FROM THE IMA GENERAL SECRETARY

 

01 April 2015

 

Dear friends,

 

Warm greetings to you in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. I specially thank those missions and leaders who responded to my appeal and paid their membership dues and also are considering supporting an IMA missionary staff every month.

 

In the days ahead I will be pursuing this with member missions so that IMA staff can stand on their feet with support of member missions and churches.

 

GENERAL SECRETARY DESIGNATE

I am glad to announce to you that the Executive Committee of IMA after going through the report of the IMA appointed Search Committee has appointed Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer, the present Associate General Secretary as the ‘General Secretary Designate’ from 1st April to 30th Sept 2015. He was formerly a missionary in Cambodia and Executive Director of the Nagaland Missions Movement. I warmly welcome him into this new position of responsibility. Please pray for him and his wife Arenla Y Longkumer and their two sons Chizuknok (12th grade) and Longsen Luka (9th grade.)

 

IMA General Secretary Designate Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer with his wife Arenla and sons Luka & Chizuknok

 

The Executive Committee has consequently extended my term as General Secretary (interim) till 30th Sept. 2015.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST YEAR

Some of the highlights of the past year are as follows:

 

This past year has not been an easy year for the IMA team, especially in the area of finance. However, the Lord has enabled us to begin the rebuilding process of IMA.

 

1.       Building a team at the IMA office and improving the morale of the team.

2.       Reconnecting with missions and mission leaders across the country and developing regional meetings and a financial base.

3.       Conducting 7 consultations and training programs.

4.       Launching the monthly India Missions E-News.

5.       Improving the infrastructure of IMA Vision City to a limited extent.

 

I thank the whole team for their whole hearted support and involvement in the vision and mission of IMA.

 

AGM’15

The Annual General Body Meeting of IMA will be held on 11th Sept in Hyderabad at 2.30 pm. There will not be a separate National Leadership Conference this year.

 

PROGRAMS

The forth coming programs of IMA are as follows:

 

1.       May 9 – 13, 2015, ‘Bandhu Seva’ Training in Hindi in Dehra Dun

2.       May 27 – 29, 2015, ‘Member Care ‘Consultation in Hyderabad

3.       June 5 - 16, 2015, ‘Partnership for Missions in 21st century’- seminars in 6 cities

4.       July15 – 17, 2015, ‘Church Planting among Unreached’ Consultation, Hyderabad

 

Please contact Mr. Solomon Babu, IMA Training Coordinator for further information at training@imaindia.org

 

CONSECRATION OF BISHOP

I am glad to inform you that our Treasurer Rev. Dr. B. Lazarus Lalsingh has been consecrated as Bishop of the Banjara Church of India on 19th March 2015 in the BBPT Campus in Hyderabad. He was the Founder Director of the Banjara Badavo Phozear Trust (BBPT) that works among the Banjara people of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh and has established more than 400 churches since 1966. On behalf of IMA I congratulate him and send our warm greetings to him, his family and the Banjara Church in India.

 

CONDOLENCES

I am sorry to announce the passing away of Rev. Dr. C. D. Jebasingh on 14th March 2015 in Mumbai. He was the founding Director of Galilean International Films & Television Services, the Founder/Chairman of Asia Evangelistic Fellowship of India and the Founding Member Church Growth Association of India/ Church Growth Research Center.  On behalf of IMA I convey my deep condolences to the family and to all the organizations concerned.

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

·         Praise God for his help to IMA in all its activities in the past financial year.

·         Pray for IMA missionary staff to be fully supported by missions and churches.

·         Pray for Dr. Theo Srinivasagam, Gen. Sec. and Dr. Wati Gen. Sec. Designate as they visit member missions in Nagpur and Pune on April 7-10.

·         Pray for the forthcoming programs in Dehra Dun and Hyderabad.

 

May the Lord bless you and your ministry.

