Introduction / History
The known history of the Sansi dates to their defeat in the Moghal Wars, which took place between the 1500s and the 1700s. When they lost their lands in these wars, the Sansi began to roam northern India and became known as a wandering community. They were forced to beg for food. To survive, some adopted habits such as stealing and cattle rustling, and became known as criminals during colonial days, which ended in 1947. In 1952 they were released from this stigma, at least on the government record books. Due to ongoing conflicts between the Hindus and Muslims, Pakistan was established as a separate Muslim state in 1947. At the partition, the Sansi, along with other Muslims of the Eastern Punjab region, migrated to Pakistan. Most Muslim Sansis live in Pakistan, but a small number are in India. They are associated with the Bhils, but they speak Eastern Punjabi, a major language spoken by millions of others.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Women have an honorable position in Sansi culture. Adult marriages are the norm, with the bride leaving her family to live with the groom's family until they can set up their own household. For many years the Sansi lived in extended family units. However, the number of nuclear families is now increasing. Some Sansi villages are very small, containing only one or two extended families. The Sansi villages that are located near other Sindh villages usually remain isolated. The Sansi have very little in the way of wealth, and their traditional plaster houses are cramped and dirty. Today, some are building houses that have more rooms so joint family living will not be so congested.
What Are Their Beliefs?
While many of the Sansi who immigrated from India to Pakistan in 1947 quickly became Muslims, others maintained their Hindu traditions, which include folk beliefs, omens and the fear of spirits. Even those who are officially Muslim maintain Hindu-like practices. This is common among the various Muslim communities of South Asia.
What Are Their Needs?
The Sansi desperately need to be given justice and acceptance. Their greatest need is justice—to be treated as valuable people and lifted out of poverty. Only God can bring inner healing to the Sansi and give them the stability and security they have needed for so long.
* Scripture Prayers for the Sansi (Muslim traditions) in India.
Pray for His kingdom to come and his will to be done among the Sansi people. Pray for a movement of Sansi households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Sansi people to the arms of Jesus. Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Sansi people.