The Lodha of Maharashtra are also known as Mahalodhi or Lodhi Rajput.
They have titles, such as Thakur, Varma, Chatriya, Ganali, Panwar, jandgi and Bidra. They speak Marathi. They are vegetarian in their food habits. Their girls are tattooed at an early age on the chin and forehand. There are two subgroups among the Lodhi; one is the landholding Lodhi, who have a number of clans, such as Mahadula, Kerbamia, Dongaria, Narwaria and Bhadoria. The other subgroup is again divided into a number of subcastes. Each subcaste has exogamous surnames, like Aute, Kambale, Mehune, Khangare, Barole, Gahrole, Jangdi, Bindra, Jariya, Pawar, Gauli, Varma and Chatriya, which are territorial or titular and totemistic in nature.
The Mahalodhi consider themselves superior to the other subgroup. Parental property is inherited by the sons. The Lodhi are an important agricultural community. Their subsidiary occupations in clude animal husbandry and selling milk and milk products. A good number among them are agricultural and daily-wage labourers. They have a community association the Lodhi Kshatriya Samaj, registered at Nagpur with a branch at Watgaon. This association maintains contact with its members all over Vidharbha for the construction of dharmshalas or shelter for pilgrims, looks after the temple of Radheswami Devi, and works for their development. They are Hindu who follow the Shakti cult. Their kuldevi or household deity is goddess Sharda and their village deity is Hanuman. Being farmers, they have occupa tional linkages with the Gondor and Dhangar, while jajmani (patron-client) relationship is maintained with the Brahman. The Lodhi are moderately educated. A few are in government service. They have less access to media and communication and primary health facilities.
LODHA PEOPLE GROUP PROFILE
H. M. H. for class MAGL 5396 India and Christian Missions
January 14, 2011
Prior to the British coming to India, the Lodha people sustained themselves through hunting and gathering in the forests. “Historically, the economy of most tribes was subsistence agriculture or hunting and gathering. Tribal members traded with outsiders for the few necessities they lacked, such as salt and iron. A few local Hindu craftsmen might provide such items as cooking utensils.” (Library of Congress) Under the British Raj they were driven out of the forests thus depriving them of their sustenance and forcing them to develop new methods of supporting their families. With limited skills they turned to crime and under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 they were branded as a criminal tribe known as Sabars. This association and history still affects the tribe to this day. Lodha titles are Nayek, Mallick, Digar, Sardar, Bhokta, Kotal, Dandapat, Bhunya and others. (Joshua) “A number of traits have customarily been seen as establishing tribal rather than caste identity. These include language, social organization, religious affiliation, economic patterns, geographic location, and self-identification.” (Library of Congress)
According to a 2001 census the Lodha people number about 6,103,000 and are considered officially, since 1949, a Scheduled Tribe (Library of Congress) located in India (6,072,000), Nepal (30,700) and Bangladesh (40). Alternated people names associated with the Lodha people are: Balasaria, Baleshahi, Bhagat, Bhara, Gagan, Kanwan, Kawandal, Kharia, Lodhi Rajput, Mahalodhi, Mandi, Parhiar, Paihar and Radha. Using the coding mechanism developed by the World Christian Database their Ethnic Code is CNN25g meaning: Caucasian; Indo-Iranian; Brown; the next two numbers identify the ethno cultural family; and the sixth number identifies a people within the family Adivasi. (Joshua) The largest single concentrations of the Lodha (84,966) live in West Bengal and comprise 1.9 per cent of the Schedule Tribe population of West Bengal. In all of India there are 573 communities recognized by the government as Scheduled Tribes. (Elementary)
The dispersion of the Lodha people across various districts and states of India, Nepal and Bangladesh means that they use a total of 52 different languages. The top four languages uses are: Hindi; Kanauji; Awadhi; and Chhattisgarhi. Their literacy rate is 34.8 percent. “Extending the system of primary education into tribal areas and reserving places for tribal children in middle and high schools and higher education institutions are central to government policy, but efforts to improve a tribe’s educational status have had mixed results.” (Elementary) “The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act 2002, enacted in December 2002 seeks to make education free and compulsory, and a Fundamental Right for all children in the age-group 6-14 years.” (Elementary)
As a whole the Lodha people are largely un-evangelized with a majority of 99.73% Hindu and .26% Christian. (Joshua) Incorporating the Church Planting Movement and T4T within the existing Christian population might enhance the ability to bring the Gospel to these wonderful children of God.
“Elementary Education – Education – Citizens: National Portal of India.” Home: National Portal of India. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <http://india.gov.in/citizen/primary_education.php>.
“India Country Study.” Library of Congress Home. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <http://www.Library of Congress.gov/>.
“Joshua Project – India Ethnic People Profile.” Joshua Project – Unreached Peoples of the World. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php>.