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Mandli (mun'-dah-lee), an abstract noun derived from the Sanskrit word Mandal, meaning circle, orbit, enclosure, or area within. Mandli has social implications, referring to persons, or people "within the enclosure" of a particular social, political, economic, or religious community.

Mandli has been widely used by the church in the Hindi and Hindi-related language areas, (Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and Nepali) to denote congregation, fellowship, brotherhood, or community, e.g., "Mennonite Mandli" or "Methodist Mandli," etc. However, Christians addressing non-Christians do not speak of themselves as the "Christian Mandli," but rather as the Christian Samaj (also meaning community or society). The Persian word Majhab is also frequently used. It is a word denoting a religious sect.

Since the 1950s Mandli is rapidly being dropped in favor of Kalisiya, a word coined from the Greek "ekklesia." All newer translations of the New Testament have consistently used the latter word. While Mandli is not an inaccurate translation, the use of Kalisiya probably reflects a concern to be identified more closely with the original biblical concept.

See also Bihar Mennonite Mandli; Bharatiya Jukto Christa Prachar Mandli; India (for groups using Kalisiya).


Hindi Dictionaries:

Brihat Hindi Kosh. Varanasi U.P.: Gyanmandal Ltd.

Pramarnik Hindi Kosh. Varanasi, U.P.: Sahitya Ratnamala Karyalay.

Author(s) John A Friesen
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Friesen, John A. "Mandli." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 31 May 2020.

APA style

Friesen, John A. (1987). Mandli. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 May 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 533. All rights reserved.

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