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Introduction / History
Long ago, the Santia were rulers of their region but about 800 years ago, descendants of Hada took it over. They ruled the region until it was conquered by the British and it later became part of the nation of India. the Santia were once all Hindus. Some Santia became Muslim during the Mogul period. The number of Pakistani Santia is so few that they are in danger of being absorbed into other Muslim peoples.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Santia speak Haroti as their main language. Haroti is the secondary language of many thousands of people in Rajasthan so there is little chance of it disappearing soon. Many Santia men also speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. The New Testament and the JESUS Film are available in Raroti. There are few if any believers among the Muslim Santia of Pakistan.
The majority of the Santia people are Hindus who live in the Rajasthani Desert of northwestern India. A smaller group of Santia are Muslims residing in hills and valleys of north central Pakistan.
The married women wear brightly colored dresses, adorned with numerous bangles and necklaces. Even their toes are decorated with bright toe rings. The men stand tall in dhotis, their colorful turbans carefully wound, each with its long tail hanging behind. Some of the Haroti young people are leaving their villages to go to Pakistani cities. They are looking for better economic and educational opportunities.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Education has been highly valued within the Haroti culture for centuries. Formal education existed even in ancient times, mainly to promote Hindu teachings. Kings encouraged the production of literary works in Haroti. Ancient Haroti books that focus on astrology, medicines, medical treatment, and epic poetry are available even now. Even today, the Haroti people strongly promote education. It is difficult at times for school children as the medium of education is Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan. Yet, the people esteem their Haroti language highly.
Since there are so few Santia, young people often marry outside their tribe. A young women will become part of her husband’s tribe. Large families are large as children are seen as blessings of Allah. Many children die before their tenth birthday due to the lack of access to modern medicine. The Mina clan, a scheduled tribe, are one of the groups who speak Haroti.
The Santia people of Pakistan are Sunni Muslims. Sunnis are the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols.
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.
Pray that God will send anointed workers to take the gospel to the Santia.
Pray that God will open the hearts of the Santia to the good news about Isa or Jesus.
Pray that more material and radio programs become available in Haroti.
Pray for peace in the region where the Santia live.
Ask the Lord to raise up a church among the Santia of Pakistan in this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Santia (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan.