Introduction / History
There has been a South Asian diaspora in various parts of the world including Greece. Most of these are Punjabi speaking Sikhs, or Hindus who speak a variety of languages: Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, etc. Muslims usually speak either Urdu or Bengali. There are some segments of the South Asian diaspora that don't fit into any neat language category. Those we simply call, "South Asians" or "Indo-Pakistanis" since we are referring to people from either India or Pakistan. Sometimes Bangladeshis and Nepalis are lumped in as well since those countries are also in South Asia.
What Are Their Lives Like?
There are two basic categories of people in the South Asian diaspora. Some have ancestors who moved about, usually working for low pay. Others have ancestors who were merchants. These South Asians have deep roots in the host country. In today's world, they are more likely to be in a different category. Commonly South Asians travel the world for high-paying jobs. For decades India has produced highly trained techies for jobs that often don't exist in their country. South Asians with these skills take jobs in other parts of the world. There are also South Asian families who own grocery stores and restaurants. Others have more modest jobs working as cab drivers or farm workers. In Greece, these are most of the South Asians, and some have left the country because of Greece's struggling economy. Though there are special events for South Asians based on their language, they commonly come together as a group, even those who are "generic" South Asians. These gatherings might be cultural or religious. Hinduism is an important part of their culture, and it gives South Asians an identity. South Asians in diaspora often accept one another regardless of religious affiliation. They are not likely, however, to marry across religious lines.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Hindus are polytheistic, which means that they worship many gods and goddesses. The most important gods worshipped are Brahman, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer. Another important Hindu deity is Shiva's wife, who has several names. She is best known as Durga, Kali, Parvati, or Uma. As Parvati or Uma, she is the beloved goddess of motherhood. As Durga or Kali, she is the feared goddess of destruction. Hindus in business are fond of Ganesh, the god whom they believe helps them overcome obstacles. According to Hindu doctrine, animals as well as humans have souls. Hindus believe that souls live innumerable lives in different bodies, being born again, or reincarnated, after death as animals or humans. They believe that if a person lives a good life, his soul will be born into a higher state. Whereas, if he leads an evil life, his soul will be born into a lower state. The cycle supposedly continues until the soul achieves spiritual perfection and enters a higher state of existence. Most Hindus in diaspora use their religion to preserve their culture in a foreign environment. They also look to their gods to help them with their needs in the same way they would in South Asia.
What Are Their Needs?
South Asians, be they Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh, need to hear that Jesus Christ came to save sinful mankind. The message that we have offended the one true and living God is not a popular message. If Christ followers were willing to befriend South Asians, they could earn a hearing. It would take time and much prayer. Unfortunately, very few believers are willing to do this to reach these unreached people who are often living in a place where there is freedom of religion.
Pray for workers, filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, to go to the South Asians in Greece. Pray for South Asians in Greece to have the spiritual hunger to seek and find Jesus Christ. Pray for South Asians in Greece to begin a family-based movement to Christ that will bless them abundantly. Pray for the Lord's blessing of the South Asian diaspora and the work of their hands as a testimony of his goodness and power.
Scripture Prayers for the South Asian, general in Greece.