Prayer Profile
The Khandeshi of India

[IMAGE] India is a complex mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and social groupings. Because of this diversity, it is extremely difficult to adequately describe any single people group. Ranking second only to China among the world's most populous nations, India has a population of more than 935,000,000. The overall population density is about 762 people per square mile.

India may be divided into four main regions: the Himalayas, the northern river-plains region, the Deccan, and the Eastern and Western Ghat Mountains. Because of numerous geographical features, climatic conditions vary greatly on a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.

In the midst of this complexity can be found the 233,900 Khandeshi. They are located mainly in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Their language, Khandesi, is part of the Indo-Aryan language family. Little is known about their specific lifestyle and culture.

What Are Their Lives Like
About 73% of India's population lives in rural areas and is engaged in some form of agricultural activity. Many are farmers barely growing enough to survive. Farms are extremely small in size and often very fragmented. The raising of livestock, particularly horned cattle, buffalo, horses, and mules, is a central feature of the agricultural economy. Because of Hindu influence, however, these animals are used almost exclusively as beasts of burden rather than sources of meat.

Indian culture is primarily Hindu-oriented. Many Hindu institutions, including the rigid caste (social class) system, have wide-ranging effects on Indian secular society. The word "caste" basically means breed, race, or kind. Indian society is divided into hierarchical castes that are usually endogamous (marriage only within the caste). Castes may be defined by occupation or by kinship and lineage, although there are some exceptions. Nevertheless, caste is so fundamental to the social organization of India that it prevails in all parts, except some of the tribal populations.

Not enough is known about the Khandeshi to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle and culture cannot be adequately described. Further research is needed to clearly identify their needs and to develop strategies for reaching them with the Gospel message.

What Are Their Belief?
The Khandeshi are predominantly ethnic religionists (70%), following their ancient traditions and religions. Their religion is primarily animistic; that is, they worship a variety of inanimate objects. Many of the Khandeshi are also involved in ancestor worship. They believe that the spirits of deceased ancestors are alive and need to be fed and tended. These spirits must be properly appeased, or else they will become hungry and dissatisfied and turn into evil spirits.

The influence of Hinduism is very strong among the Khandeshi, and many of their religious practices have become mixed with Hindu beliefs. The majority, but not all, of Hindus believe in a supreme being. Some respect all life and eat only vegetables, while others will gladly eat meat from sacrifices in the temple. To some, their religion is highly personal; to others, it is impersonal. While most Hindus worship Brahman (the creator), Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and the goddess Shaktri, they also worship a pantheon of other minor gods, their incarnations, spouses, or offspring. A belief in reincarnation (continuous cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.

What Are Their Needs?
The Khandeshi do not have any Christian resources available in their own language, and there are no missions agencies currently targeting them. The few hundred Khandeshi believers desperately need discipleship materials to encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Fervent intercession and increased missions efforts are necessities if the Khandeshi are to be reached with the message of salvation through Jesus.

Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord to call missionaries who will be willing to invest their lives in the Khandeshi of India.
  • Pray that the Bible, the Jesus film, and Christian literature will be made available to the Khandeshi.
  • Pray that God will supernaturally reveal Himself to the Khandeshi through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Khandeshi who will openly confess Jesus as Lord.
  • Pray that signs and wonders will follow the Khandeshi believers as they share Christ with their own people.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Khandeshi bound.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Khandeshi church for the glory of His name!

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Khandeshi
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Khandesi
  • Population: (1990) 212,700
    (1995) 233,900
    (2000) 255,500
  • Largest religion: Ethnic religionist 70%
    Hindu 29.8%
  • Christian: <1%
  • Church members: 468
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 28,500 (13%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 12,200 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 16,300 (7%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 205,400 (87%)
  • 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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