 

Yours in His service,

R. Theodore Srinivasagam

General Secretary, India Missions Association 

 


LOOKING AT SCRIPTURE

THEME: ‘GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…TRIBES, PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES” (MATT.28:18-20, REV. 7:9)

 

3. THE CROSS AND GOD’S MISSION*
“GO, THEREFORE..........” (ACTS 28:19)
R. Theodore Srinivasagam

 

Jesus gave the command to his disciple to ‘go’. Going is easy and we can go for a variety of causes and in many different names. But Jesus gave the command to his disciples to go only after his death and resurrection. The message they had to bear was that of the Cross of Christ and his resurrection as we see in Luke 24 :45-49. This is the message of salvation to all humanity.

 

‘No cross, no mission’ will sum up the relationship between the cross and God’s mission. There is only one cross – the cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ died. There is only one mission – the reconciliation of man with God. This is possible only through the cross.

 

The cross symbolizes God’s salvation to all mankind. Salvation has to do with man’s relationship with his creator God. The rebellion of man against God which began in the Garden of Eden got exacerbated down the ages as the history of mankind shows.

 

The only way man could ever be reconciled to God was by sacrifice of a sinless person. In the Old Testament we see this done through the sacrifice of clean and blemish less birds and animals. We read about this atonement in Leviticus 16. But this was a temporary measure and had to be repeated year after year and generation after generation and was only for the Israelites.

 

However, as we come to the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless son of God, became the sacrificial lamb (as prophesied in Isaiah 53:7). Instead of animal and bird sacrifices that were temporary, Jesus the sinless holy one became the sacrifice once and for all.John the Baptist proclaimed, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), making it clear that the death of Jesus was not just for the Jews, but for all mankind for all generations. This is perhaps the first time that we read that Jesus death on the cross is to take away sin of all humanity – a missionary message. The message of salvation is no longer to be confined to the Jewish nation, but to all nations. Further Jesus himself said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). Thus salvation was made available to all.

 

This is what God’s mission is all about –salvation to all. God’s mission is the reconciliation of all human beings with God without any distinction as we read in Rev. 5:9 “…with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

 

As we briefly look at the Cross and Mission, there are 3 aspects that we will consider here.

 

I. The Cross and its Message (the Gospel).

1.       Without the cross and resurrection there is no gospel and there is no message to proclaim and so no mission. Paul’s argument on this is very clear in 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; 14-20.

2.       Without the cross, there is no forgiveness of sins. Jesus proclaimed forgiveness from the cross as we read in Luke 23:34. Paul says, “God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Col.2:13). Mission has to do withmaking available to all the forgiveness of sins.

3.       Without the cross Satan, sin and deathwould not be defeated.Paul proclaims that Jesus “…having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col.2:15). God’s mission is to show this victory over Satan, sin and powers of evil.

4.       Without the cross reconciliation between God and manis not possible because of God’s holiness and our sinfulness (Col.1:19,20). Mission has to do with reconciling Man with God and man with man.

5.       Without the cross there is no peace on earth, which was proclaimed by angels to the shepherds at the time of the birth of Jesus and expounded by Paul in Col.1:20.

6.       Without the cross there is no justice, one of the hall marks of the rule of God.In Romans 3:23 and 24 we read, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Proclamation of God’s just ways is an integral part of the missionary message.

 

Is this the Gospel you are proclaiming?

 

II. The Cross and the Message Bearer

It is not just the message that is important, but message bearer also makes an impact in God’s mission. So how does the cross affect the message bearer?

 

1.       The life and life style of the message bearer should be changed by the cross and the Gospel message to have an impact on others.Jesus said, “anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38). He also said, ‘…unless kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John12:24). Has your life changed?

2.       The ministry of the message bearer should follow the ministry of Jesus in all its variety. This includes the proclamation of the Gospel, healing the sick, caring for the needy and making disciples. Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be” (John 12:26). What does your ministry look like today?

3.       The message of the message bearer through his / her word and deed should be centred on the life of Jesus, his cross and his salvation. All other activities should be adjunct to the main goal of God’s mission.

 

What are you proclaiming through your word and actions?

