The Sondhia or Sondhya are a people group who live in west central India They consider themselves to be Rajputs or sons of rulers but are not accepted by other Rajputs as Rajputs. They are seen as Shudras or workers by other castes. Their main occupation is farming. They are a community of peasant farmers who own small plots of land. They cultivate rice, lentils, sorghum, vegetables and fruit.
Illiteracy is a problem with the Sondhia. Over 20% of Sondhia men and 40% of their women can not read or write. They are considered to be a Backward Caste and eligible for special treatment in obtaining government jobs and university admission.
The primary language of the Sondhia is Hindi. They also speak Malvi, Nimadi and other regional languages of India.
Where Are they Located?
The Sondhia live in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The lives of the Sondhia are dominated by the monsoon seasons and their Hindu religion. Most Sondhia live in rural villages much like their ancestors. They marry within their caste but not within their own clan or gotra. Families arrange marriages with the newly married couple living with or near the groom's parents. Sons inherit the property of their father. Some Sondhia have moved to cities to improve the educational level of their children and to find a new life in business.
The Sondhia are not vegetarians but they do not eat pork or beef. Jowar or sorghum is their principle food along with rice, vegetables and fruit.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Sondhia practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Their patron deity is Vishnu, the preserver god. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Sondhia visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to Vishnu and other gods.
The main yearly holidays of the Sondhia people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.
What Are Their Needs?
The Sondhia need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. Fortunately, the Bible and other resources are available in Hindi. They need help in learning new job skills and in increasing the yield of their crops.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those Christians ministering to the Sondhia people.
* Pray the Lord leads the Sondhia away from Vishnu and to the true God of the Bible.
* Pray the Lord will start a movement of Sondhia families experiencing God's blessings.
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