in India for the persecution of Christians. Hindu extremist groups, with the support of the local BJP government, the police and the administration, have pursued a long-term strategy of intimidation, slander and harassment of Muslims and Christians in Dalit and tribal groups. In 1998 there were 34 churches destroyed or damaged. 'Freedom of religion' legislation is being pushed with strong 'anti-conversion' clauses, yet at the same time many tribal Christians are being openly coerced into embracing Hinduism. Pray for a government that will promote inter-communal harmony and true freedom of religion. Gujarat was Gandhi's birthplace – may the peace and tolerance he promoted become reality here.

2 The Christian Church is predominantly Catholic, Church of North India and Methodist. Many other smaller evangelical denominations are also present (CMA, Salvation Army, TEAM, Brethren, Believers Church and Pentecostal). Generally, nominalism, compromise with Hinduism, divisions and lack of outreach have sapped Christian spiritual life. Present hostility has stirred new life and even revival in some areas. Pray for a Holy Spirit dynamization of these churches.

3 There is significant church growth in five districts. The impact of Methodist Church outreach, Salvation Army and new Indian missionary efforts among tribals contrasts the earlier decline in the state, with rapid church growth in the south-eastern Dangs district. Many Bhil, Kukna, Gamit, Chaudhri, Garasia, Koli, Dhodia and others have come to Christ – slightly increasing the percentage of Christians in the state. Pray that this turning to God may continue unchecked by external opposition or internal failures.

4 The unreached. While some tribal peoples are responding to the gospel, much need remains. Pray out labourers for:

a) Saurashtra, the western peninsula in the Arabian Sea, which has 12 million people but only 0.07% are Christian. This was the worst-affected by the 2001 earthquake.

b) Muslims number 4.3 million and are the largest and least reached segment of the population. There are 76 distinct people groups among them – mostly in the west, north and in Ahmadabad and Baruch District in the east.

c) Unreached caste groups. The Dalit groups – Bhangi, Nadia and Pasi – are urbanized and becoming responsive with over 3% Christian.

d) The 20 tribal peoples with little outreach – the larger being the Dubla, Dhanka and Rathawa.

e) The Parsees (11,000 of India's 150,000 are in Gujarat) – well-educated, wealthy people of Persian origin who follow the Zoroastrian religion. There are only 30 known believers in the whole world among the 4.5 million Parsees. Pray for the beginnings of ministry among them and also for the translation of the Bible into their language.

f) The Jain religion is an offshoot of Hinduism with a strong emphasis on moral purity and non-violence. Gujarat has 580,000 Jains of India's total of 3.5-4.8 million. Ahmadabad is a major Jain centre with over 100 temples. Jains are often wealthy and control much trade and industry in the state. Little has ever been done to evangelize them.

5 Aid projects. The devastating earthquake of 2001 in Gujarat led to widespread loss of life and property. Many Christian agencies responded to the government's plea for help with a large investment of personnel, time and aid (WVI, AICC and many others).

6 Large Gujarati communities have grown up in east and central Africa and in Britain. Most have become wealthy traders but, although surrounded by Christians, there has been little success in evangelism.

HARYANA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 44,200 sq.km. Between Delhi and Panjab in India's northwest.

Population 20,000,000; 450 people/sq.km.

Capital Chandigarh 850,000 (shared with Panjab and is a Union Territory). Other major city: Faridabad 618,000.

PEOPLES

310.

FC 29%. Arora 1.7m; Brahmin 1.5m; Rajput (Hindu) 1.3m; Bania 633,000.

OBC (42) 63.6%. Jat (Hindu) 3.1m; Muslims of Haryana 1.1m; Jat (Sikh) 656,000; Gujar 607,000; Teli 596,000; Ahir/Yadav 574,000; Dhanuk 434,000; Lohar 400,000.

SC (44) 7.4%. Chamar 2.1m; Balmiki/Chuhra/ Bhangi 769,000.

Languages Hindi (Haryanvi) 65%; Panjabi 7%; Urdu 1.6%.

RELIGION

Religion Hindu 89.3%; Sikh 6.2%; Muslim 4.1%; Jain 0.27%; Christian 0.08% (Catholic 0.02%; Protestant 0.06%).

1 Haryana is one of India's least evangelized states. In 1991 only 15,700 identified themselves as Christian. There were only 500 churches and prayer cells in 44% of the state's 449 pincode areas in 1998. The Church is weak and under pressure from Hinduists. Pray for a spiritual awakening.

2 The unreached – only 15 of the 92 people groups are known to have any congregations of believers. Indian agencies are pioneering work among the 8 million Jat, the 3.8 million Dalit (FMBP, RSP, Indian Inland Mission), and the Sikhs (Indian Inland Mission). Pray for a response. Pray also for the unreached Muslims and Jains. There is nothing of the Bible translated into the local language, Haryanvi.

3 Christian ministry. There were a total of 265 Christian workers in Haryana in 1998. There are now 15 Christian training institutions in the state – pray for the equipping and sustenance of many new workers.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

GEOGRAPHY

Area 55,700 sq.km. Mountainous Himalayan state bordering on Kashmir and Tibet.

Population 6,147,000; 110 people/sq.km.

Capital Shimla 115,000.

PEOPLES

FC 35.2%. Rajput(Hindu) 1.1m; Brahmin 710,000; Arora 320,000.

OBC (23) 35.3%. Kanet 923,000; Ghirath 391,000; Rathia 341,000.

SC (58) 25.3%. Koli 440,000; Chamar 416,000; Lohar 165,000; Pahari Muslim 114,000; Julaha 108,000.

ST (8) 4.2%. Gaddi 112,000; Kanaura 70,000; Gujjar 41,000.

Languages Hindi 89%, most actually speak Pahari, a group of languages close to Panjabi; Panjabi 6.3%; Kanauri 1.2%; Nepali 0.9%; Dogri 0.7%; Tibetan/ Bhotia 0.5%.

RELIGION

Religion Hindu 95.9%; Muslim 1.7%; Buddhist 1.2%; Sikh 1.1%; Christian 0.09%.

1 Himachal Pradesh has long been India's least evangelized state. It is the 'Land of the Gods' and a centre for Hindu pilgrimages. Every mountain is named after a god and there is much devotion to idols. Pray that many may be freed from bondages and find liberty in Jesus.

2 There has been significant growth in the Church. In 1991 all known Christians were 4,435 in number and only 90 churches were functioning. Between 1992 and 1998 over 1,200 were baptised and 150 churches were planted. Pray for the ongoing vision of Himachal Outreach Network and for unity, faith and vision among leaders and churches to increase. There are nearly 300 Christian workers. Pray for their multiplication, safety in difficult travel conditions and fruitfulness. GFA is running the state's only training school for new workers.

3 The challenges of the unreached. Every people group is, at best, marginally evangelized. Of the 92 people groups, only 15 have congregations of believers. Pray specifically for:

a) The Kullu valley – there are now several congregations (IEM). The Kullu Pahari NT is being translated.

b) Unevangelized districts. Kinnaur had no churches in 1995, but there were four by 1998. Bilaspur and Hamipur are the least evangelized. By 2000 there were 77 churches in the Kinnaur district.

c) Lahul and Spiti District is largely culturally Tibetan. About 5,000 Tibetan refugees have settled in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama's headquarters. IET has seen some fruit among them. Much international aid flows into efforts to retain Tibetan identity, culture and language, now being lost in Tibet. Pray for the gospel to reach the 100,000 Tibetan refugees in India.

d) Of 430 pincode areas, 89% had no resident Christian worker in 1998.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

GEOGRAPHY

Area 222,000 sq.km. The disputed state has been dismembered – Pakistan seizing 83,000 sq.km. in 1947 and China 38,000 sq.km. of Himalayan Ladakh in 1950.

Population 9,400,000 in Indian-controlled areas; 92 people/sq.km.

Capital Srinagar 800,000.

PEOPLES

240.

Main groups Kashmiri Muslim 6.8m; Kashmiri Hindu 3m; Mangrik 926,000; Brahmin/Pandit 716,000; Dogra (Hindu) 655,000; Rajput (Hindu) 515,000; Rajput (Muslim) 108,000; Dogra (Muslim) 100,000.

SC (17) 9.3%. Megh 292,000; Chamar 180,000; Dom/Dum 147,000.

ST (6) 7%. Gujjar 578,000; Gaddi 20,900 (not legally a tribe).

Tibetan-related 1.5%. Balti 33,000; Brukpa 10,000; Changpa 12,000; Zanskar 10,000; Ladakhi 8,000.

RELIGION

Muslim 64.2%; Hindu 32.2%; Sikh 2.2%; Buddhist 1.2%; Christian 0.16%.

1 Kashmir has become an international tragedy. Political short-sightedness, lack of courage, and national pride have kept it in a state of war for six decades. Pakistan has fought four wars (direct or by proxy) over this divided state. The result has been polarization, Islamic militancy, 30,000 deaths and 800,000 refugees. India's democratic values, unity and territorial integrity have been threatened and Pakistan and Kashmir's economies crippled. Pray for wisdom, statesmanship, fairness to the Muslim majority and justice to the refugees to be shown by the political leaders involved, and pray for the restoration of peace.

2 Kashmir is spiritually poverty-stricken. In 1990 there were but 12,000 Christians in 45 churches, many of which were nominal and either low-caste or immigrant in origin. Evangelical believers were a few thousand, but in the '90s their numbers doubled and churches increased to 167 in 1998. Pray for increased effectiveness in reaching a war-weary and disillusioned population.

3 Outreach has always been limited, and few Christian workers have been indigenous to the state. There were just 115 Christian workers in 1998. The majority of the workers are in Jammu and not in the dangerous, war-torn Muslim-majority Kashmir. Yet there is progress for the gospel through such agencies as HEM(KEF), GFA and others. Pray for new workers to be called so that there is a Christian worker in every pincode area.

4 Unreached peoples. All are in this category. Pray for:

a) Kashmiri Muslims who have become more militant for their faith. There are a number of smaller Muslim peoples such as the Baltis and Gujars who are unreached. Less than 100 Christians have come from the Muslim community, and in the Muslim uprising of the late '80s some of these were martyred and churches destroyed. Several agencies are working among them. Pray that Islamist extremism may cause Muslims to seek an alternative way in Jesus.

b) Tibetan Buddhists from the groups named above in the mountainous north and northeast who have been only marginally evangelized. The Moravians have a small work in Ladakh with three churches and only 150 believers and a school with 1,000 students. The JESUS film is now being used in the area.

c) The high-caste Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir were one million in 1900, but since the 1940s Muslim hostility, terror and violence has reduced them to 50,000 today and only 3,000 in their Kashmir Valley home area. Many are still refugees. Only about 15 believers are known among them.

5 Christian radioTWR broadcast five times a week in Kashmiri.

KARNATAKA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 192,000 sq.km. South-western coastal state.

Population 53,500,000; 278 people/sq.km.

Capital Bangalore 5,400,000.

PEOPLES

224 (174 speaking Kannada).

Main groups (143) Lingayat 7m; Vakkaliga 6.1m; Dekkani (Mus) 5.7m; Bedar 2.3m; Brahmin 2.3m; Mahratta 1.7m; Kalal 1.3m; Viswakarma 1.2m; Gangakula 1.2m; Ahir/Yadav/Gowli 1.0m; Dhangar 1m.

SC (100) 16.4%. Adi Karnataka 2.7m; Adi Andhra 1.1m; Adi Dravida 830,000; Holaya 590,000; Chamar 518,000; Madiga 502,000.

ST (32) 4.3%. Kuruba 3.3m; Banjara 866,000; Marathi 98,800; Gondaru 89,000.

Languages 19. Kannada 66%, many dialects; Urdu 9.5%, most speaking Deccani, distantly related to Urdu; Telugu 8.1%; Marathi 3.8%; Konkani 1.8%; Hindi 1.8%; Malayalam 1.6%.

RELIGION

Hindu 85.4%; Muslim 11.6%; Christian 2.1% (Catholic 1.4%, Protestant 0.7%); Jain 0.8%.

1 Karnataka is South India's most spiritually needy state. The Christian communities are inward looking and culturally isolated – the more wealthy multi-language churches of Bangalore and the south, and the more Catholic coastal districts. Pray for a breakdown of all barriers for witness and for the gospel. Hinduists are pressurizing Christian schools to teach Hinduism. Yet of late response to evangelism is encouraging despite the opposition.

2 Bangalore is India's 'Silicon City' and is also the Indian headquarters for many Christian churches, Indian missions (IEM, Quiet Corner) and international agencies (The Bible Society, Language Recordings India [GRN], SGM, EHC, Asia Graduate School of Theology, International Correspondence School of AoG, India Bible League, FEBA, etc.) and theological institutions. The Methodists and CSI are strong in the area. Pray that Bangalore's privileged Christian community may be revived.

3 The less evangelized – almost all of Karnataka's peoples are unreached. The Karnataka Mission network was launched in 1996. Pray specifically for:

a) The Lingayats, predominantly in the north, prominent in society and politics, but staunchly Hindu; very few believers. Over 12 agencies are committed to cooperate for their evangelization.

b) The Adi Karnataka are the original inhabitants – only 41 believers in 3 churches.

c) The Devadasis are girls forced into temple prostitution. There are 50,000+ in the state.

d) The Banjara have begun to respond through S. India Gospel Outreach and others. There are now congregations developing in 300 settlements.

Of Karnataka's 2,479 pincode areas, 80% had no resident Christian worker in 1998.

KERALA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 39,000 sq.km. India's most south-westerly state.

Population 33,000,000; 870 people/sq.km. India's most prosperous and densely populated state.

Capital Trivandrum 1,050,000. Other major cities: Cochin 1,250,000; Calicut 1,075,000.

PEOPLES

194.

Main groups Malabar/Mappila Muslims 8.5m; Viswakarma 1m; Brahmin 604,000; Nair/Nayar 597,000; Tamil Muslim 501,000; Ilavan 459,000; Nadar/Channan 158,000.

SC (68) 9.9%: Pulayan 1m; Cheruman 380,000; Paraiyan 351,000; Kuravan 294,000; Thandan 264,000; Kanakkam 185,000; Vettuvan 145,000.

ST (37) 1.1%: Paniyan 74,000; Malayarayan 35,000; Alambadi Kurichchan 30,000.

Languages Malayali (Malayalam) 96%; Tamil 2.3%.

RELIGION

Hindu 57.7%; Muslim 23%; Christian 19.3% (Syrian Orthodox 6.7%, Catholic 8.9%, Protestant/Independent 4.4%).

1 The Syrian Christians, with links to the Syrian Jacobite Church, are direct descendants of those evangelized by the Apostle Thomas. They form the majority of Kerala's Christians and are members of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant denominations. They have high social status but have become little more than a caste within Hindu society, and few have broken out to become vital witnesses to those of other cultures. There are, therefore, few converts out of non-Christian backgrounds in the churches. Pray that Ephesians 2:13-17 may be true for these Christians.

2 Kerala has numerous Protestant denominations and evangelistic agencies. Moves of the Spirit over the last 100 years brought multitudes of both nominal Syrian Christians and low-caste Hindus to faith in Christ. Over the past 40 years, the Christian percentage of the population has declined, largely through migration all over India and the world, but Kerala is still the state with the largest population of Christians. There are strong and growing mainline, Brethren and Pentecostal congregations. Casteism within the churches is an unmentioned reality. A revived Church in Kerala would have a deep impact on all of India due to the level of education, wealth and dynamism of many Christians, and their dispersal all over India.

3 Unreached peoples. Since the mid-1990s there has been a surge of interest in missions and many Kerala young people are going out with a vision for the unreached religious, caste and tribal groups in their state and beyond. Yet social barriers are very high, and believers need to be liberated from the spirit of caste both to evangelize other social groups and welcome converts as brethren in their fellowships.

a) Of the 35 small tribal groups only three or four have significant Christian groups and ten others a handful of believers. Most are Hindus, animists or demon worshippers. Only seven have over 10,000 people. Kerala Christians need to catch a vision to reach them – praise God a few have.

b) The Malabar Muslims, or Mappila, are numerous in the north of Kerala and number 7 million. The ministry of several agencies has led to several thousand known conversions and also groups of believers, but resistance to the gospel is high and new Christians have suffered much. Pray for those involved in this arduous and costly ministry.

c) Of the higher castes and 41 Dalit groups of Hindus, there have been people movements to Christianity from among only six or seven of the latter.

d) Christian work is unevenly distributed. Only 58% of pincode areas had a resident Christian worker in 1998.

4 Christian media have done much to generate missions interest and also TV and radio programmes to the wider population have generated a wide response (GFA).

MADHYA PRADESH & CHATTISGARH

GEOGRAPHY

Area MP – 297,000 sq.km.; CH – 143,000 sq.km. The latter formed in December 2000. The two states are handled together as a single unit here. Poor and underdeveloped.

Population MP – 62.3m; CH – 17.6m

Capital Bhopal 2m+. Other major cities: Indore 1.2m; Jabalpur 1m.

PEOPLES

342.

Main groups Brahmin 4.6m; Ahir/Yadav 4.6m; Rajput(Hindu) 4.5m; Teli 3.6m; Hindi Belt Muslim 3.1m; Kurmi 2.3m; Kachhi 2.1m; Lodha 1.9m; Mali 1.5m; Bania 1.3m; Pathan(Mus) 1.1m; Bhoi/Kewat 1m; Nai 1m.

SC (49) 14.6%. Chamar 6.3m; Balai 1.2m; Mahar 938,000; Koli 623,000; Nau Buddh 511,000; Bhangi 370,000; Basor 366,000; Ganda 340,000; Bagri 244,000; Kumhar 199,000; Arakh 182,000.

ST (45) 23.3%, the largest concentration of tribal peoples in India and the world with 16m (11m in MP, 7m in CH). Many districts are predominantly tribal. Largest: Gond 8.6m; Bhil 4.3m; Panika 1.2m; Kawar 918,000; Sahariya 428,000; Baiga 408,000; Halba 388,000; Mina 310,000; Bharia Bhumia 252,000; Kol 202,000; Bhattra 192,000; Binjhia 151,000; Oraon 146,000; Bhaina 133,000; Saur 121,000; Korku 110,000; Savara 105,000.

Languages Hindi 80%; Gondi 10%; Marathi 2.3%; Urdu 2.2%; Oriya 1.1%.

RELIGION

Hindu 92.4% (most of the Dalit groups and tribes are actually animists); Muslim 5.2%; Jain 0.85%; Christian 0.70%; Sikh 0.27%; Buddhist 0.14%.

1 This state was one of the last to open up for missions with slow response to the gospel until recently. It is strongly Hindu with stern laws limiting conversions to Christianity. Sixty percent of Christians are Catholic; many are Church of North India, Lutheran or Mennonite, and most are Dalit or tribal in origin. Pray for the ending of opposition to the gospel in high places and for the frustration of extremist Hindu efforts to 'reconvert' Christians – thousands of tribal peoples have been forced to renounce Christianity. The whole state is a pioneer mission field, but is becoming more responsive.

2 Christians declined in census statistics from 0.92% in 1981 to 0.64% in 1991, but there is much encouragement at the grass-roots. Christian institutions, especially Catholic, have had a positive impact. A state-wide saturation church planting network has seen churches increased from 500 in 1993 to 3,000 in 2000. Bible schools have increased from 4 to 15 in the same period with many new workers sent out in pioneer work. The vision of the Madhya Pradesh Harvest network is to place workers in every pincode area – in 1998 75% of the 1,601 had no workers resident, but by 2000 this had come down to 50%.

3 The challenge of the unreached:

a) The tribal peoples are a majority in the southern four districts, especially Bastar, and a large minority in the two states. There is now a burgeoning house church movement in many tribes through the labours of various agencies. However, all represent a tough pioneer challenge. Most practice a Hindu-influenced animism. Witchcraft, Saktism (worship of female energy) and Saivism (worship of Shiva) abound.

b) The 10.5 million Gond are the largest tribe in India, most in MP/CH. Only 2% are Christian, but this is lower in MP. Over 30 mission agencies minister to them and churches are multiplying despite local and state-wide opposition.

c) Bhopal, the state capital of MP and industrial centre was the scene of the world's worst ever industrial disaster – an exploding chemical plant in 1984 killed 20,000 and maimed or afflicted a further 500,000 people. The grim after-effects are still evident. The city is ringed by 300 slum areas – Christians are beginning to reach out to them. Nearly 23% is Muslim, but there is no significant ministry among them.

MAHARASHTRA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 308,000 sq.km. India's most urbanized and industrialized state.

Population 95,000,000; 308 people/sq.km.

Capital Mumbai (Bombay) 17.55m ; India's commercial, economic and industrial heart.Other major cities: Pune 3.35m; Nagpur 2.05m; Nashik 1.08m.

