Introduction / History
The Rajput Saithwar or Mall are an ancient noble people of north central India. The Buddha is thought by many to be a member of this group. Rajput means son of a king or ruler. Saithwar comes from Sanskrit words that mean an assembly of nobles. The Saithwar are members of the Kshatriya Varna or caste the second highest rank in Hinduism. The Saithwar served as nobles, large landowners and warriors in the dynasties of north India for hundreds of years.
Where Are they Located?
Today many Saithwar still own land that is cultivated by lower castes. They also serve in the Indian armed forces. Others have become leaders in business, education, science and technology.
The primary languages of the Saithwar are Hindi and Bhojpuri. They also speak English and other regional languages.
The vast majority of the Saithwar live in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Smaller groups live in Bihar and in the nation of Nepal.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Though many Rajputs are still in the armed forces or own land, many have moved on to other livelihoods. Some Rajputs now own impressive hotels where tourists can be introduced to their history and culture. Rajputs who aren't so fortunate work as small businessmen.
What Are Their Beliefs?
They try to marry their daughters into clans of higher rank than their own.
Some Rajput clans have a higher status, so families want their daughters to marry men from group. The Saithwar are endogamous, that is they will only marry persons from their caste. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Brahmin priests officiate at important life events like births, weddings and funerals.
Forward caste Hindus like the Saithwar often becomes devotees of three Hindu gods. Typically Rajputs worship Shiva (the destroyer), Surya (the sun god), and Durga (the mother goddess). They also have patron gods to turn to for protection. They celebrate Dasahara, a festival dedicated to Durga. During this festival they sacrifice a buffalo to celebrate this goddess' victory over a buffalo demon. Besides Dasahara, the main yearly holidays of the Saithwar people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.
What Are Their Needs?
All Rajputs including the Saithwar need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. The Rajputs are going through an identity crisis. They can no longer depend on land ownership or military careers, especially with the Indian government reserving prestigious jobs for "backward" (i.e., underprivileged) castes. Believers with the right skills can help them during this time of transition.
* Pray for the Rajput Saithwar community to increasingly grow in awareness of Jesus, his life and his sacrifice for them.
* Pray the Lord will give the Saithwar a spiritual hunger for the Word of God and for his truth.
* Pray for a Holy Spirit led humility for all Rajput communities to fall at the feet of the King of kings.
* Pray that God raises up a disciple making movement among every Rajput Saithwar community.