Introduction / History
The name "Punjabi" is used to describe both those who speak Punjabi and those who inhabit the Punjab region in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is an Indo-European language that is divided into six main dialects. Those in Tanzania speak the Eastern Punjabi dialect.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Modern Punjabi culture was largely shaped by the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. This event resulted in massive migrations that separated the Muslims from the Hindus and Sikhs. In general, the Muslim Punjabis live in Pakistan, while the Hindu or Sikhs are in India. One can also find large Punjabi communities in nearly thirty other countries including Tanzania.
The mid-1800s were when the first Sikhs arrived in Tanzania. They worked on railroads and settled in their new African homeland. They built up small shops and businesses. The Sikhs soon became successful business owners. Others owned large farms, worked as engineers or in furniture businesses. After Tanzania gained her independence, most of the Sikhs moved either to the United States or Canada, but a smaller number remain in Tanzania.
Wherever they have gone, the resourceful Punjabi have made a place for themselves within the local communities. In Tanzania, as in most countries where they have settled, Punjabis are employed in many different occupations. The Sikhs, who represent the majority of the Tanzanian Punjabi, have entered various professions. They excel as mechanics and work in construction.
While the living conditions of the Punjabis differ from country to country, they have kept much of their traditional culture and language. Though the language is still Punjabi, there are cultural differences between each of the three religious communities.
Conflicts between Punjabis usually involve "land, women and water." This means they deem it necessary to control the means by which a person perpetuates his family and property. This kind of thinking affects the Diaspora Punjabis, though they are unlikely to be landowners outside of South Asia.
In traditional Punjabi culture, the men oversee the family possessions, such as land, shops, or other business assets. The women manage the homes. They cook, care for the children, manage the household finances, and take care of any domestic animals.
Among the diaspora Punjabis, newly married couples set up their homes wherever they choose. Parents arrange the marriages after extensive discussions.
Among the Punjabis, there is no overall system of social control. Instead, each institution (such as business, home, civil administration, religious organization, or political organization) has its own set of laws and disciplinary measures.
There are a number of Punjabi emigrant communities scattered around the world, including Canada. They are traditionally Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. Most of those in Canada are Sikh and they are well-established in that country.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Punjabis in Tanzania are Sikhs. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that was founded in northern India during the sixteenth century. Its teachings have combined the elements of both Hinduism and Islam in an attempt to find one god who transcends all religious distinctions.
What Are Their Needs?
There are many Christian resources in the Punjabi language, but very few Punjabi Christian believers. They need Christ-bearers to go to them.
Pray for the Punjabi people in Tanzania to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Punjabi people in Tanzania that will spread joy, peace, and salvation.
Pray for the Punjabi culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Punjabi family and community leaders to seek his face and enjoy his blessings.
Scripture Prayers for the Punjabi in Tanzania.