Khatri (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan

Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Khatri (Hindu traditions)
Country: Pakistan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 15,000
World Population: 2,817,000
Primary Language: Saraiki
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.49 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Forward Caste - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Khatri Somvanshiya or Somvanshi are a people who live throughout northern, western and central India and in the nation of Pakistan. Experts say that the Khatri originally came from Punjab and over the centuries moved south into central India and Pakistan. The Somvanshi are one of their subgroups. While vast majority of the Khatri live in India, a small group of Hindu Khatri resides in Pakistan. Most Khatri fall in the third of the four main castes of Hinduism, the Vaishyas. Some Khatri see themselves as Kshatriya, the descendant of kings and warriors. Today Khatri are known as financiers, business owners, traders, and industrialists. Some are involved in the cotton fabric and silk trades. The Khatri also work in law enforcement, the military, medicine, entertainment, and science. The Somvanshiya are one of the most powerful, forward castes in Pakistan. The main languages of the Khatri are Hindi-Urdu, English and Eastern Punjabi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Khatri live as members of the modern, urban Pakistani society. Somvanshi are monogamous, that is marriage to one spouse is their practice. They marry within their people group. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Parents encourage their children to graduate from universities and graduate schools. Sons inherit property upon the death of their father. Brahmin priests officiate at important family ceremonies such as births, weddings and funerals. They cremate their dead. Ashes are scattered in holy waters like the River Ganges. Caste associations settle legal disputes and promote their interests. The Khatri eat meat except for beef and pork.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Khatri practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of the Indian subcontinent. 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 Khatri 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 do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Khatri 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 caste system divides Hindus into four main categories. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system.

What Are Their Needs?

The Somvanshi Khatri need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. It is often difficult for more successful people to humble themselves before the Savior. They must see themselves as sinners in need of forgiveness from the holy, personal God.

Prayer Points

Pray that God sends Hindu background believers to the Khatri Somvanshiya to tell them about Jesus Christ. Pray that Hindi and Eastern Punjabi Bibles fall into the hands of Khatri who are seeking for truth. Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring whole Khatri families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings. Pray that God will overthrow spiritual forces of darkness opposing the spread of His gospel among the Somvanshi Khatri.

Text Source:   Keith Carey