Maratha

Immigrants from:  India   Population in Australia:  13,000   Where in VIC:  Monash City, Wyndham, Casey, Melbourne City   Languages:  Marathi, Hindi, English   Religion:  Hindu   Christian witness:  0.8% evangelical in Australia

Immigrants from: India

Population in Australia: 13,000

Where in VIC: Monash City, Wyndham, Casey, Melbourne City

Languages: Marathi, Hindi, English

Religion: Hindu

Christian witness: 0.8% evangelical in Australia

When the British arrived in India the Maratha were in power, controlling most of modern-day India. They came to power when their national hero Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj overthrew centuries of Muslim rule. The modern state of Maratha was established in 1960 on the west coast of India next to Gujarat. It is a prosperous area, Indians from other regions have come to Maratha for work and not many Maratha have left. This applies to their international migration as well, not as many Maratha have left as other Indian people groups. 

The Marathi language is related to Hindi but not to the Dravidian languages of South India. The language has a long literary tradition with epic tales of Kings, religious texts and works of philosophy dating back to the 12th century.

The cultural life of the Maratha is centred on the traditions of Hindu belief. This includes many large festivals but also a close following of Hindu horoscopes that decide among other things, who one should marry. 

William Carey worked among the Maratha, under his leadership a whole Bible Translation was completed in 1820. He was not the first to bring the Christian message to the Maratha. Christianity first came to the Maratha in the the first century AD, brought by St Bartholomew one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, this church was small but steadfast. In the 13th century Dominican missionaries brought them into the Catholic Church. About 3% of the Maratha are Catholic. There are also protestant churches of at least 10 denominations in Maratha state. The Maratha believers in Australia are similarly scattered amongst many churches.