PEOPLES

339.

Main groups: Mahratta 24.1m; Kunbi 5.9m; Deccani (Mus) 5.6m; Shaikh Muslim 5.4m; Brahmin 4.1m; Konkani Muslim 3.4m; Mali 2.6m; Lingayat 2.4m; Mahratta-Kunbi 2.2m; Bania 1.8m; Teli 1.3m; Ahir/Yadav 1.2m; Muslim of Khandesh 1m; Pathan (Mus) 1m; Sayyid (Mus) 1m; Sonar 1m.

SC (59) 11.1%. Nau Buddh 6.7m; Mahar 2.9m; Matang 2m; Chamar 1.6m; Bhangi 283,000; Vaddar 279,000.

Tribes (48) 9.3%. Gond 3.6m; Bhil 1.6m; Koli Mahadev 1.3m; Varli 829,000; Kokna 584,000; Thakur 579,000; Halba 381,000; Andh 341,000; Gowari 340,000; Kathodi 296,000; Korku 182,000; Kolowar 176,000; Gamit 175,000; Pardhan 149,000; Pardhi 147,000.

Languages Marathi 73.6%; Urdu 6.9%; Hindi 6.7%; Gujarati 2.7%; Khandeshi 1.7%; Telugu 1.5%; Kannada 1.5%.

RELIGION

Hindu 80.4%; Muslim 10%; Buddhist 6.2%; Jain 1.6%; Christian 1.2% (Catholic 1%, Protestant 0.2%).

1 The government was controlled by Hinduists that raised inter-communal tensions through discrimination against Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. Anti-conversion legislation and vigorous 're-conversion' of Dalit and tribal peoples to Hinduism were promoted. Pray that the state government may be impartial and also for grace and courage for Christians who are pressurized.

2 Mumbai has great influence through its economic clout. It generates 1/3 of the GDP; it is home of India's stock exchange and the film making industry ('Bollywood'). It also has a reputation for crime, Asia's largest slum (Dharavi with one million in 170 hectares), 100,000 street children, child prostitution and an alarming rise in AIDS (200,000 sufferers in 1996). It has the second highest Christian population (5%) of the mega-cities of India. There are many Catholics and a growing number of Protestant denominations and churches. Pray that the Christians may be 'salt and light' in their city. Mumbai New Life Fellowship has won many non-Christians through a massive Scripture distribution campaign, planted 1,500 churches and now has the vision to plant a church in every village of the state.

3 The Christian Church needs prayer. Christians are few in smaller cities and rural areas. Many are nominal; 40% do not go to church. Quarrelling, court cases and bitterness have crippled the witness of older churches. Since the early 1980s new waves of outreach have turned the tide – Love Maharashtra, the CONS saturation church planting vision and a multiplication of agencies and workers have led to many new peoples, districts and villages being reached. In the late '90s many new churches have been started. Pray that revival, growth and outreach may be normal in the life of the churches.

4 Unreached areas and peoples. Pray for the 150 or more Indian agencies and churches reaching out to many of the less-evangelized peoples. A few meriting special mention: Maharashtra Village Mission, IEM, GFA, FMPB, Love Maharashtra.

a) Many Hindu caste groups, Muslims and the Mahar (many of whom became Buddhist in the 20th Century) have little opportunity to hear the gospel. There are very few Christians among them.

b) Tribal groups such as the Gond, Bhil, Korku and Kolam, and many other smaller groups, have begun to respond to the gospel but progress has been slow. In the 1990s, however, the increase in effort and response was significant. Many people groups are still without viable congregations.

c) The 1.5 million Jains and 150,000 Parsees in their wealthy, cocooned religious communities remain unevangelized.

d) Of the state's 2,018 pincode areas, 73% had no resident Christian workers in 1998.

MANIPUR

GEOGRAPHY

Area 22,300 sq.km. On eastern border with Myanmar.

Population 2,526,000; 100 people/sq.km.

Capital Imphal.

PEOPLES

Main groups Meithei 1.3 mill.; Meitei Pangal/ Manipuri 350,000; Muslims 236,000; Assamese Muslims 97,000.

SC 2%. Dalit (7) 2%.

ST (37) 34.4%. Chin-related (9 groups, Kuki, Thado, Paite, etc.) 375,000; Naga-related (5 groups, Tangkhul, Mao) 325,000; Mizo (2) 61,000.

RELIGION

Hindu 57.7%; Christian 34.1% (Protestant 31% Catholic 3.1%); Muslim 7.3%; Other 0.9%.

1 Nearly all the Naga, Kuki-Chin and Mizo have become Christians in the 20th Century. Baptists (21 denominations) and Presbyterians predominate. Sadly, during the 1990s civil wars broke out between Naga, Kuki, Paite and also action against the government. These denominational and ethnic conflicts severely hamper outreach by Christians to Muslims and Hindus. Pray for full reconciliation, ethnic harmony and a humble, sanctified cooperation among all who claim to follow Christ. There are hundreds of Manipur missionaries serving cross-culturally today.

2 The challenges:

a) The Meitei have been Hindu for three centuries. They invented the game of polo. A strong nationalism and independence has made them more open to the gospel. There are over 10,000 Christians in nearly 100 churches. Growth has slowed because of recent hostilities. The Bible and the JESUS film are available for them.

b) Muslims and other immigrant groups are largely unreached. There are some churches among the Nepalis, but most are still Hindu.

c) Drug addiction and AIDS have become a major issue – of 60,000 drug addicts, 40,000 are HIV+, but government and NGO efforts are beginning to reduce the incidence.

MEGHALAYA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 22,400 sq.km. Mountainous state on Bangladesh's northern border. It has the world's highest rainfall – 12 metres annually.

Population 2,175,000; 97 people/sq.km.

Capital Shillong 260,000.

PEOPLES

78.

SC (16) 0.5%.

ST (15) 85.5%. Khasi (2) 1.1m; Garo 779,000; Hajong 40,000.

Other groups Bengali Muslims 54,000; Shaikh Muslims 49,000.

RELIGION

Christian 64.6%; Hindu 14.7%; Muslim 4%; Animist/Other 16.7%.

1 Meghalaya has become a Christian state; the Khasis are mainly Presbyterian and Catholic; the Garo, Baptist. There are now 40 other denominations and an increasing number of growing independent and charismatic fellowships. The Catholic Church is also growing fast. Many missionaries have been recruited, but few from the Presbyterians or Baptists where traditionalism is becoming a problem. Pray for revival in the older denominations.

2 The challenges for the Church:

a) The youth are drifting away from the Church – there is much drug abuse and many youth drop-outs.

b) Some smaller tribes, the Hajong, Rabha Koch and Mikir are still entrenched in animistic ways. The Hindu and Muslim minorities are little touched by the gospel and their numbers are increasing by immigration from Bangladesh and other states.

c) Shillong has the highest concentration of non-Christians with half the population Hindu, Muslim, animist, etc. Yet there are over 150 congregations and fellowships in the city.

MIZORAM

GEOGRAPHY

Area 21,000 sq.km. Almost an enclave between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Population 860,000; 41 people/sq.km.

