Kabirpanthi in India

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
People Name: Kabirpanthi
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 82,000
World Population: 82,000
Primary Language: Punjabi, Eastern
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Sikh - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kabirpanthi means “the path of Kabir”, a guru who lived in the 15th century in north India. Kabir’s oral teachings were written down after his death. Kabir wanted to find a unity between Hinduism and Islam. He was born into a clan of Muslim Sufi weavers. Kabir did not want Hindus to leave their religion but taught that they should not worship idols. He criticized the caste system and believed that all people were equal. Most Kabirpanthi have a low level of literacy, which hinders their economic advance in Indian society.

Most speak Eastern Punjab and Hindi. Many Christian resources exist in both languages including complete Bibles and the JESUS Film.

Where Are they Located?

Most Kabirpanthi live in the north Indian states Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Modern factories make cloth more efficiently and cheaply than the traditional handlooms of the Kabirpanthi. As a result many of them have found other work as skilled and unskilled laborers. Some have opened shops while others work in construction and forestry. Some work as landless farm workers. The Kabirpanthi are Shudras, the fourth worker caste of Hinduism. They are eligible for reserved public jobs and special university admissions. Some Kabirpanthi have become educated and work as professionals and businesspersons in cities.

The Kabirpanthi marry within their clans. The bride’s family pay a dowry to the groom’s family to help set up the household of the new family. Families arrange marriages with the newly married couple living with or near the groom’s parents. Sons inherit property with the eldest son becoming head of the family after his father’s death.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Though there are some Sikhs among them, the large majority of the Kabirpanthi deem themselves to be Hindus. They give special devotion to Vishnu, the preserver god. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. 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 Kabirpanthi visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. Kabir taught his followers not to worship idols so they should not pay homage to the physical representations of the gods.

The main yearly holidays of the Kabirpanthi people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.
A smaller group of Kabirpanthi is Sikh but the orthodox Sikhs will not associate with them.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kabirpanthi need help in educating their children beyond the primary level. Most Kabirpanthi have access to modern medicine and electricity in their villages. The Kabirpanthi need help in learning new job skills. Most of all, the Kabirpanthi need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.

Prayer Points

* Pray for a movement to Jesus to multiply among Kabirpanthi households.
* Pray that God will overthrow spiritual forces of darkness opposing the spread of His Gospel among the Kabirpanthi.
* Pray that many of the Kabirpanthi people will come to love the true God with their whole being and will walk in His ways.

Text Source:   Keith Carey