Introduction / History
The Rajput Bais or Baisa were originally Hindu warriors of the second highest Hindu caste of Kshatriya. Their name means "one who occupies the soil." As a reward for their military service, the Bais were given lands to cultivate. During the Mughal period (1526-1857) many of the Bais converted to Islam. This change of religion helped the Bais secure high positions in the Muslim emperor's government and military.
Where Are they Located?
Today the Rajput Bais are Hindu and Muslim. Both groups enjoy a high status in Indian society. They occupy high places in Indian government, business and the military. They continue to own land. Many are wealthy. They encourage their children to attain university degrees. The less wealthy Rajput Bais work as middle class farmers and small businessmen. They speak Urdu as their primary language. They also speak other regional languages of where they live.
The Rajputs of Muslim traditions live in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengali. Others live across the central and northern states of India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
As Muslims the Rajput Bais believe that Muhammad was God's final prophet and that the Qur'an is the Word of God. Their religion dominates all aspects of their lives. They do not eat pork.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Rajputs who have embraced Islam usually retain common social practices such as having their wives secluded (purdah). Those who are devout do their five daily ritual prayers, give alms to the poor, and go on the pilgrimage (haj) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Muslims from all communities come together on Friday afternoons to pray and hear a message at local mosques.
The Rajput Bais embrace the modern lifestyle of India with its medicine, education and conveniences. Sons inherit property. Parents arrange marriages although that practice is slowly changing. Young people are encouraged to marry within their religion and clan.
The Rajput Bais are Sunni Muslims, the dominant and majority branch of Islam. Besides attending their local mosques on Fridays, the Bais participate in the yearly Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the monthly fast of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, which celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son.
What Are Their Needs?
The Rajputs Bais need to be humbled from their high position in society to see that they are sinners in need of the Savior. They need to see the love, mercy and grace of God lived out in a real way before them. They must see that the Bible not the Qur'an is God's Word.
* Pray the Lord opens the heart of the Rajput Bais to respond to God's word and truth in the midst of their busy lives.
* Pray the Lord moves Indian Christians to befriend the Rajput Bais and share the good news with them.
* Pray that growing churches are planted in the Rajput community.