Introduction / History
The Mochi people of India have traditionally been makers of shoes, boots, saddles, and handbags. This association with leather has given them low status in this part of the world where cows are sacred. That low status applies to both Hindu and Sikh Mochi. The literacy level of the Mochi has is low, under 20%. While the vast majority of Mochi are Hindus or Muslims, a small group is Sikh. Some Sikh Mochi are landless agricultural workers. Most Sikh Mochi speak Eastern Punjabi and Hindi.
Where Are they Located?
The Sikh Mochi live in two districts inside of Punjab state, and in Haryana and in Delhi.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Mochi live challenging lives by Western standards. They often live at the poverty level with little chance of moving upward in Indian society. Mochi children frequently drop out of school to help support their families. Some Sikh boys are starting to finish elementary school and go on to secondary school and universities. School is an expense that many Mochi families cannot afford.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Sikh Mochi marry only within their group but not within their particular clan. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Married women wear glass bangles, nose studs, toe rings, and a special necklace.
The Sikh Mochi are non-vegetarians but will not eat beef and sometimes pork. Their main foods are rice, maize, wheat, millet with some vegetables and fruit. Often meat and milk products are reserved for holidays. Many Mochi men drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
Though most Mochis are Hindus, there are some Sikhs among them. Sikhism originated from a 15th century teacher named Guru Nanak Dev as a reform movement. He rejected the caste system, taught that all people were equal and that all have equal access to God. The Sikh God is formless, without gender and is to be found in everyone. One gets closer to God by living a good life and by practicing charity. Like Hindus, Sikhs believe in reincarnation and the law of karma; you reap what you sow in your previous life. Like Muslims, the Sikhs worship only one God.
What Are Their Needs?
One may recognize a Sikh man by his distinctive turban. All the 10 great Sikh gurus wore turbans. Sikh teaching mandates that a person not cut his or her hair. They venerate their holy book, the Granth Sahib, which is a collection of hymns.
The Mochi need to see that their Sikh rituals and works will not get them right with a holy, personal God. They need to see Christianity demonstrated to them in practical ways, for example, helping them with their medical and the educational needs of their children. Most of all, they need to see that it is only in Jesus Christ that their sins can be forgiven.
Pray for the Mochi people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Mochi people to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Sikh background disciples to make more disciples.
Scripture Prayers for the Mochi (Sikh traditions) in India.