 

III. The Cross and its Mission

The cross is not the end of the story. The resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross revealed to all, that the cross was not a symbol of defeat, but a portrayal of his victory over Satan, sin and death. As a result, those under bondage to Satan and sin are set free and salvation is freely available to all through repentance for their sins and faith in Jesus. This is the message that Jesus commanded his disciples to proclaim in all the four gospels and also in the book of Acts. He told us –

 

1.       Whom to proclaim to– to all nations …. to make disciples(Matt 28: 18-20)

2.       How to proclaim – with signs, healing and wonders (Mark 16:15-18)

3.       What to proclaim – death and resurrection and forgiveness of sins (Luke24:45-49)

4.       Who should proclaim – all who are sent by Jesus-includes all believers (John 20:21)

5.       Where to proclaim – everywhere with the power of the Holy Spirit(Acts 1:8).

 

Why should we be involved in God’s mission? So that we can one day see “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb………crying out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’"(Rev.7:9,10).

 

So the cross of Jesus Christ is central for our salvation, our life style and our going and doing ministry. Are you following the cross of Jesus in your life and ministry?

 

*This article is also published in the April 2015 issue of ‘IEM Outreach’ Magazine, Bangalore.’

 


FROM THE MISSION LEADERS...

 

REACHING THE UNREACHED IN ODISHA BY ORISSA FOLLOW UP
D. B. Hrudaya*

 

Who would have ever thought that the preaching of the gospel has created modern India? We can trace back the route of how the gospel of the resurrected Jesus Christ arrived in India between AD 50-60 and then spread and took root all over the country. We thank God for pioneers who reached Odisha and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ travelling by bullock cart in those days. It is hard and beyond our imagination to copy or replicate the life style of those pioneer missionaries. Missionaries have come and gone but Jesus has remained unchanging. Today we face similar challenges to accomplish Great Commission.

 

Thirty three years ago, my wife Hironmoyee and I encountered a testing opportunity to do follow up work on a handful of Seekers of the Truth and take care of eighteen underprivileged and vulnerable children from a particular tribe and region. Currently we are working among 25 unreached people groups and working among 3000 children in the state of Odisha. Having been inspired by the vision of Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission in Pune and a pioneer pastor in Japan, my wife and I were frustrated by the realities we had to face on those days. We learned a variety of lessons and developed a spirit of caring, counseling and learning of activities through a variety of processes and discipleship. We were enlightened that there were different ways and methods by which our work skills could be developed and resources for the ministry made available.

 

Through the seekers and children, the Lord led us to form cell groups in that area. We learnt that the keys for the ministry were day to day personal evangelism, literature distribution, seekers conferences, discipleship training, teaching hospitality, intercessory prayer, agriculture, pastoral work and income generation programs. This list of activities includes a mix of use of practical talents along with spiritual gifts which the Lord gave us and educated us over a period of time.

 

Looking back over a period of time towards to the beginning of 2015, I can see more clearly what is happening. The focus of my own vision has changed. I have been watching with some interest the developing new trends in the new congregations that have been planted by our non-paid or low paid field staff. The field workers still revere “the pastor”, and in my observation particularly in our current low commitment culture, the pastor is increasingly becoming a “clergyman”. He / she are doing the bulk of the work and feel the weight of all the pastoral responsibilities along with financial pressure. Yet they are richer in experience and more grounded to seek first the kingdom of God.

 

The emphasis on the ‘unreachedness’ of many people groups and their inability to hear the gospel because of geographical isolation is what has provided us much of the motivation and mobilization for new mission efforts. We have been constantly careful not to damage or cross the boundaries of comity related issues. Honoring one another is one of our core values. However, we still need to take corrective measures and legitimately expect God to increase our faith for greater harvest.

 

Our churches are being planted by Orissa Follow-Up are known as Orissa Peoples’ Church. We have a council to execute decisions for the welfare of the churches and develop and strengthen our evangelical callings, doctrines and our outreach work. Opposition by the fundamentalist groups, overlapping and duplication work by fellow-missions and constant mentoring and vigilance of the field work are the forefront challenges for us today.

