Introduction / History
The primary language of the Pakistani Thori is Saraiki. Some of the men also speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Bible portions and the JESUS Film are available in Saraiki.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The vast majority of the Thori people of South Asia are Hindus and live in India. Thori are considered a scheduled caste in India, meaning that they have low status. A small number of Thori converted to Islam in the Mogul period and now reside in Pakistan. During the Partition of India in 1947 many Hindus left Pakistan and moved to India. Many Muslims fled India for Pakistan.
Most Turi farm on land owned by higher castes. Traditionally, the Turi made baskets from bamboo and grasses, but this occupation is diminishing due to the fact that factories make baskets more efficiently.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Life is difficult for the Turi of Pakistan. They are often at the mercy of the land owners. Many Turi lack access to modern medicine, electricity, indoor plumbing, and clean water. As a result, their life expectancy is low with child mortality high. Many children quit school after a few years to help their families make a living. A few Turi have gone on to further education and work in business, manufacturing, teaching and government jobs. However, most Turi lack the job and literacy skills to improve their status. Some young Turi are moving to cities hoping for a better life.
A Turi man may marry up to four wives if he can afford them. Most men have one wife. They marry within their people but not within the same clan. Children are viewed as blessings from Allah. Sons inherit property and take care of elderly parents. Village elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders. The eldest son becomes head of the home when the father dies.
Though most Thori people are Hindu, there is a small Sunni Muslim community in Pakistan. These Thori believe that the 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. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
What Are Their Needs?
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.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
The Thori have huge needs. They need the benefits of modern medicine, clean water, new job skills, and electricity. Christian workers can help in these areas. Most of all, the Thori need to understand that Isa or Jesus is much more than a human prophet. He is the Son of God and their savior.
Pray that Thori people will have a spiritual hunger that will turn many in their community to Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to equip, empower, protect, and guide anointed laborers to go to the Thori of Pakistan.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Thori elders and leaders so they might be open to hearing the good news.
Ask the Lord to raise up a disciple making movement among the Pakistani Thori in this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Thori (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan.