Introduction / History
The Khatri are a trading and business caste, which originated in Punjab. Their name comes from the Sanskrit word "Kshatriya" which is the second of the four castes of Hinduism. In the early 19th century, they almost had a monopoly on trade in Punjab and Afghanistan. During the British times, they were the chief civil administrators.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally, they specialized in trading in cloth but now have expanded to spectacles, flour grinding mills, grain shops and work as painters and tailors. Many members belong to the middle class and have entered teaching and civil service professions. They are found largely in Punjab of India and Pakistan, but they are little known outside Punjab. They are one of the most advanced and progressive communities in India and value education. They will only eat food cooked by Brahmins or caste members.
Saraswat Brahmins and Khatris still eat together giving credence to this story. Another more recent legend, has Khatris serving as soldiers in the Dakshin wars over a thousand years ago. Many died in the war and out of pity the council of the most respected Khatri in Delhi proposed widow remarriage. The clan headmen Lallu and Jaghdar opposed the concept and the council dissolved without a decision. The emperor dismissed Khatri soldiers from military service and asked them to take up being Dalals (brokers). They proved to be excellent soldiers and governors of many states.
Men and women marry within the community. Marriage is between adults. The elders of the family negotiate marriage alliance and both families exchange gifts.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Divorce is traditionally not allowed, but due to modernization, divorce is allowed under extreme maladjustment. Both nuclear and extended family types are found. The elders command respect and authority while the younger members receive love and affection from elders. Khatri women have a reputation for outstanding beauty. Women in the north generally wear salwar-khameez.
They are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Khatris take their religion seriously. They celebrate traditional Muslim, Hindu and Sikh festivals and fasts depending on their religious community. Muslims will go to Masjid and for Haj pilgrimage. Sikhism was founded by Khatris and some of their well known leaders, Guru Nanak and Guru Govind, were Khatris.
What Are Their Needs?
Like all other peoples of the world, Muslim Khatris needs the blessings and guidance that only Jesus Christ can offer.
Ask God to raise up Muslim Khatris who are more desirous to know the truth than to stay in good standing with their neighbors.
Ask God to send loving, committed workers to the Khatris in the near future.
Pray the Muslim Khatris would no longer be hidden away from the influence of Christ.
Pray for dreams and visions of the risen Christ to affect Khatri elders and leaders.
Scripture Prayers for the Khatri (Muslim traditions) in India.
India Missions Association, Edited by Philipose Vaidyar, Copyrighted © Used with permission