 

However, as years have gone by, the Lord of harvest has been granting us the strength, wisdom and grace, on day to day basis, and helping us to depend upon Him for basic financial resources to keep our commitment going forward. God is faithful and He provides and adds the needed resources as we seek His kingdom and righteousness for His glory and honor!  

 

* Bishop D. B. Hrudaya is the Founder of Orissa Follow-Up based in Balasore, Odisha.

 


IMA NEWS

 

IMA LEADERS VISIT TO SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA
17-18 FEBRUARY 2015

Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary North & North East, IMA
  

On 17th February 2015, Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam General Secretary, Rev. Wati Longkumer AGS and Mr. Zohmingthanga Executive Secretary North-East India visited Shillong.

 

In Shillong we had the privilege to meet leaders of the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod and especially with Rev D. S. Sohkhlet, Senior Executive Secretary, Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Sepngi and Rev. P. Dkhar, former Moderator with whom we shared the vision and purpose of IMA.

 

With KJP Synod leaders Rev D. S. Sohkhlet (in centre), Rev. P. Dkhar (second from left) and Dr. G.P. Kharchandy (second from right)

 

With KJP Synod leaders

 

We also visited the offices of our members “The North East India Committee of Relief and Development” (NEICORD) and “The Serving in Mission North East India” (SIMNEI).

 

With  Mr. Sundar Daniel, Executive Director of NEICORD

 

 

 With leaders of Serving in Mission North East India

 

We also had an opportunity to visit TESPRO. We are thankful to Rev Dr. E. R Tongper and his warm welcome. We were able to share about IMA in their evening meeting.

 

With Dr. and Mrs. Tongper of TESPRO

 

On 18th Feb 2015 we visited “North East India Christian Council”, the regional office of NCCI and met the Secretary Rev. Lalnunzira and shared about IMA activities.

 

With Rev. Lalnunzira (second from left) of North East India Christian Council

 

We also had a discussion on how NEICC and IMA can work together in days to come. We also visited the office and training center of NECTAR, headed by Rev. Nengzakhup. Nectar is involved in training missionary candidates in cross –cultural mission. Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam was given a short time to share about IMA activities. 

 

With Staff & Students of NECTAR Training Institute - Rev. Nengzakhup (at right front)

 

Our entire Shillong visit and programme was organized by Dr. G.P. Kharchandy and we are really grateful to him for his warm hospitality and making our stay in Shillong comfortable.

 

--------------------------------------------

 

IMA REGIONAL LEADERS MEETING, MADURAI

10 MARCH, 2015

Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA
 

IMA Regional leaders from Madurai met on the 10th March, 2015 in the premises of the India Field Evangelism. Fifteen leaders representing 6 missions came together to share and pray for each other.

 

Pastor Paul Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of IMA, shared from the word and  exhorted the leaders from Judges 6:12. He encouraged the leaders saying “The Lord is with us” to accomplish the Great commission in spite of the difficulties we face. He also shared about all the changes happening politically, economically and socially and also how the changes are taking place in our country.

 

The issues discussed were about Clean India, Oneness and Contextualization. As far as ‘Clean India’ is concerned it was felt that we also need to clean our mind, body and soul. Different missions were given time to share the issues they were facing and it was followed by prayer.

 

It was decided to have the next meeting on June 2nd, 2015 at 6:00 pm at India Field Evangelism office.  

 

--------------------------------------------

 

IMA REGIONAL LEADERS MEETING, TRIVANDRUM

12 MARCH, 2015

Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA

 

 

An IMA regional meeting was held for the first time in Trivandrum for missions in Southern Tamil Nadu and South Kerala. This was hosted by Dr. A. Selvaraj of Indian Christian Research Organization. There were 14 mission leaders present representing 4 member missions.

 

All the leaders present discussed on the importance of Revelation 7:9 and  on what Indian missions and churches need to do if we want to see India is reached with the gospel.

 

The following points were discussed at the meeting: 

·         Unity of Christians across the nation

·         Organizing doctors club, engineers club, professionals club and challenging them to be a witness in their vocations

·         Equipping every believer to be a witness

·         Equipping women missionaries so that they can be in the forefront in sharing the gospel.

