Introduction / History
The legend about the origin of the community is that one day a man was going to kill a number of cows. Parashuram was at that time practicing austerities in the jungle. Hearing the cries of the sacred animals he rushed to their assistance, but the cow killer was aided by his friends. So Parashuram made five men out of kusha grass and brought them to life by letting drops of his perspiration fall upon them. Hence arose the name Pasi, from the Hindi pasina (sweat). The Pasi community is especially numerous in India, but they also live in Bangladesh and Nepal.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Despite this flattering legend, the Pasi people have low status in South Asia, especially among other Hindus. They have "untouchable" status, which is very low. Their occupation involves producing toddy, an alcoholic beverage. Both Hindus and Muslims frown on the use of alcohol, but there is a demand. The Pasi community may at one time herded pigs, a profession that would give them low status among Muslims.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Pasi people practice Hinduism, which has left its mark in all countries of South Asia. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They 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 other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins. Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like 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.
What Are Their Needs?
This community speaks a number of languages. Separate church planting projects may be needed for each language group. Stories from Scripture, films, recordings, and gospel radio for each language spoken by the Pasi community will be helpful.
May God overthrow spiritual forces of darkness opposing the spread of his gospel among the Pasi community. Pray for the followers of Christ that will soon develop within the Pasi community, that the Lord will provide pastors and teachers for them, and for them to become well-grounded in the faith, fully trusting in Christ. Pray the Pasi community will increasingly be aware of their need to know and follow the creator God.
Scripture Prayers for the Pasi (Hindu traditions) in Bangladesh.