Introduction / History
The Lohar are a people whose traditional occupation was forging and making iron tools. There are Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Lohar who live in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. In former times, the Lohar would travel from village to village selling and repairing iron tools. With the coming of modern factories that make inexpensive steel implements, the economic level of the Lohar people has declined. They have had to seek other kinds of employment. The Lohar speak the language of where they live. The main language of the Lohar in Pakistan is Sindhi. Many Lohar men also speak Urdu which allows them to communicate with most peoples in north India and Pakistan. A complete Bible and the JESUS Film are available in Sindhi. The Lohar are an oral culture so the good news about Jesus Christ must be presented to them in visual and oral form.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Lohar live in poverty. Their fortunes have declined as steel manufactured tools became available. They have gone into other jobs like agriculture, construction and factory work. More Lohar men are able to read and write than women. Children often quit school early to help their parents earn a living. The nomadic lifestyle also makes education difficult for Lohar children to attend school. Other people sometimes see the Lohar as thieves due to their traveling from place to place. The Lohar are seen as Dalits, those outside the Hindu caste system. As a result the Lohar face daily discrimination. Families arrange marriages. Lohar marry within their group and religion but not from their own clan. Sons inherit the property of their fathers. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. The Lohar eat meat except for beef and pork. Most of their diet consists of vegetables and rice due to their impoverished economic level.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The vast majority of the Lohar in Pakistan are Muslims. A much smaller population is Hindu. Hindu Lohar pay special reverence to Rama, the god of moral virtue and Kali, the goddess of death and time. 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 Lohar visit Hindu shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Lohar 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. The Lohar in Pakistan also celebrate Muslim holidays.
What Are Their Needs?
The Lohar need new job skills to improve their economic level. The Lohar need to be able to send their children to school. Rural Lohar need access to modern medicine, electricity, and clean water. Most of all the Hindu Lohar must understand that Jesus is much more than another Hindu god or guru. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
* Scripture Prayers for the Lohar (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the Hindu Pakistani Lohar and tell them the good news about Jesus. Pray that Lohar parents are able to provide adequately for their children and send them to school. Pray that visual and audio Christian resources would become available and are able to reach the Pakistani Lohar. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Lohar of Pakistan in this decade.