 

Finally all the missions shared the issues they were facing and the meeting was concluded with prayer for missions.

 

It was decided to hold the next meeting on 6th June at Parchala, Kerala hosted by Soul Winning Mission.


NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS

 

MISSION CELEBRATIONS

CONSECRATION CEREMONY OF REV. DR. BHUKYA LAZARUS LALSINGH AS BISHOP OF BANJARA CHURCH OF INDIA

 

The Consecration of Rev. Dr. Bhukya Lazarus Lalsingh, Founder of Badavo Banjara Phozear Trust [BBPT] and Treasurer of India Missions Association, as bishop of the Banjara Church of India [BCI] took place at 10 am on 19th March 2015 at BBPT Campus, Keesara, Hyderabad. The beautiful shamiyana was packed with 500 participants from different missions and churches from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

 

The Bishops who officiated in the Consecration Ceremony were Bishop Dr. D. B. Hrudaya, Orissa People’s Church, Balasore, who functioned as the Moderator, Bishop Dr. Rolly Singh, Zion Sewa, Lucknow and Bishop Dr. B. R. Mani, JCM Church, Hyderabad. Many other clergy men who were Dr. Lalsingh’s former colleagues from Indian Missionary Society [IMS] and the Dornakal Diocese of the Church of South India [CSI] also participated in the glorious consecration ceremony.

 

Bishop Lazarus Lalsingh with his wife Mrs. Poolabai Lalsingh

 

The meeting was presided over by Rev. Madhusudan Das, Member of BBPT Board.  Rev. S. Vasanthraj Albert, Chairman of BBPT Board gave the message based on Phil 4. Bishop Hrudaya led the Consecration Ceremony and the proceedings lasted for an hour and half. After the ceremony, Bishop Lazarus Lalsingh ordained 18 candidates as Pastors of the Banjara Church of India. The program ended with a delicious Lunch. 

 

The reception was convened by Rev. A P Sagar Singh in which the newly consecrated bishop and the ordained pastors were felicitated.

 

Badavo Banjara Phozear Trust in Hyderabad was established in 1996 to plant churches and reach out holistically to the Banjara people of India. Preserving the Banjaras’ unique cultural identity, BBPT aims to develop the social, economic, and spiritual lives of the people through evangelism, church planting, education and women’s empowerment. This has resulted in a strong and mobilized Banjara Church. BBPT has so far planted more than 400 churches and 6,350 house fellowships in 18 districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Their present aim is to introduce the Gospel to 250 thandas (Banjara settlements) in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

 

Bishop Lazarus Lalsingh is the first Bishop of Banjara Church of India of which he is the Founder-President. All churches planted under BBPT ministry over the years have been named Banjara Church of India.

 

--------------------------------------------

 

MISSION NEWS

 

New Life for India, Bhorpada, Odisha 

The Mission has 12 missionaries of which 10 are in Odisha and 2 in Rajasthan. Every month, they have a Pastors Prayer Fellowship where Pastors in and around Balangir and  Kalahandi  districts of Odisha gather to pray and discuss on plans to reach various people groups of Odisha. On February 23 to 25, 2015 the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Ghunsar Pastorate Christian Endeavour Union was celebrated in partnership with NLFI. NLFI donated blankets and other necessities for 25 people during that programme. About 300 people gathered of which 150 were youth and they showed much enthusiasm for mission work as they heard the mission challenges.

 

 In April 2015, they plan to conduct a Leadership Programme and expect 60 leaders from 31 congregations in Dambala and Gajapati districts. The main aim is to develop the leaders to reach the Juray language speakers in Gajapati district. In May 2015, a Special Youth Leadership Programme has been planned in Balangir district to envision and empower the youth of Balangir district.

 

Pray for the construction of the following:

·         A Prayer and Meeting hall in Bhorpada to pray for India and conduct various training programmes.

·         A day care centre in Bhorpada to connect with the people and especially to nurture children with the Word of God.

·         An English medium school where the children of that area will benefit.

