Prayer Profile
The Khowar 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 countries, 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 Ghats Mountains. Because of numerous geographical features, climatic conditions are also widely diversified on both a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.

Most of the Khowar live in Pakistan; however, there are nearly 18,000 living in India. Their language, Khowar, is a member 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 secular Indian 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 Khowar to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle cannot be adequately described. Further research is needed to clearly identify their needs and to develop effective strategies for seeing them reached with the Gospel.

Since independence, the government of India has been highly attentive to the health problems of the nation. Despite vigorous efforts in the areas of preventive medicine, sanitation, and nutrition, health conditions remain poor. Much of the population continues to suffer from malnutrition, and starvation is a frequent result of drought.

What Are Their Belief?
About 12% of India's population practices Islam. Most of the Muslims are located in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir. An armed conflict over independence continues in this area today. Islam, which was first brought to India from Central Asia in the twelfth century, has provided India with some of its most impressive architectural traditions. One of the most famous examples is the world-renowned Taj Mahal, which is located in Agra, northern India.

The Khowar are virtually all Muslims. As such, they adhere to the five "pillars," or duties, of Islam. These include affirming that "there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet;" praying five times daily; giving alms generously; fasting during the holy month of Ramadan; and making a pilgrimage to Mecca, if possible. Most of the Khowar, however, do not have the opportunity to travel to Mecca on the Haj, or pilgrimage.

What Are Their Needs?
The Khowar do not have any Christian resources available in their own language, and there are no missions agencies currently targeting them. The very few Christian believers are in need of discipleship materials to encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Fervent intercession and increased missionary activity are necessities if the Khowar are to be reached with the saving message of the Cross.

Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries who understand the Muslim culture to live and work among the Khowar.
  • Pray for the Bible, the Jesus film, and Christian radio broadcasts to be made available to the Khowar.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Khowar through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Khowar towards the Gospel.
  • Pray that God will mightily multiply the efforts of the few Khowar believers as they share Christ with their own people.
  • Take authority over the spiritual powers that are keeping the Khowar bound.
  • Ask God to raise up an army of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Khowar.
  • Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Khowar by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Khowar
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Kohwar (Arniya)
  • Population: (1990) 16,000
    (1995) 17,600
    (2000) 19,200
  • Largest religion: Muslim 99.9%
  • Christian: <1%
  • Church members: 4
  • 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: 1,600 (9%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 500 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 1,100 (6%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 16,000 (91%)
  • 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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