Day 24. Teli in India (TEL-ee)
Once doing the hard job of pressing and extracting oil (tel) by hand, a process now done by machine, the Teli have had to turn to farming or raising animals. Many have expanded their small oil shops into small food stores in the villages. In some states like Bihar, they are popularly known as “Banias” (merchants) though they are of Shudra (laborers) lineage. They are officially classified as OBCs (Other Backward Castes/Classes), because they own no land and are not well educated. The current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is from the Ganchi caste in Gujarat, who were also traditionally oil extractors.
The Teli are slowly changing occupations in modern India, becoming businessmen, managers, metal workers, cart pullers, and common laborers. They are not usually poor, but they do need better access to higher education and good job opportunities.
The Teli are mainly Hindus who also worship their ancestors and seek protection from evil spirits. Their worship is transactional, making offerings to gods who they hope will fulfill their wishes.
Prayers for the families of the Teli:
Lord, send believing families to live among them who see their purpose in this life is to die to themselves and live for Jesus. May they bless the Teli families and make Jesus known to them.
Lord, bless Your Holy Scriptures to be spoken in Teli homes and through the apps of their phones. May they listen to Your Word in their shops and share what they learn with customers.
Lord, bring healing to the Teli families and to their bodies. May they seek to live without corruption and depend on You. Lord, may we see Jesus’ movements spreading rapidly among Teli families from state to state.
Proclaim wellsprings of the Holy Spirit for the Teli: Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. (Jn. 4:14)