 

Grace Ministries of India, Trivandrum, Kerala 

This was started in 1990 as ‘Grace Ministries’ trust. But as the vision and ministry expanded, in 1995 it was registered as a society known as “Grace Ministries of India”. They focus on indigenous church planting methods by having ashrams. ‘Giving living water in Indian cup’ is the approach of the Ashram ministry of GMI. The first such Ashram named ‘Kristukripa Ashram’ was established at Kattakada in 1993. Kattakada is a small town situated 20 km from Trivandrum. Now GMI has become a centre of comfort and blessing for thousands of people around that area. There are several spiritual and social services being conducted there. The Second Saturday meeting is an important time of gathering at the Kristukripa Ashram. GMI spread its operations of evangelization to the central part of India in Nagpur and inaugurated ‘Shanti Ashram’ as part of its ministry in North India.

 

World Cassette Outreach India, Bangalore 

Distribution of Audio Bibles to a Nomadic tribe

In the month of March, we took a few Tamil Audio Bibles and went to a town called Vellore in Tamilnadu. We had heard from a missionary that there was a need for Audio Bibles to be placed in a small colony of Gypsies. They are popularly known as the Narikuravar and are a nomadic tribe. They hail from a traditional hunting culture and hunt foxes, tiny wild animals, and birds for survival and trade. They live in groups, speak a unique language “Vaghridholi” and find their livelihood from selling beads and craft items made of leather.  As they are nomadic they erect tents on roadsides and under the flyovers and stay there. You can read more about this community on this link http://tribalsociety.org.in/profile.html

 

This community that we met had settled in the same place for a few years. Sister Jean Jebagnanam started working among them and many have come to know the Lord through her ministry. The community even constructed a small church in the middle of their settlement. It was wonderful to see how God is working amongst these people. WCOI placed 25 Audio units that were loaded with the Tamil Bible amongst these people who cannot read and write. They told us that this will be the only way they can now access God’s word.

 

We also met a young man who was physically challenged due to cerebral palsy. He loves the Lord and has been baptized as well. Unable to go to school, he spends most of his time at home watching TV or sitting outside his home. He was so excited to get an Audio Bible. He was happy that he did not have to depend on anyone to come and read the Bible out loud for him. It gave him a sense of independence. It was wonderful to see his excitement.

 

We also distributed a few Audio Bibles at an Old age home. Many of the residents at this home come from poor backgrounds. Many cannot read and write and some of them have failing eyesight that makes them difficult to read the Bible. One lady came up to us and thanked WCOI for helping people like her who cannot read. She said that she had been praying for many years for someone to record the full Bible in Audio. She said it was an answer to her prayers. What a blessing!

You can view the images by clicking on this link: http://goo.gl/PdwOdX

 

Please pray for us as we travel to different places to place Audio Bibles in the hands of our many brothers and sisters. Thank you once again for your partnership and friendship towards the ministry of WCOI. God bless you.

- P. A. Sundara Rajan (National Director) and James Ragland (Associate Director), WCOI.
 


A PEOPLE GROUP PROFILE

 

BANIA OF INDIA

 

The Banias claim to be Vaisyas, the third level of the four levels of the Hindu caste system. Bania is derived from the Sanskrit word vaij or baij, which means merchant. In western India this caste is called Vani or Vania. The Bania community has gotras such as Agarwal, Dasora, Dishawal, Kapol, Nagori, Vagada, Modh and Nagar.

 

LOCATION

The Bania number approximately 27 million and live in the states of  Rajasthan (5.1 million), Uttar Pradesh (5 million), Maharashtra (3.5 million), Gujarat (2.5 million), Andhra Pradesh (2.1 million), Madhya Pradesh (2 million), West Bengal (1.2 million), Assam (1.1 million), Telangana (983,000), Bihar (889,000), Haryana (799,000), Tamil Nadu (727,000), Delhi (587,000), Karnataka (543,000), Chhattisgarh (267,000) and Odisha (251,000) and Punjab.

 

OCCUPATION

They are an occupational caste of bankers, moneylenders and dealers in groceries and spices. The group in its present form is possibly a combination of many groups who were involved in trading for generations. This fact combined with their wealth, raised their social position to where they claim to be Vaisya - a term for the mercantile community as a whole.