Capital Aizawl 182,000.

PEOPLES

54.

SC (15) 0.1%.

ST (17) 94.8%. Mizo/Lushai 555,000; Poi 71,000; Chakma 68,000; Ralte 62,000; Pawi 44,900; Kuki 40,500.

Other groups (15) 5.1%. Bengali, Nepali (4) 6,000.

RELIGION

Christian 85%; Buddhist 8%; Hindu 7%.

1 Mizoram is one of the most active Christian states in the world. Most are Presbyterian and Baptist, but there are now 60 other denominations and numerous independent congregations. Awakenings and revivals in recent years have dynamized the Church and transformed society. It is now the most literate and well-educated state in India. Mizo missionaries in India and beyond number over 2,000 – one of the highest sending statistics in the world.

2 The challenges to be tackled by the Christians:

a) Divisions within denominations and inter-ethnic tensions are a discredit to the unity expected of believers.

b) Serious societal problems – increased corruption, youth delinquency, abuse of drugs and alcohol.

c) The largely Buddhist Chakma and Reang tribal refugees from Tripura need to be evangelized.

NAGALAND

GEOGRAPHY

Area 16,600 sq.km. Mountainous state bordering on Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.

Population 1,550,000; 93 people/sq.km.

Capital Kohima 63,000.

PEOPLES

50.

Tribes (22) 87.7%. Naga (16) 1.3m; Chin 40,000.

Other groups 12.3%. Assamese Muslim 220,000; Bengali Muslim 14,000, etc.

RELIGION

Christian 87.5% (60%+ Baptist); Hindu 10.1%; Muslim 1.7%.

1 Nagaland is unique – with the highest percentage of Baptists of any state in the world. Over 100,000 Naga Christians gathered to celebrate 125 years of Christianity in 1997. Revivals in 1956, 1966 and 1972 brought new life, fervour and a surge of evangelistic and missions outreach and thousands of Nagas have served the Lord in other parts of India and beyond. Pray that the inrush of technology, materialism and casual familiarity with the gospel may not damage spiritual life and fervour.

2 The effectiveness of Christian witness is compromised by inter-ethnic feuding, a long Naga independence guerrilla war, the insidious effects of corruption, denominational fragmentation (there are 21 Baptist groupings and a growing number of newer, independent churches) and growing nominalism. Pray for a return of these Christians to their first love, and pray that churches may adapt to be relevant to the younger generation.

3 Christian leadership. Few Christian areas in the world have such a high density of theological colleges – there are at least eight. Few Nagas in training ever consider a missionary career. Pray for students to become effective pastors and missionaries. Pray also for a better coordination and growth of the already significant Naga missionary movement.

4 Bible translation. The many highly educated theologians have ensured that the two million Nagas in NE India are well served with Bible translations. The 20 tribes speak 36 languages with 124 distinct dialects, but have 12 full Bibles and 11 NTs, with translation work ongoing in 6! Pray that these skills may be used to translate the Bible into many other Indian languages.

ORISSA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 155,700 sq.km. Eastern coastal state prone to cyclones. The 1999 super cyclone killed 8,000 and ruined the livelihoods of 10 million people.

Population 37,500,000; 241 people/sq.km.

Capital Bhubaneshwar 500,000. Other major cities: Cuttack 500,000.

PEOPLES

279.

Main groups Ahir/Yadav 2.5m; Brahmin 2.2m; Mahishya 2m; Gauda 1.2m; Khandait 1.2m; Teli 980,000.

SC (94) 16.2%. Pan 1.2m; Kandra 455,000.

ST (60) 22.2%. Kui 1.4m; Gond 868,000; Munda 517,000; Parja 385,000; Kisan 329,000; Oraon 310,000.

Languages 68. Oriya 83%; Hindi 2.4%; Telugu 2.1%; Santal 2.1%; Kui 2.0%.

RELIGION

Hindu 94.7% (many animistic tribal peoples included); Christian 2.1% (Catholic 0.8%, Protestant 1.3%); Muslim 1.8%; Other 1.4%.

1 Persecution of Christians increased during the 1990s. Orissa shares with Gujarat the worst record for Hindu extremist violence. Many churches have been destroyed and Christian workers attacked, some molested and killed. The martyrdom of Graham Staines and his sons in 1999 caused a horrified reaction locally, nationally and globally. Discriminating legislation was further tightened in 2000 making any baptism dependent on permission from government officials. Many denominations and agencies are being intimidated in the north. Pray that this persecution may refine the Church, focus the vision and multiply new believers.

2 Church growth has increased in the 1990s with a multiplication of workers and new believers despite harsh state 'anti-conversion' laws. Growth has been patchy – Christians are 62% tribal, 25% Dalit, and most live in Sundergarh District in the north and Kandhamal and Gajapati Districts in the south. Pray for Indian agencies seeking to augment this growth – significant agencies being FMPB, IEM, IET, EHC, BYM, GFA and many others.

3 Tribal peoples of Orissa are the most responsive to the gospel, as are their brethren in adjoining south Bihar. The Oraon (40% Christian), Kharia (37%), Munda (40%), Savara (17%) Kisan (9%), Khond (9%) and Kol (5%) have significant numbers of Christians. Their illiteracy, economic deprivation and political marginalization slow what could be a large movement to Christ. Numerous denominations and agencies work among them. There is an exciting development of missions vision among these believers. GFA's two training schools are full with 700 trainees and 200 interns.

4 The unfinished challenge:

a) The forward (high) castes, such as the Brahmin and Korono, have never been confronted with the claims of Christ.

b) There are many areas with very few Christians. The six eastern and 13 western districts are less than 1% Christian. Of the 1,111 pincode areas, 56% had no resident Christian workers in 1998.

c) The tribals. Of the 62 groups, 20 are less than 0.1% Christian and 42 are less than 1% Christian. Pray specifically for a breakthrough among the Bhathudi, Bhuiya, Bhumiji, Gond, Kolho, Paraja, Santal, Siyal and Koya.

5 The ministry of the Bible. A good new Oriya Bible was published in 1998. Yet illiteracy is high – 51% of the population, 70% of the Dalit and tribes, and 89% of women cannot read. Pray for effective use of Scripture cassettes and other audio-visual means of communicating the gospel.

6 Radio broadcasts have been getting encouraging response from Hindus during the 1990s. TWR and FEBA have highly effective follow-up ministry.

PANJAB

GEOGRAPHY

Area 50,400 sq.km. North-western India; one of the most productive agricultural regions of the country.

Population 24,100,000; 478 people/sq.km.

Capital Chandigarh in Haryana; largest cities: Ludhiana 1.5m; Amritsar 800,000.

PEOPLES

People groups 96.

Main groups Jat(Sikh) 8.3m; Jat(Hindu) 1.5m; Tarkhan 930,000; Brahmin 609,000; Mahtam 548,000; Saini 538,000; Kamboh 436,000; Rajput (Sikh) 429,000; Rajput (Hindu) 428,000.

