Introduction / History
The name Gaddi is derived from the word “gaderan,” the local name for the hilly tracts of Himachal Pradesh. They usually live in hilly or mountainous places with their livestock, so their population is higher in northern India than it is in the relatively flat Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh. A small number live in Nepal. They are a Scheduled Tribe, which means they have low status. The Gaddi origin is shrouded in legends, but they probably moved to their current locations to escape the Moghal Empire.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Many make their living by sheep raising and farming. Women take part in agriculture and animal husbandry and contribute to the family income. Each household consists of a nuclear family. Houses are generally two or three stories, with balconies and paved courtyards. The ground floor is used for keeping cattle, while the second story is used for living, sleeping and cooking. Gaddi women have much more equality than do most other Muslim communities. They sometimes earn money, do the time-honored work of turning milk into yoghurt and ghee and participate in Islamic rituals. They pray at home rather than the mosque. They have their own folk songs and folk tales. Their village councils make decisions for their communities.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Gaddi follow Muslim or Hindu traditions, although they have their own animistic traditions whether they are Hindu or Muslim. The Muslim Gaddi believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoke 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. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship. Gaddi Muslims are noted for their respect for Muslim saints. They go to the tombs of these saints, leave money or some other offering, and expect their prayers will be answered.
What Are Their Needs?
The Muslim Gaddi people need the opportunity to know the God who created all the beauty they see around them.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gaddi (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan.
Pray for workers to go to the Gaddi people in Pakistan. Pray for Gaddi family leaders to open the door for gospel workers in their communities. Pray for spiritual openness among the Gaddi people. Pray for a movement to Christ that will bless all Gaddi communities in Nepal, India and Pakistan.