 

They have a reputation of being shrewd and mercenary.  Money is loaned at very high interest rates with secured collateral, usually against land or gold.  They also work in government departments, private enterprise and agriculture.  There are many who are administrators, engineers, doctors, advocates, judges, teachers, scholars, stockbrokers and industrialists among them.  They are active in politics at local, regional and national levels and have a powerful presence in the society.

 

SOCIAL STATUS & STRUCTURE

They have a distinctive social status, rank just below Rajputs and perhaps consider themselves above all other castes except Brahmins. Nearly all of them wear the sacred thread. They are both Hindus and Jains and the major Jain groups are Srimali, Porwad, Mewada, Oswal, and Umad.

 

There are more than seventy sub-groups and most have two divisions: Bisa (twenty carat or pure) and Dasa (ten carat or impure). These subdivisions are further divided into Ekda and Bagda. The Bagda mostly live in villages, while Ekda live in villages and towns. They have an organization called the Mandal to look after the temples and the community's property. There are some sub-groups that are considered degraded and other Banias will neither eat with them nor give their daughters in marriage to them. All sub-castes resemble each other in social activity and religious belief.

 

Each sub-division has four or five members who solve disputes. The headman is usually from a leading family and is treated with respect.

 

The Bania elect a caste council by a voice vote or secret ballot.  In some states they may be better organized than others.  In Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, the Aggarwal Maha Sabha (great assembly) plays a vital role in community matters.  These councils promote welfare, handle family disputes and provide financial assistance and honour members of their community. 

 

LIFE STYLE & CUSTOMS

The binding portion of the marriage is walking seven times around the marriage altar or post. Polygamy is very rare, and if need be, the man must obtain the consent of his first wife. Widow remarriage is normally prohibited but does occur, and remarried widows are relegated to an inferior social group. Divorce is prohibited. Women are put away for adultery. The dead are cremated and their ashes are thrown into a sacred river or any stream. The body of children and those who die of epidemic diseases are buried. Mourning is observed. Rich Banias hire people to mourn. Widows and young girls are usually employed for this, and they sit in front of the house, for an hour in the morning and in the evening, cover their head, and beat their breasts and lament. When a girl is born, they break an earthen pot to show that they have had a misfortune, but when a boy is born, they beat a brass plate to show their joy. Right from childhood, a boy is trained in keeping accounts and making a profit.

 

Bania families are known for the extreme loyalty towards their own community, caring and giving financially when needed. Literacy levels are high as both boys and girls are encouraged to study further and attain university degrees.

 

Traditionally, the Bania are strict vegetarians whose diet consists of wheat, rice, maize, pulses, lentils, vegetables, fruit and dairy products.  Many younger men eat meat at social events outside their community.  They do not drink alcohol but smoke and chew tobacco and paan (betel leaf.)

 

They speak Hindi amongst themselves as well as the regional language of the states they reside in.

 

RELIGION

The majority of Bania are Hindu (88%) while 11% are Jain. There are a few Sikhs in Punjab and Haryana. The Jain Banias are strongly averse to killing animals. The principal deity of the Hindu Bania is the god Ganesh, who is considered as a god of good-luck, wealth and prosperity. Gauri, the great mother-goddess and the mother of Ganesh are especially revered. Every Hindu bridal couple must worship Gauri - Ganesh together. They celebrate Diwali and Holi. During Diwali festival, they worship Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), close accounts for the year and open fresh accounts. They consider it a requirement to gamble at Diwali, and think that it brings good luck during the coming year.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Population in India:

27,601,000

 

Alternate Names:

Aggarwal, Agrawal, Arayia Vaisya, Arya Vaisya, Arya Vysya, Balija, Bandekara, Banikya, Baniya, Baniyan, Baqal, Bhatia, Chetti, Chettiar, Gomatulu, Gujarati Vania, Gupta, Jain, Komati, Komti, Komuti, Kongu, Kshatriya, Kumti, Kumuti, Lalaji, Mahajan, Mahajan Vania, Marwadi, Mathura, Padayachi, Rajput, Sahukar, Sarak, Shetti, Shetty, Vaishya, Vaisiyal Chettiar, Vaisya, Vani, Vani Bania, Vania, Vysy, Vysya.

