Day 16. Yadav in India (YAH-dahv)
The term ‘Yadav’ covers many castes which initially had different names; Ahir in the Hindi belt of Punjab and Gujarat, Gavli in Maharashtra, Gola in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Their traditional occupation was that of herdsmen, cowherds and milk sellers. Hence they identify closely with their caste deity, Krishna who was from that background. However, most Yadavs today are cultivators, mainly engaged in tilling the land, with less than one third of the population involved in dairy farming.
Yadav have taken up significant roles as businessmen, teachers, doctors, engineers and political leaders; and they are a part of the rising middle class in India. In the past decades, Yadavs have led political parties and governments in the two largest states: Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, they have largely remained socially and educationally backward and they are now categorized as Other Backward Castes (OBC). In fact, at around 60 million, Yadavs constitute the largest single caste grouping among India’s OBCs.
The Yadav have expertise in oral traditions and group singing about their gods: Krishna, Vishnu and others. They claim Krishna as their blood ancestor and so are especially devoted to him. For protection from curses the Yadav are also known to put faith in amulets, astrologers and traditional healers. In recent years there are some families and whole villages of Yadavs moving towards Christ, some led by Yadav followers of Jesus.
Prayers for the families of the Yadav:
Lord, send believing families who want to live with the Yadav, bless them, learn their ways, respect their history and invite them into discipleship relationships following Jesus together.
Lord, bless Your Holy Scriptures in their language (more than half are Hindi speakers). Bless the Yadav through stories shared, songs sung, and the free audio Bible stories believers bring to study in their homes. Lord, draw the Yadav to people to those who can share Your Holy Scriptures with them.
Lord, reveal to the Yadav that You care about their history and legacy and that You have a calling for them to both lay down their lives and to meet their needs.
God’s blessing on the Yadav and all OBCs: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned! (Is. 9:2)