Prayer Profile
The Rajastani of India

[IMAGE] Rajasthani is a general term describing the inhabitants of Rajasthan, a state in western India. Rajasthan is an arid region located on the India-Pakistan border. The Hindu Rajasthani, also known as the Marwari, live in Marwar, a region of south central Rajasthan. They speak Marwari, the standard form of the Rajasthani language.

The ancestors of the Rajasthani were tribes who settled in a few fertile regions of western India. Over time, the tribes became kingdoms that constantly fought each other. One of those kingdoms was called Marwar. Collectively, the kingdoms became known as Rajputana, or "land of the kings."

Rajput kings controlled Rajasthan for over 1,000 years, until Muslim forces conquered the region. In the 1700's, the British took over most of India and entered into alliances with the Rajput states. The British allowed them to retain their independence, with only a few political and economic constraints.

What Are Their Lives Like?
The Hindu Rajasthani are a varied and complex people. As Hindus, their lives are strictly governed by the caste system. A caste is a social class with a specific occupation, such as priest or farmer. A person is born into a caste and usually lives his entire life in that caste.

The Hindu Rajasthani belong to a variety of different castes; thus they are engaged in many different professions. Many belong to the highest caste, or Brahmans, which consists of priests and scholars. They spend their lives honoring various Hindu gods, and each caste usually focuses on one god above all the others. The Brahmans are often supported through offerings given to them by members of lower castes.

Cattle raising is a vital part of Rajasthan's economy, and some Hindu Rajasthani are members of agricultural or cattle breeding castes. Important crops in Rajasthan include rice, barley, wheat, cotton, tobacco, chilies, and mustard.

A number of Hindu Rajasthani belong to scholarly or writing castes. These castes are often involved in government jobs. Still others are members of artisan or worker castes. The members of these castes are often employed as metalworkers, tailors, weavers, carpenters, or cooks.

The Hindu Rajasthani have a variety of marriage customs, which are generally dependent on one's caste. Tradition requires that no one marry outside his own caste.

The Rajasthani are known for their distinctive, colorful culture. Due to their long history of conflict and warfare, they value virtues such as honesty, valor, honor, and courage. The uniqueness of their culture is also reflected in their dress. The men wear colorful turbans and the women wear bright skirts and silver jewelry.

What Are Their Beliefs?
The great majority (82%) of the Rajasthani are Hindus. However, a few are Muslims, Jains (known for charitable works and their avoidance of any occupation that even endangers animal life), or Sikhs (follow the teachings of a mystic guru who stressed religious exercises and meditation).

Hindus worship a great number of gods. They believe that though divinities appear in separate forms, these forms are part of one universal spirit called "Brahman." They believe that many divinities make up Brahman. The most important ones are Brahman, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer.

Hindus believe that when a person dies his soul is subsequently "reincarnated," or reborn into another body. They teach that if the person lived a good life, he will be reborn into a higher caste; but if he lived an evil life, he will be reborn into a lower caste or even as an animal. This process of death, life, and rebirth is said to continue until the person reaches a higher state of existence.

What Are Their Needs?
Rajasthan is one of India's most unreached states. Christian efforts are hampered by Hindu pressures and laws forbidding conversion to other religions. Although the New Testament is available in Marwari, it is outdated and out of print.

Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Rajasthan to share the love of Jesus with the Rajasthani.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are targeting the Rajasthani.
  • Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Rajasthani.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Rajasthani through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will give the Rajasthani believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Rajasthani bound.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of India through worship and intercession.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Rajasthani church for the glory of His name!

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Rajastani
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Merwari (Jaipuri)
  • Population: (1990) 8,492,600
    (1995) 9,342,300
    (2000) 10,203,700
  • Largest religion: Hindu 82%
    Jain 10%
    Muslim 7.8%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 11,211
  • Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 4
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 3,748,100 (41%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 478,300 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 3,269,800 (35%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 5,594,200 (59%)
  • Country: India
  • Population: (1990) 850,638,100
    (1995) 935,744,300
    (2000) 1,022,021,300
  • Major peoples in size order: Hindi (High Hindi) 9.5%
    Telugu 7.8%
    Maratha 7.4%
    Bengali 6.4%
    Hindi (Bazaar, Popular) 5.5%
  • Major religions: Hindu 78.2%
    Muslim 12%
    Christian 4.3%
  • Number of denominations: 8

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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