 

Top 10 languages with population:

Hindi (11,977,000); Telugu (2,867,000); Marwari (2,616,000); Gujarati (2,512,000); Marathi (1,304,000); Bengali (1,091,000); Sindhi (1,052,000); Dhundari (761,000); Tamil (640,000); Kannada (446,000)

 

Resources Available:

Complete Bible, Jesus Film, Gospel (Audio & Video) Recordings, Radio Broadcast 

- from different sources (photo source: joshuaproject.net )


UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES

 

IMA CONSULTATIONS & TRAINING PROGRAMMES

 

1. Training on Bhandu Seva (In Hindi); May 9-13, 2015 at Dehradun.

Cost Rs. 2,500/-

Coordinator: Rev Dr V S Bhandari, Dehradun.

 

2. Consultation on Member Care, May 27-29, 2015 at IMA Vision City Campus, Hyderabad.

Cost Rs. 1000/-(Please note change of date).

Coordinator: Dr Ravi David

 

3. Partnership for Missions in 21st century, June 5 - 16, 2015 - seminars in 6 cities

Coordinator: Dr. Theo Srinivasagam 

 

4. Consultation on ‘Church planting among the Unreached’ for CEOs, July 15 – 17, 2015 at IMA Vision City campus, Hyderabad.

Cost Rs. 1000/-

Coordinator: Dr. Theo Srinivasagam

 

Please apply to Mr. Solomon Babu, IMA Training Coordinator at training@imaindia.org

 


NEEDS OF IMA FOR YOUR PRAYER & SUPPORT

 

The following are the needs of IMA: 

  • Prayer Coordinators: Missionary work needs much prayer. So IMA plans to develop a nationwide volunteer Prayer Leaders & Coordinators who will organize prayer for IMA, its member missions and the needs of India, in their homes & local areas. We welcome your involvement.

  • IMA Staff Support: 5 staff members need full financial support. Need: Rs. 18,000 per month per staff member.

  • IMA Staff Health Endowment Fund: To help IMA staff and their families in the high cost of healthcare, it has been decided to have a Health Endowment Fund with a corpus of Rs. 10 lakhs. You are requested to donate generously towards this.

  • IMA Staff Children’s Education Fund: This is to assist IMA staff to educate their children in good schools. We will appreciate your generous contribution to this fund.

  • Training & other Programmes: These need subsidies to make them affordable to missions. Sample subsidies needed are -

    • 2 days event for 35 people : Rs. 50,000

    • 3 days event for 35 people : Rs. 75,000

    • 5 days training for 35 people : Rs. 1.2 lakhs

  • IMA Infrastructure: Some of the urgent needs are -

    • Laptops, LCD projectors & IT equipment : Rs. 4 lakhs

    • 4-wheeler Vehicle : Rs. 8 lakhs

    • IMA Accommodation & Conference facilities upgrading : Rs. 10 lakhs

    • IMA Campus Farming : Rs. 1 lakh

For details you may write to Ms. Sharon Solomon at advancement@imaindia.org

 


HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE TO IMA?

  • By sending your DD/Cheque drawn in favour of India Missions Association

  • By online transfer to IMA Bank Account - Name of the Bank: ICICI Bank; Branch: S.D. Road, Secunderabad; Account No: 004801044534; IFSC code: ICIC0000048.

Please inform us by email/post after you send your contribution to help us send you a receipt.

 


IMA ADDRESS

India Missions Association, 5-47, Kundanpally Village, Keesara Mandal,
R. R. District, Hyderabad - 501301, Telangana, India.
Phone: 91-8418-202064/65/66; Email: ima@imaindia.org; Website: www.imaindia.org

 


©2015 India Missions Association. All rights reserved 
For further information please feel free to contact us at ima@imaindia.org