Unreached People of the Day: Jat, Sikh of India
The Jats are immersed in several ethnic groups who retain an identity often based on occupation and heritage. The word “Jat” is from the Arabic word “jatta” referring to the inhabitants of what is now much of Pakistan and Northwest India. They arrived in the sub-continent as invaders, yet did not establish ruling dynasties. They were presumably Indo-Iranian who in the course of time they mixed with other invaders and older Indian inhabitants. They are found in central Baluchistan province of Pakistan where they are called Jatt.
The greatest concentrations of Jats are found in districts of Punjab and Haryana. They make up to one third of the population in Mirpur (Kashmir), Gujranwala Multan, Muzaffargarh, Manipuri, Bahawalpur, Patkiala, Faridkot (Punjab) Rohtak and Mahendragarh (Haryana) A popular occupation among them is farming. A small percentage are traders and laborers.
Where are they located?
The Jat are located all over India and some surrounding countries. The largest concentration is in the Punjab Region, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
What are their lives like?
A man cannot take a wife from his own section. For a wedding, a square enclosure is made known as Chaonari and a fire sacrifice is performed. The couple walk seven times around the Chaonari with their right hand inward. Widow remarriage is allowed but cannot marry her younger brother-in-law or near relatives of her deceased husband. The dead are cremated except children under seven, who are buried.
When a man dies, his widow goes around his body seven times in the reverse direction of the one during marriage, indicating the undoing of marriage and breaks few of her bangles. An important occasion for display among them is a ceremony which is done among wealthy families when the head of the family or his wife dies, or when a daughter is married. The person who does the ceremony is highly respected and his opinion is given weight is caste disputes.
They eat unleavened bread (roti) and curry, seasonal vegetables, ghee and milk. Girls are tattooed before marriage. Women are fond of jewelry and wear bangles made of ivory, lac (a resinous material) or clay but never glass.
What are their beliefs?
Their favorite Hindu deity is Shiva. They have special ceremonies during the Dussera and Baisakhi festivals.
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to India and Nepal and share Christ with these tribes.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will soften their hearts towards the Gospel.
* Ask God to call out prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a triumphant Church among the Jat for the glory of His name!