Gujar (Hindu traditions) in India


Population
7,183,000
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Gujar are comprised of three very closely related people groups that are known collectively as the "Gujar Rajasthani." They are located in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several states in northeastern India (Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, Kashmir, and Rajasthan). In addition, the Gujarat district of western India is named after the historic Gujar peoples.

As various Muslim groups began invading India and Pakistan in the eleventh century, the Gujar Hindus converted to Islam. When this happened, their resentful Hindu neighbors began to rise up and take control of the area. The Gujar were forced to leave the region and search for good pastures elsewhere. Their wanderings took them into Pakistan and Afghanistan, where thousands have remained until this day.

The partition of Pakistan and India in 1947 also caused many tribal migrations. Masses of Muslims immigrated to Pakistan, while the Hindus flocked to India.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Ever since their conversion to Islam in the eleventh century, the Gujar have been bound by a life of poverty, illiteracy, and social oppression. In general, they are a simple, inoffensive people with a generous, hospitable nature. Today, most of the Gujar living in India live as law-abiding shepherds and farmers. Unfortunately, they are still belittled by those of higher castes (social classes), and often labeled as thieves and vagrants.

The Gujar living in the mountain forests of northeastern India raise buffalo. Unfortunately, the Indian government has imposed regulations on the number of buffalo one family can keep, and on how long they can live in the forests. This has been distressing for the Gujar, since this is their main source of income. For this reason, these nomads are constantly searching for new pastures for their herds.

The Gujar nomads who live in the state of Kashmir are often cheated by the "middlemen," who take their agricultural products to the city markets and sell them as their own.

The Gujar castes are broadly divided along religious and geographic lines into two groups: the Muslim Gujar and the Hindu Gujar. The Muslims are seasonal nomads who live in windowless, one-room houses during sedentary growing seasons; whereas, the Hindus are settled farmers who live in the same place all year.

Most of the Gujar in Afghanistan are traveling groups, who earn their living as tinkers (traveling menders of household goods), musicians, tradesmen, or fortune-tellers. Many are extremely poor and have resorted to begging and crime. Others are nomadic goat herders who travel the eastern valleys during the summer months. Unfortunately, conflicts between Afghanistan and Russia in recent years have damaged the economy for those who work in agriculture and trade.

The Gujar living in the forested mountain regions usually build their homes in clearings along the mountain fringes. The dwellings have one, two, or three rooms and are built with flat roofs. In contrast, the homes of those living in Kashmir typically have angular roofs. Since they cook inside over open fires, their homes are often dark and smoky.

The Gujar are divided into hundreds of clans. Their societies are patrilineal, which means that inheritances are passed down through the males. Marriages are usually arranged by the parents, and a "bride price" of either cash or buffalo is paid to the girl's family. They are permitted to marry outside their clans, and young couples generally live near the grooms' parents.

All three Gujar groups speak Gujari, an Indo-Aryan language. This common factor has helped to identify them as a distinct sub-group. The Gujar of Afghanistan also speak Pashto and/or Dari, which are Persian languages (and are spoken by three-quarters of the Afghani population).


What Are Their Beliefs?

A majority of the Gujar are Hindu, but there is also a signficant number of Muslims among the Gujar, as well as a smaller number of Sikhs.

Because the Muslim Gujar share Hindu customs, they are not generally accepted by other Muslims. Nevertheless, in their desire for a unified front against the Hindus, the Muslim Kashmiri have agreed to accept the nomadic Gujar Muslims who recently entered Kashmir.


Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to share Christ with the Gujar.
* Pray that God will encourage the small number of Gujar believers and give them a vision to reach their own people.
* Ask God to send Christian teachers to live and work among the Gujar.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Gujar so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of the governmental leaders of India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to the Gospel.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-09-10
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-09-06
People Name General Gujar (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Gujar (Hindu traditions)
Population in India 7,183,000
World Population 7,436,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 144 to 149
Progress Scale 1
Alternate Names Chaudhari, Gujarani, Gurjar, गुजर (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
People ID 16878
ROP3 Code 112160
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 19
Largest States
(only 15 largest shown)
Rajasthan
(2,779,000)
Uttar Pradesh
(1,348,000)
Madhya Pradesh
(1,183,000)
Haryana
(766,000)
Delhi
(522,000)
Maharashtra
(268,000)
Punjab
(158,000)
Uttarakhand
(98,000)
Odisha
(19,000)
Chandigarh
(11,000)
Telangana
(8,600)
Karnataka
(7,800)
Chhattisgarh
(5,700)
Himachal Pradesh
(5,500)
Gujarat
(4,500)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 19
  Rajasthan (2,779,000)
  Uttar Pradesh (1,348,000)
  Madhya Pradesh (1,183,000)
  Haryana (766,000)
  Delhi (522,000)
  Maharashtra (268,000)
  Punjab (158,000)
  Uttarakhand (98,000)
  Odisha (19,000)
  Chandigarh (11,000)
  Telangana (8,600)
  Karnataka (7,800)
  Chhattisgarh (5,700)
  Himachal Pradesh (5,500)
  Gujarat (4,500)
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Hindi (4,721,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 42
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Dhundari
(608,000)
Mewari
(339,000)
Punjabi, Eastern
(316,000)
Marwari
(249,000)
Shekhawati
(175,000)
Marathi
(141,000)
Malvi
(114,000)
Haroti: Harauti
(101,000)
Haryanvi
(93,000)
Khandesi
(66,000)
Nimadi
(44,000)
Bundeli
(25,000)
Merwari
(24,000)
Ahirani
(24,000)
Garhwali
(17,000)
People Groups Speaking Hindi
Primary Language Hindi (4,721,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 42
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Dhundari (608,000)
  Mewari (339,000)
  Punjabi, Eastern (316,000)
  Marwari (249,000)
  Shekhawati (175,000)
  Marathi (141,000)
  Malvi (114,000)
  Haroti: Harauti (101,000)
  Haryanvi (93,000)
  Khandesi (66,000)
  Nimadi (44,000)
  Bundeli (25,000)
  Merwari (24,000)
  Ahirani (24,000)
  Garhwali (17,000)
People Groups Speaking Hindi

Primary Language:  Hindi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes   (1806-1962)
Bible-New Testament Yes   (1811-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes   (1818-2000)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Hindi Bible stories
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video A Beautiful Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video A Pilgrimage (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Aasha - Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Coconuts (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Creation to Christ (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Fathers Love Letter
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Haqeeqat Episode 6 (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hindi
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video Ten Virgins (Indigitube.tv)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.76 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
Unknown
Other / Small
0.24 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Anonymous  
Map Source Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Religion Values * From India census data.  Current values may differ.


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