Desil in India

The Desil have only been reported in India
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

The Desil are a tiny Muslim community living in the Kashmiri Valley. They have other backward caste status, meaning their status is not high or low.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of them cultivate fields. The more fortunate Desil own land, others are sharecroppers. Desil boys begin making bricks at age five. By the time they are in their teens they begin practicing their trade, be it masonry, carpentry or agriculture.

They are very traditional when it comes to family and marriage practices. Family elders determine who marries who, and there is a dowry payment due at the wedding. They can marry someone from a different community, so long as that person is a Muslim and has equal status to the Desil community.

Married women do not contribute to the family income. Instead, she focuses on household duties and rearing children. Children are given much affection while elders are respected.

These Muslims attend weddings and birth and death events with Buddhist and Hindu people. But when one of their own is about to die, that person must utter the name of Allah before their final passing.

What Are Their Beliefs?

These Sunni Muslims visit shrines and sacred places. They believe these visits will gain them the favor of Muslim saints who can intercede for them before Allah. Since few if any of them understand the Classical Arabic of their holy book, the Koran, they blend Islam with other beliefs. Commonly Muslims in India blend Hindu practices with Islam. They might use good luck charms and amulets, which are not part of Islamic beliefs.

What Are Their Needs?

The Desil people need the Holy Spirit to direct them into a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for Desil 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 their family and community leaders to seek his face and enjoy his blessings.

Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple making movement among the Desil people.

Pray that soon the Desil people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the savior.

Scripture Prayers for the Desil in India.


People of India, Vol 25. K.S. Singh. 2003

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Desil
People Name in Country Desil
Alternate Names Gilka; Gilkar; Hilka; देसिल
Population this Country 1,400
Population all Countries 1,400
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 16684
ROP3 Code 111905
ROP25 Code 302027
ROP25 Name Desil
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Jammu and Kashmir 1,400
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Kashmiri (1,200 speakers)
Language Code kas   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Kashmiri (1,200 speakers)
Language Code kas   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Bhadrawahi 70
People Groups Speaking Kashmiri

Primary Language:  Kashmiri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1813-1954)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1813-2000)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1899-2011)
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories One Story
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kashmiri Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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