SC (51) 28.3%. Mazhabi Sikh 1.8m; Chamar 1.8m; Adi Dharmi 768,000; Chuhra/Balmiki/Bhangi 790,000.

Languages Panjabi 92%; Hindi 7.3%.

RELIGION

Sikh 63.6%; Hindu 34%; Christian 1.1% (Catholic 0.18%, Protestant 0.92%); Muslim 1%.

1 The Panjab is the home state of the Sikhs, and the only state where they are in the majority. Their famed Golden Temple is in Amritsar. A violent guerrilla war waged by Sikh extremists seeking independence led to 25,000 deaths, including Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and much economic disruption. Praise God that peace came in 1992. This was followed by rapid economic progress, healing of inter-communal wounds and unprecedented openness for the gospel.

2 The Sikh religion with its unique doctrines and culture has spread to many parts of India and beyond. There are 25 million Sikhs in the world. Little specific Christian study of and dialogue with Sikhs has ever really been undertaken. Pray that this potentially responsive people might come to Christ. The Mazhabi Sikhs are the most open at present, but the Jat Sikhs are becoming so. India National Inland Mission has missionaries committed to Sikh ministry and over 40 churches and groups have been started.

3 Most of the Christian community originated in the 19th Century in mass movements from depressed Chamar and Chuhra castes. Christians were under-privileged, generally nominal, discouraged and in decline. During the 1990s there has been a wave of new outreach by many agencies and newer churches. The number of churches has doubled and church attenders tripled. There are now over 65 denominations. Operation Agape is a significant agency planting churches. Praise God for this and pray for a revived, effective, dynamic Church in the Panjab.

4 Many churches are cooperating for saturation church planting in Reach Panjab 2000. Some of the goals:

a) Strong churches in each of Panjab's 12 districts – the weakest being Sangrur, Bathinda, Rupnagar and Faridkot.

b) Christian workers based in every one of the 491 pincode areas – only 53% had them in 1998. During 1999 pincode areas without a church were reduced from 220 to 100, but by 2000 all were occupied. Pray for churches to be planted.

c) Every people group to have a church – 20 of the 25 largest do, but the forward castes are little touched.

5 The Ludhiana Christian Medical College and Hospital has a world-wide reputation for Christian care and witness. Pray for this witness to be maintained and to be fruitful.

RAJASTHAN

GEOGRAPHY

Area 342,000 sq.km. An arid state abutting on Pakistan.

Population 53,300,000; 155 people/sq.km.

Capital Jaipur 2,050,000.

PEOPLES

226.

Main groups Bania/Vaisya 4.9m; Rajasthani Muslim 4.8m; Brahmin 4.7m; Jat(Hindu) 3.9m; Gujar 2.2m; Shaikh Muslim 2.1m; Kumhar 1.7m; Mali 1.6m.

SC (65) 17%. Chamar 3.3m; Meghwal 1.5m; Balai 760,000; Bairwa 705,000; Thori 571,000; Bhangi 422,000.

ST (12) 12%. Mina 3.4m; Bhil/Bhilala 3m; Garasia 195,000; Sahariya 67,000.

Languages Hindi 90% ,using the related Rajasthani or Mawari language; Urdu 2.2%; Panjabi 2.1%; Sindhi 0.8%.

RELIGION

Hindu 89%; Muslim 7.5%; Jain 1.8%; Sikh 1.5%; Christian 0.12% (Catholic 0.07%, Protestant 0.05%).

1 Christians are a tiny minority within minority Dalit and tribal groups. There were officially 50,000 Christians in 1991, but that number has grown considerably, especially among the Bhil in the south – the majority of Christians living in the southern four districts. Noteworthy church planting ministries being those of Rajasthan Bible Institute (500 churches in 30 years), Emmanuel (50 churches and 45 schools). Pray for the continued increased in workers and churches despite anti-conversion laws and rising opposition.

2 Unreached peoples:

a) The Bhil(IEM), Mina (Indian Inland Mission, Pentecostals), Garasia (IEM) and others are Hindu/animist and only now beginning to respond to the gospel.

b) The Meo are Muslim; no Christians are known.

c) Higher-caste Hindus, especially the Rajputs, the Jats and Marwari, have shown no response to the gospel (INIM).

d) Jaipur, the capital, with two million people has around 10,000 Christians, many being from south India, and many rather nominal. In the 1990s the number of churches increased from five to 10-15.

3 Vision for the future emerged from a key Harvest Consultation in 1998:

a) A church in all 1404 pincode areas by 2010; only about 20% had workers resident in 1995.

b) EHC is distributing literature to every home for the third time – with increased response.

SIKKIM

GEOGRAPHY

Area 7,100 sq.km. Himalayan state sandwiched between Nepal and Bhutan, and for long a buffer state between Tibet (China) and India. Annexed by India in 1975.

Population 510,000; 72 people/sq.km. Large-scale immigration of Nepalis.

Capital Gangtok.

PEOPLES

Nepali 75%: Khambu 121,000; Khas 78,000; Brahmin 59,000; Jogi 53,000; Tamang 46,000; Gurung 30,000.

Indigenous/Tibetan 20%: Lepcha 44,000; Sikkim Bhotia 92,000; Tibetan 18,000.

Indian groups 5%.

Languages Nepali is now the de facto state language.

RELIGION

Hindu 67%; Buddhist 27%; Christian 5%; Muslim 0.9%.

1 Since 1994 Sikkim has had fewer restrictions on religious freedom than ever before. Despite past limitations and times of persecution, Christians have grown among the Lepcha and Nepalis. In 1999 there were 300 churches and Christians numbered nearly 30,000 (7,000 in 1981). The main church is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and there are a number of free and Pentecostal churches. Much greater cooperation and fellowship between them came out of the 1997 Sikkim Congress on Evangelism. Pray that this unity might be maintained and outreach enhanced.

2 New vision for the evangelization of Sikkim is resulting in increased outreach, training of new workers (Sikkim Bible Institute and GFA) and increase in the number of Sikkimese and Indian agencies and workers. The need is:

a) To reach the northern part of Sikkim which is largely Buddhist. There are very few Christians among the Bhotia and Tibetans.

b) To reach neighbouring, but closed, Bhutan and Tibet.

3 The Lepcha and Bhotia are the indigenous peoples of Sikkim and are largely Buddhist. They have been culturally and politically marginalized. The Lepcha continue to be responsive to the gospel. Pray that they may find their identity and motivation by following Jesus. The JESUS film was released in Lepcha in 1999.

TAMIL NADU

GEOGRAPHY

Area 130,000 sq.km. India's most south-easterly state and close to Sri Lanka. Well-watered with a strong agricultural economy.

Population 65.3m; 502 people/sq.km.

Capital Chennai (formerly Madras) 6m. Other major cities: Coimbatore 1.2m; Madurai 1.1m.

PEOPLES

400+.

