Introduction / History
According to Hindu legend the first Sonar was used by the goddess Devi to destroy a powerful demon who was made of gold. The Sonar convinced that vain demon that he would look better if he were polished, which meant he had to be melted down. When this happened and the demon was destroyed, Devi rewarded the Sonar by giving him the head of this demon.
Where Are they Located?
There are subgroups of the Sonars based on location. They are part of the Vaishya caste groupings, the third in rank of the four. Vaishyas may not have the status of the higher two caste groupings, but they often have more wealth, since they are businessmen and merchants.
Sonar live primarily in Maharashtra state, but there are also sizable populations in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, and Odisha.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Known for their work with gold and silver, Sonars produce elaborate jewelry and ornaments, using precious and semi-precious stones. Some engrave deities on plates of gold and silver as well as pendants. Others cut and polish diamonds. Typically, the Sonars own their own jewelry stores, while others are paid for skilled designs in delicate filigree.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Being a skilled goldsmith brings status in Hindu India. In a Hindu wedding, the bride literally wears her worldly possessions as products made by the Sonars. Even if a Sonar is not present at a wedding, their presence is felt by everyone who sees the bride decked out in a Sonar's beautiful golden artwork. Sonars have contact with just about every Hindu community. For that reason, if members of the Sonar community became believers, they could potentially influence all Hindu people groups.
Today, their role is becoming more diverse. Some are skilled artisans who develop beautiful jewelry and art work. Others are landowners, pawnbrokers, or money lenders. They are becoming more educated as a community which is opening doors for more opportunities.
Sonars are Hindus who worship the regular Hindu gods, especially Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. They also have family, clan and regional gods that they worship. Along with other Hindu communities, the Sonars celebrate Holi, Dussehra, Janamashtami, Navrati, and Diwali.
What Are Their Needs?
Sonars need humility and the desire to serve the God who created all gold, and everything else they see. They need to taste and see that the Lord is good … and great!
* Scripture Prayers for the Sonar Barhaiya in India.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Sonar families and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple making movement among Sonar peoples in the 2020s.
Pray that soon many members of the Sonar communities will have faith that is more precious and durable than gold.