Kalwar Iraqi (Muslim traditions) in Nepal

Kalwar Iraqi (Muslim traditions)
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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Kalwar Iraqi (Muslim traditions)
Country: Nepal
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 800
World Population: 56,600
Primary Language: Bhojpuri
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kalwars were traditionally distillers and sellers of alcohol in north and central India. Their name comes from the Sanskrit word for "distiller of liquor." Since this profession was considered demeaning by most castes in Indian society, many Kalwars around the year 1900 began to leave their original trade for other careers. Although some of the Kalwars still are in the liquor business, most have taken jobs in agriculture, business, military and government service.

The Kalwar speak the primary languages of the states where they live including Hindi, Bengali and Magahi. In some of the Indian states where the Kalwar live, they are given the status of being a Scheduled Caste, meaning they get public jobs and special access to university admissions.

Where Are they Located?

Muslim Iraqi Kalwar people live in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Utarakhand, all states in northern India. A smaller number live in Nepal.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Rice and wheat are their staples along with vegetables, fruit and dairy products. Marriage outside of the immediate clan is permitted. Families arrange marriages. The newly married couple lives with or near the groom's family.

Monogamy (marriage to one spouse) and adult marriage are the general rule for the Iraqi Kalwar people. Most live in extended families. Sons inherit property with the oldest son receiving the family house and father's authority.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Though there are Hindus among the Iraqi Kalwars, there are Muslims as well. These Muslims believe that the final word of the almighty God, Allah, were spoken through the prophet Mohammed. They fast during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and the devout ones among them pray five times a day and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. However, like other Muslims in South Asia, their form of Islam is tainted by Hindu beliefs.

What Are Their Needs?

The Muslim Iraqi Kalwar in Nepal need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ who paid for their sins by dying on the cross. They need to see biblical Christianity lived out in the lives of true believers. They need to have the opportunity to join Bible-believing fellowships.

Prayer Points

Pray the Lord would send Indian believers to befriend and work with the Muslim Iraqi Kalwars in Nepal.
Pray that each Iraqi Kalwar would have the opportunity to hear the gospel in an understandable way.
Pray the Lord would win Iraqi Kalwar families to Himself and begin evangelical churches in their midst.

Text Source:   Keith Carey