Main groups Vanniyan 9.4m; Tamil Muslim 3.7m; Ahir/Tadava/Golla 2.9m; Maravan 2.6m; Viswakarma/Kammalan 2.4m; Shaikh(Muslim) 2.3m; Nadar/Channan 2.2m; Brahmin 2.2m; Ilavan 2m; Vellalan 1.6m; Kaikolan/Sengunthar 1.5m; Boya/Gangavar/Vaddar 1.5m; Nair/Nayar 1.2m; Kallan 1.2m; Telaga 1.1m.

SC (95) 19.2%. Adi Dravida 5.7m; Pallan 2.4m; Paraiyan 2.1m; Chakkliyan 1.1m; Arunthathiyan 567,000.

ST (53) 1.03%. Yenadi 823,000; Kuruba 683,000; Malayali 276,000; Irular 149,000;Konda Reddi 43,000; Kattunayakan 26,000; Kuruman 21,000.

Languages Tamil 86.7% ,one of the oldest literary languages of India;Telugu (largely Chennai) 7.1%; Kannada 2.2%; Urdu 1.9%; Malayalam 1.2%.

RELIGION

Hindu 88.6%; Christian 5.7%; Muslim 5.5%; Other 0.2%.

1 Christians have significantly grown in numbers over the past 20 years – more than official statistics would imply. There are over 4 million in 60,000 churches. The Assemblies of God and indigenous evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic groups have shown the greatest growth. Chennai has a Christian population of about 12% with over 2,000 congregations. A greater unity among believers across the denominational spectrum gives hope for future growth. Training opportunities have multiplied with hundreds of Bible Schools started. The areas of concern:

a) A continued ethnic communalism and caste identity which hinders Christian maturity and unity.

b) Christian leaders to have integrity in administration, finances and morality.

c) The vision for prayer, evangelism and outreach to all of India to be maintained and increase. One third of Indian missions and numerous interdenominational agencies are based in the state.

2 The less evangelized – despite the large Christian presence and numerous agencies, large segments of the population remain unreached:

a) The majority of Christians are in Chennai and the southern districts. Five central and northern districts are less than 2% Christian. There are 29 districts in the state.

b) Few of the major people groups listed above have more than a few hundred known believers – especially the Brahmin, Viswakarma, Ahir and Kaikolan.

c) The Tamil-speaking Muslims, the Labbai, have a handful of Christians and only a few Christian workers.

d) The tribals. At least 10 tribal groups are without churches. There are only 300 Christians among the Tamil-speaking Malayali. The snake- and rat-catching Irular are now 1% Christian and a breakthrough is taking place among the Badaga with a rapid increase in Christians, churches and workers (Nakubetta Bible Fellowship).

3 )The outreach needs:

a) Of the 3,311 pincode areas, 57% had no Christian workers in 1998.

b) The Assemblies of God began in 1973 with 7 members; they had 800 churches in the state in 2000. Pray for this ministry to flourish.

TRIPURA

GEOGRAPHY

Area 10,500 sq.km. Almost an enclave within eastern Bangladesh.

Population 3,590,000; 342 people/sq.km. Ongoing illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

Capital Argatala.

PEOPLES

People groups The destabilizing effects of Bengali immigration distort the statistics. Bengalis have now become a majority and may be 69% of the population.

Main groups 52.6%, mainly various Bengali people groups: Bengali Muslims 276,000; Jogi/Nath 261,000; Kayastha 257,000; Namasudra 208,000; Brahmin 149,000; Bania 100,000.

SC (31) 16.4%: Kaibartta 83,000; Mahishya 80,000; Dhobi 55,000.

ST (23) 31%: Tripura 502,000; Tuikuk/Riang 143,000; Jamatia 82,800; Chakma 53,900; Halam 51,300; Mag 31,000.

RELIGION

Hindu 85.3% – including Tripuri animists as 'Hindu'; Muslim 7.1% (Bengali); Buddhist 4.6% (Chakma); Christian 3% (tribal peoples).

1 The indigenous peoples are now a minority in their own state. Massive Bengali immigration has occurred over the past 40 years, and Bengalis have taken political and economic control marginalizing the indigenous peoples. This led to a violent backlash in 1980, with ongoing guerrilla activity against the migrants by the marginalized local peoples. There has come an unprecedented openness to the gospel. A large people movement has been taking place since 1970 in all indigenous peoples. Six tribes are now Christian, and at least seven are rapidly becoming so. There are Christians in every indigenous ethnic group, and their numbers exceed official figures.

2 Christians have been persecuted both by animists and by extremist Hindu groups. Nearly all Christians are members of one of the 440 churches in the 12 Baptist Associations. Pray that Christians may thrive and maintain their witness to non-Christians in spite of communal violence.

3 The less evangelized will remain so without a multiplication of workers from within and outside Tripura. Pray for:

a) The Bengali majority of two million which is unresponsive due to the tribal peoples turning to Christ. Little ministry is directed to their evangelization, and there are only about 100 Christians among them.

b) The Buddhist Chakma are slowly responding to the gospel. Over 40,000 Chakma from Bangladesh have taken refuge in Tripura.

c) The Tripura have become more open, and there are now some 30 Baptist churches among them. Most are animists, but coercion and bribery has been used to convert them to Hinduism.

UTTAR PRADESH & UTTARANCHAL

GEOGRAPHY

Area UP – 231,000 sq.km. India's strategic heartland in the Ganges Valley, yet poor and under-developed. UA – 63,000 sq.km. to the north; abutting on the Himalayas.

Population UP – 167,271,000; 689 people/sq.km. India's most populous state. UA – 8m; 127 people/ sq.km.

Capital Lucknow 2.45m. Other major cities: Kanpur 2.45m; Varanasi 1.28m; Meerut 1.2m; Agra 1.15m; Allahabad 1.1m.

PEOPLES

225.

Main groups Muslims(7+) 32.2m; Brahmin 16.2m; Ahir/Yadav 13.2m; Rajput (Hindu) 12.1m; Shaikh (Muslim) 7.1m; Kurmi 5.8m; Pathan (Mus) 4.8m; Bania 6.5m; Kahar 4.5m; Ansari (Muslim) 4.4m; Bania/Vaisya 4.1m; Lodha 3.8; Gadaria 3.7m; Jat (Hindu) 3.2m; Kumhar 2.7m; Kachhi 2.6m; Teli (Hindu) 2.6m; Badhai/Barhai 2.1m; Murao 2.1m; Bhoi/Kewat 1.8m; Lohar 1.7m.

SC (64) 21%: Chamar 16.9m; Pasi 4m; Koli 2m; Dhobi 1.6m; Bhangi/Balmiki 1.1m; Silpkar 824,000; Dhanuk 399,000; Kol 341,000.

ST (5) 0.2%: Tharu 150,000; Jaunsari 107,000; Bhoksa 50,000; Bhotia 41,000.

Languages Hindi 90%, a complex of related languages (Hindi, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Braj, Bundeli, Charwali, Kumaoni, etc.); Urdu 9%; Panjabi 0.5%.

RELIGION

Hindu 81.7%; Muslim 17.3%; Sikh 0.4%; Christian 0.14% (Catholic 0.04% Protestant 0.08%); Jain 0.13%.

