Qalaigar in India

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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Qalaigar
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,400
World Population: 1,400
Primary Language: Urdu
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Qalaigar people are a Muslim people of India whose traditional occupation was making and repairing copper pots, pans and utensils. A "qalai" is a thin sheet of tin placed upon the utensil. The two main languages of the Qalaigar are Urdu and Gujarati. Many Christian resources are available in both languages.

Where Are they Located?

This Muslim people group lives in Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The tinning process involves working with acids, chemicals and breathing in poisonous fumes. As a result, many Qalaigar young people are choosing different professions. Some young Qalaigar men have become taxi drivers and small businessmen to avoid the potentially dangerous job of their fathers.

The Qalaigar marry within their group. A Qalaigar man may have up to four wives but one wife is the norm. Families arrange marriages. Sons inherit the property and business of their father.

The main foods of the Qalaigar are rice, lentils, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. As Muslims, they will not eat pork.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Qalaigar people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoken through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols.

The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

What Are Their Needs?

The Qalaigar need access to modern medicine as their traditional occupation can lead to serious health issues. They need to learn new job skills so that they can advance in Indian society. Most of all, the Qalaigar need to hear and respond to the message of Isa or Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.

Prayer Points

Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Muslim Qalaigar people for Jesus.
Pray that in God's sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Qalaigar families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Qalaigar people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.

Text Source:   Keith Carey