Khandait in India

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Khandait
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,735,000
World Population: 1,737,000
Primary Language: Odia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.05 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Forward Caste - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Khandai or Kandayat were traditionally soldiers and landowners in east India. "Khandai" means man of the sword or landowner. When the Moguls conquered the Orissa area, many Khandai lost their land holdings to the new rulers. They joined the Moguls' armies and regained some of the territory they had lost. During the British period, the Khandai continued to serve as military officers and soldiers.

Today the Khandai are landowners who generally have lower castes farm their property. They serve in the Indian Army and in police forces. Education is a high priority in Khandai families. Khandai have gained the highest political positions in Orissa and West Bengal.

The vast majority of Khandai speak Odia and Bengali. Most educated Khandai also speak Hindi so they can communicate with Indian citizens from central and north India.

Where Are they Located?

Most Khandai live in the east Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Khandai are a Forward caste so they are not eligible for special positions in schools and government. The Khandai own land and fill high levels in east Indian society. They work in government, the military, education and business.

The Khandai marry within their gotra or clan. Cousin marriages are common. Sons inherit property with the eldest son getting the home of his parents. Brahmin priests officiate at the life rituals of birth, weddings and death. The Khandai cremate their dead.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Khandai are almost all Hindus. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They celebrate the Hindu holidays such as Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of light and Navratri, the festival for the coming of spring.

What Are Their Needs?

The Khandai need to realize that they are sinners in need of a Savior. They need to be willing to humble themselves and see that the gods of Hinduism will not save them.

Prayer Points

* Pray the Lord leads Christians to make friends with the Khandai and show them the love and care of Christ.
* Pray the Khandia would be dissatisfied with Hinduism and open to the teachings of the Bible.
* Pray God moves many Khandai to become Christians and that Bible believing churches are planted in their community.

Text Source:   David Kugel