1 Uttar Pradesh is the home of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, but has given no home to the gospel. Millions of pilgrims visit Varanasi, the holy city of Hinduism on the Ganges River, but few find the Living Water that only Jesus can give. Pray that there might be a major mobilization of prayer on this key state, and that God may give the workers who will turn the tide for the gospel.

2 The Christian Church has long been a tiny, stagnant minority community of 230,000; 80-90% nominal and most from the Dalit Chamar and Dom groups. In 1995 there were less than 500 workers committed to the unreached. Intimidation and threats have led to a steady stream of reversions to Hinduism. Only in the past 15 years has the evangelical witness shown vitality, but their numbers are few. Pray for new life in dead and dying churches. Pray for a more indigenous expression of Christianity – both the buildings, liturgy and culture of many Christians is foreign in look.

3 The small signs of hope – pray these little flames will grow and spread state-wide.

a) The North India Harvest Network has brought together some in the small evangelical witness to pray, research, equip and mobilize Christians during the 1990s with increased, coordinated outreach.

b) The Presbyterians have grown among the Balmiki and now have 140,000 members.

c) Various agencies have focused on UP with increased response – Indian agencies and Pentecostal groups are being used by God. The actual number of believers may now be double the official figure.

4 The awesome immensity of the unfinished task should drive us to prayer:

a) The Brahmin, Ahir, Rajput and other castes in the list above despise Christianity because of its links with the Dalit. Among these 150 groups and 132 million people, there may be no more than several thousand Christians.

b) Muslims are a large minority of 29 million and have frequently been victims of Hindu mob violence. The destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 provoked nation-wide rioting and destruction and seriously damaged India's social fabric. Several Christian agencies are seeking to reach Muslims, but results are yet meagre.

c) Students. They are a challenge! UESI/IFES has 12 student groups for the 26 universities and 570 colleges. Pray for these and for the two staff workers.

d) The Garhwalis (1,800,000) are largely unresponsive. However, the New Testament was recently completed through the work of IEM and Agape and there are now over 100 believers among them. Christian broadcasting has begun in Garhwali.

e) UP's 2,067 pincode areas – 84% had no resident Christian worker in 1998. Pray for the 15 Bible schools and for more workers to harvest the lost.

WEST BENGAL

GEOGRAPHY

Area 88,800 sq.km. Bordering on Bangladesh (once East Bengal).

Population 81,700,000; 920 people/sq.km. There are an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh – mostly Muslim.

Capital Kolkata (Calcutta) 12,800,000. Other major cities: Asansol 1,175,000.

PEOPLES

203.

Main groups Bengali Muslims 22m; Shaikh (Mus) 20.2m; Mahishya 5m; Ahir/Yadav/Sadgope/ Sadgaola 4.7m; Brahmin 4.2m; Bagdi 3.8m; Rajbansi 3.5m; Kayastha 2.6m; Tati/Tatwa 1.4m; Jogi/Nath 1.4m.

SC (63) 24%. Bagdi 2.8m; Namasudra 2.6m; Pod/Paundra 2.4m; Chamar 1.1m; Bauri 1.1m; Kaibartta/Jalia 439,400; Bhangi 396,000 Sunri 391,000; Dhobi 390,000.

ST (38) 5.9%. Santal 2.6m; Oraon 678,000; Bhumij 360,000; Munda 341,000; Kori 150,000; Mahali/Mhali 95,000; Lodha 61,000; Savara/Sawara 58,000.

Languages Bengali 85.8%; Hindi 5.3%; Santali 2.6%; Urdu 2.1%; Nepali 1.3%.

RELIGION

Hindu 75.1%; Muslim 23.4%; Christian 0.6%. (Catholic 250,000; Protestant 200,000)

1 The Bengalis number 230 million with 200 communities in India, South Asia and the world. They are the largest unreached ethnic group in the world. William Carey's pioneer work 200 years ago was among them. Carey, and his successors, achieved much in Bible translation, blessing the Bengali culture, bringing social and economic benefits, but few Bengalis are committed Christians today. The barriers: pride of culture, demonic powers, a spirit of independence, little adaptation of the Christian gospel to local culture and, in recent years, obstruction from the long-reigning Marxist state government. Pray that every barrier to Bengalis believing in Jesus may be removed.

2 Christians are few; 90% come from poor and marginalized communities and probably 95% of the 480,000 'Christians' are nominal. Yet there are indications of better things to come:

a) The Reach Bengal Movement, started in 1991, led to new prayer networks, vital research and a greater level of cooperation in what had been a very divided Church.

b) Prayer has yielded an increased response with significant key conversions and a new vision in some denominations to plant new congregations where there are none.

c) There are now 150 denominations and agencies in the state of which only a few are fully committed to unreached areas and peoples, but progress is being made. Twelve new people groups now have churches planted among them since 1994.

d) The visionary goal of placing a Christian worker in every state pincode area: of the 1,357 areas, 74% are without a resident witness.

3 Kolkata is a large industrial and trading city, but Marxist rule has hindered growth and investment. It is dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. It has the lowest urban standard of living in the world with vast slums and a million or more living on the streets. The huge social needs have been highlighted by the ministry of Mother Theresa and addressed by many others less publicized yet the spiritual needs remain unmet.

a) There are 200 churches in the city but only 25% are Bengali-speaking. Pray for a multiplication of congregations alive in the Spirit.

b) Mission Kolkata 2000 launched in 1994 has mobilized hundreds of Christians for massive literature distribution and church planting. Pray for lasting fruit.

c) Non-Bengali immigrants are 42% of the population, many of these such as the Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Oriya, Panjabi and Mawari have no Christian witness among them. Pray for workers and churches in each.

4 The least evangelized. All the listed caste groups and most of the tribes listed above are still effectively without a significant, vital church-planting movement.

THE SIX UNION TERRITORIES

Specific mention is made here of two of the more unique Union Territories. The other four are similar to the state of which they are enclaves: Chandigarh (capital of Panjab and Haryana 800,000); Dadra and Nagar Havali (Gujarat 170,000); Daman and Diu (Gujarat 123,000) and Pondicherry (Tamil Nadu 990,000).

1 Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise 350,000 inhabitants on 38 islands in the Bay of Bengal. Over 25% of the population of mainland immigrants and indigenous Nicobari (45,000) are Christian. The unreached are the four isolated negrito peoples (only 500 people, but all mission work is forbidden among them. Ten GFA missionaries are now seeking to reach these and other communities). Also the Hindu (64%) and Muslim (8.6%) Bengali, Hindi, Malayali, Telugu and Tamil immigrants, as well as Oraon, Munda and Khama from Bihar need to be reached.

2 Lakshadweep. Twelve coral atolls and 36 islands in the Arabian Sea. Its 32 sq.km is home to 62,000 people. Over 95% of the population is ardently Muslim, the rest are Hindu (4%) and Christian (0.7%) immigrants from the mainland. No long-term ministry to these Malayali-speaking Muslims has ever been permitted or attempted.

Internet Links

| Top | Home | Pray Today | Prayer Resources | Updates | OW Team | Contact Us | Policy | Tech Support |
.