Introduction / History
The Gujarati are primarily classified as the inhabitants of the state of Gujarat, western India. Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India. For most of them, Gujarati is their native language. They are a complex people group, speaking various dialects and having many cultural distinctions. Some of these differences are based on region, while others are based on their "caste" (social class) or community.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Gujarat's lengthy coastline and numerous harbors have made it a focal point of travel and trade throughout the world. The Gujarati are known as being resourceful businessmen. This has helped them to successfully emigrate and thrive anywhere they go. The Gujarati who have emigrated are usually from the higher, wealthier castes and have maintained many aspects of their own culture. The Gujarati have a long history of moving to other parts of the world for business purposes. Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama, found Gujarati merchants in Mozambique when he first came to that part of Africa in 1499. By the 1800s, these merchants were well established, trading slaves, ivory, and cashews. During the Portuguese colonial era, Gujarati merchants managed to keep on trading despite restrictions and limitations of the colonizers. In the late 19th century, they were joined by Gujarati families who left South Africa. Things became turbulent in 1947 when Mozambique gained independence from Portugal. The Gujaratis who chose to remain in that African country were usually either Hindu or Sunni Muslim while the Ismaili (Shia subsect) Muslims left by order of their leader, Aga Khan IV.
Gujaratis in Africa are noted for their business-savvy ways, and Mozambique is no exception. Many are involved with lucrative import/export trade, motels, local shops, while a smaller number are in the medical or IT professions.
Gujaratis have strong extended families as well as worldwide business networks. These two factors have helped them to thrive throughout Africa and beyond. Even if one's business fails, the family helps the Gujarati individual to take the next painful step towards getting back on their feet. To a Gujarati, having one's own business, even a small one, is viewed more favorably than working for someone else. Enterprise is a cultural value. Businesses are conducted with others they trust, which can reinforce working with other Gujaratis across the globe.
They are usually Hindu, but a significant minority is Muslim.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Gujarati in diaspora serve the great god of mammon but hold to traditional Gujarati Hindu beliefs and practices as well. Those beliefs and practices will differ widely according to details of caste and family background, and some will be deeply concerned and committed related to their traditional ways. Traditional gods and modern gurus compete for attention, with the 19th century-origin Swaminarayan movement continuing to grow and draw Gujarati involvement. There is also a strong minority of Sunni Muslim Gujaratis in Mozambique as well.
What Are Their Needs?
In most countries where there are Gujarati communities, there are no missionary agencies focusing taking Christ to them. The Bible is available in their language, but the Gujarati must see Christianity lived out. There will be obstacles to those who want to take Christ to these highly unreached Hindus. As it stands, there are very few who will dare to take that step.
Pray for an intense spiritual hunger among the Gujaratis that will draw them into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Gujarati in Africa.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement to Christ among Gujaratis throughout East Africa and Ethiopia that will result in them experiencing the intense blessings of Christ.
Scripture Prayers for the Gujarati in Mozambique.