The Sindhi of India
The Sindhi, named after the Indus (Sindhu in Arabic) River, are said to be one of the oldest people groups in the region. They inhabit both sides of the Indus River, which divides Pakistan and India. Until Pakistan became an independent Muslim country in 1947, the Hindu and Muslim Sindhi lived together in the same region. Today, however, most of the Muslims live in Pakistan and most of the Hindus live in India.
As a result of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, a majority of the Hindu Sindhi migrated to metropolitan areas of India, such as Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, and Madras. Some went to re-settlement camps in Rajasthan and on the outskirts of Bombay.
Although the Sindhi Congress attempted to set up the Sind region as a new state in India, they did not succeed. This was mainly due to the scattering of many Sindhi, as well as a lack of unified effort by the Indian government.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Before the partition of Pakistan and India, the Hindu Sindhi owned most of the land. They also monopolized the areas of trade, industry, and education. The Muslim Sindhi were primarily unskilled laborers and tenants. However, when the Hindu Sindhi moved to India in 1947, the Sindhi culture was greatly affected.
Prior to the move, the Sindhi language was used as the language of law, administration, and education. After the move a greater emphasis was placed on being Indian or Hindu rather than being Sindhi. Therefore, many of the Sindhi in India have not passed their native language on to their children. Instead, they quickly learned the local languages. Those who moved to Gujarat learned Gujarati and those who moved to Madras learned Tamil. In addition, many of the well-educated Sindhi have also learned Hindi or English.
Hindu Sindhi are known as skilled merchants. Successful Sindhi shopkeepers can not only be found in many cities in India, but also in urban areas of Malaysia, Kenya, and the Philippines. Others have become doctors, lawyers, or teachers.
As with all Hindus, Sindhi life is based on and limited by belonging to a particular social class, or caste. Even the Sindhi Muslims tend to organize in social classes based along hereditary and occupational lines.
The Sindhi traditionally do not marry outside of their own social classes. While Hindu Sindhi marriages are monogamous, Muslim Sindhi are allowed to have up to four wives—if they are able to provide adequately for each of them.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Ninety-three percent of the Sindhi of India are Hindus, worshipping three main gods: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer), along with a multitude of other gods and goddesses. Some scholars say that the number of individual gods actually exceeds 35 million! Most of the deities are believed to be both good and evil in nature.
One important aspect of Hinduism is the belief that the soul never dies, but is continually reborn after death. This continuous process is known as reincarnation. Hinduism has no single book, but has many sacred writings. The most important of these are the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita.
Only a small minority (4%) of the Sindhi in India are Muslims. In areas where Hindus and Muslims have had close contact, there has been a considerable blending of rites and traditions. For instance, it was not uncommon for both Hindus and Muslims to honor the same saint. The practice of saint worship is still observed in rural areas.
What Are Their Needs?
Although a translation of the Bible, the Jesus film, and Christian broadcasts are already available in their language, only 1% of the Sindhi in India have received Christ. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the Gospel.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work begun in the hearts of the Sindhi believers through adequate discipleship.
- Pray that God will use these young believers to share the love of Christ with their own people.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint the Christian broadcasts that are being aired in the Sindhi language.
- Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Sindhi.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Sindhi bound.
- Ask the Lord to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Sindhi church for the glory of His name!
The Sindhi of Pakistan, Malaysia, and Afghanistan.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Sindhi
- Country: India
- Their language: Sindhi (Lari)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1.1%
- Church members: 20,962
- Scriptures in their own language: Bible
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 4
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 1,011,900 (53%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 893,700 (47%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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